I see I am going to have to break with tradition and give a book review One got published when Barack Obama was a wee lad with the wish to be president. The other when he was in college with that same darned wish and desire.
The first one, “What Color is Your Parachute,” reared its ugly old head in 1970 and has been around in one form or another ever since. I read it before, and I recently read it again.
It starts off well enough by explaining the world of work and giving insights into the employer’s mind. (They are just as afraid of making a boo-boo and skidding off into the land of employment hell as you are) and includes some exercises for finding your passion and values that go into a flower where the center lists your natural strengths, and one petal is for your chosen working environment, another for the types of people you want to work with, et cetera.
But then just when it reads like a Franz Kafka novel, which is analogous to many of my job experiences anyway, especially the one where the guy turns into a fly, it stops and veers off and goes into metaphysics and all sorts of religious stuff, which isn’t going to help me approach anyone one bit. If I quoted from those pages especially during an interview, they’d surely raise an eyebrow and call someone to throw a net over me or show me the door. No thank you. It could be one way to burn a bridge.
That’s why Nancy Anderson’s “Work with Passion” helps. (Thank you, Nancy Anderson) Unlike Richard Nelson Bolles, the author of “Parachute,” Nancy Anderson helps the reader find ways to unearth the sometimes long buried and smoldering passions because without them, it will be a life of career misery and counting the minutes on the clock.
Like Bolles, Anderson not only emphasizes working from your strengths and what comes naturally, she also takes your sweaty palm in yours and shows you how to get there. The first step in her book is clarity, where you write the unabridged, un-sugarcoated story of your life, no holds barred. Next there are a series of exercises focusing on when you were in the driver’s seat of your life rather than a passenger. She then tells you how to find work that fits your passion and work style by sending perusing the index of the yellow pages in search of categories that pique your interest and emphasizes the value of researching places in those categories before writing an advice call letter.
It’s a wonderful how to guide for work and finding your passion and surely read-worthy.
Trotted on over to a gold exchange this afternoon expecting to earn a small windfall by selling some old silver and gold. But instead learned that I’d been duped.
The straight-backed lady examined the goods under a magnifying glass and said that my supposedly gold necklace from Macy’s was none other than silver.
“You’re the third person who’s come in here who thought they bought a gold necklace from Macy’s when it was really silver,” she said.
“It was in the gold section and listed as gold,” the duped customer said.
“Another lady came in here and said that she paid seven-hundred dollars for a gold necklace. When I looked at it under the magnifying glass, it was stamped with 925, which is the number for silver. Her face turned red when I told her, but she had the receipt, so she’s going to return it. I wasn’t going to buy it from her anyway, not under those conditions.”
“I’m going to go to the media,” I said. “No, I’m going to go to the media and the State’s Attorney’s office. No, first I’m going to call Macy’s and let them know that I’m going to go to the media and the State’s Attorney’s office. Then they won’t know who’s who. Let them sweat.”
She googled their phone number, gave me her card and told me to call her and let her know what happened.
I then called the Fine Jewelry department in Macy’s in Woodland Hills, which was where I bought my supposedly gold piece, and eventually got to the department manager, which took several tries.
“We aren’t responsible for what the public thinks,” she said.
“You really are because you are misleading people.”
“They can always take the things they bought in the store to a jeweler to check them out.”
“But they are buying them from you on good faith.”
“We sell plenty of gold overlay and silver with diamonds that costs seven-hundred dollars.”
“Listen,” I said, “I’m going to go to the State’s Attorney’s Office because I’m not the only one this has happened to, and you have defrauded the public in at least three cases that I know about.”
“If you’d like to come to the store and look around, let me know if I can be of any help,” the Fine Jewelry manager said.
“That’s okay,” I said in closing. “You’ve done enough already.”
As of today, I take back most of the rotten things I’ve said (and thought) about President Obama. In my darker moments when I’ve run out of hot cocoa and gasoline and when I thought that the lady at the gold exchange had cheated me over some chains, I thought that our president was going to do an old about face and agree that the Palestinians should have a state.
The Palestinians for whom launching rockets at the Israelis has become a past time when they are not helping to increase the world’s population. The Palestinians who turned synagogues into tire shops and launching pads on land that was returned in exchange for peace, and who hide behind their own women and children then claim that the Israelis intentionally killed them. That bunch.
If their Arab brethren are so eager to help them out, let them do so with open arms, hearts and Swiss bank accounts. Many may live in squalor but they are the most well funded place to do so. According to the Washington Times, the US gave 400 million dollars in aid to the Palestinians in 2010, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where that money went.
There is an expression that the helping hand is at the end of your arm. Too bad they use theirs to throw things.
I know I wasn’t hallucinating; I know I wasn;t seeing things when those women came gliding by with imperfect noses, all nonchalant and without a seeming care in the world. It got me to thinking. And I did a double-take. But being the deep and ethereal type that I am, I started wondering about just how much rhinoplasty hs been going on out there.
In some cultures people are known to have naturally smaller noses. So if I spot some (naturally) blonde-haired, blue-eyed Scandinavian looking types, I know that they have not tried altering their DNA at any doctor’s office, but with those of the swarthy, Mediterranean bunch, such as myself, there is usually a more minute chance.
I sometimes regret that I fell into that group because there is beauty in imperfection. Barbra Streisand, by way of example, made a whole career of embracing what many would have had altered, though in her case, she knew that changing a thing would have perhaps relegated her to lounge singing status. The same for women and starlets who have pulled their faces so tight their expressions never change. Births, deaths, funerals, there they are kind of smiling and kind of not. I know it can be for business reasons, but once you start fiddling around with one thing, you have to start fiddling around with the rest, and it seldom works in the long haul anyway. It was and is about self-acceptance about embracing perhaps hips too wide, a nose a little too hooked and ears a little too big.
Maybe the sudden appearance of going au natural in the facial and body departments is a reflection of the economy. One plastic surgeon I saw for an imperfection asked me to send him some referrals because women aren’t even opting for breast enlargements anymore, and he was losing business over it. And he was a great surgeon with hands that could mend the legs of a ladybug, but he opted to retire rather than sit around and twiddle his (imperfect) thumbs.
This downturn can help the credo of women’s lib and help people the world over love and embrace themselves for what they are. As for me, my life may have gone down a different primrose path had I gone right instead of left. I may have even had a singing career like Streisand’s or Nicki Minaj’s and I may never have been kicked out of a choir in my life or watched my dogs’ ears twitch or run off and hide once I hit that first note.
According to the Census Bureau, 16.6 percent of Americans live below the poverty line. That means that sixteen out of every one hundred adults has food insecurity and doesn’t have enough to eat, and sixteen out of every one hundred cannot afford the fuel to keep themselves warm in the winter.
That’s the highest of any industrialized nation. The number of those who do not have health insurance has soared from 26.6 million to 49.9 million since George W. Bush took office in 2000.
Children fared worse in the report. According to statistics released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a little over one out of five, or 21.6 percent, of all children live below the poverty level. Turkey with 24 percent and Mexico with 23.5 percent were the only nations with higher childhood poverty rates. Denmark had 3.3 percent, Finland 5 percent and Hungary has 7.2 percent, to name a few.
Yet, before we go one iota further and start calling and emailing Washington, as I nearly did, let’s look at the other side of the moon here.
According to the Heritage Foundation, some people defined as poor, not only had basic amenities like indoor plumbing, 80 percent of our nation’s poor also have air-conditioning, compared to 36 percent in 1970.
92 percent have microwaves, and nearly 75 percent have a mode of transportation other than a donkey, a mule or a bus pass, and 31 percent have more than one truck and car, which is more than I can claim on my taxes.
Although the OECD reported that over one-fifth of all children live in poverty, the Heritage Foundation indicated that 96 percent of poor parents stated that neither they nor their children were hungry during any time that year and 83 percent of poor families said they had enough to eat, according to a report by the Heritage Foundation.
While it would have been better had those numbers been 100 percent free and clear, the disparity does make food for thought. Has the marker of poverty been raised or is this some fancy-footed two-step shuffling has been done by some politicians to make other politicians look bad? While we are hungry for jobs with a national unemployment rate hovering at around 9 percent, only time will reveal the motives behind their motives on these stats here.
Should the Palestinians get their own state? Let me rephrase that. Would a normal person stand by while a match is being held to a bomb? Then the Palestinians should not have their own state.
Are they going to get one? Probably. Will they change their ways because the magic wand of statehood has been waved over their heads? When the King of Spain becomes the Queen of Spain, perhaps.
I once read that even though it appears otherwise in public, that the rest of the Arab world doesn’t want them nearby and doesn’t respect them much, though they do respect the Israelis for being tough, resourceful and resilient. Being a Jew means you have to be those things. Otherwise you don’t survive.
It would be interesting to see what they do once they get their “state” and how they would change. If the current regimes and mentalities remain in place, then it wouldn’t be much. Also, Israel offered to divvy everything up fair and square, but they didn’t want that. They didn’t want their own state, they wanted the whole enchilada. They wanted Israel, too.
But they are never going to get that because we will fight with our dying breath. Otherwise we wouldn’t survive.
We Americans can be so insular. Unlike Europe which is a hodgepodge of languages and nationalities a stone’s throw apart, we have basically been isolated and on our own, a leader and a superpower among nations. That’s why the average American born and raised here only knows one language. That’s all we needed and wanted to know, perhaps until recently. In Europe where those with different mother tongues share borders, it is nearly impossible to get by with only one language.
It’s our geography and history, our place in the world that made us so certain and so insular, and that’s why we were broad sided by 9/11. We didn’t think if could happen here because things like that only happen over there. In Israel, bombings happen on a daily basis, yet the press often blames the victims rather than the perps. The same thing recently happened in New Delhi, Mumbai, in Stockholm and in a train station in London and Madrid. All over there, yet brought on by the same people the world has made rich because of their natural resource of oil. Yet our response has been to look the other way because it was always over there. But now we (sort of) know that you can’t look the other way because they can fly planes and will eventually come over here.
When I went to work that day in ten years ago, all eyes were on the TV and of the footage of the twin towers collapsing in a plume of smoke like a fallen ballerina. It happened there, not here, yet TV’s were turned on all day and my coworkers never stopped talking about it. Maybe it shows that with all our diverse cultures, languages, creeds and races that we really are all quite similar underneath.