Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Today's MOZEN: Anger Management

Words and photo by F LoBuono
Damn, it's POWERFUL. In many ways, it's every bit as potent as love. ANGER. Yep. Good ol' fashioned rage. Sure, it's destructive. But, anger is also motivating. When focused, it drives us to become a formidable force - one to be reckoned with; Don't fuck with him when he's angry. It explodes with the force of a thousand Super Novas. True anger, real rage, cannot be easily satisfied. Like Chasing the Dragon, we continually pursue what ultimately cannot be captured. It is an addiction. Unfocused and left unchecked, it becomes a corrosive influence. In the end, anger consumes us, leaving a mere shell of a person.

And, therein, lies the weakness in what can also be so powerful; we cannot ultimately achieve whatever it is that we so desperately desire. We have only the temporary satisfaction of the singular moment that is the flash of anger. It is ephemeral; a short-term fix. Yes, it may be satisfying, but the fleeting nature of the feeling is its greatest flaw. It is to the soul what fast food is to the body: When we are hungry our priority is to satisfy that hunger, often by any means available. And, fast food is exactly that - fast and cheap. At that moment of hunger, it does the job. We may be satiated for the time being but there is no lasting value to the meal. In fact, in the long run, it may even lead to many diseases. Anger has the same effect on our inner lives - it may feel good at that moment but the lasting effect is far less benign.

And, man, I deal with a lot of anger - stupid, mindless, vitriolic fury. Bilious, bellicose, and brash, my rage knows no logic or reason. It is usually unfocused and exists only to satisfy its own sense of righteousness. If a light turns red when I think that it should be green, it will be the subject of a string of expletives that would make a longshoreman blush. Stupid drivers should stay the fuck out of my way! Inanimate objects that do not function as advertised are subject to destruction. Inefficiency will not be tolerated. There is no gravity - everything simply sucks. People are idiots. And, so-on and so-forth. It all just makes me ANGRY and I lash out. Like cheap sex, there is no real goal except temporary satisfaction.

So, I find myself (too often) with all this unfocused anger. In a way, it is my nature. I am easy-going in some ways and the polar opposite in others. I am aware of that intensity and make a conscious effort to "control" it. That's a start. But, like the emotion of anger itself, the so-called cures often provide only temporary relief. We cannot drink or drug anger away. Prayer (for those who do pray) can only do so much. Meditation can be effective -if I can stop being angry long enough to concentrate! And, therapy gets expensive. I suppose that a combination of these methods would be effective but I need something that is more accessible and practical.

I'm working on them. Here are some of my methods:

First, acknowledge your anger. No matter how insignificant the source of it may be, it is REAL to you. It is usually a manifestation of a deeper emotion, anyway. To be HUMAN is to experience anger. Deal with it. Emote. Yell at the stupid traffic light - it's an inanimate object! But, avoid focusing your rage on living, feeling beings. Also, understand that venting your anger so vocally can be difficult for others to witness. Help them understand that its one way that you deal with your emotions. Do physical things like taking a brisk walk to burn excess energy that can also be a source of unfocused anger. Be aware of your breathing. Slowing your breathing can make your more aware of your thoughts and actions in a more controlled way. You can get a "handle" on your feelings. And, perhaps, most importantly, extend yourself. Make the commitment that for every angry moment you experience and express, you will perform an extra act of kindness. It can be as simple as going out of your way to say "hi" to a stranger or smiling for no reason at the security guard at your building. Letting someone merge in front of you on the highway is a great way to counter road rage. Give an encouraging word to someone who may be struggling. These things are SO simple to do. And, best of all, they are effective.

Remember, we may say to ourselves: "who cares if I walk around angry? It's personal. I really don't harm anyone with it". But, this is not entirely accurate. All of us have an energy many call the aura, that contributes to the functioning of the world at large. That's why we say no man is an island. We are all part of this huge community known as MANKIND. And, there IS a collective energy. Like a giant blender what we put in is what we will take out. So, if we are constantly contributing the ultimately negative energy that is anger, the world IS a lesser place. If we counter that negative energy with those that are more positive like that which is created through patience, kindness, and understand, the world responds in kind.

Some will balk at such esoteric concepts. Let them.

Cynicism is the powerfully ally of Anger. The doubt it creates in the spirit is just another unwanted anchor, dragging us further and further down. In a sense, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy - you wanted the world to suck, now it does. Cynicism, as it relates to anger, is creeping, insidious, and, dangerous. We must not allow it to dominate our thoughts. If we can hang on to the belief that there is a greater good in the world, perhaps then, our anger can be moved aside.

I'm not sure of the answers. And, I certainly don't want to be consumed by the search for them. But, I do want to live a righteous life. I want to be comfortable in my skin while at the same time always looking to improve - to be more aware, kind, compassionate, and wise. In the meantime, I will continue to deal with this friggin' anger. I suppose that I always will - it's part of being comfortable with who I am. I'm a pretty intense guy. But, I'm also one that can learn to leave the anger behind - well, at least most of it.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Today's MOZEN: Never Trumped

F LoBuono
A few months ago, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, I had an enlightening conversation with a delightful correspondent from Portugal. A petite woman, she reported in her native tongue but also spoke perfect English. Of course, she was there to chronicle the American political scene with a Portuguese perspective. During our conversation she said something that has stuck with me today, and will forever. To the best of my recollection, this is what she had to say:

I am from Portugal. Let's face it, on the world scene, Portugal is not very significant. We are a small and poor country. We have little to offer the world besides our culture. So, we look to America to be great - to be a force for good in the world. Europe still needs the United States to be the Shinning City on the Hill - an example for all the world to follow. Yes, you need to reform your immigration policies, but isolationism and bigotry is not the answer.

I asked a follow-up question: With that in mind, what do you think of the candidates?

She responded: Quite frankly, we are terrified of the prospect of a Trump Presidency! We find his rhetoric and xenophobia most troubling.

So, you may ask, if it happened months ago, why bring it up now?

Well, I do so because I'm listening to a stump speech from Donald Trump on TV and he just said; America is the laughing stock of the world. And, in typical Trump bombast, he repeated it at least two more times - America is the laughing stock of the world - just to make a point.

The laughing stock of the world - Really.

Well, Mr. Trump, once again, from MY experience, you are just so full of shit. America is NOT the laughing stock of the world and I resent and reject that notion COMPLETELY! We are the beacon, the light, the inspiration, and the best hope - still - for ALL. And, the WORLD knows it. The only one who doesn't seem to get that with his message of FEAR AND LOATHING is Donald Trump. And, sadder still are the millions who can't see through his shameless charade.

Well, the jig is up. In just over two weeks we will see what version of America the world will get. I know what example they are praying for and why. It's now up to us to live up to their, and our OWN, expectations as the leader of the FREE world.

Let's not disappoint.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Today's MOZEN: The Time Draws Near

Words and photo by F loBuono
At this point, there is nothing left to be said. No campaign commercial, no matter how witty or poignant, will change your mind. There isn't a speech to be made that is so brilliant it will sway you from one candidate's camp to the other. If it hasn't happened yet, it won't.

The battle lines have been clearly drawn - as they have been for months. There is no grey area. You are clearly for one candidate or the other. This is not the time for indecision. It is our moment to act. We must. It is our responsibility - it is our DUTY.

I haven't agreed with much of what Mr. Trump has said. In fact, I disagree with virtually everything that comes out of his mouth. But, I must admit there is one thing that he said that I do: the fate of our Country hangs in the balance. This may seem overly dramatic, but it is not. The course that each candidate has set for our Country is that divergent. And, one way seems to be anathema to the other. It's almost as if we hail from different countries instead of different regions. We can only hope that, at some point, when this is all over, we can still find common ground.

In the meantime, to the joy of many, I will have precious little left to say on the matter. I have made my intentions clear. I see no need to belabor the point. Soon, it will be time to act. And I will.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016


F LoBuono
The following is a real phone conversation between me, my mother, and my aunt.

ME: Hey, Stella. How's it going (I always call my mother by her first name)?

STELLA: Hiya, Frank. How are you?

ME: I'm doin' great. How 'bout you?

STELLA: I'm doin' pretty good. About the same. Are you coming down?

ME: Yes. I was planning on driving over around lunch time.

STELLA: Oh, that would be great. But, Aunt Anna Maria and I need you stop before you come over.

ME: OK. Stop? Where?

STELLA: Well, we need some fruit.

ME: Fruit?

STELLA: Yes. We're all out of fruit.

ME: OK. What kind of fruit?

STELLA (talking to her sister): Anna Marie, what type of fruit do you want?

ANNA MARIE (in the background): Get some apples. Red delicious.

STELLA: Get 3 red delicious. Wait. Better make it 4.

ME: OK. What else?

STELLA: What else, Anna Marie?

ANNA MARIE: Tell him to get some pears. Bosch pears. 3 or 4.

ME: I heard her.

ANNA MARIE: And, some plums. The dark, black ones. And, a bunch of bananas. We both like bananas. So does the dog. Tell him to get a bunch of bananas, too.

ME: I heard her. Anything else?

STELLA (yelling to her sister): Anything else?

ANNA MARIE: No, I don't think so. That should do it.

STELLA: No, Frankie. That should do it.

ME: OK. I'll stop at the Korean grocer in town and get you your fruit.

STELLA: Thanks, Frankie. Don't forget.

ME: Don't worry, Stella. I won't.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Today's MOZEN: You Get What You Pay For

Words and photos by F LoBuono
It couldn't be more simple: You get what you pay for.

I know, Cynthia will chide me about using yet another hackneyed phrase. But, sometimes, they become cliches because there is so much truth to them - as in this case. The Republican Party has been gearing up for the likes of one Donald Trump for decades. Now, they're stuck with him - and the fallout.

For years, the GOP has not only been the party of NO, they have been the one of HELL NO! They allowed the Tea Party, an obstructionist organization masquerading as the conservative wing of the GOP, to hijack their agenda and replace it with their own brand of vitriol. Patriots my ass! They have been bought and paid for by the likes of Monsanto, Halliburton, and the NRA. Money makes their world-go-round. The GOP has blocked virtually every piece of environmental legislation designed to slow the impact of Global Warming. Republican controlled legislatures from around the Country have passed laws slowing or impeding the progress of racial, ethnic, and gender equality. If it involves any type of social progress, the GOP is against it.

Trump accepts the GOP nomination in Cleveland
Now, to head the PARTY OF HELL NO, they have chosen the perfect candidate: Donald R. Trump - a bombastic, bilious, bellicose, ego maniacal pervert who has the sensibilities of a cassava melon. An orange-tinged Reality Show Host, Mr. Trump is an expert at saying NO - NO to immigrants, NO to science, NO to health care, NO to reasonable gun control, NO to NATO, NO to gay rights. I think that if he could, he would say NO to NO. It has become increasingly clear that if Mr. Trump goes down, he is willing to take the entire Country down with him. What a shame. What a sham!

The downward spiral has begun and the GOP appears powerless to stop it.

Well, they PAID FOR IT. And, they got it.

RIP (as in Rest In Pieces) GOP.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Today's MOZEN: SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

F LoBuono

Surprised? Really? REALLY?

The ONLY thing that surprised me about the latest accusations made by multiple women of sexual predation on the part of Donald Trump is that it surprised ANYONE.

From the very beginning of his campaign, Mr. Trump has shown himself to be a bully, a bigot, a megalomaniac, a xenophobe, and a misogynist. He rants. He raves. His stump speeches are bilious and bellicose affairs in a style reminiscent of the infamous dictator known as il Duce. 

Despite the fact that most Americans would find such traits to be deplorable (yes, THAT word, again), Trump, AND his supporters seem to revel in it. Instead of refuting them, he believes that these characteristics label him as an outsider and an Ordinary Joe. His minions seem to agree. "He thinks like I do and speaks his mind - no matter the consequences" is a common response from Trump supporters when asked what it is that they relate to in him the most.

How sad.

In fact, it's more than just sad. It's depressing and a little frightening that so many people personally identify with such abhorrent attributes. Since when is a bully someone to be admired? When was it "normal" to abuse women? How commendable is an individual who abuses his power and position to stigmatize those who may differ? Who elevates themselves by treating others with disdain and contempt?

I know one - and, his name is Trump.

I am the proud product of two, wonderful parents who taught me to balance confidence with humility - to have compassion for those who suffer - understanding of those who may be different - patience for anyone less fortunate - respect for women - and, perhaps most of all, to exhibit strength of character when faced with adversity.

No matter how hard I have looked, I have not seen one shred of ANY of these attributes in Mr. Trump. In fact, he seems to exhibit characteristics that are the antithesis of these traits. He openly bullies those that may have the temerity to disagree with him. He mocks people with disabilities. He encourages violence against those who would dare report the truth as they see it. And, now, he has shown himself to be sexual predator who abuses his wealth and position to objectify women. 

And, millions would look to him to lead.

It is truly unfortunate that so MANY people are willing to look the other way when thinking of Mr. Trump and all of his obvious faults. Mostly, they point to his so-called (and disputable) business acumen as his most important and admirable quality. They also site his outsider status as an attractive alternative to Washington's status quo. Or, it could be that too many simply think as he does. 

I shudder to think that may be the case. I prefer to believe as Winston Churchill once said of Americans: "After they've tried everything else, they will always do the right thing".

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Today's MOZEN: End Rape Culture - Forever!

f LoBuono
When I was a young man, I hung with a pretty wild bunch. We weren't all that physically tough. Still, I guess that we could fight our way out a tight spot if we had to. But, ultimately, this gang preferred to rely on guile rather than pure muscle. And, they (even more than "me") were totally fearless. They (more than me) would do absolutely anything on a dare. Anything. They (more than me) were Huxlean warriors whose mission was to search and, yes, sometimes, if it fit the mood, destroy. I found them irresistible and followed like the proverbial moth to flame. I became, in a sense, a "camp follower"; often present but limited in active participation. In one sense, I admired their fearlessness - consequences were seldom considered. If it was something that could provide experience, it was simply done. So, in many ways, it was liberating. But, it others, it was perverse and dangerous - especially towards young women. Like the great white shark, if they sensed blood in the water, the victim's fate was sealed. More on that in a bit.

I wrote recently of my locker room experiences as a high school and college athlete as it related to Donald Trump's recent misogynistic comments and subsequent "defense". Although I readily admit that locker rooms filled with testosterone filled young men is not for the faint of heart, I encountered a certain "line" regarding sexual banter that was not crossed. Certainly, young men (as, I believe do young women) have a certain preoccupation with sexual activity. But, that does not HAVE to translate to abusive behavior. I observed that code and most of the young men I played with did, too. However, others may have had different experiences. In fact, I know that they did. I have had enough feedback from others who lived a different reality to believe them. Besides, so-called Rape Culture of which they speak has existed wherever there has been interaction between the sexes - especially at college age. It did then. And, unfortunately, it still does now.

Back to my "gang".

Virtually all of my friends at that time were white, educated, solidly middle class, and, often, without morals or scruples.- at least they were for a time. It was the mid-70's and the culture was one of experience to the point of excess. Drugs and "partying" was a part of the great majority of a young person's existence. The point was, as the Doors urged us to do a decade before, break on through to the other side. In a sense it was perverse. But, at the same time, it was often liberating.

The problem was that the above mentioned liberation often came at the expense of someone else - usually an inebriated young woman.

The fraternity parties at virtually any major university in the Northeast were Bacchanalian rituals that, fueled by alcohol, could rival any perverse ancient ceremony. I think that they stopped just short of human sacrifice. It was like some absurd right of passage. And, the debauchery was not limited to young men. Young women yielded to the power of alcohol and often found themselves in positions that they simply could no longer control. Sensing blood, the predators moved in.

And, the girls paid the price.

When I think back on it now, it makes me sick to my stomach. I can say with complete honesty that I never participated in the debauchery. But, I did witness it and, ultimately, did nothing. This, in many ways, makes me as guilty as those who actively participated. The strange thing is that I ALWAYS knew it was wrong. Yet, I stood back and watched it happened. I could make a million excuses as to why but, in the final analysis, that's all that they would be - excuses. I suppose that the power to belong was stronger than the one to always do the right thing. Keep in mind that hindsight is closer to 20-20 vision than it is at the time it is actually happening. Since I can't go backwards, I must move forward.

With that in mind, I can make the commitment to do more to make people aware of what sexual abuse is, where it can found, what we can AND must do to stop it. Having this conversation is just the first step. W e have the means to make a difference - a real difference. But, we must ACT. We must reject the rhetoric of Mr. Trump and all who support him.

Defy hate. Reject bigotry and sexism. Commit to equality.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Today's MOZEN: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

F LoBuono
Aside: Ironically or, perhaps, more appropriately, prophetically, as I write this entry the film Judgement at Nuremburg is airing in the background on my television.

What more could I add to the virtually universal condemnation of Donald Trump and his latest vitriolic, misogynistic, vile, and totally inappropriate comments about his interactions with women?

Well, just this -

As an athlete for a good portion of my life, I have been in countless locker rooms and participated in much of the so-called male banter that one might accurately describe as ribald. And, I enjoyed it - to a degree. Even under those testosterone fueled antics, a line most be drawn. Sexually explicit and exploitive language is NOT acceptable. A teammate who engaged in this behavior was ultimately no friend of mine. Any MAN who was properly raised by his parents understands and accepts the notion of respect for women. Youth is not an excuse (that means YOU, Billy Bush). Nor, is having extraordinary wealth (Mr. Trump). Furthermore, to be used by a man who would be President is simply abhorrent.

I was taught this early on by BOTH of my parents.

When I was a young man of dating age, before leaving for every encounter with a young lady, my mother would pull me aside and say the same thing every time:

Frankie, don't forget, you have a mother and a sister.

"What the heck is that supposed mean"? was my standard reply.

Stella would always respond: "you know EXACTLY what that means".

And, I did.

Any man who cannot, or does not, live by that creed is not a man at all. And, anyone, man OR woman, who supports that behavior, especially in a person who wishes to lead OUR Country, should be as ashamed as the one who committed the act in the first place.

As for Judgement at Nuremburg; for those who are unfamiliar with it, the film is based on the true story of the trial of Nazi officials for crimes committed against humanity during WWII. The ultimate message is that acceptance of behavior we KNOW to be wrong leads us down a path of degradation, death, and ultimate destruction. We cannot live looking away and making excuses.

That is all.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Today's MOZEN: War and Peace

Words and photos by F LoBuono
It had been a punishingly long day AND night covering the first, and only, Vice Presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. It has been a particularly contentious election season thereby generating a lot of media interest, particularly among the foreign press corp. Since my work involves dealing with them, I wound up working an 18-hour shift. But, at times like this, that’s not unusual. On the up-side, this day was reserved for travel. I just had to get home. Since I had booked an early evening flight, I had some time to explore.
I had noticed on the long, 2-hour+ trip from the Richmond airport to our hotel in Lynchburg that we passed a plethora of historic Civil War venues including Appomattox Court House, the site of one of the greatest moments in American history: the surrender of Robert E Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Potomac, effectively ending 4 blood-soaked years of the American Civil War. Since it was on my way, I love Civil War history, and I had the time, I planned to spend a few hours there.
I was not disappointed.
The road leading into Appomattox Court House
It's a very bucolic and peaceful place, seemingly frozen as it was in the middle of the 19th Century.  In fact, it was so peaceful that it was hard to conceive of the extreme violence that occurred here. General Grant had relentlessly pursued General Lee for months, driving him from the Confederate stronghold of Petersburg over 100 miles to the tiny hamlet of Appomattox Court House. Lee was attempting to get supplies for his exhausted and starving army at the rail head near the town. But, Grant had other ideas and managed to trap him there. Lee vainly attempted to smash his way through but to no avail.
The old stagecoach road In Appomattox Court House. Lee tried to use this road as an escape route.
He faced the harsh reality that his only option to avoid further bloodshed was to surrender. Grant knew this too. So, On April 9th, 1865 he sent peace emissaries to Lee to open negotiations for the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. At first, Lee rejected the offer. However, as more and more Federal troops poured into the area, Lee knew that his situation was truly hopeless. He agreed to meet with Grant to discuss terms. They decided to meet the next day, Sunday, April 10th at the McLean house in the heart of the town. Grant's magnanimous gesture of rather lenient terms for Lee and his men sealed the deal and Lee surrendered his army. Even though sporadic fighting continued in certain areas, particularly in the West and deep South, for all intent and purpose the Civil War ended that day and it that place.
The McLean House
For a time, Appomattox basked in the glory of  the fame that was bestowed on the town for “hosting” this momentous event. However, late in the Century the town fell upon hard times and was virtually destroyed by fire. Beginning in the 1930’s, the National Park Service took over the site and started the painstaking process of rebuilding the village. Today, it looks much like (minus the tens of thousands of troops) it did in Grant and Lee’s time.
I have always been interested in history in general and the Civil War in particular. So, given the time and the opportunity I had to make a pilgrimage there. Who knows if I would ever be passing this way again? As soon as I entered the site I actually became emotional. I had read and heard so much about Grant, Lee, Appomattox, and the McLean House that they had almost taken on a mythical and surreal quality. Like so many other famous people and places, they seem to live only in our imaginations. To experience them is another matter. However, actually being there was as if I could truly FEEL what happened here. To walk where they had walked, to see what they had seen made it all come alive for me. And, it affected me. These were no longer figures shown only in paintings or grainy Matthew Brady photographs but real human beings who fought and died for what they believed in. I felt myself wipe away a tear. It was almost overwhelming.

Perhaps, considering the current political schism that seems to be fracturing our Country, my visit carried extra significance and that is why I felt my emotions so powerfully. The last time that we were as divided in our viewpoints nearly 800,000 Americans lost their lives to prove that their cause was the right one. The fighting was brutal and vicious to the bitter end. Brother killed brother. Families were torn apart. And, we are still feeling the effects even today.
But, now, the place was extraordinary peaceful and beautiful. Gentle, rolling hills were punctuated by fields where farmers grew tobacco and other crops. The site is far enough away from any major highway so the noise of modern traffic was minimal. And, the few people visiting were older, and extraordinarily respectful. They were obviously aware of what had transpired here and gave the site the respect and reverence that it is due. Everyone seemed to be speaking in whispers.
The Court House

Slaves quarters
What further interested me about the site was not only how people died there but how they LIVED, too. Virginia is very rural today so you can imagine what it was like over 150 years ago. Large farms dominated the area. But, there was also a need for a place for people to gather and for supplies that they couldn’t grow or make. And, they needed buildings to conduct the business of society, like a court house. Of course, the one in the county seat that was Appomattox Court House still occupies the heart of the town. And, like today, the various strata of society was also represented at Appomattox Court House. From the humble but surprisingly “cozy” homes of the slaves who were an integral part of Southern society to the modest but comfortable county clerk’s house to the grand and opulent McLean home, chosen for the surrender ceremony for that reason, the village proved to be a microcosm of not only the South but much of America. And, not a lot has changed today.
The Parlor of the McLean House
At one point, I stood silently in the parlor of the McLean House where the actual ceremony between Lee, Grant and their staffs took place, drinking in the moment. I tried to place myself at that most historic moment and FEEL what they must have felt: Grant, great relief that his tactics had worked and Lee, great despair that his had not. I was left to wonder, however, if both or either man had a sense that what they were about to do would change the course of history. They must have. And, it must have been awesome. The significance was not lost on me.

I encountered this type of transcendent experience only once before and under similar circumstances: As a young man, I was driving across the Country for the first time. On route, I noticed signs for the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Park. It was a good distance out of my way but I didn’t care. I had read so much and seen so many Hollywood productions about the battle that I felt compelled to go there. So, I turned off the main highway and headed my car in that direction.  

Unfortunately, (or, fortunately depending on your POV) I arrived too late and the Park was closed. But, I found that it didn’t matter. In fact, in some ways, it was to my advantage. NO ONE was there. It was so extraordinarily peaceful. There was no sound but the wind whistling through the tall grass and the singing of the multitude of birds who were my only companions. I could see through the fence to get a good idea of how the battle played out and could even see the monument erected where Custer fell. It was earie and incredibly powerful – a place that had only existed in my imagination was indeed real. Hundreds of men met their end here and, once again, history was made. I took a deep breath and sucked it all in. I could not miss the palpable presence of legendary figures like Custer and Crazy Horse who fought there. Their fierce spirits are still present in the wind – if you listened.

So it was at Appomattox. Although there were a handful of visitors, a short walk through town
Confederate soldier
brought one able amounts of privacy. It was easy to reflect on the significance of what had happened there and the people who lived it. To aid in the experience, actors re-enacted the lives of some of the less notable figures who none-the-less played important roles in the war’s final outcome. One actor played a Lieutenant Betts who, in a great bit of irony, after spending the previous 4 years fighting for the Confederacy all over the South now found himself in a desperate fight a few hundred yards from his family’s farm on the outskirts of town. It made the experience all that much more real.
I tarried a bit more, walking from one end of the town to the other and reflecting on where we’ve been as a Country and where we may be going. It struck that we may be at a similar crossroads now as our ancestors were in the middle of the 19th Century. There is now, as there was then, a great divide in our Nation. Two polar opposites are vying for the most powerful position on earth. And, we the people are faced with choosing one or the other. There is no other option. Whichever one we choose, and we must choose, should have the ability to reunite the Country as a single nation that respects ALL of its people. To fail is to invite disaster. And, in the end, the lessons of a place like Appomattox will truly be lost to time.

After a last, long look I returned to my car for the long ride back to the airport and the confines of my own, little village, safe in the notion that because of the men who fought and died at Appomattox, I am a free man.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Great Debate: Day 3

Words and photos by F LoBuono
At times like these, after an enormously important news event that involves so much personal emotion (like last night's Presidential Candidates Debate) it can be difficult to maintain one's journalistic integrity and impartiality. However, as you may recall, this is MY blog and was designed to be a forum for MY voice (as well as others). However, by keen observation one can put an intelligent and non-biased spin on what was witnessed. Then, you may form your own opinions.

Part of my responsibilities when working as a TV News technician, like last night's Trump-Clinton Debate, is to service correspondents from countries representing every corner of the globe. Even though I work in a technical capacity, I am not deaf, dumb, or blind. I watch. I listen. I learn. And, what I observed with those foreign reporters was shock and amazement that a man the caliber of Donald Trump has even made this far. However, it also reinforces the stereotype that many Europeans in particular have about us, i.e. The Ugly American. I heard one reporter from the BBC laugh while saying that The Game Show genre had reached new heights (or lows). And, he was not alone in that observation. I feel safe in saying that the MAJORITY of the considerable about of foreign reporters that I encountered had the same opinion - how could someone with the  temperament of Donald Trump reach for such a lofty goal? Then again, many shrugged and said, in many languages, that's American.


But, Donald Trump will NEVER represent my vision of America. Never.