I don't know about you, but I'm weary of the level of anger, disrespect and selfishness we're bombarded with everyday in the news. For those who've forgotten what true "brotherhood" and respect look like, here's an instructional tale. 
Thank you, Steve Hartman. I wish I could claim you -- along with singer Johnny Hartman -- as a cousin.  

Before I throw out this newspaper, let me pass it along to those of you with teenage children or grandchildren. 

When I was their age, I assumed my friends and I would follow a similar path to a fairly conventional adulthood. We’d do alright, but none of us would likely set the world on fire. I don’t imagine kids today think much differently, do they? 

When I got out of school, there were people I kept up with, and those I didn’t. Those friendships that began in college and are still intact are precious indeed, and include several Birds readers. I just assumed those I left behind  blended into the woodwork that supports all of our daily comings and goings. In many ways, I was exactly right. 

The University of Maryland required freshmen to attend a week-long campus orientation program that began just before the start of school. Orientation was run by the Dean of Students, with help from Student Government Organization members.

Each freshman was paired up with a buddy who might mentor five or six students that week, and was available throughout the year, as needed, whenever a freshman had a problem. Our buddies took us around and showed us the ropes—where to go, what to avoid, how to survive in a complex and competitive environment.

Ours taught us the campus lingo, and encouraged us to get involved in student activities, but also devote plenty of time to what we were there for.  

I was barely 17 and from out of state. My buddy was a short blond senior, a real Marylander, probably 21 or 22. Everyone we walked past on campus seemed to know this gregarious SGO officer and real BMOC. 

That’s him on the right, the guy with the white hair, the big smile and the red tie. I knew him as Steny. Now he’s Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-MD, House Majority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives, a real BMOC. 

Now, for something completely different! I figure we all can use a good laugh.

Here’s a commercial for the French television show, Canal+, en français.  Amusez-vous!

Most people my age grew up with the tragic story of Anne Frank who, with her family, hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam until 1944, when they were found and sent to a concentration camp. The diary she left behind was a must-read for my generation.

Sadly, many of our own children probably don't know her story, and it's even more likely our grandchilden never will. 

Somehow, a video that appears to show her has surfaced and is available on You Tube. I'm sharing it with you, assuming it's real. But, I will take it down if I learn it's not authentic. 
I've been to Amsterdam, but didn't have time to visit the house where the Franks lived. I definitely will go there on my next trip. 

Here's an educational video about Anne and her family:

You may have thought, with health care reform at center stage, employment at record highs and the economy near shambles, newspapers would have plenty to publish on their very expensive newsprint. Wrong.

Apparently, Friday was a very slow news day.

This, from the front page of Saturday's Recorder (Greenfield MA):

Heroic Goldfish Heads Home

BUCKLAND -- The little goldfish that could is back home and safely swimming with his tank mate.

'Poopsie,' the 3-inch goldfish who took a swim through Buckland's sewer system earlier this week, was reunited with his family on Wednesday.

Wastewater treatment plant operator Alan Nichols and Chief Operator Daniel Fleuriel have seen many dead goldfish come through the plant, because so many pet fish are given 'flushing funerals' after they die. But a live goldfish coming through the sewage, twitching against a screen that filters larger objects, was a shock to both, said Board of Selectmen Chairman Stefan Racz.

Sherry Clark, town administrator and administrative assistant to the Board of Selectmen, named the rescued fish 'Poopsie.'

'That was for obvious reasons,' she said with a giggle.

Clark said when Fleuriel told employees at Town Hall what had happened, they thought, 'Wow, this is Buckland's fish!'

'Everyone is very, very happy that Poopsie was reunited with his family,' said Clark. 'And the family was delighted.'


My husband is a very lucky man. He says he's a licensed electrician, but I know he's in the stress-reduction and bliss-delivery business.  

Five mornings a week, he's out rescuing unfortunate people from the cold and the dark. He also saves people who are miserable from living with ugly light fixtures and inconvenient outlets. He goes out, does whatever-it-is-he-does and, by the end of the day, he's got happy customers whose frowns have turned into smiles of gratitude. He gets thank yous almost every day. Is that fair?

As happy as I am for his good fortune, I've harbored a certain amount of envy over the instant gratification he gets from his work. I mean, in spite of paychecks and raises, how many of us have ever been thanked for the work we do?  

We may write well, nurse, cook, raise kids, negotiate, prosecute, analyse, coordinate and supervise with the best of them, but it's a rainy day in LA before anyone picks up a phone to tell us how much they appreciate our work. Am I right?

That's how it's been for me, at least. 

Until last week. (Click Read More to see the rest of this story)