Archive for November, 2012

Sandy Hits East Rockaway – My Home Town – Hard

November 15, 2012

The Class of 1963 has organized a ‘relief’ fund for the members of the class who were hardest hit and the leaders of our 50th  reunion ‘committee’ have graciously agreed to collect and disperse the money.

The Really LIttle Rascals

It’s a good bunch of people, my class of 1963.


I’m afraid to go back right now, but feel I must.  While growing up, my family lived in three homes.  I believe two are quite intact, but one I’m told had water up to or over the roof.


This was my father’s retirement home, which he dearly loved.  It was on the water, but inland on a tidal river, Mill River if memory serves, and no one here would ever think of flooding as a problem. My High School has extensive flood damage and will open in a couple of months.  It too was situate on Mill River.  And just across this Old Mill Stream sat my brother Bill’s home.  His home was higher so only his basement got wet.

My nephew Tom lost his home in Long Beach.

Another Johnson, nephew  Billy, operates a construction and landscaping business and he is of course very busy helping not only his dad (Bill) but many other folks on the Island (which is how Long Islander’s refer to Long Island, as in “out on the island”).  They were working 22 hours a day pumping out basements and making initial repairs. Bill has trucks and diesel-powered equipment but never ran out of fuel.  He sent each night a vehicle either west or north to locations where gas was plentiful and trucked it back to the Island.  His crews were able to work and his trucks continued to run.  Nice job.

My brother Gerry, a builder of magnificent Kauai, Hawaii homes, flew back for a few days to survey the damage and is evaluating a one year move to the Island.  He has experience with FEMA (remember Iniki?) and building and rebuilding homes, skills needed badly.

I’ve driven many times through the Battery and  the Lincoln Tunnels, and because I have a vivid imagination, had visions of flooding and me out-racing the surge.  I never once thought that these impossible day dreams would come true.  I feel badly for the man in NYC who stood at his post in a parking facility, protecting his charges, and paid dearly when the water filled the garage.  He was a New Yorker, Ghanaian by birth, a New Yorker by attitude.  Sandy will be around for a long, long time.

Which – President Obama or Governor Romney: “The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind”.

November 4, 2012

Imagine Ryan as President?

Six months ago I had about given up on President Obama, and sat laughing at the Republican primary debates.  “When will we get candidates who are truly worthy of the Presidency”, asked I of Cathy, my wife.  “Not from this bunch”, she replied.  To which I agreed, wholeheartedly .

Who would have, back then, believed that Willard Mitt Romney would get to this level.  Back then he was going to cut taxes, kill Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood, and disavow some of the beliefs of his own church.  No tax returns, Swiss Bank Accounts, Cayman Island Investments, Bain shipping jobs abroad, all, by golly, I thought, precluded his membership in the ‘Club’.   The most liberal medical plan ever initiated by a state, private elevators, unequal pay, killer of auto company’s, yacht-ie.  How in the world did he get here?  Answer: blowing in the wind.

And he loves Teachers, but “you can leave their unions behind”, says Willard.  He wants to kill unions too!  What is going on here?  How does he survive in the heat of presidential politics and billions of bucks debunking his beliefs. This too is the answer: Billions of Bucks.

When a republican solicitor called to ask for funds, she was heralding the selection of Ryan.  My knee Jerk reaction, for which I now feel pain . was “no way, the guys a jerk”.  And I believe this, now, and forever.  He ought to wear the Cheese Hat.

Economy is Simmering

I’m pretty sure the economy is simmering nicely at the moment, and I know the Obama Administration helped my small business over the past three years.  And I know I like the idea of being in a larger medical insurance pool, and for college more money available to my grand-kids.  And a few other things.

And I love the idea of Biden in the wings should anything happen to the President.  And truly I like the idea of President Obama setting a stage for Hillary Clinton, with that incredibly suave husband of hers.  Imagine the Clinton’s leading the world once more.  I can.

Think about this: President Ryan. By golly if this doesn’t scare your socks off, what will?  Answer:  Ryan’s Supreme Court.

Did you hear Dylan’s answer?

Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?

Yes, how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?

Yes, how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?

The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Springsteen singing Blowing in the Wind on YouTube.  Followed by Bad Moon Rising.

Mother Nature

November 1, 2012

One of my favorite sights in the fall is a freshlly mowed lawn.  These fall lawns are beautiful and  bright when freed briefly of the weight of fallen leaves.  They were beautiful this morning and I tip my hat to Mother Nature for reminding me that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

For Mother Nature was powerful and pitiless this week, taking lives and livelihoods and leaving anquish and anxiety in her wake.  She reminded us in the most forceful way that she is the most powerful force on this planet.

For me, this brief, beautiful morning at home stood in stark contrast to the destruction Sandy dealt the Jersey Shore, and it is for me, however simple, a reminder that while life is indeed fragile, Mother Nature will provide light and beauty once again.

My wife Cathy and I, and our staff at Kaffe Magnum Opus were all fortunate to escape unscathed, and we hope that those whose losses are so large, get the help they need, and are able to endure and move forward.

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