Friday, April 22, 2011


There is no single concept of what "The American Dream" is, of course.  It is different from one generation' to a succeeding generation.  And, the Dream is different from one individual to another.

I dab a bit into history, especially family history.  Recently I had occasion to write about my two grandfathers, one of whom was a Civil War veteran from Ohio.  He died four years before I was born.

Anyway, after that war, he married and in 1867  horses-and-wagon made his way to Nebraska, where he acquired farm land by occupying it five years as per the Homestead Act.

I don't know that he and wife had a special dream, except probably to survive and live a "good life."
But, consider the opportunity factors:  readily available land,  various on-farm production possibilittes, and an expanding population that became an increasing market.

My other grandfather was not a war veteran.  He was an immigrant Englishman whose farm experience rather paralleled those of the  other g-father.

The war veteran raised crops (probably corn and wheat), some cattle and probably more than a few
pigs.  Our family yarn is that when the nearby railroad was built (probably in early 1890s) he proceeded to ship his pigs via railroad to the meat packers in St. Joe, Missouri,  with good monetary returns.

Both grandfathers retired our small Nebraska village, and their $$$-successes enabled them to
found the small-town bank, in 1901.  Whatever their earlier dreams might have been, what they achieved surely must have been epitomes of what others might envy.

Consider the circumstances as they followed pathways toward realizing "American Dreams," as compared
with the challenges USA young people and families in 2011.   Easily acqired property today?  No. Opportunities to exercise one's self-reliance and self-achieve, today?  Minimum.   A rather small-scale
social environment that encouraged good family life?  Today is different -- pressures of today are virtually
unmeasurably greater than in yester-century.  The world is smaller, our USA population rather compacted, and the pressures to achieve any sort of personal "American Dream" can be tremendous, especially as technologies keep changing the cultures. 

The grandfathers' era coped with the "demon rum" and alcoholism -- in big cities but not in the "rurals."  Today's era repeats that, plus the  burdens of potential drug addiction -- everywhere, city and rural.
As to wars, the Cuban fracas was minor, and WWI was a quarter-century in the future.  Comparison
with the recent and present warfare that cost us human lives and mountainous financial debts.  WW II,
Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya (?).

Define "The Amrican Dream" of 2011?  Whatever -- for each of our citizenry, one element of it surely has to be "mere survival," doesn't it?  Perhaps that is somewhat negative, but it is realistic, too, in this age
of potential nuclear warfare.

On the positive side, surely we all must help plant seeds of hope and nurture them.  How?  Well, emphasis on education must continuie.  The competitive spirit must be encouraged, but with full respect for the dignity and 'belief systems of our fellow man, regardless of whether they are our local neighbors or citizens in a far-off nation.

What's nost important here?  As "The American Dream" is being shaped by our young, they absolutely must  establish the self-confidence that they can and will succed, as have their forebears.

Merely  a hope for survival ? Well, that, of course -- but much, much more !!

                                                                                 -- Paul Dinnis

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Salute to Andy Borowitz

The cloud hovers, and it is darkly.  I seem to have a nuclear warfare peril obsession, and it is not the kind of Magnificent Obsession that titled a book 70 years ago.  My friends do not share my fears, I think because they just are unknowing about them.  But what the heck, maybe they are right.  The Libya disaster gets messier.  Kobe insults. Washington de-inspires.  But wait!  There comes a different cloud.  It is white.  It doesn't have a tag on it that identifies it as having been birthed by one Andy Borowitz, but I know the facts -- he is responsible for it.  He is a satirist on the Slate staff.  I don't read him there, but my St. Pete Times
prints him, and how refreshingly does he make Springtime a reality.

His thing yesterday was hilarious, entitled "Exports deplete democracy."  It spoofed that our exporting democary in Afghanistan and Iraq, etc., drains our USA stockpile of it.  Our democracy originated in Greece, and the insightful Borowitz has a Congressional pol suggesting that "we must reduce our dependence on foreign sources of government."  As to a democracy shortage,he quotes the Wisconsin governor downplaying troubles his state has had recently, as saying that democracy is "overrated."

The newspaper piece indicates that Borowitz writes from Washington.  How would it be if we installed him,
along with the likes of funsters like Jon Stewart, Letterman, Leno, Colbert, Seinfeld, etc., etc. in Washington to operate the government?  I would make A. Borowitz the chief honcho, there, and how joy would
be the lot of so many more of us.  Our salute to you, sir!
                                                                                     -- Paul Dinnis

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I wrote a piece recently (actually, it was a book), which had a basket-ful of ancient Gods and Deities convening again, in our time.  Theydiscussed current world crises, and the talk got pretty heavy.  One of them interrupted, adding a bit of humor tolighten things.

It worked.  After a bit of laughter, moods changed and the serious matters were dealt with again -- but more effectively -- because perspective became an ingredient along with a willingness to respect and to yield.

That God-Wit said that if today's religion units -- churches, mosques, synagogues, etc. -- have leaders who have a capacity to offset the serious with the laughable, they are indeed fortunate.

Think about it !!  Same situation, today.  Crises abound.  Nuclear leakage in Japan.  Warring in the Mid-East. Up-rooting of authority in Egypt, Libya, Yemen.  And, the time is over-ripe for nations to negotiate agreements to eliminate a world-wide catastrophe by de-fusing all  nuclear warheads and banning new production of them.

Well, it would be ideal if some sort of effective humor might arise, here.  The nuclear coin's Side A is a surface of research/development to enhance the positive facets of man's existence.  Unfortunately, the reverse Side B is a negative:  DEATH !

Ah, would that the temperament of  the world's peoples was suich that in-depth negotiations could be discussed and progress made toward destroying all existing nuclear warheads, and banning the manufacturing of any nuclear-war tools.

How, and from whence, is any welcome Wit to emerge?  I do not know.  I cannot envision any entertainer laughing as he juggles balls in the air, pretending that they are A-bombs.  Or, that a super-sexy-looking lady strutting seductively across the stage might be described as a potential in-person A-bomb.

Nor can any sort of light-banter be expected  from government leaders or politicians.  Or,  from the scads of lobbyists whose presences constitute a blessing or a plague, in the government halls.

Mention of the lobbyists stirs a thought.  Confront, say, the National Rifle Association about even limiting the proliferation of nuclear warfare materials in the world's nations.

What would the NRA reaction be?  Its members have a history of opposition to gun-control.  A dilemma, indeed!  Would they/will they be opposed to nuclear-arms control?

Woops !  We are in need of counter-blanacing commentary of some sort !  Suggestions, please.

                                                                      -- Paul Dinnis

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Eternal Roller Coaster

Ah me, will it never stop?  I was almost finished with a "brilliant" blog on this theme when, a half-hour ago, our electric power went off -- and, true to this theme, I lost all the copy, and I have had to re-do the thing. It went something like this:  It's a great, spring-like day in Florida.  Major league baseball season opened last night, but local area Rays lost.  Tornado-like winds destroyed property two miles to our north, yesterday but no damage to our place.  Did creative work on my destroy-the-nukes cause, this morning, and it looks good.  I glance awhile at Facebook and it all sounds ideal -- friendly, neighborly, intimate chit-chat.  The Japan tragedy seems long ago and a world away.  Libya is a big question mark and the Mid East is awesome in wonderment (sp ?).  I'm thinking about creating a "No-Nukia" colony for the good people like you and me, and ours.  Wanta join?   Warriors makes us Worriers, don't they!  Are the Facebookers aware of all this?

But, the Sabbaths and the Sundays come, and tomorrow is Sunday.  Let there be prayers, let theire be peace, let there be hope.   Let us do our part!