Archive for the 'Reality' Category

Aug 03 2010

Posted by under Reality

Coming Changes … Ready or Not!

Coming Changes …
Ready or Not!

 
Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come, even though they may take a lot longer to happen outside the U.S.!

 

1. The Post Office

Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.
 
2. The Check 

Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post office If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.
3. The Newspaper 

The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.
4. The Book
You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.

 

5. The Land Line Telephone

Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they're always had it.  But you are paying double charges for that extra service.  All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.
 
6. Music
 
This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalogue items", meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, "Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, "Before the Music Dies."
 
7. Television

 Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they're playing games and doing all lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it.  It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.
8. The "Things" That You Own

Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in "the cloud." Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services." That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider.
 
In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That's the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?" Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.
9. Privacy

If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That's gone. It's been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7 "THEY" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. And "THEY" will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again. 

 
All we will have that can't be changed 
Are Memories …

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Jul 12 2010

Posted by under Feel Good,pictures,Reality

The Wedding Gown that Made History

The Wedding Gown That Made History


 Lilly Friedman doesn't remember the last name of the woman who designed and sewed the wedding gown she wore when she walked down the aisle over 60 years ago.  But the grandmother of seven does recall that when she first told her fianc
Ludwig that she had always dreamed of being married in a white gown he realized he had his work cut out for him.
For the tall, lanky 21-year-old who had survived hunger, disease and torture this was a different kind of challenge.  How was he ever going to find such a dress in the Bergen Belsen Displaced Person's camp where they felt grateful for the clothes on their backs?
 
Fate would intervene in the guise of a former German pilot who walked into the food distribution center where Ludwig worked, eager to make a trade for his worthless parachute.  In exchange for two pounds of coffee beans and a couple of packs of cigarettes Lilly would have her wedding gown.
 
For two weeks Miriam the seamstress worked under the curious eyes of her fellow DPs, carefully fashioning the six parachute panels into a simple, long sleeved gown with a rolled collar and a fitted waist that tied in the back with a bow. When the dress was completed she sewed the leftover material into a matching shirt for the groom.
 
A white wedding gown may have seemed like a frivolous request in the surreal environment of the camps, but for Lilly the dress symbolized the innocent, normal life she and her family had once led before the world descended into madness.
 
Lilly and her siblings were raised in a Torah observant home in the small town of Zarica, Czechoslovakia where her father was a melamed, respected and well liked by the young yeshiva students he taught in nearby Irsheva.
 
He and his two sons were marked for extermination immediately upon arriving at Auschwitz .  For Lilly and her sisters it was only their first stop on their long journey of persecution, which included Plashof, Neustadt, Gross Rosen and finally Bergen Belsen .

 Lilly Friedman and her parachute dress on display in the Bergen Belsen Museum

Four hundred people marched 15 miles in the snow to the town of Celle on
January 27, 1946 to attend Lilly and Ludwig's wedding.  The town synagogue, damaged and desecrated, had been lovingly renovated by the DPs with the meager materials available to them.  When a Sefer Torah arrived from England they converted an old kitchen cabinet into a makeshift Aron Kodesh.
 
"My sisters and I lost everything – our parents, our two brothers, our homes. The most important thing was to build a new home."
 
Six months later, Lilly's sister Ilona wore the dress when she married Max Traeger.  After that came Cousin Rosie.  How many brides wore Lilly's dress? "I            stopped counting after 17." With the camps experiencing the highest marriage rate in the world, Lilly's gown was in great demand.
 
In 1948, when President Harry Truman finally permitted the 100,000 Jews who had been languishing in DP camps since the end of the war to emigrate, the gown accompanied Lilly across the ocean to America.  Unable to part with her dress, it lay at the bottom of her bedroom closet for the next 50 years, "not even good enough for a garage sale. I was happy when it found such a good home."
 
Home was the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. When Lily's niece, a volunteer, told museum officials about her aunt's dress, they immediately recognized its historical significance and displayed the gown in a specially designed showcase, guaranteed to preserve it for 500 years.
 
But Lilly Friedman's dress had one more journey to make. Bergen Belsen, the museum, opened its doors on October 28, 2007.  The German government invited Lilly and her sisters to be their guests for the grand opening. They initially declined, but finally traveled to Hanover the following year with their children, their grandchildren and extended families to view the extraordinary exhibit created for the wedding dress made from a parachute.
 
Lilly's family, who were all familiar with the stories about the wedding in Celle, were eager to visit the synagogue.  They found the building had been completely renovated and modernized.  But when they pulled aside the handsome curtain they were astounded to find that the Aron Kodesh, made from a kitchen cabinet, had remained untouched as a testament to the profound faith of the survivors.  As Lilly stood on the bimah once again she beckoned to her granddaughter, Jackie, to stand beside her where she was once a kallah.  "It was an emotional trip.  We cried a lot."
 
Two weeks later, the woman who had once stood trembling before the selective eyes of the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele returned home and witnessed the marriage of her granddaughter.
                                                                                                                  
The three Lax sisters – Lilly, Ilona and Eva, who together survived Auschwitz, a forced labor camp, a death march and Bergen Belsen – have remained close and today live within walking distance of each other in Brooklyn.  As mere teenagers, they managed to outwit and outlive a monstrous killing machine, then went on to marry, have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and were ultimately honored by the country that had earmarked them for extinction.
 
As young brides, they had stood underneath the chuppah and recited the blessings that their ancestors had been saying for thousands of years.  In doing so, they chose to honor the legacy of those who had perished by choosing life.



In Memorium

 In MEMORIAM – 63 YEARS LATER
It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended This            e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated with the German and Russian peoples looking the other way!
Now, more than ever, with Iran  and others, claiming the Holocaust to be 'a myth,' it's imperative to make sure the world never forgets, because there are others who would like to do it again.
 

 

TAKE CARE-BE KIND

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Jun 06 2010

Posted by under Feel Good,Reality

POW Escape Maps Hidden in Monopoly Games

Starting in 1941, an increasing number of British Airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the Crown was casting about for ways and means to facilitate their escape…

Monopoly cover from 1941Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map, one showing not only where stuff was, but also showing the locations of 'safe houses' where a POW on-the-lam could go for food and shelter.

Paper maps had some real drawbacks — they make a lot of noise when you open and fold them, they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn into mush.
 
Someone in MI-5 (similar to America 's OSS ) got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It's durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many times as needed, and makes no noise whatsoever.

At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington, Ltd. When approached by the government, the firm was only too happy to do its bit for the war effort.
 
By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K. Licensee for the popular American board game, Monopoly. As it happened, 'games and pastimes' was a category of item qualified for insertion into 'CARE packages', dispatched by the International Red Cross to prisoners of war.
 
Under the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of Waddington's, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany or Italy where Allied POW camps were regional system). When processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece.
 
As long as they were at it, the clever workmen at Waddington's also managed to add:
 
1. A playing token, containing a small magnetic compass
2. A two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together
3. Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian, and French currency, hidden within the piles of Monopoly money!
 
British and American air crews were advised, before taking off on their first mission, how to identify a 'rigged' Monopoly set — by means of a tiny red dot, one cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in the corner of the Free Parking square.
 
Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POWS who successfully escaped, an estimated one-third were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets.. Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy indefinitely, since the British Government might want to use this highly successful ruse in still another, future war.
 
The story wasn't declassified until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from Waddington's, as well as the firm itself, were finally honored in a public ceremony.
 
It's always nice when you can play that 'Get Out of Jail' Free' card!
 
I realize most of you are (probably) too young to have any personal connection to WWII (Dec. '41 to Aug. '45), but this is still interesting.

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Mar 18 2010

Posted by under Feel Good,Humor,Reality,Tips

Worry

WORRY 
 

Is there a magic cutoff period when  

offspring become accountable for their own

actions?  Is there a wonderful moment when

parents can become detached spectators in

the lives of their children and shrug, 'It's

their life,' and feel nothing?

 

 When  I was in my twenties, I stood in a hospital

corridor waiting for doctors to put a few

stitches in my daughter's head.  I asked, 'When do

you stop worrying?' The nurse said,

'When they get out of the accident stage.' My

Dad just smiled faintly and said nothing. 
 

When I was in my thirties, I sat on a little

chair in a classroom and heard how one of my

children talked incessantly, disrupted the class,

and was headed for a career making

license plates. As if to read my mind, a teacher

said, 'Don't worry, they all go through

This stage and then you can sit back, relax and

enjoy them.' My dad just smiled

faintly and said nothing. 
 

When I was in my forties, I spent a lifetime

waiting for the phone to ring, the cars to come

home, the front door to open.  A friend said,

'They're trying to find themselves. Don't worry,

in a few years, you can stop worrying. They'll be

adults.' My dad just smiled faintly

and said nothing. 
 

By the time I was 50, I was sick & tired of being

vulnerable.  I was still worrying over my

children, but there was a new wrinkle. There

was nothing I could do about it. My

Dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.  I

continued to anguish over their failures, be

tormented by their frustrations and absorbed in

their disappointments. 
 

My friends said that when my kids got married I

could stop worrying and lead my own

life.  I wanted to believe that, but I was

haunted by my Dad's warm smile and his

occasional, 'You look pale. Are you alright?  

Call me the minute you get home. Are

you depressed about something?' 

 

 Can it be that parents are sentenced to a  

lifetime of worry? Is concern for one another

handed down like a torch to blaze the trail of

human frailties and the fears of the

unknown? Is concern a curse or is it a virtue

that elevates us to the highest form of life?

 

 One of my children became quite irritable  

recently, saying to me, 'Where were you?  I've been

calling for 3 days, and no one answered I was worried.'

I smiled a warm smile.   

The torch has been passed.


 

PASS IT ON TO OTHER WONDERFUL PARENTS.

(And also to your children. That's the fun!)

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