Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lightning Strikes Hit Brooklyn

Today lightening strikes wreaked havoc in the Crown Heights and Lefferts Gardens areas of Brooklyn, New York.  These areas are not privy to such occurrences.  Lightening destroyed portions of the roof of an apartment building on Empire Boulevard and Sterling Place, pelting bricks as large as shoe boxes to the street below.  That intersection was closed off for a few hours. 

The most destructive lightening strike in Brooklyn today unfortunately happened on New York Avenue.  An apartment building at the corner of Winthrop Avenue, just a stones throw from Kings County Hospital Center and SUNY Downstate Medical Center caught fire when lightening apparently cut straight across the roof.  The 7 floored building, housing 100 families, was defenseless against nature's freakish onslaught.  It took over 100 fire fighters almost 4 hours to put out the blaze.  Twenty four firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation.  The displaced families were offered the school on Fenimore Avenue, just a few blocks away, to stay temporarily.

I can't imagine what it is like to lose everything you own in the blink of an eye.  Thank God everyone got out safely, so they did not lose everything.  They still have their lives and the lives of their families.  Our prayers and hearts go out to them.

Sitting here typing, I can see the monstrous lightning bolts wildly lighting up the rainy summer night sky.  Nature can be both beautiful and destructive at the same time.  This is why I stress the need to have Go Bags.  Most state websites outline what a Go Bag is and what should go into it.  Go Bags can be regular back packs filled with necessities such as water, flashlights, non-perishable food etc.; things that will help uphold you in case of a natural disaster or the like that would force you to get up and "Go" from your home to a place of safety.  Since the Hurricane Katrina disaster, it has been stressed that Go Bags are a necessity.  Check it out on your state's official website.

New Yorkers, click here

Monday, July 16, 2012


The soul has no color, no race, religion or creed,

It has no gender, no prejudice or need.

The soul seeks the truth and it never lies,

Whether or not its keeper complies.

The soul keeps us safe if we’re willing to see,

The light it can bring us for us to be free.

The soul props us up and holds us dear,

Bringing hope to our dreams; allaying all fear.

The soul keeps us steady on our path each day,

And by night it will leave us seeking The Way.

Would that every keeper could understand its role,

For wisdom, love and light are the heart of the soul.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

In Sequin State of Mind

You gotta love New York!

You just gotta!!

Last week I saw a guy walking down the same street wearing a beautiful animal print halter jumpsuit. He looked stunning, beard and all. It took all of my superhero willpower to resist the urge to ask him -"where'd you get that?"

I did not procure a snap of him to share, however, I refused to let today's goodie get away.

New York ... you are simply - the best!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What Does Red, White and Blue Mean to You?

My grandparents were immigrants and came to the US around 1910 by way of Ellis Island and Philadelphia.  Some had recently served in the British Army (Irish Regiment) in the Boer War in South Africa.  They eventually went to work in a State Psychiatry Center and began to raise families.  To assimilate, they were dispatched with out Irish first names, so my Aunts and Uncles were: Walter, Gladys, Marie, Edward, Thomas, Eleanor and Albert (me Da).  My mother, Alice and her sister Kathleen lived a few blocks from my father’s house.  The Irish names would return in the next generation.

My paternal grandfather walked out on his seven kids and my maternal grandfather, a policeman, took his own life when my mother was only four years old.  The surviving grandmothers raised their kids to learn and work and serve society.  They all survived the Great Depression.  Three of the four boys on my father’s side served in WWII, one of my Aunt’s lost her husband in that war and my mother’s cousin was killed in action.

What I learned growing up was passed down to me by this “Greatest Generation” of first generation Americans.  They were fair and intelligent.  They did not pretend that all was well with America.  They taught me that a real patriot fights for what is right, not just for what is popular.  The first and biggest lesson I learned was that prejudice and discrimination were wrong, as wrong as sin and could not be tolerated.  The second lesson was that of stewardship of the privilege of freedom, even if it is not perfect. And the third was that freedom was not free; it took work, and education and service (in my case military service) to really earn what the red, white and blue of our country’s flag offers.  That should never be taken for granted.

In this divisive political season, where idiots gain fame and fortune for nothing and those who serve to make society better are all but ignored, it might do all of us well to look back just one or two generations to see what Red, White and Blue really means. 
Please take a moment on this July 4th to think about that. 
Thank you -  L.S.

"Flags 3" Photo by: Paula Brewer

Monday, July 2, 2012


Writer's Block – The scourge of perfectly good writers.  Why does it happen?  How can I break out of it?  Some people say there is no such thing as writer’s block.  They say it’s not real, simply an excuse not to write.  Well I have been experiencing this unreal thing for the past year and I don’t know how to escape it.  I have so many ideas for different novels swimming around my head, waiting to be fished out.  I can see them in my mind’s eye, playing out like a vibrant movie but as soon as I get to my computer, I get bored and start internet surfing.  Then I fall asleep.  When I wake up, I feel guilty for surfing and not writing.  I wish I could hook my brain up to a computer and think out all the scenes and scenarios and turn them into print at the flick of the switch.  Is it laziness?  Am I a product of my microwave society that wants what they want NOW?  Am I putting too much emphasis on it? 
When I was younger, I wrote for fun!  It was exciting and took me away to my own imaginary world.  Now when I think about writing, I put pressure on myself.  I think, “I better make this one marketable so people will eat it up and I can become the next J.K. Rowling.”  I think that’s part of my problem.  I have lost the joy of writing and replaced it with a man with a bull horn yelling, “Emergency!  This one better be good.  You’re running out of time.  You aren’t getting any younger!!!”  Can anyone give me any suggestions to beat this Writer’s Block??? Ughhhhh….

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hello, Hello... and Goodbye

As we walk through our lives each day we may pass hundreds of people we will never get to know, or care about or even notice.  That is a sad, but utilitarian way in which we proceed to the things we feel we need to do without taking time for things we may want, or should want, to do.

Regardless, some people take a precious moment to notice as many people as they can on this journey.  A simple smile, a nod or an outright “hello” directed at a passing stranger may or may not be returned.  When it becomes a habit, one begins to notice those gestures are more and more acknowledged and rewarded.

For nearly 10 years I have said hello to a person I passed each day in the hallway at work.  Over time a few more words were exchanged and then brief conversations.  Eventually, talk of family and other things crept into the very few moments we had to speak.  Never did we give each other our names, or share what we did for a living.

Turkish Goobye by Stephanie Berghaeuser
One day recently this gentle spirit I had come to regard as a friend stopped and said “Hello and goodbye, I am retiring next week.  Can I stop by to see you before I leave?”  I said certainly and gave her a business card.  She acknowledged with a bit of surprise where I fit in the big picture at work and I found out where she worked.  Incredibly, I neglected once again to ask her for her name.  We planned to sit for a few minutes on the coming Thursday, her last day of work.  I later realized I would not be in that day and scrambled to try to identify this person so as not to offend such a genuine request.

Eventually, with some help, I was able to communicate my grievous mistake and to apologize.  On that Thursday, my friend dropped off a token for me to remember the many hellos and the last goodbye.  It was a small hand-crafted Indian ceremonial elephant candle holder.  My immediate thought was that a candle represents light, which leads to knowledge, bringing about wisdom and leading to hope, thus creating the opportunity for peace among the people of this universe.  

In essence, this is the value of saying ‘hello and goodbye’ whenever we can. ----->L.S.

Photo link