Art Aware at the Kroc Center

January 15, 2022

It was hard to part with some of the reproductions of famous paintings I had used in Art Aware elementary school classes in Camden for the past 20 years.

But the people I gave them to were distinguished members of the Kroc Center and were art lovers and knew the value of encouraging kids to do their own art, so it was less painful giving them away.

We exhibited the children’s artwork , much of which had been influenced by the paintings, next to the reproductions, so that visitors to the Kroc Center could see how multicultural Camden elementary school students can be.

For a brief time it felt like the Kroc Center Town Plaza was expanding to a place where the nuts and bolts of Camden art education could be shared.

Here a sample of the Art Aware exhibition and give-away.

Facebook Community 2010

August 17, 2021

Facebook Community 2010

(In 2021 FB Friends number 2,660!)

 I have over 200 friends on Facebook!

Imagine getting all your friends together –

in a room – from all over the world
and talking to them about
exactly what you want to talk about
without fear of boring them
or running up a phone bill.

That’s Facebook…..I’m not trying to sell it
just to describe it for people who don’t know.

There’s Steven, who lives in Italy and mostly
likes to be on retreat in the mountains
but when he returns to Rome he likes
to check news from his old grammar school friend.

Speaking of mountain tops, there’s Etsuko in Bulgaria,
whose homeland is Tokyo –
she was a student of mine decades ago.

Not too long ago I myself was on a mountaintop
in China – HuangShan – feeling like
a pilgrim in the midst of an ink painting.
I could reminisce with other travelers
on that adventure – at leisure – their’s and mine.

This “Facebook checking-in” – doesn’t have time restraints,
if that’s your preference,
nor does it demand replies –
again, if you so choose.

It can be, depending upon the friends,
intensely personal or
very impersonal.

There’s nothing quite like it.

You can talk to pre-teens at the same
time you talk to great-grandmothers –
if they’re into computers –
and some are.

You can eavesdrop on your friends’ conversations,
with their friends -with no embarrassment –
their’s or your’s.

You can get to know more about public figures
you respect on a personal level
whom you’ve only known through their
professional appearances or their writings –
– these are friends whom you may never have met
like the President of the U.S. – whom I have
dropped as a friend because he posts too much.

There’s the magic of a young mother’s affection,
a young lover’s musings,
a co-worker’s off hours,
a sportsman’s trials,
a minister’s ministry,
a monk’s musings,
a distant family member’s loss,
a cousin’s marriage,

and on and on it goes.

A Facebook voyageur can be
a jet setter in an arm chair,
encouraging to a friend,
dismissive to a stranger,
vocal to a confidante,
silent to an opinion,
fiery to a cause,
passive to a plea.

There are all levels of friendship on FB.
Some people are friends of friends,
with whom you find to have much in common.

Some are long-lost relatives or acquaintances
who somehow fill gaps in your personal history.
Some are strangers whom you’ve accepted as
“friend” because of group affiliation.

My FB community is amazingly complex.
Good grief how different all these people are!
And yet there is a common thread that
is visible every time I open my Home page.

There’s a connection that only can be made on FB.

It is a source for community building – not only
at the village level but at the
world level too.

I’m grateful for it.

My 2009 Facebook Fix

August 17, 2021

July 24, 2009
It’s feast or famine with me and FB.
Today this is the 4th item I’ve posted.
The other three being:
a thought provoking J.Overmyer cartoon,
a film of worth: Paris, Je t’aime,
a clip of a Beethoven piece.

I sometimes get a FB fix at 4 a.m.
when I do my best thinking.

I think – Ahhhh this is how I can bring my
disparate world together,
talking to friends,
acquaintances, relatives on FB.

In real life, for me, and others, I suspect
that’s impossible.

One of the 20 short films in “Paris, Je t’aime”
focuses on a young couple arguing at
the grave of Oscar Wilde.

Wilde is lurking in the shadows and admonishes
the humorless man to pursue his love and says;
“Death of the heart, it’s the ugliest death there is.”

Contributions to FB celebrate love
of family, life, the arts,
even old age.

I especially appreciate the ministers of hope,
the journalists, the people in public life who
reach out to others on FB.

They aren’t afraid of identity and time thefts –
the two biggest fears for people not joining.

I do limit the games, surveys and questionnaires –
not because I’m afraid someone will want to be me
(who would want to be me?)
but because FB can be an obsession –
this checking in with others.

I think it’s because we all have so much
to check in about.

There are some FB friends who make simple comments
on a regular basis – like sharing a short haiku:

life is radiant
dew on a flower petal
framed by dark soil

Sometimes, that is enough.

Art Aware Video

July 8, 2021

Getting High During Covid19 (AND the power of advertising

December 30, 2020

December 30, 2020

I don’t mind getting high but not getting enough sleep is another thing. That will make me quit using CBD oil!

I got up at midnight for a snack this morning – hyped up from the sample CVD oil I got that I used on my skin.

Anderson Cooper recommended it on FB (together with Meryl Streep and a few others). The ad said: “Take it to relieve arthritis pain.”

I’m not the only one getting high during Covid19. My canine great Dane boy and pitbull girl are too. The very convincing FB ad for Nutra Thrive vitamins said that if you see no change in your animals in a week or two, money back. (I even forwarded the FB post to my friend who has horses.)

Well, indeed, in two weeks Shiro (great Dane) and Kohaku (pitbull) became so hyped up (from the stimulants in Nutra Thrive) that I stopped giving it to them.

So here I am, closeted with my family, and we’re all experiencing getting high during the Covid19 pandemic! And deciding that we will not continue on that path.

Bell Ringing for the Salvation Army

December 23, 2020

Bell Ringing 2020 Blog – Written in 2018

“Christmas isn’t Christmas until I hear the Salvation Army Bells,” said someone to me as he put a few dollars into the red kettle.
This is my third year helping the Salvation Army raise money as a bell ringer. It is going onto my thirty-third year as a resident in a poor city and the fourth year existence of a Kroc Center in Camden, New Jersey, near where I live.
God bless Joan Kroc for making it possible to have multi-million dollar Kroc Centers in twenty four low- income cities across the United States.

She wanted “poor people” to have the experience of belonging to a country club.
I don’t mingle much with the country club set, but my mother did. So maybe that’s why I don’t.
I like to mingle with a multi-cultural, multi-religious cross-section of people from all walks of life.
And the bell ringing is exactly the place to do that. Walmart, Acme and a large suburban mall were my locations. I was struck by how nice everyone was.  Was it the Salvation Army Red Kettle that brought out the best in people?  Or was it perhaps  human beings are not “sinners” as my church background taught?  Perhaps human beings are basically saints – if they are allowed to be.  If they don’t have to suffer through world-wide atrocities they are exposed to daily.

Imagine a multi-cultural world where everyone can choose a daily diet of self determination. A place where education, music, sports, church, are available at low cost without fear of judgmental dictatorship.
That is what Joan Kroc wanted to give to our country – through the Salvation Army managed Kroc Centers.

My first experience standing and asking for money from passersby was for a project in Ann Arbor as a University of Michigan undergraduate sixty years ago.

And then there was a huge gap in my street-solicitation experience.
My life-long giving has been through job-related organizations, non-profits and volunteering. In fact, I remember my father getting mad at me as a child for giving some money to a street beggar. Perhaps he wanted to teach that “people are not always as they seem.”

How extraordinary at this late stage in my life, that I have accumulated seventy-four hours of bell ringing for the Salvation Army. My previous experience of the Salvation Army was only through the musical “Guys and Dolls” with Marlon Brando. (See YouTube clip of “I’ll know when my love comes along.”)

Countless stories of people’s pasts came out as they dropped coins, bills or even personal checks into the red kettle.

I like the Salvation Army ad:  “Whether it’s an apartment fire, a hurricane, or a personal storm in life, the Salvation Army is there.”

I believe this is true – and that they do it for all people, without discrimination.

Cooped Up Like a Chicken

December 15, 2020

Cooped up like a chicken in Covid19!

How to think beyond myself.

Yesterday I went beyond the coop to upscale Cherry Hill Wegmans Supermarket and had a sushi lunch – alone – on the balcony looking down at masked shoppers – loading up their carts – loving to see people all ages, sizes, colors, going about their business as if everything were normal.

Summer Camp After Care at Kroc Center

December 7, 2020

100 Kids, ages 6 to 12 and councelors ages 18 and up, listen carefully to our leader give a pep talk on patience and a student give a prayer.

T.J. comes to the table for origami, as she does every day – her patience and skill steadily climbing. Point to point, good creasing of lines, folding over and over, again and again.

It builds character – this time-honored art. It took me a few hours to unfold a flower – to figure out how I had folded it years before, so that I could teach T.J. – a soon-to-be 5th grader.

Over 50 folds. Would T.J. still be doing this in 50 years – like me? I hope so. Jus one p iece of paper turning into a lotus, crane, frog, pinwheel, pig. She has moves and mind to create masterpieces.

Summer Camp After Care at Kroc Center

November 25, 2020


Birds in Cherry Hill Library

November 25, 2020

Origami birds make my spirit soar – together with Sonobe Unit Modular boxes decorated by children from age three on up and myself – because there are challenges to manipulate and to design them.

Just before the March, 2020 pandemic lockdown, Cherry Hill Library let me put up an Art Aware exhibit in the high-ceiling Reference Room.

The glass cases are perfect for inspiring the spirits of library patrons to soar along with the bird flight.

And that will happen again in 2021 when the libraries and the world open up again and the exhibit will still be there.