Sunday, November 19, 2017

Today's MOZEN: Like Granite

F LoBuono


There are days when I envision myself as a solid block of polished granite - massive, gleaming, cold, dense, inert, impenetrable, immovable.

But, even granite is not eternal. Nor, it is indestructible. It can be chipped and nicked. And, it can be worn down. Even the mighty granite stairs leading to Europe's great cathedrals show the wear and tear of millions of feet stomping on them for hundreds of years.

It often leaves me wondering: is it better to be the feet than the stairs. . . 


Saturday, November 18, 2017

An Open Letter to the People of Alabama

F LoBuono

SWEET HOME ALABAMA, WHERE THE SKIES ARE SO BLUE (and, the governor's true).

Indeed.

In fairness, I should begin by saying that I have never truly known anyone from Alabama. Ever. In fact, I don't even know anyone who knows anyone from Alabama. About all that I do know about the State is that the University has a great football team and it was one of the most segregated places I've ever been to.

In the Spring off 2010 I spent some time there covering the Gulf Oil Spill Disaster for CBS News. I remember being pleasantly surprised by the beauty and opulence of some of Alabama's Gulf Coast communities like Gulf Shores. I also recall how overwhelmingly white the area was. When the crew would go out for dinner, our African-American correspondent, Terrell Brown, was almost invariably the only person of color in the restaurant. And, when we were graciously invited to a 4th of July celebration in the town of Magnolia Springs, the organizers "alerted" me that Mr. Brown would be the only black to partake in the festivities. Now, it's important to add that they did not say that in malice - it was just stated as a matter of fact.

Unfortunately, this is the image that most people of Alabama - a bigoted, segregated, ignorant place

Of course, painting with such a broad brush is indeed a slippery slope. But, the claims are not totally without validity. Adding to the horrible images of the attack of marchers on the William Pettus Bridge and countless other Civil Right atrocities associated with the place, we now have an accused child molester, Judge Roy Moore, being touted as the next US Senator from the Great State of Alabama. The silver-haired, ultra-conservative, Republican Governor, Kay Ivey, has, despite her disgust at the alleged charges against Mr. Moore, decided to continue to support his election. And, she is not alone. Most experts feel that, despite the despicable allegations against Moore, the race will be decided by the thinnest of margins.

Really.

Of course, there MUST BE good people in Alabama. There just HAVE to be!

Well, it's time that they step up and do the right thing! This is a unique opportunity for them to prove that they can do more than just play really good football on Saturdays and pray really hard on Sundays!

PEOPLE OF ALABAMA - show me and the world how wrong we are to think of you as a bunch of ignorant, right-wing, ultra-religious, bigots who are happy to stick their collective middle fingers in our faces just to say you can. Tell me and the others to go fuck ourselves for THE RIGHT REASONS - because you DO believe in justice, freedom, and equality.






Friday, November 17, 2017

Today's MOZEN: Trickle 'On Down

F LoBuono

A leopard can't change its spots. A zebra can't change its stripes. And, the Republicans will never pass a tax reform bill that ultimately favors the middle class.

They are all hackneyed phrases.

They are all also true.

As is my K.I.S.S (keep it simple, stupid - referring to me, of course) philosophy, here is my brief version as to why:

It is not in the GOP's ethos or raison d'etre. Simple put, it's not what they are about - never have been and never will be. It's just not in their DNA (my god, I'm full of hackneyed phrases today!). They are the party of MONEY.

The Republican platform, when it comes to economics can be summed up (K.I.S.S) as Trickle Down Ecomics. That is; if you reward people of money, i.e. wealthy business owners, they will use their natural born drive to make more money by creating more jobs for the middle and lower classes, thereby driving a thriving economy.

So, there you have it in a nutshell - Trickle Down Economics.

What is so worrisome to me is that, despite the facts presented by the economists that I have read disputing the effectiveness of this platform, the GOP has been able to sell it to working people for years.

And, still do.

The current version of tax reform legislation that just passed the GOP controlled House and is currently in the Senate, is just another version. I readily admit that I am not an economist - haven't even really studied it all that much. But, despite those who may see it to the contrary, I'm not an idiot, either. This bill is another Republican attempt to say to the middle and lower classes; Trust us. Let us and our cronies make BIG money and we PROMISE that you'll get SOME of it.

What is so amazing to me is that the working and middle classes have bought it for years.

And, still do.

Of course, thank god, this is STILL a free Country and we have the ability to make our own choices. It's time to make yours.

Be heard.




Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Today's MOSTLY TRUE SHORT STORY: The Song Bird

F LoBuono
It was time for my monthly shearing so, as is my custom, I walked to my local barbershop for a trim. I arrived a bit early so I deposited myself on one of the cushy, pleather-lined couches and picked up a copy of the NY Post that was lying there (perfect reading to kill time - great sports and good gossip).

While perusing the newspaper, I heard a rustling coming from one of corners. I looked up to notice a white cage with a small, brightly colored bird fluttering around in it. I'm no ornithologist but it looked like some thing in the finch family. The tiny bird eventually lilted on its water dish and began to sing. I couldn't believe the joyous sound that was coming out of that little body! He (I assumed that it was a male because of the signing - males do it to attract mates) went up and down the musical scale, signing with a loud, clear voice. It was simply brilliant and made me smile.

Then, it made me very sad.

That song was SO beautiful but I couldn't help but feel that it was falling mostly on deaf ears. That bird was using that beautiful voice in the most natural of ways - to attract a female - in the most unnatural of settings - a small cage in the corner of a barbershop. It made me very sad - and, still does. That poor bird is destined to spend the rest of his life in a confined area, making music for ears not fully appreciative of the beauty it holds. But, then again, that in of itself, is kind of miraculous: despite its rather woeful situation, that bird sang as beautifully as if he were in a verdant mountain meadow. Marvelous.

That little guy kept signing until a got into the chair - a good 10 minutes with pause. Eventually, he stopped and the only sound I heard was that of the barber's scissors. . .

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Today's MOZEN: Happenstance

F LoBuono

It really is extraordinary - the happenstance of it all.

This afternoon was yet another example.

It had been a particularly long and difficult week. I found myself defending my 1st Amendment rights for posting an innocent and rather innocuous photograph that I made in public on Facebook. Despite that it is neither illegal or immoral to make and post photos of ANYONE made in a public place, I was attacked for being unethical. But, that is a story for another post. The point I wanted to make here was that the argument became personal and vicious - so much so that I started to go into a deep depression.

I was driving to work with the radio on and in no particular hurry. I had left sufficient time to take a leisurely pace. And, so, I was enjoying the music and the bright, late fall sunshine, trying to distract myself from the ugliness I was still feeling quite disturbed about the whole incident. It was then, when I glanced up, quite by accident, that I caught her out of the corner of my eye. Soaring about 50 feet about the highway, wings spread wide, bright white belly exposed, was a Red Tailed Hawk. Her flight across the road couldn't have lasted more than a few seconds before she disappeared in the tree line. But, that was enough. You should have seen the size of the smile cross my face.


Red Tailed Hawks have always been special to me in the way that many Native American cultures see as a Familiar or Spirit Guide. I interpret this to mean is that all humans have a counterpart of sorts within the animal kingdom, i.e. a creature whose behaviors and essence (soul) mostly mimic our own. Because they are like us but are not us, they can show us the way out of difficult situations and towards solutions. For me, it's the hawk. She lifted my spirit on the strength of her magnificent wings and carried my blues away. Tomorrow is another day - with all the promise to make ANYTHING happen. It's time to move on. And, this isn't the first time this has happened to me. It seems whenever I am at my lowest point, a hawk magically appears to show me the way.

You just have to believe. . .

Friday, November 3, 2017

Today's MOZEN: What's in a Name?

F LoBuono

My true, given name, i.e. the one on my birth certificate, is Francis Joseph LoBuono. Yes, my real name is Francis. The problem is NO ONE has ever called me that except my mother - when she's pissed off at me, or childhood friends who wanted to make fun of me - you know, insinuating that it's also a girl's name (which is true - with a slightly different spelling - Frances).

I never responded to Francis, partially because no one ever called me that, but, also because I simply did not like it.

First, Francis always sounded so formal -and, I'm a pretty informal guy. The more straightforward Frank suited me just fine. Besides, I did not care for the duality of the name, i.e. being the same for a man or a women. A name should be for one gender or the other. At least that's the way I felt as a kid.

Second, I was named after my maternal grandfather, Francesco. But, as my immigrant family was desperately trying to assimilate, they wanted me to have the Anglicized version - Frank. However, as I was also baptized as a Catholic, I had to be given a saints name. Since there is no Saint Frank but there are at least two Saint Francis', that's what appeared on my birth certificate. So, there you have the history.

Simple, right?

Many people also call me Frankie. And, despite the fact that I'm 62 and most see that as a kid's moniker, I don't mind at all. In fact, I'll answer to Frankie WAY before I will to Francis! In an odd twist, my mother will frequently calls me Frankie while my brother and sister rarely do, preferring Frank. When people ask me if I mind being called a name mostly reserved for juveniles, I usually respond by saying that I prefer it to being called Tom.

I suppose the bottom line is this: you can call me Frank or Frankie. Just don't call be late for dinner - or, Francis.

That is all.

EVERYONE has a story to tell. Here are some inspired by my tale. Thanks to all:

I was named for my mom, her middle name Lois Elaine. I have no middle. Odd    Elaine Oberkehr Sedan

I was born Mary Mitchell (no middle name either, Elaine.) My mother wanted Elizabeth as a middle, but both grandmother's were Mary and dad said, Let's not favor. When I married, being the feminist I am, I never took my husband's surname. So, I was, am and always will be Mary Mitchell. I like it.           Mary Mitchell


I am Elizabeth. But my sister came up with nickname, Lisa. My family and friends have always called me Lisa. Where it gets confusing is on paper, legal docs. I have had a SS# since I was 2 yrs old ( I was a model and on the cover of My Baby magazine in 1958). So I needed a SS#. But my driver's license/ passport says Elizabeth. I voted under Lisa until I moved to South Jersey. Then through a mix up, I needed to be Elizabeth. All my years of income taxes had been Lisa. Car insurance and airplane tickets are Elizabeth. Aren't you glad you asked, Frank?        Lisa Meyer

The name om my Birth Certificate is Elizabeth Louise Pinheiro. The only people who ever used Elizabeth were the Nuns and Teachers in Grammar school. They would never allow me to be called Betty. However for some strange reason it was alright for my Classmates to use Liz. When I went to High School I always went by Betty. My last name was always butchered because the h and i are silent but everyone insisted on pronouncing them.     Betty Pinheiro Bennett


 I was named after my Dad who is Michael Joseph Mackin. My Dad had a twin, named after my grandfather, John Mackin ( who was born Anthony John Mackin, but that's another story.)My folks didn't want me to be a "Jr.",So I was named Michael John. To this day, my Aunt and Uncle , my cousins, and even some of my nieces call me, as if it were one word, "Michaeljohn "   Michael Mackin

If someone calls me Judith it has to be a grammar school classmate or my Dad! Lol     Judith DePietro Mekles

Karen Ann Waldbusser. I love my father with all that I am but I used to beg him to shorten it and delete the busser! I have ptsd: Waldbanger, Ball Buster, Buzzer etc. I would die on the first day of school as the teachers tried to pronounce it.
Karen Heller.



Monday, October 30, 2017

When You Think About It: Nature vs. Nurture

F LoBuono

There are many who will find fault in what I'm about to write. In fact, there are many who find fault in EVERYTHING that I write! Be that as it may, I am still compelled to do so.

Triggered by the accusations of sexual abuse and exploitation of women by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and others, a revolution is occurring. Tens of millions of women have come forward to share their own experiences with sexual violence, intimidation, and abuse. Hopefully, this will create an epiphany in ALL men to realize that women will no longer tolerate being treated simply as objects of their pleasure (IF they ever did).

However, I've been searching for answers as to HOW we got to this point in the first place. Despite the objections of others, I believe that I have put forth some reasonable explanations as to why in a number of posts. NOTHING happens in a vacuum and this situation is certainly no exception. As I posted previously, many scientific disciplines are necessary to be involved to come to any reasonable understanding of the problem.

One of those disciplines is Evolution. You know, that Darwinian Thing that shapes the very world around us and determines just what we are supposed to be in the bigger picture. ALL animals got to where they are now by following the process of evolution.

And, it's a beautiful thing.

The scientific name for evolution is NATURAL SELECTION (a.k.a. the survival of the fittest). Simply put, it means that nature has a master plan for every living creature. And, those that can adapt the best to the surroundings are the species most likely to survive.

So, how does that apply to human beings and the current situation?

Well, if you REALLY understand evolution as a theory, the sexual tension/conflict between men and women is perfectly natural and, in some ways, essential.

Allow me to explain.

Men's brains are wired to procreate - and, as much as they possibly can. Alpha males in almost EVERY species (especially mammals) compete to pass their own genes on to as many females as possible. This is true of so many animals including lions and tigers and bears - oh, my!! Males will fight, sometimes to the death, for the privilege of mating. That's some pretty powerful drive! Humans think and, feel so, that must be added to the equation. But, make no mistake about it, the urge for men to sew their seeds is real and potent.

Now, women's brains are, generally (remember their are variations in ALL species), programmed completely differently. Females need the right conditions to mate. They have to be fertile. And, they will not mate with an "inferior" male. It's important that they also know that THEIR offspring will genetically sound. So, they resist even persistent males until it is right for THEM.

This doesn't seem to make sense - right? Why should humans be at odds when it comes to something as important as survival of the species?

Well, that's the beauty of the theory - it really works!

And, it's a simple as this: Humans are the most successful species on the planet - by far. In fact, we dominate the earth to the point of abuse. Many scientist say that within the next few years we may seriously overpopulate the planet to its destruction, if we haven't already. Can you imagine how many trillions of people would inhabit the earth if we did not have this simple check and balance?? And, that's exactly what it is - men want it and women reject it - unless they are ready.

Therefore, the HUMAN issue is how do we balance nature vs nurture. A man's nature, if you will, is to be aggressive sexually. A woman's is to wait. However, we must nurture our young men to understand that we are complex beings with thoughts, desires, dreams, and emotions. ALL of these things must be considered if we are to be truly successful as animals AND human beings.

So, When You Think About It, This is our challenge: striking the balance of what we are as creatures in the natural world and what we are as thinking, feeling HUMAN beings will be the key. And, it always has been.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Today's MOSTLY TRUE SHORT STORY: Like No Other

Words and photos by F LoBuono

You couldn't miss them. At least, I couldn't. It was a young family; husband, wife, and a toddler who was maybe 2 or 3 years-old. The reason they stood out was that the whole family was dressed as Captain America - dad was wearing the official version, the wife a female facsimile, and the baby was in his own mini version. Obviously, they were heading for the annual Nyack Halloween Parade.

As I approached them on South Broadway, the woman was lining up dad and baby for a photo. I quickly crossed the street and said to her: "I'll make you a deal. If you let me make a photo of the 3 of you with my camera, I'll make one of all of you with your camera". With a brogue as thick as an Irish morning's mist, she responded: "oh, sir, that would be grand"! She then introduced me to her husband, Sean, and her infant son, Liam. Yep, the Captain America Family was as Irish as that day was long. Only in Nyack!!

I made the photos for them and me and then asked, "have you ever been to the parade before"? She respond that they hadn't but were very excited to attend. I assured them that THIS was the best America had to offer and they would see why soon enough.


Later, during the parade, I saw them proudly marching up Broadway. They were now officially part of the diverse fabric of a community that we call The Nyacks. It's like no other . . .


Friday, October 27, 2017

Today's MOZEN: Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar.

F LoBuono

Recently, two women have come forward accusing former President George H.W. Bush of inappropriate sexual contact. President Bush, who is 93 years-old, released a statement from a spokesperson basically acknowledging the recent incidents but also qualified them by saying that Mr. Bush, who is confined to a wheelchair, patted the women on their backsides in a friendly and humorous way, never intending any harm. He also apologized, saying through his spokesperson: To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes.

Of course, these incidents and the corresponding statement by President Bush are bound to be controversial. On one hand, there will be those who will not entertain ANY type of excuse (or, explanation) for that type of behavior. And, they would be mostly right. However, there will be others who will be more understanding of Mr. Bush's age and condition, arguing that he comes from a different era when patting a woman's backside, under certain circumstances, was considered harmless hi jinks. After all, we are products of the social morals under which we were raised.

It reminds me of an elderly gentleman who was once very much a part of the fabric of the Village of Nyack, NY.  John "Butch" Logue was a fixture at O'Donoghue's Tavern in the heart of the town. He was so entrenched there that the owners even had a barber's chair installed with a name plate on it reserved for his use only. When I met him, this ex-WWI Marine was already into his 90's. He was always smiling and laughing making him extremely popular among the other bar patrons. One thing that I remember in particular with Butch (who always wore his Marine issue hat) was that whenever any women bent down to kiss him on the cheek while he was sitting on his "throne", they always placed their hands over his. It made me curious, so I asked one why she did that. She explained, "oh, we all do that to keep Butch from coping a free feel"! And, she said without any hint of fear, malice, or disgust in her voice. They expected it and then dealt with it. There was no malice.

Now, again, there may be some who will say "what filthy old men". I get it. Inappropriate touching is never ultimately OK. However, in the cases of President Bush and Butch Logue, one should certainly take into account their ages and how that effected their behavior. And, I don't mean because they are senile. They are men who are (were) products of the environment in which they were raised. So, should this be seen as TRULY abhorrent behavior? I think that, perhaps, not. Because, sometimes, a cigar is simply a cigar.


Today's MOSTLY TRUE SHORT STORY: The Red Rose

F LoBuono
She was walking up 57th St. with two male companions, heading west towards 10th Ave. From their appearance and attitude, I could tell that they were street people. The men wore baggy pants and jean jackets. The woman had a leather jacket on and kept her hair up in dreadlocks. They all walked like they owned that sidewalk. They continued up 57th while I searched for a parking spot. That's when I noticed it - clutched in the woman's left hand was a single, plastic, red rose.