Saturday, July 29, 2017

Billionaires and the Common Folk

I live in a world of very wealthy people.  I myself am reasonably comfortable, but I'm an artist and I'm inclined to watch the wealthy from a distance and only occasionally do I interact with them.

I have nothing against wealthy people.  They are the backbone of my country in terms of providing the means for our citizens to have many of the perks that make America special:  beautiful cities, museums, football stadiums, fashion shows, movies.

I'm not really a pol either.  But I do like libraries, good roads, a police department that protects me, and schools that educate the future leaders of my country.

America has always been a mixture of business and government and I contend that neither the wealthy nor the not so wealthy have the upper hand on making our country run.

Currently though our top administrator seems to have more reverence for those who are wealthy.  They're the ones that make America great.

It is true that some successful businessmen are responsible for many of America's proudest achievements, but it is also true that many of them were ruthless personalities and many only had visions for creating more wealth for themselves.  Only a few were interested in the good for all.  That role in the past was left to religious institutions, intellectuals and women.

Though there are exceptions to the rule, I find most wealthy people to be standoffish, competitive, interested in their images and rarely warm and friendly.  I get this.  I know that if you show you are vulnerable in any way and don't keep a sense of mystery as my father always encouraged me to do, then your chances of bluffing yourself into the next rung are probably not as good.

My own view is that we ought to use all the talents of all our people.  The rich should definitely keep making as much money as they can.  Those who are good at teaching should teach.  Those who have athletic talent should play tennis, football, baseball or bowl.  Scientists should keep discovering, and inventors should keep finding new gadgets.

But when it comes to leading our country, the talents needed to do so becomes more complicated.  The skills to be in the hot seat go beyond being wealthy and they go beyond being ethical and they go beyond being smart.

For me, all I know is that I'm not happy with the stereotype of a wealthy person leading my country.  I want him/her to be more than just a dealmaker who values gold and mansions.

In the old days, the royals used to have a grip on their people who knew they would never be wealthy, but who could easily live through their rulers.  We can still see glimpses of this in countries who maintain their kings and queens, but most of these countries have moved on.  They realize that being wealthy is just one way to go.  It's not the only one.  We need a leader who respects our abilities and gives us options to validate them, not one who is just a cheerleader for a vision he/she believes can happen for everyone, no matter what their abilities or their circumstances.

We need a reality president, not a fake one.

Come on people, rise to the occasion and learn the difference!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Alternative Facts

Right now I am in the process of writing a biography about Mary Coyle Chase, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who wrote Harvey and who lived in Denver in the 1940's.  Mostly my sources at this point have been secondary sources.  I've looked to sources like Wikipedia and  They often quote newspaper and magazine articles based on interviews with the playwright.  I've also explored excerpts from books that have included discussions written about Mrs. Chase and that are also frequently an amalgamation of secondary sources, just like mine.

Take for example, her date of birth. Some say it was February 25, 1907.  Some say it was 1906.  Some say that the reason for the dispute has to do with the fact that by making the date one year later, she could be younger.   Truly the only way to solve the problem would be to view her birth certificate and I still wouldn't really know why there was a question unless I could ask one of her relatives and maybe they wouldn't know either.

Another example:  Mrs. Chase attended both the University of Colorado and the University of Denver.  Some sources say she went to the University of Colorado first; others say that she went to the University of Denver first.  I think that this conflict can be fixed fairly quickly, but still it's interesting that there is disparity.  It means someone who did the original research did not do their homework, or that the author who wrote the story or article lived somewhere else and couldn't tell the difference between the two universities.

Here's another example:  At one point Mrs. Chase wrote a screenplay called Sorority House.  Most sources agree that the film premiered in 1939 and that it was co-written by the then unknown future controversial blockbuster screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, a Colorado native. What they don't agree on is the origins of the screenplay.  One source says it was originally a short story called Chi House.  Several sources say that it was originally a play called Chi House.  Then the question becomes where was it originally produced and when.  Most agree that it was produced at the University of Denver's Civic Theater in 1935, but there are variations on that theme as well.

And finally, there are many views of Mrs. Chase's personality.  One of her friends, Caroline Bancroft, was a frequent companion of Mrs. Chase's.  They had many adventures and participated in a variety of pranks together, but there is no inkling so far in my research that she thought of Mrs. Chase as having any sense of "melancholy" in her demeanor, an observation made by others but not attributed to anyone in particular.

I guess what I'm saying is that some facts that are disputed are not as important as others, but some facts are important if one is to back up a theory.

As to my research, I want to get my facts as right as possible. As a former teacher, I always tried to teach my students the difference between fact and theory and the notion that if one was to have a theory, it would take hard facts to back it up.

I'm not sure our current president has that ability or desire.  He confuses his facts and his theories and seems not to care to back up his accusations or notions.  I will continue to abide by my rules and the ones I was taught all through my eighteen years of education.  And, I'm afraid, he will continue to have a different view.  What we have here is a crisis to communicate.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Week

I'm sticking to the plan and making my second entry one week after the first.  Writers are always told that they need to select a time to write and stick with it.  Let's see how long I can make this last.

I am a political animal and admit that I have spent more than a reasonable amount of time this week glued to my news programs.  What's with Donald Trump Junior?  Are we going to have a new Affordable Care Act?  Though I'm your classic educated liberal, I'm trying to figure out why the country is so split on whether or not this is a big deal.

As an ordinary person who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, my life lessons come mostly from the successes and failures in circles that are less rarified than those in either the ivory tower of Donald Trump or the Eastern elites.

One of those life experiences occurred more than six decades ago when I was a student at my high school of more than four thousand students.  In my social club were many girls who were far prettier and wealthier than I was, but because members thought I knew more people, they decided that I should be their candidate for homecoming queen.  Surprisingly I made it into the final five.  On the day when the queen and the court was announced, we gathered in the gym.  For some reason I felt that I would win, but alas there I stood with the other losing candidate as the queen and her attendants were declared.  A friend of mine who happened to be the president of the student council was incensed.  He was sure the election "was fixed."  Through the years I've gone back to muse about why I lost.  I remember being mad at one of the members of my club for not coming to school the day the vote was taken.  I'm told I lost by only a few votes.  In reality I came to believe it was my own fault that I lost.  I didn't "schmooze."  I was too opinionated.  I wasn't always positive and upbeat.  I didn't cultivate a strong "base" of friends who could spread the word about why I should be the queen.  I must admit this pattern still exists sixty years later.  I am who I am.

Since then I've come to believe that there are many ways to "get to the top" and though it's not how I would do things, Donald Trump seems to have convinced enough people that regardless of his ethics, his tactics and his values, he is "the man."  Look.  I'm from Denver and we've had our share of medicine men in our history.

At a time when one can long for a president with admiring characteristics like integrity and intellect, we can only blame ourselves for own naivete and inability to convince others that we are better than that.

I am one of millions and probably can't make that much of a difference but to say that I can't do more would be to give up.  Just because I lost my bid for homecoming queen doesn't mean I stopped wanting to be better.  Even in my old age I still keep trying.  As my blog goes on, maybe I'll be able to point to some of my better moments as examples of how all of us must keep trying to make things better.

Saturday, July 8, 2017


This is it.  My final blog site!  Good bye to all my others:  The Last Act, Caregiver Mimi, Eldercare Diaries, Teaching for a Living, Citizen Mimi, Mimi's Business Blog and the original Libra File.

It's time to bring all those thoughts and experiences into one focus and weigh in on life from Mimi's point of view!

In some ways life has been conventional for me and in others it's been totally "out of the box."  Hey I'm a Libra and I like balance.

I've come to the conclusion that my Libra qualities and tendencies are my sustaining contribution.  And I wish to share this with my readers.  Unlike many others, I'm able to look at both sides of the story.  I leave it to others to take a stand.  I admire those who are more passionate about their beliefs, but that's not my strength.  I'm always asking why.  Why do evil people think the way they do?  Why can't everyone see what is just and what is unfair?  Why do people have so much trouble facing the truth?  And why do many wish not to confront reality?

The older I get (and I'm getting up there), the more I realize how different we all are, how much nature and nurture intertwine, and how difficult but not impossible it is to improve both our personal lives and those of others.

To be honest, if we were all "goody two shoes" like me, the world would be very boring.  I'm glad there's so much diversity.  I'm trying really hard to adjust to all those who like tattoos, dystopian books and movies, ordering clothes with Stitch Fix, and accepting all kinds of couples and singles for friends.

It's my goal to weigh in at least weekly on some aspect of today's culture.  I look forward to hearing your comments and to a long, lasting relationship with the readers of this blog that I hope will expand and expand.