Friday, March 31, 2017



Over the phone I heard the excitement in my friend’s voice: “You saved someone’s life. I couldn’t wait to tell you.”

“Really?”  Now she had me excited, too. 

“Remember that blog you wrote about the scam you fell for?  Or nearly fell for? And how you barely escaped losing a ton of money?”

“Four thousand dollars,” I said. 

“Well, let me tell you about what happened to my daughter, Allison.  An older man came into her bank and wanted to withdraw nine-thousand dollars.  He seemed agitated and in a hurry. As bankers have been trained to do, Allison asked,  ‘May I ask what the money is for?’”

 Predictably, he said, “None of your business.’”

Suspecting he might be on the verge of trouble, Allison said, “Let me tell you a story. This happened to a friend of my mother’s.”  And she related the details from the blog I’d sent out--about the phone call from a grandson: “This is your favorite grandson,” how, with that phrase, I honestly thought it was him.

How from then on, I was hooked.  That I believed the young man’s tale about having done some light drinking (never mind that my grandson doesn’t drink), about his being in an auto accident with a car full of diplomats (meaning “diplomatic immunity”),  then, my talk with his “lawyer” about averting a DUI—if I came up with $4000 bail money. 

The rest involved gift cards at Target . . . and quickly thereafter, an appointment  with my hairdresser, who said immediately, “I know how this is going to end.” With that I leaped out of the chair, called my husband, (who called the grandson), then made another fast call to Target—just in time to cancel the cards.

Allison’s customer, a retired attorney, listened avidly, then at last swallowed his pride and related his own story: a grandson calling from the wrong state (“I’m here for a friend’s funeral,”)  a voice that didn’t sound quite deep enough, the talk with the grandson’s  “attorney”,  something about an accident in a Uber car, about marijuana in the car, and the need for an attorney to put up bail . . . which meant nine-thousand dollars—in cash. 

At that, Allison said, “Let’s call your grandson,” and so they did, right there in the bank. “May I speak to him?” Allison asked, and the customer nodded. Of course none of the details given to the gentleman were true.  With that, Allison turned the now-grateful customer over to her supervisor.

“Without your story,” my friend told me over the phone, “That man would have lost his nine-thousand dollars.”  As it was, the customer, still shocked, left the bank.

But the tale isn’t over:  An hour later, the gentleman returned—with three boxes of chocolates . . . for Allison, for the bank manager, and for another teller. 

For me, the lovely result is that I’m now getting all the credit. But hey, I’ll take it. Whatever time I spent on that blog, it has suddenly become a nine-thousand-dollar effort . . . clearly, more than worth it.

Friday, March 17, 2017



Trump is dismantling our country: look around, his small, ugly hands are leaving scratch marks everywhere.

His plans for America are right there, in his budget---huge, monetary cuts from everything most of us care about.  A)  Medical Research  (NIH)  B)  Clean Air and Clean Water (EPA),  C) Innovation in Research and Development (NOAA)  D) Good Public Schools  (Funds Diverted to Charters)  E) Safe Airline Travel  (wants to Privatize FAA & ATC)   F) Music and Public Broadcasting (NEA, CPB, NEH )   G) Assistance to the Old and the Poor (Meals on Wheels . . . Free School Lunches.)  H) Affordable Health Care (“access” to such care is like “access” to a Lamborghini . . .  you can have it if you can afford it.)   I) Women’s Reproductive Health Care. (Planned Parenthood.) 

Equally terrible is the budget’s other direction:  A) An extra 54 Billion for Defense (with a promise of more atomic bombs)  B) Huge increase in border patrol agents  (now with more immigrants leaving than coming)  C) 2.6 billion for The Wall  D) Tax Cuts for the Wealthiest Americans.

America’s CEOs are happy. Very happy.  Soon they will be the only Americans who are.

If Trump’s wish list is filled, Big Corporations won’t have to worry about:  a) Creating Pollution  b) Offering Less Than Minimum Wages  c) Merging until they Eliminate all Competition d) Big Taxes on Big CEO Salaries  e) Safety Rules that Protect the Public.

To no one’s surprise, Trump himself leads a regulation-free life: No divesting of business interests . . . no apologies for tweets and lies . . .  no revelation of personal tax returns . . . no reimbursement to Secret Service for extra Personal Security . . . no apologies to  innocent Immigrants for Lives Ripped Apart . . .  no apologies for putting trouble-maker Steve Bannon on the Security Council . . .  no explanations for costly rallies in advance of his next term.

For those few Americans who despise regulation, here’s a trial solution: In your city, for one month, eliminate all stop lights and stop signs.  See how it works.

Editorials now beg us to “Normalize” President Trump.  But this man isn’t, hasn’t been, and will never be “Normal.” 

The Donald is, in fact, so abnormal we can only hope his presidency won’t last for a full four years. By then our country will consist of a few exultant CEOs . . . and the rest of us coping with a new and distinctly abusive Dark Ages.