They’re coming back

No need to shed your psychedelic tears
Or live your life with sorrow or fears
Of a world of strife
Or an ungroovy life
The sixties’ll be back in forty five years


The horn

You really don’t hear it during the day. I guess when you’re sitting there on the train there are too many other sounds and distractions or you’re just too busy watching the world pass by to hear it.
But at night as you sit in the coach dozing or lie in your bed in the sleeper you hear the soft horn leading your train. At night outside there is nothing to see but the lights of farms and small towns and cars on the highway running alongside the railroad right of way. You can’t tell if you’re in New York or Ohio or Kansas or Arizona and so you drift off with only the horn of the engine marking the passage.
Then one night when you’re back home lying there and the bedside clock changes from telling you the time to telling you how long until you have to get up you hear a train horn on the other side of town. You know it isn’t your train and that the sound is probably pulling cars filled with coal or containers or automobiles but as you hear it crossing after crossing it becomes your train’s horn and you fall off to sleep in bedroom C, car 3901.

Hey, hey

I keep thinking about the current condition of the United States. I have never seen the country so divided and so angry and so confused. We are watching the nation rip itself apart. I keep thinking and thinking and asking, “how did we get to this point? How did this happen?”
And then there it was. Right there, coming out of my radio, the theme from The Monkees, the pop/rock, four member band created in the mid-sixties for a TV show. That theme song said it all:
Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees
And people say we monkey around.
But we’re too busy singing
To put anybody down.

We’re just tryin’ to be friendly,
Come and watch us sing and play,
We’re the young generation,
And we’ve got something to say.
“And we’ve got something to say”. Something to say, which was what that “we’re the young generation”?
You’ve got to remember the time that saw the creation of the Monkees, the sixties. Pepsi advertised itself as, “Now it’s Pepsi, for those who think young”. The Who was talking about “my generation”. It was all about the young generation, the baby boom generation. It was all about us, the boys and girls born after World War II. We were the generation which forced cities and towns across the nation to build thousands of schools as new housing developments exploded. We were the generation which was behind the creation of “The Mickey Mouse Club”, a TV show aimed at this huge, new audience. We were the generation which was the target for the creation of the Honda motorcycle and the Ford Mustang and muscle cars. There were so many of us that it truly was all about us. It was easy to see that the older generations meant nothing. Anyone who was not a baby boomer was an old fogey. It was about us and we had “something to say”. We were cool because we were cool and we bought it. If it wasn’t about us or for us it just wasn’t cool. We actually thought that we were something special.
Being so important was so cool. But of all those important baby boomer people who were the coolest? Whoever screamed the loudest that they were cool. Whoever had ”something to say” the loudest, something to say that was easy like peace and love. They were cool and that meant to be cool like them we had to say the same cool things. And we listened and we bought it over and over again. We watched as a whole generation got excited about us and we just had to be right didn’t we?
We were special because we weren’t our parents or our grandparents and that made it real easy to be special and cool because that meant that we should be whatever they were not. We were the counter culture. If they warned us about the dangers of using drugs than drugs were what we wanted. If they wanted a good job and a family and a strong nation then we didn’t. If they loved their country and fought for her then we didn’t and wouldn’t. The baby boomer generation fell right into line following those who blamed America first and then hated America and all that the nation stands for. And it was all so simple. Your opinion didn’t really mean much unless it was the right opinion. Have the right opinions and you’re cool, you’re important and your life had meaning. Just wear your hair long like the hippies in San Francisco do, like your father never would and you were groovy and you were someone who cared, someone of importance. We were ribbon wearers before there were ribbon wearers.
And then the years slipped by and it was still about us because of our numbers. Housing? About us. Employment? About us. TV and movies? About us. It is about us into the future too because after the housing developments and schools which were built for us there will be hospitals and nursing homes in the future because of us.
After all of these years too many of our fellow citizens are still lost in the sixties and still trying to be special and cool. And where are we today? Where do we find the nation? Being led and fundamentally changed by old hippies and hippie wannabes and directed in the press by old hippies who still think that they’re special. “We’re the young generation and we have something to say”.
Want to know what I think, what I have to say? Give me a minute and let me find out what the cool people have to say. I’m special, Hey, hey.

Finding a solution

Not long after the introduction of the internet it became obvious that instant information was available on almost every subject. The person sitting there at the computer could find details on all types of products and services with the only problem being that there never seemed to be a way to know if all options were being shown.
It wasn’t long though before we started to see exchanges pop up, such as EBay, which matched buyers with sellers who offered the full range of products being sought. EBay made it possible to find those special shoes for an upcoming wedding, Angie’s List helped you find a guy to clean the gutters and with EHarmony you found your soul mate, who I’m sure, was out there looking for you.
I started to think about how these exchanges have changed the way we do business and deal with each other and then I wondered why nobody has used this same exchange idea to address a major problem which plagues the country. We expect there to be a solution for almost every problem so if there is a solution why not develop an exchange to speed up the process of finding that solution and eliminate the problem?
I have seen estimates that range from 650,000 to over 3.5 million Americans who are homeless each year. Whether it’s 650,000 or 3.5 million it’s too many so let’s do something about it.
Then it hit me. Why couldn’t we create an exchange that would match up the homeless with those who can help? It shouldn’t be that hard and so I created a website to make that match possible. Here’s how it works: the homeless person simply goes to a public library, gets on line on the new website, punches in some location information and then he or she is linked up with a real estate agent who has listings of the thousands of homes available in the area.
Another problem solved. Thank you, Al Gore for creating the internet.

War stories

“How have you held up all these years?” Brian asked as he approached Hillary. “Being under sniper fire on the tarmac must have been terrifying.”
“It was and I think about it all the time but I’m doing alright” she said reaching out for his hands. “We were under sniper fire but your helicopter got hit. That must have been terrible.”
“It got pretty bad but it I knew we’d get through it” the anchorman said grimacing as if the bullets were coming right at him, again.
“So did I, our armed forces are the best in the world.”
The two American icons walked together hand in hand about ten steps ahead at a distance where no one in the party could hear their conversation. Were they continuing to talk about their war experiences and how they had put their jobs, their careers and their very lives on the line as true public servants? The others walked behind and gave each other looks which acknowledged being in the presence of true American heroes.
One could only imagine the deeply personal insights that they were sharing. It looked very serious as they stopped, turned toward each other, looked solemnly in each other’s eyes for a few moments and then released their hands and gave out a tremendous laugh as Hillary threw both arms in the air and screamed, “What difference does it make?”