Saturday, July 26, 2014

Understanding the deep hatred between the Palestinians & Jews

Good Day World!

The world does not understand what it’s like to be a Jew in an Arab world. Israel stands alone in the midst of it’s traditional enemies.

Civilized countries are appalled at the terrible civilian toll this latest war is taking. The Palestinian people are caught between a defiant terrorist organization – Hamas – and Israel.

When Hamas decided to lob hundreds of rockets into Israel the response was automatic; the Jews struck back harder.

The rockets continue to come despite the Israeli Defense Forces retaliatory invasion of the Gaza strip. The battle has settled into urban guerilla warfare – something that Hamas has been planning for a long time.

The battleground has shifted below the earth’s surface into tunnels where Hamas soldiers slink in the dark looking for targets behind their enemies lines. There is no end in sight.

Peace between the two adversaries seems impossible. The deep-seated hatreds on both sides will take generations to heal if a peace process ever takes root.

To illustrate this deeply ingrained hatred here’s a short story:

Arieh Eldad is a medical doctor specializing in plastic surgery and a member of Israel's Knesset. He served as the Director of Hadassah Hospital, Ein Kerem's Department of Plastic Surgery from 2000 to 2003 and is the Founder and Chairman of the Israeli Burn Association.

Eldad wrote about a burn patient who became a suicide bomber:

On 20 June 2005, twenty-one-year-old Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss was detained at a crossing into Israel when something about her gait struck the guards on duty at that post as somewhat amiss.

This Palestinian woman was arrested after a search revealed she had been carrying 22 lbs. of explosives strapped to her body.

While al-Biss had ostensibly been attempting to enter Israel to attend a follow-up appointment at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva, questioning revealed that it had been her intent to detonate the payload she'd been carrying at that institution.

The would-be bomber had been treated there five months previous for severe burns received after a gas canister exploded on a fire while she was cooking at her refugee camp home in the Gaza Strip.” (source/Snopes)

This story is shocking because it assails our Western way of thinking. We think, How could someone repay such kindness with such hate?” We’re appalled that someone would commit suicide in order to kill others. 

The answer lies in generations of fear and hatred. Without being a Palestinian, or an Israeli Jew, there’s no way anyone else can understand. All the world can do is watch innocent people die over an ideological battleground.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, July 25, 2014

A basketball legend in my own mind – and that’s fine


 Good Day World!

 The older we get the more daring we perceive our past deeds to have been.

Memories, blurred by the passage of time, take on heroic proportions when recalling our younger days. People, like myself in their mid 60s and older, like to recall past glories sometimes.

I always loved basketball. I spent countless hours playing pickup games throughout high school.

I passed on playing for the high school team because I knew my grades weren’t good enough – and besides…I learned more on those outdoor courts than the scholars did playing their organized ball games in gyms with wooden floors.

Over the years I played pickup games across the country, stopping at schoolyards with my buddy, and challenging the locals to two-on-two. Sometimes it was full court and we made sure to be on the same team.

I played for the 101st MPs when I was in the Army and stationed at Ft. McArthur. I didn’t start because the other two guys playing guard were better than I was. At 6’2, I was small, even for a guard.

Later, I played in a city league while working for Ford Motor Company in Cleveland, Ohio. I was the only white guy on the team and the shortest. I earned the right to start, and played point guard. We won the city league title that year. It was probably the high point of my basketball glory days.

I kept playing pickup games after getting married and having three children – all boys. I made sure to teach them the game and other sports. We would play 3 on 1 at an outside basketball court located at the nearby high school.

The decades slipped by, and the stories I told my boys about my basketball power’s were often embellished. In short, I became a legend in my own mind (see top left photo).

I wonder how often that happens to people? 

These days my back and knees are shot. I walk slowly. Running and jumping are becoming memories. But you should hear some of the great stories I have about playing hoops and lessons in life learned on the basketball court.

Perhaps someday, I’ll write about them.

Time for me to walk on down the road… 


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The year was 1989 & I was the publisher of ‘The Arcata Union’


Good Day World!

My contribution to Throwback Thursday goes back 25 years when I was in the newspaper business.

The Arcata Union was a weekly newspaper that published from 1886 to 1995 in and for the city of Arcata, California.

I was the publisher of this historical newspaper from 1988-90, when I moved on to manage a group of newspapers in the Palm Springs area.

In the photo on the left, I’m showing elementary school children from Arcata how a newspaper is made at the old Arcata Union building.

I was sharing how a page was created by pasting up images and text that would go on to be shot by a camera in the net step of the production process.

Note: this method is a dead technology now thanks to computers.


The photo on the right shows my editorial staff -

Left to right front row: Joan, Tony, Karen

Left to right: Yep! that’s me, and Paul DeMark the editor.

I really enjoyed being associated with a newspaper that had such great history. It was the second time I had the honor of running a historical newspaper.

Prior to my arrival at The Union, I was the manager/editor of The Desert Trail, in 29 Palms California. It was another 100 year-plus publication.

I went from the desert to the Redwoods, getting to experience totally different climates.Today, I’m happily retired in Medford, Oregon.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Surviving in a down economy is more important than tackling pollution – or is it?


“Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”
- Cree Indian Prophecy
   Americans are dying every day from polluted air, land, rivers, and oceans. Our food chain is polluted with pesticides, steroids, and hormones. Study after study warns us we can’t keep going on like this.

   In a twist of irony, Americans' concerns about environmental problems have decreased with the drop in support for various environmental policies and the higher priority currently assigned to economic growth, according to an April 13th Gallup Study (“Worry about U.S. Water, Air Pollution at Historical lows”).

The economic downturn has forced Americans to focus more on bread-and-butter economic issues than quality-of-life issues, the study concluded. The future is uncertain.

  Over 29 percent of America’s bees (located in California and Florida) have vanished and scientists are concerned. It’s been predicted that if we lose our bees, we will only have a few years of food left.

“One in every three bites of food you eat comes from a plant, or depends on a plant, that was pollinated by an insect, most likely a bee," said Dennis vanEngelsdorp of Penn State University's College of Agricultural Sciences, during a Associated Press interview.

  They found a wide variety of pesticides and other chemicals in the hives, but didn’t think any one chemical was strong enough to be lethal. However, they did feel it was possible that some of the chemicals could combine in harmful ways not yet understood.

  "The 98 pesticides and metabolites detected in mixtures up to 214 ppm parts per million in bee pollen alone represent a remarkably high level for toxicants in the brood and adult food of this primary pollinator," Mullin and his colleagues wrote in the journal Public Library of Science-One.

  The run off from factories and air fallout into the oceans have increased the contaminates in our fish so much that the fish oils we purchase for our omega 3 healthy oils, contain traces of mercury, PCBs and dioxins.

  Our soil is getting heavily polluted by toxic materials and dangerous microorganisms, which enter through air, water and the food chain. These soil pollutants come from;
Agricultural waste, Industrial waste, Urban waste, and Hazardous waste.

  The biggest offender by far is industrial waste discharged from paper and pulp industries, conventional and atomic power plants, mining and smelting operations, etc.

  A recent pollution concern is that components could fail at the nation’s largest radioactive cleanup site, a first-of-its-kind $12 Billion waste treatment plant in at Hanford in Washington State. It’s designed to last 30 years, another shortsighted solution to a huge problem.

   The Department of Energy began looking into potentially serious flaws at the Hanford Site facility in January 2013. The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board wants more tests and analyses to validate the designs for key components of the plant, which is meant to stabilize and contain 56 million gallons of radioactive waste.

  With all this scary information on hand you’d think people would want to be more proactive and cooperative.  We all live on the same planet. Breath the same air. Drink the same water. Common sense would suggest we work together on our common challenges.

   Unfortunately, common sense has taken a back seat to partisan ideologies more concerned with making money by any means possible, than with the public’s safety. No amount of man-made disasters, like the Deep Water Horizon tragedy, seems to stop the money mongers’ pursuit of oil.

   Lobbyists protect our polluters/corporations with massive amounts of money to corrupt politicians who write the laws. There’s no respect for the land. Environmentalists are belittled by right-wing conservatives who serve their money God.

   I’ve heard people compare the fall of the Roman Empire to America’s rapidly crumbling infrastructure, but our downfall will be even more devastating.

No kingdoms will rise in its place, because America will be a polluted wasteland, unfit for animal or human habitation for eons to come.

  Until that time comes, thousands of Americans will continue to die every day, victims of politics that protect the polluters. Bit players in a slowing dying civilization that lost it’s way a long time ago.

  Forgive me for painting such a bleak future. I know there are people fighting to correct our numerous pollution problems, but when I read the daily news it seems the bad guys are winning. 
Our country’s fate reflects the biblical passage from Galatians 6:7 “… whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”

-Dave Stancliff

This column originally appeared on April 22nd, 2013, in the Times-Standard newspaper, Eureka, California

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Selfies Hack: The Good, Bad, & the Ugly

Good Day World!

I’m going to assume you know what a “selfie” is.

If not, then please refer to “selfie” in the Oxford Dictionary.

It was proclaimed the 2013 word of the year by the Oxford Dictionaries and I doubt if you can go a day without hearing the word or witnessing a “selfie.”

“Selfies” are a snapshot of society. A moment of triumph, and of utter defeat. A brief visual insight into someone’s soul. A cry for attention in a world of strangers.


Taking selfies isn’t hurting anyone.

In fact, looking at images of yourself and your friends and other real life, un-photoshopped people may be good for one’s body image.

What’s wrong with taking a nice picture of yourself to remind yourself that you don’t have to be Kate Moss to look and feel good? Or sharing a silly selfie with your friends to get a laugh? Or even to make a bunch of silly faces when you’re bored and find them in your photo stream a week later?


Photo: Danielle Sexton Facebook/Gawker This “selfie” (left-woman in colored leopard skin dress) got the taker busted. She apparently enjoys five-fingered discounts and got caught.

The 27-year-old Illinois woman was accused of stealing several items from a clothing store and was busted after she posted pictures of herself in a shoplifted dress on Facebook.

Might want to add stupid to this example of a “selfie.”


Before you snap that “selfie,” check in and ask why you're taking this particular photo, suggests Ellen Kenner, Ph.D., a psychologist in Rhode Island.

"If you love the way you look one day, or are in a playful mood and want to capture it for yourself as a memory, or share it with friends and family, there is fun and self-valuing in that," she says, and your friends and family will enjoy seeing you genuinely happy or excited.

The problem, she explains, occurs when you're waiting for feedback from others. If you spend the next 20 minutes furiously clicking refresh, or wishing specific people commented, then it could be a sign that you're overly dependent on external feedback to determine your inner happiness.

"All the selfies in the world won't replace genuine self-esteem," reminds Kenner.

"A lot of energy goes into a selfie, especially if you're the type of person in the habit of taking them all the time," warns Jaime Kulaga, Ph.D., a psychologist in Tampa. "An occasional selfie is part of being on social media, but more than a few may signify an underlying confidence issue."

Editor’s Note: See more information about “selfies” at top right corner of this page under Visit Dave at Learnist

Time for me to walk on down the road…


Monday, July 21, 2014

75th Anniversary of Baseball Hall of Fame’s newest exhibit, Babe Ruth

With 2014 being the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the shrine naturally has turned to the game’s greatest star to help mark the occasion with its newest exhibit, “Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend.”

2014 also marks the 100th anniversary of the Babe's debut in the major leagues. But if you you can’t make it to Cooperstown, N.Y., here are some lesser-known facts about the sport’s real-life Paul Bunyan.

1. How he became the Babe

George Herman Ruth acquired the nickname “Babe” while playing for the Baltimore Orioles, a minor league team in 1914, when he was referred to by a team scout as “one of [manager] Jack Dunn’s babes.” Ruth’s big-league career began at midseason that year when the Orioles of the International League sold him and two others players to the Red Sox for $8,000. 

Read the rest here.

Editor’s Note: Check out the Babe’s biography and more at top right corner of this page – Dave at Learnist

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Domestic Terrorists: re-defining gangs in America

Good Day World!

I hear a lot of talk about domestic terrorists but seldom see street gangs included in the conversation. Why is that?

The statutory definition of domestic terrorism in the United States has changed many times over the years; also, it can be argued that acts of domestic terrorism have been occurring since long before any legal definition was set forth.

According to a memo produced by the FBI's Terrorist Research and Analytical Center in 1994, domestic terrorism was defined as "the unlawful use of force or violence, committed by a group(s) of two or more individuals, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."

Under current United States law, set forth in the USA PATRIOT Act, acts of domestic terrorism are those which:

"(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended— (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States."


Some 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs with about 1.4 million members are criminally active in the U.S. today.

Many are sophisticated and well organized; all use violence to control neighborhoods and boost their illegal money-making activities, which include robbery, drug and gun trafficking, fraud, extortion, and prostitution rings.

According to the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report, gangs are responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crime in most jurisdictions, and up to 90 percent in others. source/FBI

If you compare the definition of terrorists (and terrorist acts) set down by the Patriot Act and the crimes committed by street gangs, you’ll see very little difference.

Which leads me to ask, which group is responsible for the most violent acts throughout the year? Those who Homeland Security call domestic terrorists, or street gangs? The answer is obvious. The street gangs. 



El Salvador’s capital — and indeed nearly the entire country — is a checkerboard in which gang territories circumscribe the movement of those in the lower economic rungs of society, and especially young men.

The chaos also provides an incentive for Salvadorans to try to flee north for the safety of the United States. Experts trying to explain the huge increase in children and teens who’ve arrived in the United States say anecdotal evidence points at least in part to the hold that criminal gangs have in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

While flight to the United States might be one way people are trying to escape the violence, there’s an ironic symmetry: El Salvador’s gang problem has its genesis in the United States, from the time of the country’s civil war, which also sent tens of thousands of Salvadorans fleeing to the United States.

The gangs began among El Salvadoran refugees — many of them young ex-soldiers — who came to Los Angeles to escape civil war in their home country in the 1980s. Salvadorans congregated in large numbers in L.A.’s Pico-Union neighborhood and the area near MacArthur Park.

For young people, that war — which wracked El Salvador from 1980 to 1992 and left at least 75,000 civilians dead — is ancient history. But by the time peace accords were signed, the gangs were on the rise, formed by gang members who had been deported from Los Angeles.

“Those kids 18 and 20 years old who joined the gangs have now grown up,” said Ilopango Mayor Salvador Ruano. “We’ve now had at least three generations of gang members.” (source)

It’s bad enough that we have over one million gangbangers in the USA terrorizing neighborhoods from coast to coast, but the gangs are taking over other counties now. Where will it stop?

Where All the Madness Began: A Look at Gang History

It’s apparent local authorities are losing the battle against gangs in practically every city in the country.

One example: Summer weekend 2014 worse than St. Valentine's Day Massacre

Until gangs are classified as “domestic terrorists” and the Department of Homeland Security can help fight them, it’s only going to get worse. All out war on gangs needs to happen if we don’t want our entire social structure to collapse amid the chaos they bring.

Gangs are the biggest threat to the general publics safety in the USA today. When are we going to realize that?

Time for me to walk on down the road…


Sunday, July 20, 2014

About Soupy Sales: comedian, radio-personality & jazz aficionado

Good Day World!

Do you remember Soupy Sales?

I grew up with him and always watched his shows. I stayed a fan of his right up until the end.

He was a fascinating man with many talents. Few people probably know that he held a Masters Degree in Journalism.

He was best known for his local and network children's television show, Lunch with Soupy Sales; a series of comedy sketches frequently ending with Sales receiving a pie in the face, which became his trademark.

Sales got his nickname from his family. His older brothers had been nicknamed "Hambone" and "Chicken Bone." Milton was dubbed "Soup Bone," which was later shortened to "Soupy". When he became a disc jockey, he began using the stage name Soupy Hines. After he became established, it was decided that "Hines" was too close to the Heinz soup company, so he chose Sales, in part after vaudeville comedian Chic Sale.

He enlisted in the United States Navy and served on the USS Randall (APA-224) in the South Pacific during the latter part of World War II. He sometimes entertained his shipmates by telling jokes and playing crazy characters over the ship's public address system.

One of the characters he created was "White Fang", a large dog that played outrageous practical jokes on the seamen. The sounds for "White Fang" came from a recording of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Sales enrolled in Marshall College in Huntington, where he earned a Master's Degree in Journalism.

He’s best known for his daily children's television show, Lunch With Soupy. The show was originally called 12 O'Clock Comics, and was later known as The Soupy Sales Show. Improvised and slapstick in nature, Lunch with Soupy Sales was a rapid-fire stream of comedy sketches, gags, and puns, almost all of which resulted in Sales receiving a pie in the face, which became his trademark.

Sales developed pie-throwing into an art form: straight to the face, on top of the head, a pie to both ears from behind, moving into a stationary pie, and countless other variations. He claimed that he and his visitors had been hit by more than 20,000 pies during his career.

He recounted a time when a young fan mistakenly threw a frozen pie at his neck and he "dropped like a pile of bricks."

Lunch With Soupy began in 1953 from the studios of WXYZ-TV, Channel 7. Beginning in October 1959, Sales's lunch show was broadcast nationally on the ABC television network.

During the same period that Lunch With Soupy aired in Detroit, Sales also hosted a nighttime show, Soup's On, to compete with 11 O'Clock News programs.

The guest star was always a musician, and frequently a jazz performer, at a time when jazz was popular in Detroit and the city was home to twenty-four jazz clubs. Sales believed that his show helped sustain jazz in Detroit, as artists would regularly sell out their nightclub shows after appearing on Soup's On.


  • White Fang, "The Biggest and Meanest Dog in the USA", who appeared only as a giant white shaggy paw with black triangular felt "claws", jutting out from the corner of the screen. Fang spoke with unintelligible short grunts and growls, which Soupy repeated back in English, for comic effect. White Fang was often the pie thrower when Soupy's jokes bombed.
  • Black Tooth, "The Biggest and Sweetest Dog in the USA", also seen only as a giant black paw with white triangular felt claws, and with more feminine, but similarly unintelligible, dialogue. Black Tooth's trademark was pulling Soupy off-camera to give loud and noisy kisses.
  • For a short time there was a third dog character that became White Fang's girlfriend, Marilyn Monwolf. She caused some rivalry of affections between Blacktooth and White Fang, but later jilted them both for Joe Dogmaggio.
  • Pookie the Lion, a lion puppet appearing in a large window behind Soupy (1950s), was a hipster with a rapier wit. For example: Soupy: "Do you know why my life is so miserable?" Pookie: "You got me!" Soupy: "That's why!" One of Pookie's favorite lines when greeting Soupy was, "Hey bubby... want a kiss?". In the Detroit shows, Pookie never spoke but communicated in whistles. That puppet also was used to mouth the words while pantomiming novelty records on the show.
  • Hippy the Hippo, a minor character who occasionally appeared with Pookie the Lion and never spoke. Frank Nastasi gave Hippy a voice for the New York shows. Clyde Adler also voiced Hippy in the shows done in the late 1970s.


  • Peaches, Soupy's girlfriend, visually played by footage of Sales in feminine costume.
  • Philo Kvetch, a private detective played by Sales in a long-running comedy skit during the show's New York run (a parody of early 20th century fictional detective Philo Vance).
  • The Mask, evil nemesis of Philo Kvetch, revealed in the last episode to be Nikita Khrushchev, who had been deposed about a year earlier.
  • "Onions" Oregano, henchman of The Mask, played by Frank Nastasi, who ate loads of onions. Every time Oregano would breathe in Philo's direction, Philo would make all sorts of comic choking faces, pull out a can of air freshener, and say "Get those onions out of here!"
  • Hobart and Reba, a husband and wife who lived in the potbelly stove on the New York set.
  • Willie the Worm was a 35-cent toy Sales got from Woolworth's, according to WXYZ art director Jack Flechsig. With animated squeezings of his rubber air bulb, the latex accordion worm flexed in and out of a little apple. Willy was "The Sickest Worm in all of Dee-troit" and suffered from a perennial cold and comically explosive sneeze. He helped read birthday greetings to Detroit-area kids while the show was on WXYZ. Willie did not survive the show's move to the Big Apple.


On January 1, 1965, miffed at having to work on the holiday, Sales ended his live broadcast by encouraging his young viewers to tiptoe into their still-sleeping parents' bedrooms and remove those "funny green pieces of paper with pictures of U.S. Presidents" from their pants and pocketbooks.

"Put them in an envelope and mail them to me", Soupy instructed the children. "And I'll send you a postcard from Puerto Rico!"

He was then hit with a pie. Several days later, a chagrined Soupy announced that money (mostly Monopoly money was unexpectedly being received in the mail. He explained that he had been joking and announced that the contributions would be donated to charity.

As parents' complaints increased, WNEW's management felt compelled to suspend Sales for two weeks. Young viewers picketed Channel 5. The uproar surrounding Sales' suspension increased his popularity. Sales described the incident in his 2001 autobiography Soupy Sez! My Life and Zany Times

From 1968 to 1975, he was a regular panelist on the syndicated revival of What's My Line? and appeared on several other TV game shows. During the 1980s Sales hosted his own show on WNBC-AM in New York City.

Sales died on October 22, 2009, at Calvary Hospice in the Bronx, New York, aged 83, from cancer.

According to writer/columnist Mark Evanier, comedian Tim Powers reported that a fan left a cream pie on Sales' Hollywood Walk of Fame star. – source Wikipedia

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...