Wednesday, July 20

On advertising

Some thoughts on advertising

I was not consulted when individual advertisers worked up their copy for inclusion in The New York Times Style Magazine (July 17, 2016), and certainly was not consulted when the issue went to press. This is high fashion in spades: clothing, jewelry, makeup, household furnishings, etc. Top of the line, first rate stuff, bar none.

My status as a paid reader, however, gives me the right to comment, to  criticize or praise, as I see fit.

Three pages were devoted to trench coats. The opening copy read: “In the Trenches, The classic silhouette is back, as big and boxy as ever.” The pages were each filled with a model wearing Burberry and Paul Stuart trench coats. 

What would expect in an ad for a trench coat? This is a manly garment invented a hundred years ago for wear by military officers and men of action. Think Bogart. 

The advertisers obviously did not. The model in the three-page spread is a thin teen-ager of small build, who probably still shaves only once a week, and who is absolutely swamped by the coats he is modeling. He has the pouting look on his face that models, female and male, adopt for some strange reason. Like a show of emotion would shatter their psyche. 

I’ve worn trench coats over the years. They give you feeling of strength and savor faire. These three pages of ads would not sell me a trench coat. 

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Saturday, July 16

We must carry on

I do not remember any period in my 84 plus years when so many innocent people in America and elsewhere who were simply out and about enjoying themselves were deliberately killed. We are living in an age of terrorism for which there seems no ready solution compatible with decency, civil liberties and, in the United States especially, constitutional freedoms. 

The enemy seems almost invisible. The killers are themselves being killed during their rampages. After the fact investigations reveal the perpetrators  with at least psychological ties or sympathies with ISIS. 

To us in the West, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is a terrorist group trying to re-create a political state (the Caliphate) to exert control over the Islamic world. They want to turn the pages back to the seventh century time of Muhammad and ignore fourteen centuries of growth and progress.  

Wether the leaders of this movement and the perpetrators of the recent carnage done in the name of ISIS are actually connected is practically impossible to establish. The link to ISIS can be psychological only, and what sets the perpetrator off on his killing rampage is unknown. This doesn’t stop ISIS from honoring the perpetrators as “soldiers of the caliphate.”

ISIS basks in the terror and inspires wanton acts of violence and carnage. ISIS recently reminded the world that vehicles could be a weapon. Result,  the tractor trailer truck being driven through crowds of people in Nice, France, killing at least 84 people. 

We will learn more about the driver of this truck in the days ahead. That is always the way.

Where the next terrorist act will occur is unknown. Vigilance is required. Nevertheless, we must go about our lives in the hope and promise of better days to come. 

Wednesday, June 22

Finding a running mate for Hillary

Clinton’s running mate

It seems like America’s favorite guessing game at this time is “the running mate.” It would be a stretch to out-source this important selection to “America’s Got Talent,” but it might come down to that. 

It has also been suggested that we should take a monkey up in a plane and throw him out at 10,000 feet somewhere over the country and whoever he lands on is the next Vice-President. (Not a scientific approach.) 

Today, I am concerned enough with helping to find Hillary Clinton’s perfect, complementary running mate, that I am making my nominee public.  

Names currently bouncing off the walls in newsrooms across the country include such luminaries as Elizabeth Warren, John Warner, and a number of other senators, cabinet officials, sitting and former governors, hispanics, African-Americans, etc. etc. 

Also being mentioned are Southern bail bondsmen, men who wear shoes and those who don’t. Southern California candidates have declined consideration outright because the job entails living outside of Southern California. 

All of these prospects, from the highly likely to the more outrageous (who would be better on Trump’s ticket), are subject to the chemistry test and vetting by Hillary’s lawyers and political advisors, including, I am sure, The Big Dog himself who plans to host a five-figure dinner for donors to meet the next vice-president of the United States. 

I have given this some thought and offer for consideration the ideal, well-rounded, candidate.

He is a white, male, Irish descent, raised Catholic, native of Lexington, Massachusetts; lived his early years in the former home of a Revolutionary War patriot. Decently educated: has a Masters in International Relations. Served in the United States Air Force for eight years. Worked through most of the Cold War as a security director for the Navy. Volunteered as a civilian security chief to go to Vietnam in the early seventies. 

He has been an elected state legislator in his adopted state of South Carolina and a senior executive of that state’s Department of Corrections. Also a Vice President (see brings experience) in the S.C. Chamber of Commerce. 

He is tough on national defense and limited government. Complements Hillary’s early support in Chicago for Barry Goldwater who, in the 1960s, summed up the role of government as: “defend the shores, deliver the mail and get the hell off my back.” (My nominee would respect Hillary’s feelings and suppress his joy when the Boston Red Sox beat the Chicago Cubs for the World Series title.)

Over his lifetime, the nominee, in addition to helping to rise five children (kids’ mother deserves most of the credit), has modulated his views and believes government is essential to the well-being of all. Not as a provider of all things to all people, but as a helping hand to those who truly need it. In world affairs, the United States must be a strong leader, looking to build bridges and not walls. 

So what more could be asked for? Who is this miracle worker who touches all bases around the diamond of political life?

It’s me, your humble (?) servant, Francis. Despite my humility, however, I am too busy to stay hone waiting by the phone to ring, so just leave a message. I’ll return the call.

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Wednesday, June 15

Afternoon rain

I was on the sofa with my back to the three large windows in the living room finishing a copy of Time
when I noticed the pages were getting a little darker. I am acutely sensitive to this since cataract surgery on both eyes during the last month. I finished reading the interview with the female CEO of GM on the last page, closed the magazine, and initialed the front cover as my sign I have finished it. This was a signal to my late wife she could throw the magazine in the recyclable box when she straightened up the coffee table in front of the three-seat leather sofa. My wife died last August but old habits die hard, 

I took up the Book Review section from Sunday’s Times (June 12, 2016) and that was when I heard the first patter of rain. I got up, turned around and looked out the window. A hatless man, dressed in shorts and sport shirt, hurried by on the walking path parallel to the golf course dragging his golf bag on a two wheel cart behind him. I walked to a glass door in the dining room but the rain was hitting it directly and it obscured the view. 

I went from the back of the house to the front. Rain was hitting the road and bouncing into the air. It was soaking the front lawn throughly. For several days I’ve been fighting the lawn sprinkler control box to regulate watering the lawns in front and back. The box was, alas, beyond me. I enlisted the aid of a neighbor and after a couple of trial and error efforts she succeeded. The water now comes on in the morning around 5:30, first in the front and then in the back yard. The lawns will be watered tomorrow by the sprinklers despite today’s rain. This might be wasteful but I will not alter the operation of the control box. Off in the distance I hear thunder rumbling. It is just barely raining at present at my house and the sky is clearing and it is becoming brighter. Perhaps this was all just a late afternoon summer shower we can expect in South Carolina along the coast.  I can see drops hitting small puddles on the street. It is getting brighter, the sky is clearing. The thunder is further and further away. My neighbor and her young daughter are walking their dogs in front of the house.

Back to the Book Review section of Sunday’s Times

Tuesday, June 14

Standing in line

Standing in line

In Dear Abby today (The Island Packet, June 14, 2016) a woman said she was standing in line waiting for a store to open for a big sale. A friend joined her and she asked if it was OK for the friend to join her in the line ahead of others behind her. Abby suggested asking permission, and quoted Emily Post to the effect that courteous people do not jump lines.

I had a similar experience several years ago. I was in the line to enter the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam  with a few people ahead of me and a longer line behind me. A bus drove up and a Dutch guide got out with many Japanese tourists. They came directly to the line, and without as much as a by-your-leave, started to jump in ahead of me. I said, “Wait a minute. What are you doing?” 

The guide explained they always did this for people on the tour bus. My reaction was: ‘Not today. These people’s (referring to the Japanese tourists) ancestors were part of the original problem. Get thee behind me.”

Several people behind me in the line stood firm and then someone let them jump the line. 

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Sunday, June 12

D-day story touches the heart

Letters to the Editor (As published.) 
The Island Packet - The Beaufort Gazette
June 12, 2016

D-Day story touches the heart

Your story on D-Day about the 82nd Airborne Division soldier, Ralph Ticcioni of New Berlin, Wis., -  shown at the American Cemetery in Normandy, being hosted and celebrated by the people of Ste. Mere-Eglise on the anniversary of D-Day -  touched my heart and called to memory what I did on that day so long ago. 

On that day in 1944, I was a 7th grade student in St. Patrick's Boys School in Lowell, MA. Shortly after school opened, we were marched over to the Church where Pastor Father Meehan led prayers for the men storming the beaches in Normandy, France. After the prayers, he declared a school holiday and we all went home. 

We hung by the radio throughout the day for news of the men of the Allied Forces who were fighting for their lives and gaining a foothold on the continent of Europe. They would not be tossed back into the sea. 

Today, we honor those gallant men, the few still alive and the 9,000 who rest in the American cemetery in Normandy. We will not see their like again. 

In Memory.

Francis X. Archibald
Hilton Head Island

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