Saturday, May 25, 2024

Remembering. Memorial Day 2024

My father rarely spoke of the horrors of war, preferring to dwell on the positive things he found in military life, like the comradery.

However, at the same time, as a member of Patton's 3rd Army, I know he survived some intense combat, including the legendary Battle of The Bulge (from which, I believe, he inherited his extreme hate of he cold). I also know that it changed him - as it did my uncle and ALL of my friends who survived combat.

He did share with me ONE thing about war and his greatest fear. For some reason, nothing seemed to frighten him more than to find a relatively new combat boot only to discover a human foot in it (the force of intense explosions can cleanly separate joints, hence the expression; blown out of his boots).

I hope that I haven't been too graphic but I wanted to take a moment to remember those who died so young, in so many ways, in so many wars, in so many far away places.

Remember their sacrifice.

Always.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Today's MOZEN. Yes. I'm Saying It Again


Perhaps you've noticed. It's more likely that you haven't, but I haven't written here too much lately.

It's not that I'm not writing at all. Just not here. One of the reasons is that I've been very involved with producing and hosting my own podcast, BEING FRANK, on a weekly basis. Part of my duties include some intensive research and writing for the topic introduction that I make for each program (perhaps you've listened! LOL). So, that somewhat eases my compulsion to write.

The second one is that, quite frankly (oh, I did it again!), I got frustrated with too often writing the same thing over and over again. In fact, it's hard to believe that I began writing about it 8 years ago now.

Donald J. Trump is not a good, or even decent human being. And, it should end there. No politics. No fear. No loathing.

He is not fit to lead ANYTHING.

But, at least I've come to understand that his followers accept his message of an apocalyptic future for America - IF he is not elected. It is both frightening and sad. I, like, most of America (at least I believe it STILL is most of us) share the exact opposite vision, i.e. that if he is elected our Country will decay into fascism led my one large, mostly orange blowhard initialed DJT.


The frightening part is that these Americans actually believe in their hearts and souls that this more-than-flawed man can save them from the intellectuals and liberals who are leading this Country down a path where they will no longer have any advantage to be white and undereducated.

And they are terrified!

Well, as journalists, we are trained to be as objective as humanly possible when reporting. This is sacrosanct. However, there at 2, VERY important words to consider here. They are: humanly and possible.

First, we are human beings and, therefore, capable of making mistakes. We do our absolute best to prevent them from happening but we all know that nothing is perfect in this world and neither are journalists.

Second, and most importantly, in many cases, there is no such thing as objectivity. There are ONLY facts and the CONSLUSIONS to where they bring us!

Let me give a clear and easy to understand example: There is no way to codify the Nazi party of mid-20th Century Germany as anything but corrupt and the embodiment of evil. There are NO two sides here!! There are only the facts that support the results of their policies - tens of millions dead.

However, there are still MANY who believe in their doctrine and can find almost any excuse to justify it. If they can't, they simply don't care and will eliminate you to prove it!

This is an extreme example, but there you have it.

So it is today. There are the impressions - and then there are the facts.

How many reports from people closest to Mr. Trump, good, honest, honorable people, have said, in the clearest terms possible, that he is more than unfit to lead? He is full of avarice, greed, sloth, contempt of the law, and is vindictive.

And, the best (worst) part is that you don't have to believe THEM.

Believe in your own eyes and ears, i.e. what you see and hear on a daily basis!

You've seen and heard him incite the riots attempting to overthrow the government!

You've seen and heard him insult not only opponents but disabled people on a regular basis.

You've seen and heard him threaten judges and their families.

You've seen and heard him insult the service and veterans.

You've seen and heard him insult women by grabbing them in the p.. etc.

You've seen him support dictators and murders like Putin, Urban, and the others.

I could go on. It's actually pretty easy to find ALL of the inexcusable transgressions.

All you have to do is see - not just look - but SEE. Not only listen - but HEAR.

There are no 2 sides. There are those who believe and trust the facts. Then there are those who choose to believe ONLY what they want to.

THERE. So I've said it again.

Because it needs to be.

https://hudsonriverradio.com/being-frank.html?fbclid=IwAR28eXPtu2wCWIizbr7Ud3qJ8xpdGzM0nizzJ_r2IXTMOUEzYQ1RlPc1VVI


Sunday, February 25, 2024

Today's MOSTLY TRUE SHORT STORY: Ride On!


When I was in my wild college years, I had the good fortune of dating a woman who lived near a ranch in New Paltz, New York. The whole scene and most of the people involved were, shall we say in the parlance of the time, Counter Culture.

The ranch itself was run by a guy named Louie, yes Louie. Even though we were a long way from the Wild West, he looked as if you asked Central Casting to send up a traditional cowboy, Louie would show up. He provided livestock for rodeos up and down the entire East Coast. How he wound up doing that on a ranch in New Paltz, NY or where he actually came from, I either have no idea or simply don't remember any more!

Louie

My girlfriend, Kathy, was somewhat of an anomaly too. I met her while we students together at Rutgers in Newark. She was a nice Italian girl who lived with her mother and brother in a small, back apartment in Bloomfield, NJ. So, even though she was a city girl, her late father gave her a healthy appreciation for nature and that's where she preferred to spend her time. In fact, when we first met we were both biology majors with an emphasis on studying the environment.

So, rather than spend her summers in dreary Bloomfield or Newark, NJ she would work on Louie's ranch in New Paltz. She worked mucking the stables and, in return, she got to board and ride her own horse in her free time.

It was there, with her, that this nice Sicilian boy from Fort Lee, NJ whose soul belonged to the big city, learned to ride horses - and love it.

I have to say that even though I had little to no experience as an equestrian, I was kind of a natural. As a kid, I always loved cowboys and cowboy movies. In fact, while most kids wore sneakers, I was known for wearing cowboy boots while clomping around the streets of Fort Lee. I kept that tradition right on through my college days. I was also as strong as could be, probably at the height of my physical powers. So, I had no natural fear of horses. I respected their awesome capacity as athletes and their unmatched physical ability to run, seemingly forever. But I had no fear.

Kathy was always gracious and would allow me to bring some of my derelict friends from the neighborhood for a day of riding in the country. We all got to choose a horse that suited our skill levels, with most of the horse being pretty docile.

But not all.

And those were the horses I wanted to ride!

I could hardly wait to get to an empty, open field where I could really let that horse - and me - go! I'd give him a good kick in the flanks and let him run. I loved getting out over the reigns, not leaning back but surging forward. Everything meshed so that me and the horse were now as one; legs, torsos, heads, in unison, all as one. That awkward trot was now replaced by a full out, balls to the wall charge!

Then, like my ol' 1967 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 with the supercharged 400 cubic inch engine and the Holley 4 Barrell Carburetor, just when you though that you had maxed out your speed, like kicking in that 4 Barrell, that horse would gulp in the extra air with a whooomp and off we went.


Fearless. As one.

I don't think that I was ever a particularly masterful equestrian but, man I could really ride.

I miss those days. 

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Today's MOZEN: NO MORE WAR!


Recently, I was fooling around with a TV and Apple stream box that I set up in my basement. It's a finished basement so, you know, it's perfect for the so-called man cave. At least I can pursue my various nefarious activities with my other equally depraved friends without exposing my most gentle partner, Amanda, to the indignity of such behavior.

Anyway, I was surfing through what was available to me for free with the streaming device. I had already stumbled upon some real gems like Wolf Hall on PBS Masterpiece Theater, when I saw a title, 1864. The photo associated with the program was of soldiers wearing blue uniforms and sporting the military weapons of the day. So, being a BIG Civil War buff, I thought it would be in that genre and I began watching the series.


Well, it IS a war drama but not about the American Civil War at all. It's actually a Danish series about the Second Schleswig War between Denmark and the German Federation. It's told in both Dutch and German with English subtitles.

The story is told through the eyes of a young, very hip, very rebellious young woman who takes a job caring for an old man whom she thinks is senile. After her initial aversion to the old man and the job, he wins her over by having her read a worn, dusty diary that tells the story of 2 bothers, their loves and friends in the crucible of this vicious and savage war. Once she begins reading, she cannot put the diary down.

Simply put, I was so overwhelmed by the production, in EVERY way, that I actually had a visceral reaction to it. I mean, it made me FEEL so many emotions. I laughed. I cried, etc. The acting and writing were simply superb. The battle scenes were staggeringly real AND effective. You could FEEL the terror of battle. In fact, there were times that the carnage of combat was so horrific that I had to look away. And when I did return my gaze, my eyes were filled with tears. I believe that, for as violent and gory as some of the scenes were, the bloodshed was NEVER simply gratuitous. The level of human savagery at such times was clearly displayed and, despite the very real moments of desperate bravery, always left me with this message: there is NO glory in war. And even the victors are effected. No one can survive that and NOT be changed.

There is a point at the end of one of the episodes that brings us to a special hospital after a particularly brutal battle. It is special because the patients are not suffering from physical wounds but, rather, ones of the mind and SOUL. Today, we call it PTSD. In those days it was known as Battle Fatigue. There bodies may be alive but their souls have died. This creates a type of emotional conflict that only be described as madness. And EVERONE is affected by it to different degrees. Yes, even the so-called victors suffer. The only thing that ultimately eases their pain is the belief that they won because their cause was more just.

But, doesn't EVERY soldier feel that way?

This is another important theme expressed in the series.

They say that this cauldron of unspeakable brutality reveals both the best AND worst of human nature. And the battle scenes within the series reinforce this tenet.

There are warriors whose fierce ethos allows them to not only survive but actually thrive in battle. There are those whose lack of character labels them as cowardsAnd, of course, there are the rest of us who do our best to acknowledge our fear while at the same time finding the strength to overcome it. However, they are ALL human!

In the end, the message I took from this outstanding series, especially considering what is happening around the globe, is that there is no such thing as a good war. EVERYONE suffers. And, it begs the question; if we KNOW it to be so horrible, why do we keep waging it?

Rhetorical you say? Perhaps. But, I'd like to think we have the answer. We even have a word for it - LOVE.


 

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Todays' MOZEN: The Way of The World

We live in an age of technological marvels. When I think of the staggering amount of change someone like my mother who lived through most of the 20th Century and into the 21st witnessed, it truly boggles the mind.

Perhaps the most impressive of these achievements is the amount of information we receive and process on a daily basis. We have something called The Internet to thank for this. It's not hyperbole to claim that we consume more information in a single afternoon than most generations before us did in their lifetimes!

And, it's both a blessing and a curse.

It is a blessing for what should be the obvious reasons: it puts virtually ALL of the world's collective knowledge at our fingertips. Today, there is absolutely NO excuse for willful ignorance. If (and it's a BIG IF) we know how to access this information and view it with an eye towards actual learning and understand instead of mindless acceptance simply because we WANT it to be true, there is NOTHING we can't learn.

However, it is also a curse because THAT much information, especially when so much of it is just blatant crap and lies, can be an assault on the senses with its own corresponding modern day mental disorders.

Having worked as a journalist, mostly in the TV News profession, I have a natural curiosity and healthy desire to KNOW and UNDERSTAND things. So, even in retirement, I find myself as a great consumer of information - ALL kinds of it.

Again, allow me to use my endless supply of hackneyed phrases because, once again: what's good about that is also what's bad. It's two sides of the same coin. It's Yin and Yang.

So I find myself between a rock and a hard place (OMG, I did it again!). I voraciously devour information on a daily basis while at the same time abhor some of the things I read about!

And, it can be overwhelming.

Perhaps what I grapple with most is how vast the range of the human experience is. How can it be that we, as a species are capable of the most sublime thought, the most heartfelt compassion, the most joyful expressions like music and art, selfless acts of giving, a drive to learn and know more, and a desire to simply love and be loved while being the absolute antithesis of everything that I just wrote, i.e. greedy, cruel, willfully ignorant, angry, and loveless. In other words, people suck.

Well, I suppose the best way to deal with the confusion is to acknowledge that THIS is what we are: a complex creature with a range of thought and emotion like no other creature. Yes, other creatures think and feel too, but not with the complexity of the human being.

But, I can't control what others think or feel. Actually, I have no desire to. I have enough on my plate just dealing with my own issues and feelings. So, I control what I can, i.e. my thoughts and then, actions. And, both are more simple to achieve than you can imagine.

First, I've come to learn that I don't have to be everything to everyone. I just have to be myself and trust in the principals I have always held dear - the ones bequeathed me by parents:

- Respect all life.

- Love is always more powerful than hate.

- Be honest.

- Be fearless when you know it's important to be.

- Have integrity.

- Live to learn and learn to live.

- Never raise your fists FIRST in anger.

- Always protect yourself.

- Never touch others without THEIR permission.

- Never let others touch you without YOUR permission.

- Never mark your body or allow others to do so.

- Try to be a good friend.

- Don't judge yourself by the success or failure of others.

- Protect the innocent, even at your own peril.

- Never let anyone deliberately insult you.

- Never deliberately insult others.

- There is no substitute for experience.

- It's OK to fail.

- It's OK to cry.

- What people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms is their own business.

- When one door closes, another opens.

- The world owes you nothing!

Look, I don't have ALL the answers. But does anyone? Really? Like virtually all of us, I'm just doing the best that I can to make sense of a world who's very existence came to being in chaos! It can be the way of the world - just don't make it yours.


 

Friday, January 19, 2024

Today's MOZEN: Preaching To The Choir - Again!

Frank LoBuono

We're all guilty of it. At some point after repeating to ourselves over and over again, we just say, why bother? Nothing changes. And, if you're my age, you may recall the oft-repeated parental mantra; why do I have to keep saying this until I'm blue in the face?

As we seem at some inevitable point to become our parents, we find ourselves parroting the same themes, well, because they're mostly true.

This is one of those times when I currently find myself in the same predicament as it comes to my opposition to one Presidential candidate: Donald J. Trump.

Why bother?

I get frustrated saying the same things to the same audience, over and over again. And I've been doing it for years. Mr. Trump is a poor excuse not only for a leader but even as a decent human being. He is NOT FIT for ANY important position, much less as the most powerful man in the world.

The fact that his repeated abhorrent and even illegal behavior is not only tolerated but supported by millions simply boggles the mind of any reasonable human being. DJT does not appeal to me on ANY level and I can't reason how it might to others. I simply can't.

And its not just a personality conflict. That man and his followers are DANGEROUS. His outrageous, above-the-law, take-no-prisoners personality reeks of despotism. He abuses women and bullies subordinates. The more he steals from them the more they seem to support him. Our Constitution that insists that no one is above the law doesn't seem to apply here - not when it comes to one DJT.

His minions rally under the flag of fascism masquerading as patriotism. They greedily gobble up the raw meat of hatred and bigotry he happily feeds them on a daily basis. They roar at his ridiculous taunts and insults of anyone who opposes him like a 12 year-old school yard bully instead of a former President of the United States.

They continually ignore his mounting legal problems, even making him a martyr for the cause of White Privilege.  Trump's anti-migrant, violent, fear and loathing rhetoric fits their narrative that this is a white, Christian country with no room for anyone else who doesn't fit that description.

Tragically, as displayed by the despicable behavior his followers exhibited on 1/6, they are even willing to destroy our very Republic on HIS behalf - all for a pack of lies

Just because I haven't said it ENOUGH, Donald J. Trump is NOT a leader. He IS a thief, liar, and grifter. He will never be more than that, no matter how many continue to buy his shit.

And to once again prove that I have indeed become my parents, I will add another ancient but accurate expression: I'm preaching to the choir.

I know.

Now, this now brings me back to my original theme for this post:

Why bother?

Who's mind will I really change?

Well, probably no one who will actually read this post. But I don't know that for sure.

One thing I DO know comes from one of the most brilliant American voices of all time, Dr. Martin Luther King:

Our lives begin to end the day we begin to become silent about things that matter.

So, Dr. King, I will honor you. My life will not end. Not now. I WILL NOT BE SILENT.

SAVE DEMOCRACY. VOTE. VOTE. VOTE!

Monday, January 15, 2024

Today's MOSTLY TRUE SHORT STORY: I Was There - The Miracle On The Hudson

F LoBuono

It was a day very much like today; a beautiful, clear and brutally cold January day with windchills hovering in the teens and single digits. I was working the 3p-11p shift as a cameraman/technician for CBS News at the Broadcast Center on W57th and 11th Ave. in Midtown.

My shift began as most usually did, i.e. pretty normally and without much fanfare. The 7a-3p crew leaves and the 3p-11p gang takes over. 24/7-365. I was actually scheduled to be working AT the Broadcast Center.

Well, that didn't last long.

As I recall, around 4pm we start getting reports that a plane had just landed on the Hudson River AND it was IN THE WATER just down the street from the Broadcast Center. US Airways flight 1549 was down!

If you haven't been in a newsroom when BIG news breaks you have no idea how quickly a routine day of mostly boredom can turn into a cacophony of sound and a flurry of action that can be most accurately described as the shit hitting the fan.

Since this was all happening right down the street, we didn't even wait for our broadcast trucks to roll. We were told to get whatever you needed ASAP and GET THERE! 

So, I grabbed my coat, my camera gear and tore ass, running down W57th St towards the last reported sighting of the plane: the NY Waterway Ferry Terminal just a few blocks south.

My instructions were to begin to cover the scene as best as possible and wait for a reporter to join me. We would then be joined by our broadcast trucks to begin LIVE reporting from the location.

Of course, we would not be alone as just about every news crew in town would eventually be there. But we were FIRST because we were closest.

AP Photo

Within a short time, I was joined by our reporter, Wendy Gillette. I remember that, since she was scheduled that evening to desk produce and not field report, how lightly dressed she was for the brutal cold. I took particular notice that she was wearing just lightweight shoes and women's stockings. This would eventually prove problematic.

We stayed there as a team, working in the brutal cold for our entire 8 hour shift until we were eventually replaced by the night crew to continue the 24 hour coverage of this extraordinary story. I can't recall many times where the cold was more punishing. It had gotten so frigid that we feared that Ms. Gillette's feet were in danger of getting frostbite!

Being the consummate professional, she finished her shift without complaint and suffered no permanent damage.

But this is typical of virtually all of the journalists I worked with at CBS. Each one, including technicians, dedicate themselves to telling a full, truthful story, often at great peril and at the cost of one's health and comfort.

There were many heroes from that day including the captain, crew, passengers and 1st responders who saved so many lives. But we often overlook the journalists of all skills who risk so much to do the job of making sure that their heroism is recognized. 

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Today's MOZEN: Sometimes The Magic Works

 

Frank LoBuono

In order for magical moments to happen, a few things must occur:

First, you have to suspend belief in what you know in your logical mind and yield to the possibility that it was all part of a bigger unplanned plan. 

Next, you have to believe that magic can and and does exist.

Then, accept that magical things often happen under the most simple of circumstances and at times least expected.

And, lastly, you must acknowledge the fact that sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn't.

With that in mind, I'd like to share an experience.

I was dressing this morning when I decided to throw on a pair of sweat pants that I hadn't worn in at least a few days. While adjusting the waist band, I felt something in my pocket.

When I reached in, I discovered a small neckless that I had been searching for for about a week. It's simple a leather strip with a dangling crystal. It's certainly not an expensive item but it has tremendous sentimental value to me.

It was given to me by the daughter of one of my dearest friends in the world. She lives in Florence, Italy and I met her many years ago while traveling. We have been fast friends ever since and I have watched her family grow over our 30 year relationship.

She is one of the most gentle people I have ever met and her artist-daughter seems to have inherited the same genes. Her daughter gifted me the neckless on my last visit to their home in Italy. I promised then that I would always wear it close to my heart.

And I have.

However, there are times when it just has to come off.

When I do remove it, I have always done my best to place it in a spot where I could find it again. And, generally speaking, it's worked. But, like my cellphone, god forbid I should leave it in the same spot EVERY time.

Therefore, unfortunately, despite its value, this was not the first time it was misplaced.

But I DO remember removing it and I THINK I remember placing in the pocket of one of my garments. But, as I remember it, that garment was one of my fleece vests that I frequently wear in the winter.

So, I concentrated my search efforts on the 4 or 5 just such vests I own - to NO avail.

But, I never lost faith that it must be SOMEWHERE in the house.

Well, this morning, not looking at all, there it was - in a totally unexpected place. You should have seen the smile come to face. It's back wear it belongs; around my neck.

So, my friends, sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't. This morning it did.

KEEP THE FAITH!



Friday, July 21, 2023

fallen gods II

Words and photo by F LoBuono

 fallen gods


How I love the rain in summer

the Thunder and Lightning

at night

when nature’s awesome power is displayed
for all to see

in a bolt
to pale even the brightest city.

How I love the rain in summer

its boastful roar
beckons a query:
“Must you bellow and exult in your fearsome power,
Old Man”?


How I love the rain in summer

to hear its gentle clatter -
a soft and peaceful music
played upon my bedroom roof
to ease a troubled mind into blissful sleep.

How I love the rain in summer

for the relief it brings
to a parched and thirsty land

Listen

you can hear the earth drink
after a day’s summer swelter.

How I love the rain in summer

filling the air with scent
Fresh, Clean, Renewed
an odor of union
between earth and sky.

How I love the rain in summer

for the gift it truly is
for the memories in my mind
Flowing
like streams of water

Tears

from some fallen god’s eye.


Monday, June 5, 2023

Today's MOZEN: With Regard to Our Humanity

Original Photo by F LoBuono


While watching the local TV news, I was amazed by the vast range of human behavior exhibited in 2 stories, broadcast back to back, and that lasted for a total of about 3 1/2 minutes.

But, in that short period of time, I was moved to tears by the compassion shown in one story and horrified by the lack of any decency in the other.

Stephen Siller
The first feature was a LIVE update on the Tunnel To Towers event that raises money for various 911 and military families with runners from all over the world by recreating the steps of NYFD firefighter Stephen Siller who, despite being off duty, ran - literally - in full pack - back through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and into the dying towers on 911. His body was never recovered.

The event honors ALL of the First Responders who gave their lives on that faithful day.

William Burke
One of the them was William Francis Burke, a.k.a. Captain Billy Burke of the NYFD, Engine 21. After ordering his men to evacuate the mortally wounded North Tower of the Trade Center, he went back to the 27 Floor where he refused to leave a man in a wheelchair and his friend who could not be moved any further. Despite knowing his fate was sealed, he would not leave a defenseless man, an act not only of incredible courage but of immense compassion, as well.

The three perished together. Their bodies were also never recovered.

The second story was about a robbery/shooting in a bodega in Brooklyn. In the video shown, a tall young man wearing a dark hoody and mask enters the store. Within seconds, he produces a handgun and starts shooting INSIDE the store, possibly targeting an employee by still indiscriminately blasting away! Who, despite his intended target, might have been also injured or killed was obviously of no concern to this man.

It's easy to call him a coward and monster. He certainly exhibited the behavior of a person bereft of any moral compass, especially when seen in contrast to the 1st story.

However, in addition to the disgust that I felt for this misanthrope, I could not help but acknowledge that, despite the extreme range in behavior, BOTH of these men are just that, MEN, i.e., HUMAN BEINGS. We can label both, hailing one as a hero and the other as a creep.

But, by doing so, are we really coming to an understand of what it truly means to BE human? How is that one gives to humanity in the ultimate way and another takes from it without regard to moral judgement?

I suppose that this is a rhetorical question. Well, at least I don't have the answers.

What I DO know is that the only way to combat the evil that lurks in the hearts of men is to counter it with the type of courage and compassion exhibited by so many on the fateful day.

BOTH lie within. The choice is ours.

Frank LoBuono