Post #3

  Blurbs 12-17… July 8, 2014


Technology overload is a fact of modern life. E-mail, tablets, I-phones, laptops, cell-phones dominate our world. They enable us to instantly connect with everybody, everywhere. Psychologists tell us the curse of modern life is that we can do so much. We have to multi-task to keep up. How can we slow down and take back our lives? A provocative essay in Next Draft .com entitled, The Answer Is Just A Click Away concludes that what we have to do is just turn off our devices and start talking face to face. Easier said than done. The tidal wave of technological advances is so powerful, pervasive and compelling, it is likely  “we will become more connected, more wired, and more distracted. There is no turning back”.  Apparently cartoonist Liam Francis Walsh agrees.  Here’s his take in the June 7, 2014 New Yorker magazine:

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TED Talks ( TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design) are immensely popular. If you don’t know about them, you should. There are over 1800 speeches, they’re short (under 18 minutes) and they cover almost every subject.  The smartest people on the planet offer innovative ideas with passion, eloquence and humor. Speakers have included Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Bono, Al Gore, David Brooks and Sting.  The talks have been watched over one billion times worldwide in over 100 languages. Listen, take notes and learn. You can watch TED Talks on or or listen on NPR  radio. Shortest talk: Arianna Huffington (“How To Succeed? Get More Sleep“–4 minutes). Most Widely Viewed: Ken Robinson (“How Schools Kill Creativity”-26 million views). One of my favorites: Rick Elias ( “3 Things I Learned While My Plane Crashed“; Elias had a front row seat on the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River; it’s  5 minutes).

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Do you know a self-sacrificing woman like the one described below, a mother who spends her life attending to the needs of others while neglecting her own? If you do, you might want to show her the following poem:


It hung there in the closet
While she was dying, Mother’s red dress,
Like a gash in the row
Of dark, old clothes
She had worn away her life in.
They had called me home
And I knew when I saw her
She wasn’t going to last.
When I saw the dress, I said
“Why, Mother – – how  beautiful!
I’ve never seen it on you.”
“I’ve never worn it,” she slowly said.
“Sit down, Millie – – I’d like to undo
A lesson or two before I go, if I can.”
I sat by her bed
And she sighed a bigger breath
Then I thought she could hold.
“Now that I’ll soon be gone,
I see some things.
Oh, I taught you good – – but I taught you wrong.”
“What do you mean Mother?”
“Well – – I always thought
That a good woman never takes her turn,
That she’s just for doing for somebody else.
Do here, do there, always keep
Everybody else’s wants tended and make sure
Yours are at the bottom of the heap.”
“Maybe someday you’ll get to them.
But of course you never do.
My life was like that – – doing for your dad,
Doing for the boys, for your sisters, for you.”
“You did – – everything a mother could.”
“Oh, Millie, Millie, it was not good – –
For you – – for him. Don’t you see?
I did you the worst of wrongs.
I asked for nothing – – for me!”
“Your father in the other room,
All stirred up and staring at the walls – –
When the doctor told him, he took
It bad – – came to my bed and all but shook
The life right out of me. ‘You can’t die,
Do you hear? What’ll become of me?’
‘ What’ll become of me?’
It’ll be hard, all right when I go.
He can’t even find the frying pan, you know.”
“And you children – –
I was a free ride for everybody, everywhere.
I was the first one up and the last one down
Seven days out of the week.
I always took the toast that got burned,
And the very smallest piece of pie.”
“I look at how some of your brothers
Treat their wives now
And it makes me sick, ’cause it was me
That taught it to them. And they learned,
They learned that a woman doesn’t
Even exist except to give.
Why, every single penny that I could save
Went for your clothes, or your books,
Even when it wasn’t necessary.
Can’t even remember once when I took
Myself downtown to buy something beautiful – –
For me.”
“Except last year when I got that red dress.
I found I had twenty dollars
That wasn’t especially spoke for.
I was on my way to pay extra on the washer.
But somehow – – I came home with this big box.
Your father really gave it to me then.
Where you going to wear a thing like that to – –
Some opera or something?’
And he was right, I guess.
I’ve never, except in the store,
Put on that dress.”
“Oh Millie – – I always thought if you take
Nothing for yourself in this world
You’d have it all in the next – – somehow
I don’t believe that anymore.
I think the Lord wants us to have something – –
Here – – and now.”
“And I’m telling you , Millie, if some miracle
Could get me off this bed, you could look
For a different mother, ’cause I would be one.
Oh, I passed up my turn so long
I would hardly know how to take it.
But I’d learn, Millie.
I would learn!”
It hung there in the closet
While she was dying, Mother’s red dress,
Like a gash in the row
Of dark, old clothes
She had worn away her life in.
Her last words to me were these:
“Do me the honor, Millie,
Of not following in my footsteps.
Promise me that.”
I promised.
She caught her breath
Then mother took her turn
In death.
++++++ 00000000  +++++++++++

Author  –Carol Lynn Pearson–1989



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A local broadcaster ends her daily talk show with the advice, “Be yourself, everybody else is taken.” That same thought is expanded on by Pulitzer prize-winning novelist, Anna Quindlen, in her 1999 commencement speech to the women of Mt Holyoke College. “Trying to be perfect is hard work……Give up the nonsensical and punishing quest for perfection that dogs too many of us through much of our lives. Set aside what your friends expect, what your parents demand and what our culture dictates, through its advertising. Say no to the Greek chorus that thinks it knows the parameters of a happy life when all it knows is the homogenization of human experience. Listen to that  small voice from inside you that tells you to go another way. And remember what English novelist George Eliot wrote, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Perhaps entertainer Ellen DeGeneres sums up the topic best when she says, “Accept who you are. Unless you’re a serial killer.”

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(17)         A LIFE FULLY LIVED

English businessman Felix Dennis quit school at 15  and subsequently built a magazine publishing empire worth some $800 million. He recently died at 67. According to the NY Times obituary, he lived an amazing life. He had 5 homes and boasted of 14  mistresses which he claimed cost him over $1oo million to support. He wrote a book, How To Get Rich, in which he says that “having a great idea is overrated” and that what really matters is “great execution”. In his later years, Dennis wrote poems-1500 of them. He would read selections at public gatherings which were well attended, probably because they were publicized under the heading, “Did I Mention the Free Wine?”. Dennis said his only regret was not having a child. He said his legacy would be the one million broad-leaved trees planted on his Stratford-upon-Avon estate, which is over seven times the size of Hyde Park in London. In one of his poems, Dennis writes: Whoever plants a tree, Winks at immortality.                                                           


                                           Felix Dennis

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Post #3 — 2 Comments

  1. Hi everyone! Lately I have been struggling with a lot of challenges. Friends and doctors keep telling me I should consider taking pills, so I may as well link and see how it goes. Problem is, I haven’t taken it for a while, and don’t wanna get back to it, we’ll see how it goes.

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