Saturday, September 17, 2011


Some of your dear friends, even peers with whom you're chatting about LIFE, are probably kids.

Consumer Reports, [June], said 7.5 million Facebook users are younger than 13 -- five million are 10 or younger. (FB says users must be 13 or older, but as you know, a birth year can be fixed.)

Actually, you're already sharing things with people you never met. Still, "likes, bulletins, Tweets, latest news from kids -- doesn't it sort of reduce the feeling that you've communicated, and shared things with friends?

Want to get rules passed and make sure kids will be banished from Facebook? From Twitter? From wherever you're chatting, browsing, exchanging ideas? I'm not sure it can be done.

Kids find ways to do whatever they really want to do. Yes, as a parent, or employer, you can find out where they hang out, who their friends are, do they have "bad" habits -- drugs, booze, smoking? Do they sniff illegal substances, have sexual doings with friends, or themselves? Do they steal, shoplift, borrow money -- are they involved with anything evil? There are many perilous places on the internet that anybody can access -- dangerous, even deadly activities.

Oh yes, you can protect the kids -- with rules, drug tests, advice from sociologists, psychoanalysts, pills for depression, attention deficit disorders and allergies. You can supervise, say stop, mustn't do that, that's wrong, that's bad. You can check, guard, make rules, put up fences, gates, walls.

You can enforce all your no-no-no admonitions.

That's why I'm writing this post.. I think no-no admonitions are producing anger in children, and more rebellion, and deeper, uglier, killer-kill-'em-feelings. inspiring all sorts of creative ways to circumvent what their elders want.

I think -- instead of "no" say YES.
Make "stop" into START,
Turn "don't" into DO.

Starting someone's mind -- not stopping it, thwarting it --but encouraging action is much easier. You can promote recreations, activities, things to do. Including browsing, social networking stuff and other Internet things that interest YOU, while educating yourself on how to educate the kid.

How much time do YOU spend social networking -- messaging, chatting, absorbing weird, amusing, sometimes just plain boring bla bla on the Internet?

Kids are THERE -- they're already opening your mind, probably, even though you don't realize they're kids. Remember, what's old for you and me, is not old for them, and new ideas, new things are cooking and brewing in their lives.

Try a YES. Challenging kids might challenge you. Aren't there new worlds for you to conquer?

Friday, September 16, 2011


I like our former Secretary of State -- her wise ideas, her ability to speak directly and honestly, and feel she did a good job, communicating America's concern with other countries.

Actually, after I wrote this essay, I put it in my discard pile. Albright is not HOT or even lukewarm these days. I figured most of my readers wouldn't be intrigued by her. I could hear younger readers muttering, "Why read about her --I'd rather hear about Rihanna, or an older movie actress who's singing now, like whatshername -- Gwyneth?"

Well ... Albright has been a major person in the world. She was never very pretty, and now she looks thinner, older, and more fragile, but gee -- her energy is inspiring.

I've always admired her for being tough like TV's "Judge Judy," though never harsh. (Click and read what I wrote about Judge Judy Sheidlin in My Pal the Judge. )

Like Hillary Clinton, Madeline A. seems to have an extraordinarily broad grip on facts, geography, and international politics. Both women retain their femininity, even their sweetness and grace, when dealing with over-bearing macho men. And yes, both these women, major women in the news, in the world, are slipping out of the limelight.

Okay, Albright is more or less retired, but she teaches at Georgetown University, lectures, gives speeches, and writes. Madeline Albright knows when to take a back seat, and she definitely knows when to take over and drive the car.

M.A. has said important things:
"There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." (Oh boy, do I ever agree -- when I meet a woman like that, I sense it, feel it, and head for the other side of the room.)

M.A. said: "I was taught to strive, not because there were any guarantees of success but because the act of striving is in itself the only way to keep faith with life." (Hey, that's practically my motto.)

M.A. said. "What people have the capacity to choose, they have the ability to change." (Powerful, somewhat complicated thought to dig into -- it helps you discover what's important to YOU and go for it.)

In her published "Memo to the President Elect, How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership," M.A. wrote:
"There is a significant moral difference between a person who commits a violent crime and a person who tries to cross a border illegally in order to put food on the family table. Such migrants my violate our laws against illicit entry, but if that's all they do they are trespassers, not criminals. They deserve to have their dignity respected." (Oh my yes -- this needs to be loudly declared and publicized in all those states that are now jailing immigrants.)

Albright's books. "Madam Secretary: A Memoir," and "The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs," have been best sellers. Also. "Read My Pins, Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box"-- published in 2009, it's reverberating in my mind.

Albright loved to wear pins and chose to wear what reflected her mood -- flowers, butterflies, balloons, insects -- she wore a huge bug pin when she discovered the Russians were bugging the conference room. She tells how her three monkey pins -- see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil -- annoyed Russia's Putin when she told him she'd worn them because of his policy toward Chechnya.

Her pins speak to me in the way that current fashions speak, and tell me what's going on in the minds of the men and women who wear them.

We reach into closets and drawers and grab the clothes, the colors, that say what we're feeling today.

Okay, showing your belly button. the "crack" in back, your muscularity where ever it is on your torso -- showing any of your lovely bulges -- says what's on your mind, and IF that's what's on your mind.

Well ... Sloppy is sloppy; shabby torn holes in your jeans means shabby and torn; and very tight, revealing low cut -- well, sexy is interesting but ...

I'm affected by M.A. Like her, I think it is important for women to help one another -- help males and females -- remind one-and-all, that how you dress, your style, the fashionable way you present yourself, is fashion and fashion is temporary.

So here's why I'm publishing this, here's my big message:

Don't just do what others do, guys.

Pick your pins carefully. BE YOU!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


If you are a would-be writer, James Patterson's thought processes will interest you -- the state of his ego, compared to yours and mine.

In my office's lavatory, there's a magazine rack. The magazine I grabbed fell open -- lo and behold-- James Patterson, writer of books that I've read, liked, didn't like, hated, admired -- was talking about himself.

Everything this guy writes turns into a best seller. For me as a reader, quite often the story is too slick and hard to follow -- too often I have to re-read to stay with the plot.

In July's Time, answering readers' questions, Patterson said, "I'm a story teller!" He explained that he has a staff -- he works on many projects simultaneously -- screenplays, short stories, comic book ideas, kids' books, as well as mystery novels. (My staff is John Cullum, my favorite actor, reader, and Fran Weil, web designer, editor-- we work on one project at a time, though Fran is also creating the covers for my e-books.)

Patterson "loves to write plots," and admits, "I don't remember my character's names, but characters are not my specialty." (Gee, more than anything I enjoy birthing a character -- everything about him/her -- they become part of my life.)

Back in his mid-twenties, Patterson's s first mystery, "The Thomas Berryman Number," was turned down by 31 publishers but got the "Edgar" award for the best first novel. ( Edgar is the literary world's Oscar for mystery writers.)

Is Patterson super lucky? Or is it his talent? My first novel was turned down 55 times so my agent stopped sending it out. But major agents have represented me. One of my novels was published by Bantam; my biography, written by a sports writer was published by Prentice Hall. Neither book sold 10,000 copies --both were "dumped" by the publishers, on sale in bargain pins.

Patterson says he learned early on that "story" is what matters. He said, "My favorite books,- 'One Hundred Years Of Solitude,' and 'Ulysses,' are very complicated but my own style -- we just tell a story." (His favorites are considered masterpieces by many critics, but for me, they're a struggle to read.)

"What's the hardest part, for you, as a writer?" a reader asked Patterson.

"The end, to make sure it's there. If I'm not satisfied, then I don't feel like I enjoyed this dinner somehow," Patterson explained, adding that he's "very emotional about writing the end." (To me, he sounds like a very emotional, business man, but I like him, he's down to earth, and unpretentious.)

Since most everyone I know, at some point has wanted to be successful writer, I wonder how Patterson's revelations affect you. (I have to admit, his success makes me feel like a failure.)

A reader asked Patterson, "Wwhat do you do when you're not writing?". Patterson said that he was a family person -- he loves to travel and he loves golf. Well, I'm blogging on Facebook -- is that a recreation? I don't earn a living from writing, but the fact is, my recreation is writing.

How does Patterson feel about other authors who criticize him for not having much style? He says, 'There are thousands of people who don't like what I do. Fortunately there are millions who do."

I'm saying that I don't think I will be a best seller writer when I grow up. My wishful thinking is down-to-earth practical. I just want what I wrote to be read.

Hurray -- my novels are being published as e-books, and YOU are reading this post!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Want a pal, a toy, a helper for your home, or office?

University of Chicago's new library has a Librarian robot that sorts books faster than a human can. (I've worked in a library, sorting books -- my eyeballs rolled. I found it an almost intolerably boring job.)

In Ohio, Motoman Robotics created a bartender robot that mixes drinks in less time than a human takes, and can crack lame jokes. (How lame is lame? If I owned a bar I'd hire a real bartender.)

Google's negotiating, getting permission, so its robotic car that can drive itself, can be tested as a taxi service in Las Vegas. (Wow, you wave it down? What about traffic jams, and tips? What happens if you change your mind?)

Roxxxy made by Bell Labs comes with lifelike skin and artificial intelligence. (Gee, do you actually um ... uh, does a sex robot kiss you back?)

The pentagon is getting a "Mule" from Lockheed-Martin, a robotic truck that can fire missiles. (Yes, they're working on robotic soldiers.)

Self-service checkout at the supermarket, industrial robots carve animal carcasses in slaughter-houses, law offices have artifical intelligence software to read legal documents. Yes, machines are kicking workers out of their jobs. (So don't plan on being a cashier, butcher, or paralegal.)

Top-notch surgeons use robots. A medical bot can cost $2.2 million, says manufacturer Intuitive Surgical, of Sunnyvale, Calif. (It makes me nervous that they sold 400 of them just last year.)

Ever considered buying iRobot's Roomba, the vacuum cleaner? (I have -- love watching it bump around chairs, table legs but we don't have rugs.)

iRobot's also selling Ava, a three-foot-tall droid on wheels that tabulates data on a tablet computer (Gee. Ava could keep track of show biz doings, though with JC's manager and agent working for him, we don't really need to know who's doing what.)

Clearly, bots are already having an impact on jobs. And robotics are helping our kids, creating games, new worlds, and toys that shape young minds -- better than Smurfs, Elmo, windup cars, toy-soldiers or Barbie dolls. (Think--good God -- how many blondes we're seeing nowadays.)

The Hanson Robot Doll has changeable heads -- Einstein, Zenoa-do-it all boy, Alice do-it-all girl, and a head you can design. If you've got $15,000 to spare, you can buy your kid a sibling, an Uncle/Aunt, or get yourself whatever you need.

Hey someday, a robot could be writing this blog for me. Click, and see where we're heading.

What about a receptionist for your business?

Here's "Leonardo" -- a lovely loveable pet.