Thoughts, Ideas and Stories

Archive for May 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

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“We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.”

Moina Michael

Those words were inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae and were written in 1915 to honor the fallen heroes of war.

Originally named Decoration Day, Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 and first observed on May 30 of that year. Of course the Southern states being what they were celebrated their own Memorial Day on a different date until after World War One when we all finally decided to “get along” and celebrate on the same day, the last Monday in May.

As a kid I remember the parade in New Milford, where occasionally my brother, sister, myself and even my mom would march with our various clubs or sports teams and then we would have a cook out at our house. One year we had to use the charcoal grill in the garage because it was raining. What a smokey treat that was! Our cook outs were always such a great time! We would grill hot dogs and hamburgers, my mom would make her awesome cole slaw or one of my aunts would bring cole slaw and salads from the Wyckoff Deli. Wow, I would kill for some of that cole slaw from the Deli! Sorry Mom, yours is good too!

We would play games in our backyard and just have a great time enjoying the usually gorgeous May weather in northern New Jersey. I am forever grateful and appreciative of the time I had growing up. My grandparents, my mom, my aunts and uncle(s), brother, sister and cousins were the best family I could have ever hoped for.

I also remember the Veterans standing on the street corners or in the shopping plazas handing out the red “Buddy Poppies” that everyone would then attach to the rear view mirror in their car. They never asked for a donation but how could one not put a dollar or some change into their bucket? Do the Veterans still hand out those flowers? Or have we become so busy or numb as a society that we no longer care?

On this Memorial Day I would ask everyone to reflect on the sacrifices the members of our Armed Forces made so we can live and enjoy our picnics, cook outs, parades and cherished family time.

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Written by David A. Ufer

May 28, 2012 at 6:32 am

Posted in Family, Holidays

If You’re Not Having Fun…..

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….just keep drinkin’. Yeah, yeah, my friends and I have heard that many, many times and it is a humorous saying but there is some danger behind that phrase.

<Warning! The soapbox is out and I am about to lecture  from it. Those easily annoyed may want to stop reading now.>

I lost a friend this past year due to alcholism. He knew he had a problem and chose not to face it until it was too late and the damage was already done. While I respect his willingness to conquer that demon, I wish he would have gotten help much earlier. He was far too young to have been taken from us and left a horrible void in many lives; a void that will never be filled.

My friends and I are like most people. We work hard during the week and can’t wait for the weekend so we can spend time together and blow off some steam. A portion of that time is spent in bars, clubs or restaurants where we enjoy a drink or two (or three……). It seems that the majority of activities in our area involve alcohol. If we can’t have fun without drinking, what’s the sense? I’m not proclaiming we should become teetotalers but I would hate to lose any more friends because of unwise choices.

I can only speak for myself and say I’ve become less enamored with the idea of going out and drinking all night. I wasn’t much of a drinker before and the few beers I do have go mostly unfinished anyway but still, I am just as guilty as anyone. I am paranoid of having just one beer and getting a DUI and I certainly know the unhealthy aspects of alcohol, so it’s pretty much a no brainer to me.

We are all big boys and girls and responsible for ourselves and our actions but we also have a responsibility for each other. I love my friends and want them around a long time; healthy, happy and able to remember the previous day. If one of my friends had gotten the help he needed sooner, I would have been able to wish him a happy 48th birthday instead of writing this.

Written by David A. Ufer

May 21, 2012 at 6:05 am

Posted in Friends, Health

So Much Happened…..

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…. and yet, so little to admit to. Enjoy this cartoon until I can get my thoughts in order.

Written by David A. Ufer

May 14, 2012 at 7:56 am

Posted in Cartoons

Technically Speaking…

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For those of you who can’t remember, the world wasn’t always as connected as it is today. If someone wanted to disappear for a while, it was really quite easy. Simply step out of your house and vanish. As kids, we would play outside all day, only coming home when our moms would yell out the back door for us when dinner was ready or when it was time to come in for the night. Occasionally we would have to run inside to check in but if not for that, we were invisible to the world except the kids we were playing with.

If you were home and wanted to call someone you probably walked into the kitchen to use the wall phone. You know, the phone with the mile-long cord that shrunk to a few twisted, gnarled, hopelessly tangled feet. Oh sure you could untwist it by holding the cord and letting the handset dangle and swing while it spun itself left and right but as soon as you hung up the phone, the cord went right back to its rat nest. And if you happened to be on the phone and someone wanted to speak to you, they got a busy signal. And that condition could last for hours if you had a chatty family member. There was no call waiting until much later and cell phones didn’t become popular until way into my adult years.

The first small computer we had was the Tandy TRS-80 which was usually sold at Radio Shack. This was an amazing piece of hardware at the time. Programmable using BASIC with data storage being an external tape cassette device connected via an external connector. There weren’t any games to play but it was still an incredible device. And there certainly wasn’t any Internet back in the day. If you wanted to chat with someone, you had to pick up the phone or actually be in the same room with them. Imagine that! Having an actual conversation in person!

And then there’s facebook. I get checked in, checked out, tagged, liked and finally poked. I almost don’t have to leave my computer to have a social life.

I could go on and on but I need to make sure I get this finished so I can share it with all my friends. You know, the friends on facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and WordPress.

Written by David A. Ufer

May 7, 2012 at 6:24 am

Posted in Technology