Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore - A Memory

Mary Tyler Moore has died.

My strongest memory of Mary Tyler Moore is not that of the perky young woman with the lopsided smile who charmed us as Laura Petrie on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and Mary Richards on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." No, the image of her that I have found most compelling since it aired in 1976 is from a TV special, "Mary's Incredible Dream," that is not even mentioned in the New York Times' obituary.

The special presented the narrative of a dream that I won't even try to describe. I'll just say that the final segment opens with Mary (not yet 40 at the time), as a much older woman who had endured much pain, singing with a mixture of boast and lament, "I'm Still Here," a song repurposed from Stephen Sondheims' musical, "Follies."

I don't know how well the power of this will come through if you haven't seen what comes before it. But the uploader (identified on YouTube simply as "Taylor"), also uploaded the earlier segments, so you can watch the whole thing if you like.

In any case, here it is.

("I'm Still Here" is followed by Ben Vereen singing/dancing "Ball of Confusion" and someone I don't know singing, "Sympathy For The Devil." As I recall, the program overall was as strange as its title suggests)

RIP, Mary.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year, New You? Cool! May I Help?

When I hear someone express the desire for some improvement in their life, I usually want to do two things - I want to affirm that desire for improvement, and I want to help bring it about. I'm not always able to do those things, but I usually want to.

So I don't understand some of the posts that have shown up in my Facebook newsfeed lately, the gist of which is: "Here comes the 'New Year, New Me' crap. We all know that nobody is really going to change."

Meanwhile, all human progress is driven by people who change and who evoke change in others.

So, this is for people who want change in 2017, who want more for themselves than they had in 2016.

You want to have more. You want more income. You want a bigger house. You want a house, period. You want more time freedom -  to be able to spend more time with your spouse or partner, more time with your kids, or more time alone, in peace. 

You've spent too much time being broke, and you want to know how it would feel to pay all of your bills on time for an entire year.

In fact, you want to change your entire emotional relationship with money. You want to be able to think about money without feeling afraid. Or sad. Or angry. And you want to stop giving up a third of your life or more doing work you don't enjoy for people you don't care about, just for money.

I feel you.

You want to do more. You don't mind working, but you want to do different work, work that you find more fulfilling. Maybe you don't want to be an employee at all. Maybe you want to establish a business to add value to people's lives. Maybe you want to establish a nonprofit to help solve social problems. You want to play the guitar, you want to draw comics, you want to be a comic. You want to experiment, and you want the freedom to fail without shame.

I know. 

You want to be more. You want to replace fear with confidence; confusion with clarity. You want to start your days with purpose and end them with satisfaction.  You want to lose fat. You want to gain muscle. And maybe some of the things that you want, you have wanted for so long that you're afraid to even talk about them anymore. Which leads to the deepest yearning of all.

More than anything, you simply want to know that you can change - that you can set a goal, and hit it; that you can chart a course for yourself and follow it; that you can develop parts of yourself that have gone underdeveloped so far.

From me to you: giant multiple YESses.

I'd like to help. Here's one way that I can. We can establish a relationship in which we read books and study online materials together to learn about life skills, and engage in specific activities to practice those life skills. Doing so will help you to develop more confidence and discipline, which will open the door for many other things, including more money.

The money will come because you and I will be business partners. We will also be friends for life.

In a moment, I'll link you to my website that describes the business. What it doesn't do a good job of describing is the opportunity for personal development that is embedded within the business. From the day you start, you will have access to executive-level training in such areas as leadership, productivity, goal setting, planning and time management. And actually doing the business will give you opportunities to practice all of it daily. Gaining access to this training on your own could cost you thousands of dollars, and trying to practice it all on your own could be ineffective. Here, it's all included, and you'll have me and the company backing you up. And....


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Presidency of Donald Trump: Five Scenarios

Shortly after the election, I went out on a limb, and predicted that Donald Trump will experience a breakdown within six months of taking office. Since I'm on this limb. I may as well pluck the other fruit that I see hanging here.

Here are five scenarios that briefly describe ways that Donald Trump's presidency could go, listed in what I believe to be the order of their likelihood, together with the reasons that I believe they might happen. Saying that these might happen does not mean that I want them to.

1. Donald Trump suffers a breakdown, and the 25th Amendment is invoked to replace him with Michael Pence. REASON: as detailed previously, he is a psychopath who fill not be able to function within the constraints of the office.

2. Donald Trump is impeached. REASON: His tweet in which he declares that anyone burning an American flag should either lose their citizenship or go to jail was just another installment in a series of statements that suggest Mr. Trump either does not know the Constitution, despises it, or both. In any case, his business dealings alone make it likely that at some point he will violate the Constitution in at least some small way; his overall conduct suggest that he may violate it in ways large enough for even a Republican Congress to day, "He's gotta go."

3. Donald Trump is assassinated. REASON: Within a week of the election, Trump began walking back on his campaign promises - for instance, to repeal and replace Obamacare, and to prosecute Hillary Clinton. As time goes on, it will become increasingly obvious that he will not bring manufacturing jobs back, because neither he nor anyone else can stop or reverse the wave of automation that is eliminating jobs. As Trump's promises fail, his supporters will become angry. And we've seen what they can be like when they get angry. And a lot of them have guns. Throw in the internet, smart phones and prepaid debit cards, and you have at least the beginnings of a possible plot among people who never even meet face-to-face.

4. America experiences its first military coup. REASON: again, Donald Trump's manifest ignorance of, and possible contempt for, the Constitution. When men and women take the oath that allows them to don the uniforms of America's military, they do not pledge to defend the country, or even their own families. They solemnly swear to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." What if some highly placed members of the military decide that Donald Trump is a domestic enemy of the Constitution?

5. Donald Trump completes four years as president. REASON: Well, anything is possible. But this is at the bottom because I find it harder to imagine that the four scenarios above. And as we move further into this transition period, it seems that every day something happens that makes it harder still. Four years of a president who can't be bothered with intel briefings but who is so bothered by satire that he can't stop himself from tweeting his disapproval? Four years of a president who names a climate change denier to head the Environmental Protection Agency? I simply have no answer to the question, "What else might he do?"

Worse yet, I have no answer to the question, "What wouldn't he do?"