Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Write in my journal, or on the blog.....hmmm

I used to pretty faithfully write in a journal; I've been writing to myself in one form or another for almost 20 years. Mostly it's been a way to talk to myself without doing so aloud. Plus, being an overanalytical type, writing my thoughts to myself seemed like a good way to air myself out - before I went public.....

And now there is blogging - which for me is a public version of journaling. It's a nicer version, devoid of the meandering ocd and overanalytic thoughts that populate most of my journal writing. There's no going back and forth among my own thoughts. If journal writing is sweats and a t-shirt, blog writing is dressing up to face the world.

And as I write in both media, I attempt to journal in my blog - but with more brevity, wit and heart. The lines are blurring and the metaphor has not escaped me. I like being more out there, and I also like reading other people's blogs.

I thoroughly enjoy their news, their expressions and their photos. It's not just entertainment - but a feeling of one-to-one connection with people I don't even really know or know well. It's a showing, telling, feeling and exploring for us all - but feels quite individual. Unlike mass market entertainment laced with spectacle and marketing experts, these blogs feel more genuine. Devoid of the heavy layers of stage make-up - that live performers wear to be seen in the back row. Blogs - feel one on one, even though they reach so many.

All of my old journals - from the ones in notebooks, to the others written on a computer - are all somewhere "in a safe place." That means generally that I will not find them again anytime soon. I'm apparantly better at writing than remembering the "safe places" where these things are hiding.....

But the blogs....well, for now anyway, I know where they are. And I look forward to reading those of people I know, and many whom I don't know. They take me places I may not have gone, or haven't been yet. Plus, when I happen to know the writer, it's great fun to know the backstory - as well as the blog story.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Bronx Zoo and World Community

Yesterday afternoon I was at the Bronx Zoo. What an amazing place. In the midst of the park - you couldn't tell where in the world you were. The city streets are pretty well screened and the diversity of human visitors was nothing short of amazing. I'm not fond of crowds and at first was taken aback by the sheer number of humans at the park on the cloudy day. But apart from a few outta control shrieking parents (who clearly didn't have my parents as their parents....)and a few over-tired kids, harmony prevailed.

When it comes to zoos - I'm a big game gal. Lions, tigers, giraffes, apes and monkeys. Despite a generally keen sense of direction and the availability of maps - I found the BZ isn't that easy to navigate. The signage was cute but not wonderfully effective and and there's a lot of walking if you end up retracing your steps. Thank God for the shuttles! It's a big place!

When I was there last, the live butterfly exhibit had just opened. At that time, you entered this magical enclosed tropical diorama, and were handed a color brochure about all of the butterflies inside. It was a 3D Highlights magazine experience -- trying to find the butterflies that were pictured on the sheet. My niece Chloe wouldn't let us leave until we'd seen every last one. It was wonderfully interactive.

Yesterday was different. The information sheets and inside staffers were gone. Children were running amok - climbing in the flower beds and trying to catch butterflies. Parents were part of the problem..."it's ok - just touch this one." As I watched several wounded butterflies writhing on the ground - with persistent children trying to "save" them, I felt sad; Clearly budget cuts and short staffs were leaving their mark.

The BZ has come a long way from the place I remember as a child - merely a big park with wonderful old buildings that housed animals. Now it does a lot more. It brings awareness of ecology and conservation to the masses and also shows us we really do get along and marvel at the same things.

If you haven't gone recently....I suggest a weekday - not a weekend!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Helen Thomas and Other "Entitled" Dinosaurs

When I heard about Helen Thomas's remarks and the final surrender of her coveted front row seat as the grand dame of the "elite washington press corps." mostly I felt angry. Not only because of her racist remarks, but why is a 90 year old woman - like that - still taking up space in the public domain because she is what, "an icon?"

The issue is not as many journalists claim "when is old, too old?" It's really when is enough, enough? I feel the same way about the grand Manhattan prosecutor - Robert Morgenthau. I admired, respected and liked him. But how much has he contributed lately?

In my experience, these iconic geriatrics, particularly in academia and the judicial system, draw huge paychecks they don't deserve, while sitting atop nest eggs most would envy. This selfishness alone suggests their judgment is impaired - clearly they no longer care about what's best for the organization.

Hopefully in the wake of Thomas's seat vacancy, other iconic geriatrics being harbored by non-profits and government bureaucracies will be shown the door. How can there be room for new people, new energy while these dinosaurs are still taking up too much space. If you don't move out the outmoded, there's no room to let the new in.

Plus, I'm more than slightly called that despite Thomas's public persona, clearly she's been biting her tongue for years. A woman to be admired? Sounds more like Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes. A close friend was on his production staff and said he was far from that kindly old man with observations. Can't NBC find a pundit without only an old-timer's perspective?

I recently talked with my daughter's college roommate who would desperately love to teach art in elementary school but can't find work. Meanwhile I know a third great art teacher who just shows up. She really could care less - but has tenure, a 6 figure paycheck and no real chance of being axed. She won't quit because she only has another 10 years for a full pension. It doesn't take an MBA to see what's wrong with this picture and how it's affecting our economy.

My advice to the other geriatrics taking up good jobs - you know who you are - you make the big bucks, ride on past glory and do very little (if any) work. Why not clear the way for someone else to have a chance in the sun?

That's my take. What's yours?