Wednesday, December 29, 2010

This is a selection from my book "The Eastpointer." I won a first place award for humor for this newspaper column from the Florida Press Association in 2007. For more info or how to purchace a copy click on cover-link at right on this page. Thanks!

The Eastpointer

Oh How She Will Miss Me

By Richard E. Noble

The other morning on the TV they had a special program dealing with the tragedy and heartbreak and personal loss of losing a dearly loved spouse after many years of faithful marriage. It seems that many a spouse actually devolves into a state of depression. They often lose their personal commitment to life. Some become so tragically morose, that they make themselves sick and often die not too long after their long time companion has passed.

This made me think about my personal situation. My wife and I have been together now for over thirty years. We are exactly like the type of people being discussed in that study. We have been through the bad and the even worse; we have done with little and totally without; we have never been richer but we have often been poorer and we’re still here - together, till death do us part.

The more I thought about that study the worse I felt. I could not stop thinking how terrible it is obviously going to be for my poor wife when I am no longer here. Oh my, how she is going to miss me when I'm gone. It makes me sick at heart to even think about it. I don't really know how she will be able to cope.
I can imagine her waking up at three o'clock in the morning because the automatic yard light went on - and it will actually be the yard light and not me looking for a book to read in the bedroom because I can't sleep.

Then the morning sun will finally be on the horizon. She will stumble out to the kitchen and when she passes the bathroom, that familiar odor that has always caused her to burst - "God Richard, was there something dead inside of you? Holy cow, light a match, spray something; think of the other people that come behind you." – will be but a sad reverie of days past.

Then she will step into the living room to turn on the TV and she will not have tripped over a pair of my snickers and dirty socks that would be in front of my big easy chair. She will sigh and mumble to herself, "I guess he is really gone."
She will go to the sink to get coffee water and there will be no cereal bowl with dried-on milk from my late night snack sitting there staring up at her. A small tear will drop from the corner of her eye.

When she goes to do the laundry there will be no wet, smelly towel sitting in the bottom of the bucket. Never again when she's cleaning up the yard or mowing the lawn will she be able to look over at the porch and see me there drinking a beer and reading my book. Who will she find to hold the other end of that 2x4 she needs to cut? I'm sure her heart will sink - if not break.

When she is talking with one of her sisters or a friend on the phone she will no longer be able to say, "Well, of course Richard doesn't agree with this but ..." When a battery clock or smoke detector stops or anything breaks or there is a new ding on the car door, there will be no Richard to accuse, it will have to be all her fault. This alone could make life very difficult for my poor beloved. She may not want to go on. (Excuse me while I blow my nose - this is really beginning to get to me.) How horrible this is all going to be for her.

When she wants to buy something at a department store she will just buy it and there will be no one there frowning and making her feel guilty for doing so. The checkbook will always be balanced and there will be no un-entered or misdated checks.

There will be no one to tell her that her mother didn't really know what the heck she was talking about, or that her father had a legitimate right to get drunk every now and then - as does her husband.

When I'm gone, life is truly going to be a sad experience for my poor darling. This is very sad. I have always told my wife that I was put here for her by God, so that she could stop thinking about herself. The burden of her happiness has been my burden and my goal in life.

Now what will she find that could ever replace me? Is there anything that could really replace me? I think that all of you out there know the answer to that question as well as I do.

She will be a ship without a sail or a rudder. She will be a soul lost in the darkness. Just thinking about how she will miss me when I'm gone is almost enough to make me weep. Her life will be like a Greek tragedy. When I am gone she will be so alone. She will be in such misery. She will have only her own thoughts to frustrate her. It will be so sad.

And there I’ll be – up in heaven – counting my blessings and reaping my reward. Don’t worry sweetheart, I’ll put in a good word for you with “the Man” upstairs.

Here's a little personal information on my book "A Summer with Charlie." For more info or to make a purchase please click on cover link at right of this page. Thanks!

A Summer with Charlie

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

“A Summer with Charlie” is my biggest seller to date. It is a simple, straight forward book and it can be read in one sitting. It is a great book for the summer while soaking up rays on the beach. It is written in the local vernacular and it is filled will local memorabilia. I wrote it for all my old buddies in an attempt to bring back some of the good old days, places and happenstances and to commemorate our mutual pal Charlie who was not as lucky as the rest of us. He is quite a memory. My intention was to make him “quite a memory” for you also.

It is a sad story and it is a funny story. It is about a childhood buddy. It’s about the “old gang” and “hanging out.” It’s about good times and bad times and they’re all happening at the same time. It is another of those stories that I felt obligated to write. It had been on my mind for decades. When I finally sat down to write it, it didn’t take me a week.

It is getting some attention back in my hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts. I have been up there a couple of times talking about it. I’ve been on the local radio station several times and had a reading at the local library. It is in all the local libraries and has been added to the history center or section. Merrimack Valley Magazine did a spread on the story for their July/August issue 2010.

They printed the entire first chapter of the book, plus a bio of me, with support pictures for the book and a review by a local journalist. They did a great job.
It is a tear-jerker. If it doesn’t make you cry, you weren’t paying attention.
It is basically a true story. I, of course, embellished here and there and used a little “poetic license” but it is, for the most part a true story. I hope you all like it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Social Security

Social Security


By Richard E. Noble

The original Social Security legislation was passed in 1935. It covered employees who were 65 years of age or older. The funds collected for Social Security were to be kept separate from general revenue funds and payments made into the system were to be credited to the individuals who paid them.

In 1939 survivors' benefits were added to the system and then in 1956 disability benefits were also added. In addition in 1956 women were allowed to retire at age 62 with decreased benefits and in 1961 men were allowed the same encouragement. The idea, as I remember at the time, was to encourage elderly men and women to remove themselves from the workplace to provide greater opportunities for younger workers and new workers entering the job market.

In 1965 Medicare was added to the Social Security System as opposed to initiating a new and separate health care system for the elderly or revamping the health care system for everyone. National Health coverage was lacking and in need of serious adjustments even at that time. In fact a National Health Care plan was suggested in 1935 but was considered politically disadvantageous.

In 1969 the Johnson administration began counting Social Security funds in the federal budget. This was done as you can imagine for political purposes.

By adding the Social Security funds into the federal budget instead of keeping those funds separate as per the original legislation in 1935 the deficit spending on the very unpopular Vietnam war could be made to appear less troubling. Wars cost money and Vietnam was costing a bunch. Traditionally taxes or a special tax would be levied to pay for war expenses. But because Vietnam was so unpopular President Johnson didn't dare propose a war tax on anybody. Instead he borrowed the money to support the war and ran high deficits which were, of course, then added directly to the National Debt. In other words, he ran up the balance on the nation's credit card and made the cost of the war appear to be less by adding into the budget the Social Security collections. Borrowing and adding to the National Debt is considered by most established economists as an inflationary practice which results in a form of regressive taxation. Regressive taxation (inflation etc.) means that the burden is placed on the middle classes and lower classes as opposed to the wealthy. Inflation is often described as the "grocery store" tax.

In 1974 Congress and President Nixon get into a battle as to who will control the nation's purse strings. The president impounded funds allocated by Congress for projects distasteful to his party. By refusing to spend the money the executive basically usurps the traditional power of the Congress over budget and spending. Congress then passes the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act which precipitate an office of Budget Management. Congress now has an organized centralized method for budgeting and allocating funds. But this new process continues the misdirected policy of including Social Security funds into the unified budget. This, in effect, reduces the protected Social Security Trust fund to a part of government's general spending.

In 1982 Alan Greenspan is commissioned to study the growing Social Security "deficit" problem. Greenspan recommends an increase in the Social Security payroll taxes. He recommends this in order to build a surplus in the Trust Fund to compensate for the baby-boomer retirement surge that he predicts will begin in 2010.

In the mean time the Reagan administration and the Bush administration continued the borrow-and-spend policy of the Johnson administration to support Star Wars, the general rebuilding of the Military and Bush #1's wars.

Ronald Reagan in just five years as President trippled the National Debt. By the end of the Reagan/Bush years these two conservative presidents quadrupled this nation's National Debt to 4 trillion dollars. It had taken all the previous presidents, from George Washington through Jimmy Carter to get the National Debt to slightly less than 1 trillion.

By 1983 surpluses begin to appear in the Social Security Trust Fund.

By 1989 there is over 50 billion extra dollars in the Fund but Congress and President Bush #1 decide to include this surplus in its general revenue expenses. There is another war going on you will remember.

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan tries to get the Social Security payroll tax rescinded on the grounds that if Congress is going to spend the baby-boomers Social Security in place of taxing people for Bush's war, the tax should be abolished and Social Security should be returned to a pay-as-you-go program. Mr. Moynihan was trying to protect the Social Security Fund not undermine it.

A November 5, 1990 Congress passed The Budget Enforcement Act. Though it had been stated in the original Social Security Bill that the Trust Fund would be kept separate from the general revenue and spending funds, this new law restated the premise and made an actual law against doing otherwise. But regardless President Clinton and now president Bush decided to disregard this law and continue including the Social Security Trust Fund and its ever growing surpluses due to the Baby Boomer tax increase of 1983.

Every president from Lyndon Johnson forward was guilty of misappropriating the social Security Trust fund money. They did this basically to make their deficit spending look better to the electorate and in Clinton's case to make his surpluses appear to be greater than they really were.

Bush II compounded the deception or theft by telling the public that the government had extra money and that it should be returned to the taxpayers. Bush II, in effect, gave the Baby Boomers' Social Security money to the rich and the wealthy via his so called tax cut. It should really have been called a Social Security give away, rather than a tax cut.

Now, not only does the Social Security Tax or revenues have to be increased, all the money that was pilfered from the Fund from Lyndon Johnson forward must be reimbursed.

To add insult to injury not only did the government pilfer the money from the Social Security funds to use to finance its wars and send dividends to the rich and famous, it "borrowed" these funds in a manner never before seen. It took the money from the Social Security Fund and instead of replacing these funds with negotiable, interest bearing treasury bills, it replaced the money with non-negotiable, non interest bearing markers. In other words like the Anderson Accounting scam, they simply juggled the books.

It does no good to say that all the people serving in the Congress from Johnson forward should be prosecuted for embezzling government funds but nevertheless the problem will have to be solved.

As an old retired person I hope that my contemporaries will not allow any future U.S. government to simply cut benefits and undermine the system. The government is at fault for not managing the peoples’ money and for not making the necessary financial adjustments when necessary. The government is responsible and should be held responsible.

I have one idea – no foreign interventions or wars for the next ten years and the saving on defense spending to be deposited into the Social Security Trust Fund. With the exception of World War II and the British invasion of 1812 where we were actually attacked, the remainder of U.S. wars were optional. I suggest that we take the "option" in the future. Skip a war here and there in our future and we will have more than enough to fund Social Security and numerous other seemingly impossible benefits.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

This is a short story from my Book "A Baker's Dozen." to order this book or get more information on this book, click on the cover of the book at the right of this page Thanks.

It was the day before Christmas and all through the house there were long faces, and sad children. My mother had told us that there wouldn't be any Christmas this year. We had no money. Dad was off to sea on the other side of the world somewhere and we were home here in Lawrence ... broke … again.

We had gone up to Broadway hunting for a Christmas tree on several different occasions; but they were all too expensive.

In past years, one could buy a Christmas tree for a quarter or fifty cents. You could buy the best tree on the lot for a dollar – but, not this year. The new president, whoever he was, must have come from the Christmas Tree State; wherever that is. This year Christmas trees sold for dollars. My mom would pick out some diseased little bush, bang it on the sidewalk a few times to watch all the needles fall off, and then ask; "How much for this piece of firewood?"

"Two dollars," the man would say, looking at my mother as if she weren't even worth dealing with.

"Two dollars?" my mother would groan in disbelief, not even covering her voice so that the man couldn't hear.

"Excuse me," the man would say, I have a customer over here. The man would say the word "customer" as to distinguish between my mother and an actual human being with money. A customer was obviously a person who could afford to buy a Christmas tree and not stand there arguing over what the tree might cost. I remember being embarrassed. The way these men treated my mother made me feel even smaller than I was. My mother couldn't have cared less about them. She just seemed to say whatever came into her head. She wasn't concerned about her social status as I was. The men treated her like trash, and she treated them like criminals. My mother was ready for a fight and I was ready to go somewhere and hide.

I would never act like my mother, I thought at the time. I would buy the tree or I wouldn't buy the tree. I guess that I thought that my mother really had the money but she was just too cheap to spend it. She was always trying to save money. A nickel in her pocket was the actual size of a real buffalo. To get one out of her pocket took a whole tribe of Indians and a troop of U.S. cavalry. She was like that on everything, not just Christmas trees. This whole situation was just too, too embarrassing.

We went home, once again, without a Christmas tree.

Now, here it was the day before Christmas and my mother was just sitting there in her chair, knitting another one of her stupid crocheted hats. She knit hats and sweaters and scarves and mittens and gloves. She would even put lace knitting onto linen handkerchiefs. All the relatives said how pretty her hankies were, but I knew better. All this knitted stuff was poor people stuff – the accouterments of poverty. They all smiled, but they weren't really smiling; they were smirking. "Ha ha ha! Look at her! She can't even afford to buy real Christmas presents. Every year it is the same old piece of handmade crap."

"I've got an idea," my mother said. "Why don't you kids go out and sell some of my handmade articles. Instead of sitting there sulking – do something. Every year I get all sorts of compliments. All the relatives love the things that I make. I'll bet that they would sell like hot cakes."

The old woman had to be whacked out of her mind. Not only did she think that her "handmade" stuff was attractive and an "article," she thought that one of us kids would go out into the streets of America and try to sell it. She had obviously read too many "Alice in Wonderland" stories when she was a child.

"Hey! That's a great idea!" my sister said.

I couldn't believe my ears.

Everyone bantered the idea around and they came to what they thought was the obvious conclusion. Richard should go out into the streets of Lawrence on Christmas Eve selling these hats because he was so young and so cute. This was the first time that anyone in the family ever said that they thought that I was cute. I couldn't believe it. They couldn't be serious. On the boldest day of my life I couldn't go up to a stranger and ask the time of day, never mind sell them one of my mother's stupid linen handkerchiefs, made like a doily – all trimmed in pink and blue. This was the wackiest idea that I had ever heard. Sure it sounded great to my brother and sister. I was the dope who would be out there looking like Little Orphan Annie selling crocheted homemade hats door to door. Oh my God!

Within a moment they had me all bundled up and out the kitchen door, carting this little cardboard suitcase filled with stupid hats and doilies. I was beside myself. And it was starting to snow. What would I do?

Well, I couldn't go peddling hats on the very street that I lived. That would be too embarrassing. I would have to walk a block or two and try some street where nobody knew me.

I went up one block and took my first left onto Camden. I stood out in front of this big brown tenement for what seemed like an hour trying to get up my courage. I wanted to cry. I just really wanted to cry. This was so hard. This was the worst thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.

I walked up the steps that led to the front porch. The door had this gold key thing-a-ma-gig on it. I knew what it was because we had one on our hall door. You turned it clockwise and it rang like a bell. I turned the darn thing. A lady came to the parlor window which looked out onto the front porch. She pulled the lace curtain back and stared down at me for a moment. Then she left.

Next I heard her at the porch door. I was scared out of my wits. I didn't want the lady to see my face, just in case I ever meet her again in my life. I opened up my cardboard suitcase and held it out in front of me with the lid up in front of my face. The lady opened the door and turned on the porch light at the same time. When she looked down into my suitcase with all the multi-colored hats and things she let out with a yelp. I was about to run when I heard her scream; "Oh you guys, you've got to come here and look at this. You won't believe it!"

Yeah, I thought to myself. They won't believe it all right. What won't they believe? They won't believe that there is actually a little boy out here on their stoop on Christmas Eve, selling crocheted hats out of a cardboard box. My god! If anybody finds out about this, I'll die. I'll just have a heart attack and drop dead!
Within just a moment or two there was a cluster of chatty, old women and pretty, young girls all over me. I was pink. I was pink all over my body. I could feel it everywhere. There were women all over me. And they smelled like little flowers and powder puffs and stuff like you smell at the women's counter in Woolworth's department store. Oh man, I think I'm going to be sick – was my feeling. What will happen if I start puking all over this lady's front porch?

They couldn't stand it. They had to drag me into the house and sit me down at the kitchen table while each of them tried on every hat in the box. They actually liked the hats. Who would have believed it? Certainly not I! But you know, I wore some of that knitted stuff that my mother made and no one ever laughed at me. Her stuff looked just like the stuff you could buy at Woolworth's for a pile of money if you wanted to. So there you go.

I sat there watching this gaggle, in disbelief. But yet I had to be cool. It was clear that given the right price they were going to buy some of this crap. But I had to be careful.

"How much is this one?" a girl asked. I pictured myself stating a price; watching them all shrivel up in the face, and then throwing me out of the house. How much was a crocheted hat worth? My mother said that anything above fifty cents would make her happy.

I looked around this lady's apartment. They had good stuff in there. They had a shiny, mahogany, wood kitchen table. Anything that looked dark, pretty, shined and was made of wood was mahogany to me. If anything in a department store looked expensive, my mother would say, "That must be mahogany." I never saw a tree that looked like mahogany. Mahogany must grow in Africa or the South American Amazon Jungle or someplace like that, I thought. Anybody that had mahogany for a kitchen table must be rich, I figured. What would a rich person pay for a homemade, crocheted hat? A crocheted hat couldn't be worth very much, or my mother wouldn't be making them. We didn't have anything in my house that was worth anything. So what could I ask?

I looked at the hat. It was a nice one. She even had it on her head. You have to be rich to just pick something up and put it on your head, I thought. If I ever picked anything up in a department store and put it on my head, my mother would give me a crack that would make my ears ring. This girl had the hat on her head, and she was twisting it this way and that. Nobody would do that unless they were going to buy the darn thing; would they?

"Ahh, that one is seventy-five cents."

"Oh my god! Are you sure?"

O poop, I thought. I blew it. She thinks that seventy-five cents is a lot of money. My mother had to be kidding me with that "anything over fifty-cent" business. But now what could I do? I couldn't change the price. Then they would all know that I was making up the prices. I had to show some confidence. If she put that one back and picked up another one, I could lower the price on that one. Then maybe she would be happy.

"That one is seventy-five cents, but there are others that are..."

"Oh my gosh," she interrupted. "I have to have it, mother." She called her old lady "mother." That was a sure give away. These people had to be rich. The "mother" got out her purse and handed me a dollar.

"I don't have any change," I said.

"Oh don't be silly. That hat is worth a good deal more than a dollar. You take the dollar and when you go home, if your mother says that it costs more than a dollar you come back and I'll give you some more money."

This lady thinks I have a "mother" too. Where the heck in the world was I? I had never seen anybody pay extra for anything in my entire life. These people were wacky. I had stepped through the looking glass. I was now in a world apart. I was only one block from Chelmsford Street and I was into Never-Never Land.

Every hat after the first one went up twenty-five cents. This lady went and got her neighbors. She had a telephone, and was calling people to come over and look.
I had an aunt who had a telephone too. I remember Jack Greco’s dad picking up their new telephone, holding it out a foot in front of his face and yelling at it. “Hold it to your ear Dad,” Jackie told his father. Oh my god, the look on Jackie’s dad’s face when he heard the voice through the receiver for the first time.

My aunt upstairs had a telephone but no one else in our building had one. All the relatives in our building would use her phone and pay her a nickel. But most of the time we had no use for a telephone.

By the time that I left that apartment, I had sold nearly everything in the box, and the last hat I sold for two dollars and fifty cents. I just threw all of the money into the cardboard suitcase. Everybody was happy. All of the teenage girls were running around the apartment with one of my old lady's homemade, crocheted hats on their head. They would turn the brim up in the front and look like a flapper, or pull it over to the side. Some of them even had the hats on backward. At least, I thought they were on backwards, but what did I know.

They were all watching me as I left. I had to be cool. I wanted to scream and start running home, but I couldn't. I had to be cool. I never smiled all the time that I was there. I did my best to look as pathetic as possible. I had to be cute, you know. What the heck was cute anyway? I didn't know anybody who was cute.

I walked leisurely to the corner. As I turned the corner onto Center I peeked over my shoulder. They had closed the porch door, but I could still see them through the parlor window. They weren't watching me.

I felt like a thief. I had just robbed that apartment, but none of them were chasing me. They were all parading around in their hats, looking like Jean Harlow or somebody. When I got around that corner, I ran like hell. Every now and then I leaped into the air. I had never been so excited in all my life. What would my mother and brother and sister think? How would I tell them? Would I run in screaming and jumping around? I felt truly heroic. I had a box full of dollar bills.

By the time I got to our kitchen door, I had calmed down somewhat. I decided that I would play dumb. I would just come in all dejected looking and flop down in a chair without saying anything.

When I walked in the door everybody was disappointed. I hadn't been gone all that long, so naturally they thought that I had just quit. I kept a straight face.

"Well, you didn't give it much of a try," my mother said with a frown.

"Did you go to any houses, or did you just walk around the block and come home?" my sister mumbled.

"No. I came home to get some more hats. You got any more? I'm sold out."

"Ha, ha, ha! You're so funny," my mother spit sarcastically. "I wish you would have at least given it a try. Everybody really likes my hats."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," I mocked. "Why don't you open the box if you don't believe me?"

"If I don't believe what?"

"If you don't believe that I sold out."

"You sold out?"

"Yeah, I sold out."

"Sure," my sister said, "and why don't you run into the parlor and look at all the presents that Santa left under the Christmas tree."

I just sat there smirking and pointing to the box. My mother began to look at me curiously. Finally she moved towards the box hesitantly. "If you're playing with me, I'm going to give you a smack, I'll tell you."

"Well, get ready to smack him, Mom. There is no way that he could ever have sold all of those hats in such a short period of time. He's just being the little snipe that he always is."

"Oh yeah? Well why don't you open the box then?"

My mother was in front of the box by then. She flipped the little latch and pulled up the lid. Who would have ever believed it? I certainly wouldn't have. It was impossible. But there it was – a suitcase full of money. Jack and the Bean Stalk – but I did it right.

It probably wasn't all that much money, but it was enough to impress everybody in that little apartment. Nobody could believe that I had done it. Everybody's eyes were bugging out of their head. I don't ever remember being prouder than at that moment. I had done the impossible. I don't think that they really thought that I could sell those hats. The place was a sparkle. My mother wanted to give me some of the money, but I wouldn't take it. She wanted me to take some money so that I would go selling hats again in the future. But I knew what I wanted and it wasn't money. I wanted a Christmas tree.

It was Christmas Eve and it was now dark outside. And it was snowing. My mother, my sister and I were all bundled up and heading towards Broadway. We were going to buy a Christmas tree. And when that guy said, “Two dollars,” I'd say, "Good! We'll take it. And here's an extra dollar for you, Merry Christmas." Oh man, wouldn't that be great!

But when we got there, the guy was gone. No Christmas trees anywhere. We walked up and down Broadway. All the Christmas tree stands were gone. Why wouldn't they be gone? Who in their right mind would wait until Christmas Eve to buy a Christmas tree? There we were with a pocket full of money and no tree.

We walked all the way up Broadway to Methuen Square. Then we headed down Lawrence St. along the Searles Castle wall. No more trees for sale anywhere. It was cold. We were blowing into our hands and our noses were running. We had left the house with all our dreams come true. We had gotten the money. We had done the impossible. And now the kingdom was gone for the want of a tree. How could this happen? We could see the trees sparkling in everybody's windows. Most of the houses were lit up with porch lights. But even with a pocket full of money, we would have no Christmas.

Suddenly I saw something in a yard. It looked like Christmas trees lined up along a first floor apartment. But that would be impossible. Why would there be Christmas trees in somebody's yard?

I ran over to the yard and pulled myself up by the rails in order to look over the fence.

"It's Christmas trees, Ma. They're Christmas trees." My sister ran over to the fence and climbed up on a rail beside me. My mother looked and then said; "Well, I'll be." Without hesitating she pulled open the gate and walked right into the yard. There were three Christmas trees leaning there, up against the building. They weren't nice Christmas trees. They were the bottom of the lot. They weren't round or firm or fully packed. They were all ugly, scraggly and filled with empty spaces. But it didn't matter. They were Christmas trees.

My mother marched up the stairs, into the hall, and knocked on the apartment door. She was never one to do that way. The man came to the door and my mother said, "Are those Christmas trees for sale?"

"No," the man said. Our hearts dropped. What could anybody possibly be saving horrible trees like that for? They were all good for nothing. But you know who it was at that door? It was one of those mean guys from the sales lots who wouldn't sell us a tree in the first place. He wasn't going to sell us a tree now because we wouldn't pay the price then, I thought. My old lady was rude to him then, so now he was going to show her who the boss was.

"Those trees are all garbage. They're throw-always."

My mother didn't know what to say. Did the man mean that he would rather throw them away than sell one to cheap people like us?

"Well, if you are just going to throw them away, can we have one then?"

"You can have them all if you want them. I don't care. They ain't worth selling to nobody." Then the man closed the door and went back inside his apartment. He hadn't remembered us. He didn't care one way or another. We eagerly snatched up the trees trying to pick out the best one. But the man was right. Not a one of them was decent enough to make a Christmas tree. They had no limbs on them. My mother stood each tree up, one after another.

"Well, what do you think?" she would ask. She really had a sad look on her face. It was difficult to imagine any of the trees with lights and tinsel on it. How do you decorate a tree with no branches on it? It was easy to see how bad my mother was feeling. It was all her fault, wasn't it? If she would have just bought a tree in the first place, we wouldn't be here now picking through the "garbage."

She had one tree balancing with each of her hands and was spinning them around for our viewing. As she looked at the trees herself, she looked as though she was about to cry. She moved the one tree over to her other hand so that she could pick up the last tree and take a look at it. The last tree wasn't any better. She shook her head negatively. It was a sorry sight. Then she took a last look at the two trees in her other hand. Suddenly her eyes flashed. She pushed the two trees together. The two of them together had enough branches to make one – not very good – tree. She shoved the third one over and bunched them all together. My sister and I beamed. Each tree alone was impossible. But when they were all bunched together they didn't look that bad. We all got the idea. We would take them all home, tie them together and make the three ugly, garbage trees into one real Christmas tree. And we did.

We even had tinsel on the tree because, believe it or not, every year when we took down our Christmas tree at the end of the season, we saved the tinsel. We re-wrapped it, on the cardboard do-hickie, strand by silver strand.

When the relatives came, not a one of them ever noticed that we had three trees tied together by their trunks. We had Christmas presents too. It was just necessary stuff that my mother had bought during the year when it was on sale – like underwear, and socks, but so what.

We each took a turn and went into my mother's bedroom where she had all of this stuff and picked out what we wanted to give to each other. We hid them from one another and wrapped them up in last year's Christmas paper, crossed out the old names on the cards and re-issued them. Merry Christmas - Ho, ho, ho.
And a merry Christmas it was ... really!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The Hobo Philosopher


Bank of International Settlements

by Richard E. Noble

BIS - Bank of International Settlements - Founded in May of 1930, as a part of the Young Plan. Owen D. Young was a J. P. Morgan banker and Political adviser who devised a plan which supposedly would enable the allies to collect reparation payments from defeated Germany after World War I. The BIS would be an international bank that would be immune from the perils of seizure, confiscation and the general perils of War. It seems that the Banking community was having problems conducting business as usual while their chief depositors were conducting international havoc on the battlefields of Europe. They wanted a bank that could function independent of War that could conduct transactions with both sides or all sides before, during and after War. It was founded on the principle that money is thicker than nationalism.
The history of this bank is enough to unsettle the most patriotic heart. Whatever its initial purpose it turned out to be the financial tool for the American and British pre-war financing of Adolf Hitler and German Nazism, and the in-war money laundering apparatus for the Nazis government. Money was shuffled through this bank from primarily British and American sources to rebuild Germany and its industrial might after World War I.

On its board of directors were such people as Walter Funk (convicted war criminal), Emil Puhl (convicted war criminal) and both Hitler appointees, Paul Hechler (German Nazi party member), Kurt von Schroder officer and financier of the Gestapo and head of J.H.Stein Bank of Cologne, Herman Schmitz (head of I.G.Farben), Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht, Hitler’s banking and financial wizard, tried at Nuremberg but released.

The BIS was associated in the U.S. with the First National Bank of New York, a J. P. Morgan organization with directors Harold S. Vanderbilt and Wendell Willkie. Its second president a Leon Fraser, was a hustler and a performer in drag stage comedies, and had no experience whatsoever in banking.

In 1938 The Governor of the Bank of England, Montagu Normand, a well known Nazi sympathizer, shipped 48 million in Gold sent to the bank of England by the invaded Czech government, back to the BIS who immediately sent it to Berlin and to Adolf Hitler.

During the War the BIS president was a Harvard graduate by the name of Thomas McKittrick. He was a personal friend of Emil Puhl and “Despite the fact that the evidence of the Puhl-Mckittrick conspiracy was overwhelming, McKittrick was given an important post by the Rockefeffers and Winthrop Aldrich; Vice president of the Chase National Bank . ..“ (Trading with the Enemy-Charles Higham).

The BIS under McKlttrick and others is accused of trading with the enemy during a time of war. This is treason as defined by our own constitution but no one in the BIS has ever been brought to justice or even brought up on charges. The BIS is still in operation today. Henry Morganthau, F.D.R.’s secretary of the treasury, had this bank and numerous other American businesses under investigation after the War, but McCarthyism and its subsequent hype got these super wealthy American Nazi traders off the hook. It’s time for someone to go through these files of Morganthau that are at the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial Library at Hyde Park, and bring these people to public disgrace.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bloggin' Be My Life

The World is Flat

By Thomas L. Friedman

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

I don’t know if this book is serious or it is some kind of tongue in cheek, cynical joke. Basically Mr. Friedman is informing the American reader that every job in America is subject to downsizing or off-shoring via the wonders of internet technology. Doctors, lawyers, scientists, accountants and down the line to the “voice” that takes orders at your local MacDonald’s may all be piped in from India, China or Asia. Although Tom tell us all about this in a tempered, fearful voice, his bottom line is this is all good, inevitable and the positive road of the future.

Globalism is nothing new it started as early as Christopher Columbus, as Thomas points out. But we can go back even further to Marco Polo if we choose to.

I agree with Mr. Friedman that this is the biggest turn of events the world has seen and I agree that the arguments pro and con are pretty much the same old same old.

But the big difference I see in this new state of Globalization is what I would term a violent twist in moral thinking. Friedman and others justify this no-holds-barred type of competition on an international type universal morality. In other words, poor hard working people around the world will be able to improve their status. Jobs will fly from America and other well-off Western countries via cable and new computer technology and the people in the once better-off countries will have to step up or get trampled. If they step up, get retrained and re-educate themselves they will be able to get the more prestigious, higher paying jobs while the “grunt” work is palmed off on the Indians and Asians overseas.

To me this book is an example of oblivious, classist thinking of the first degree. Mr. Friedman does admit that there are some people in America and elsewhere who will undoubtedly suffer … but, what can “we” do. It is so unfortunate that everyone (read working class) can’t be invited to the party.

The problem with this “new” globalism is that there is only one aspect of it that is new. It is the idea that businesses can trade with one another to the disadvantage of their home country and that this is all well and good and justifiable “in the long run.” As the famous economist John M. Keynes once said, “Unfortunately, in the long run we are all dead.”

Lee Iacocca said recently that when he was an ambitious, aspiring corporate executive, the competition was rugged and relentless but never did he or any of his executive friends think that the selling out of their home country was on the table. This is not the case in the “new” global economy.

In “Locked in the Cabinet” Robert Reich tells of a debate he had with economist and fellow Clinton Cabinet member Robert Rubin. The GDP was rising but all the increases were going to a small percentage of Americans at the top. Reich asked Rubin if policies were enacted that solely benefited the upper 2% of the society resulting in a growth in GDP would he considered this to be good, justifiable growth? Rubin answered in the affirmative while Reich disagreed. Today even Rubin has recanted his stand on this position. He was just on the TV screaming about the fiscal insanity of extending tax cuts for the top 2%. Inequality is growing to depression like proportions.

Today we see growth taking place at the top while the rest of us not only remain stagnant but deteriorate. This may be morally righteous from a third world perspective but it is morally disastrous for those of us stuck here in the so called “first world.”

This type of thinking has to be “repatriotized.”

None of us anti-globalist are Levellers or protectionist. Everyone believes in trade and on a global basis but we can’t keep trading away the livelihoods and the futures of the American middle class and the working class. We can’t trade away all our manufacturing and our industrial base. If MacDonald’s can’t afford to hire a neighborhood girl or boy to take orders through the drive-in window and must offshore this menial task to India or China because it saves them money, then we Americans can no longer afford to buy our burgers at MacDonald’s or Burger Kind or whoever. And the same goes for all of our industries.

We must have some reasonable rules. For example, possibly a rule stating that any corporation that sells its products to the United States must have a minimum of 20% of its production based here in the U.S. as I think they are already doing in China. We need smart trade, not free trade. The world is still round from where I sit. And I’m not about to move into a thatched or mud hut because it makes the top 2% of America wealthier. This type thinking must stop.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

This is a column from my book "the Eastpointer." You can find out more about this book by clicking on the picture of the book at the right of this page. I won a first place award for humor from the Florida Press Association for this column in 2007.

The Eastpointer

There is no Inflation.

By Richard E. Noble

I don't want to upset all you retired folks out there but I have found out that the Government has been lying to us about inflation.

I know ... I know, you are all shocked. You can't believe I could actually come right out and say the U. S. Government is lying. I am sure some of you think I should be charged with treason and sent to a foreign country to be tortured. I know to actually believe our government would lie is really hard to swallow. There must be some other explanation? Maybe it only appears that they are lying? Maybe I have misinterpreted the facts? Well, I'll let you be the judge.

Inflation is interpreted by the government as CPI. The CPI is the Consumer Price Index. This index was once calculated by comparing the prices of a certain group of goods and services from time to time and then estimating the increase or decrease in their costs. This task was performed by the BLS, the Bureau of labor Statistics. As the cost of everything in this so called basket of goods and services kept rising, the government decided that something had to be done. Something had to be done because this method was costing the government too much money in cost of living adjustments to retirees, retired veteran’s pensions, Medicare payments, government employees, bond holders and whatever. So they appointed somebody named Boskin and instructed him to form a commission and study this problem.

If you are retired, receiving a pension, have your life's savings invested in government bonds, working under a government contract, or anything that is adjusted for inflation by somebody and you now find that you can only afford to buy half a tank of LP gas, or you can no longer afford to drive your car more than one block in any direction, or you are wondering if cat food can be consumed by humans, you can thank Michael Boskin and his Commission. He and his commission rearranged the methods for estimating the Consumer Price Index.

Mr. Boskin had some "overlooked" economic concepts that he brought into the CPI evaluation like; substitution, hedonics - quality estimations, geometric weighing, seasonal adjustments, along with the elimination of certain incalculable volatile variables like energy, food and local, state and federal taxes. So, for example, when the CPI was calculated without consideration for food, energy and taxes it was often found that there had been no inflation at all. Wow! Isn't that great?

So you ask; why is it that I don't have enough money to live on any more? Well, obviously you are still heating and cooling your home, eating food and paying your taxes. If you will just stop doing those things you will find that you have just as much money as you always had.

But just in case that wasn't enough to bail out the government, Mr. Boskin thought up a few other safety measures to guarantee that inflation didn't go up.

One of his measures he called "substitution." In other words if the price of beefsteak in our typical basket of goods went up from the last time that Mr. Boskin went shopping, he substituted hamburger; and if hamburger was too high he substituted chicken; and if all the meat was too high; he substituted vegetables; and if vegetables were too high one can imagine that Mr. Boskin would have us consumers check out the ingredients on a bag of Friskies. Then, of course, we don’t have to buy the name brand Friskies, we could buy Gritskies and we don’t have to buy Ritz Crackers we can buy Fritz or Blitz Crackers.

Next on Mr. Boskin's list of improvements was "hedonics" or quality compensations. Let's say that Mr. Boskin bought a TV for $329 on his previous expedition and then on his following survey the same model TV cost the exact same price. But the new TV had a better picture, was estimated to last 2 years longer, and due to improvements in technology it had a much better sound. Mr. Boskin figured that even though RCA chose not to charge us for these improvements the government had no obligation to be so generous. Mr. Boskin estimated, for example, that these improvements were worth in terms of quality enhancement, $135. He therefore calculated that a new TV didn't really cost the consumer $329 but only $194. As you can plainly see our CPI actually went down instead of remaining exactly the same.
But hedonics only seems to travel in one direction. If you personally don’t benefit from these new technological wonders because you have grown old and your vision and hearing have diminished or even if you didn’t need and don’t want the new and improved model, you still get billed by Boskin nonetheless.

I could explain to you Mr. Boskin's "geometric weighing" as opposed to the old antiquated arithmetic method and his seasonal adjustments but I don't really think it is necessary. I think that most of you out there will agree with me when I say that Mr. Boskin and the U.S. government who hired him are not simply spinning the truth but are really telling lies.

PS: I have read that in Israel inflation is calculated each year and everybody's accounts are ajusted automatically. Nobody loses a nickel due to inflation.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Baker's Dozen

A Baker’s Dozen

Book Review

By Eve Paludan

[Eve Paludan is a writer and editor. Eve Paludan is an editor of scholarly works by day and a novelist by night, occasionally doing freelance fiction editing on weekends. She is currently attending Arizona State University (online) and is working on earning a Web Developer Certificate from Northern Arizona University. She is also writing another romance novel. Eve has been married for 2.1 decades to a software developer/publisher, Ron Paludan, who is also a 3D (Poser and Google Sketch-Up) artist, as well as a webmaster of commercial sites.]

"A Baker's Dozen" Short Stories by Richard Noble is not only a treat, it is a feast for the mind, with some of the stories reminiscent of the O. Henry type of plot twists that have captivated readers for generations. Like the proverbial box of fancy chocolates, each story in this collection gives the reader a satisfying taste of a different flavor, and yet a cohesive theme of American blue-collar nostalgia makes a pretty box to contain these 13 delectable story treats.

A consummate storyteller, Richard Noble brings to life both civilized life -- with themes like marriage and running a business and adventures with drinking buddies and unions and such -- and uncivilized life, such as my favorite story in the collection: In "I'm Going Home," an itinerant fruit picker and pot dealer named Jon enjoys the freedom and economy of living in a national park but ponders the suspicious death of an alcoholic Jesus freak known as Pea-Coat. The trouble starts when Jon starts his own investigation of the assumed suicide. Wow, this story grabbed me and didn't let go, nor did it disappoint. Well done.

In "Cain & Bernard's," the author takes the long way to getting his own specialty butcher shop ready to open, which will require a plumber. His hilarious first-person retelling of his guy-centric path to his goals keeps getting diverted to a local bar where he has to drink with a plumber, seemingly for days, before they get down to business. Apparently, all of the regulars have long ago dated many of his aunts and his mom, which causes him some consternation and embarrassment. Oh, and existing on bar food -- mostly pickled eggs -- and alcohol is not a proper diet for a working man.

In "Love is Blind," Diane is a thirty-something spinster with a lovely apartment. She hasn't had a date for years. One night she gets a call from a war vet whose memories of them dancing at Arthur Murray as youngsters sustained him through the worst of times. What happens next left me with a lump in my throat. So poignant and romantic. A what-if that we all think about. Could someone from our past re-surface and...?

In "Gluckman's Poultry," the author goes wholesale meat-shopping on what are possibly the wrong side of the tracks and has a small adventure and a lesson in managing people at the bottom of the blue-collar totem pole.

In "Mussels in Marinara," more adventures in the butchery business ensue in South Miami with the author's friend, Lenny, after their meatpackers' union ditched them. This story is about crackers and beer, and Lenny's wife, who is simultaneously a princess and a shrew. There's something of an urban, blue-collar Shakespeare feel to this short story. Very enjoyable.

In "A Government Job," an ad for a nondescript job for a "coordinator" sends Richard, our hero, into unexplored territory as he bluffs his way through the job interview in some of the funniest b-s-ing I've ever read, as both interviewer and interviewee muddle through in a battle of wits!

"A Corny Christmas Story" presents the author as a little boy possessed of charm and surprising wit as he peddles his mother's hand-crocheted hats door to door, so that the family can buy a Christmas tree while Dad is off fighting a war on the other side of the world. I loved this! It should be a short film for a Christmas special. It's wistful, hopeful and amusing.

There are other great stories in this collection, and each has a sense of place and characters that are unforgettable. The author wrote some stories in first person, others are in third person with protagonists who are likely veiled characters of people he seemed to know well.

If you're looking for an entertaining short story collection with a sense of the past, Noble nails it with 13 gems that will make you laugh, cry, and swear at the adventures of a vivid and down-to-earth Americana.

Five stars for an entertaining short story collection of man stories that even a girl can love. -- Eve Paludan, author of Letters from David, a romance novel.

Monday, November 22, 2010

For more information or to purchase this book click on cover at right on this page. "Just Hangin' Out Ma"

John Fitzgerald Kennedy and My Mom

A Memoir

By Richard E. Noble

The phone rang in our little kitchen. We lived in a tiny apartment in Lawrence, Massachusetts. I spent the first twenty seven years of my life there. It was a mill town with layer after layer of blue collar tenement houses. My mother rarely answered the phone. It was usually never for her but someone calling for one of us kids. We all rushed to her side, ready to grab the phone when she said for whom the call was actually intended. But we were all stopped short, as she hung onto the receiver and began to speak;

“Yes, I know who you are, Bobby. Yes, I know that it is your brother, John, who is running for president.”

“What the ...? Who are you talking to Ma?”

“She’s talking to Bobby; you know Johnny’s brother.” We all laughed, as she went on as if she were talking to one of our school chums.

“Yes, I realize that tomorrow is Election Day ... Oh yes, I certainly intend to vote for your brother. I understand ... Yes, I certainly will ... I will ... I will! I’m going to be there the first thing in the morning. I wish you and your brother the best of luck ... Oh, don’t you worry Bobby; you have my vote.”

Bobby Kennedy had called our house the night before his brother was elected President of the United States.

J.F.K was one of us.

An Irish Catholic, Massachusetts boy, was going for the presidency. This was as close to home as it could get; our little State, our maligned faith, our dumpy neighborhood, our blue collar apartment in the inner-city slum, and our telephone. It was unbelievable. My mother was talking to Bobby about the election; my mother who was probably the least political person that I have ever known. But, that next morning she donned her winter coat and hat and went prancing off with her pocketbook hanging on her arm. I ran out on the porch. I didn’t know whether to cheer, applaud or what. She looked like a miniature Eleanor Roosevelt parading down Chelmsford St. to the corner where they were all lined up at the voting station.

She had received her orders and was marching to her destiny which was to personally elect John F. Kennedy president. And she did it. It was the closest election of the twentieth century thus far.

Johnny won by slightly more than 100,000 votes. He was the youngest man yet to be elected president - the first Catholic president. And though I was just slightly too young to vote for him myself, he was my president also.

He was the president of all the young people. He was as sharp as a tack. He knew his ABC’s. He had all the answers. The press was no match for him. He was smarter than they were. He smiled, had a huge grin and told jokes about his dad and his wife and brothers and sisters. He was a big tease, just like an older brother, or your own dad. He was a hero during the war. I went to see the movie PT-109 at the local movie theater. I bought his book, Profiles in Courage. I still have a copy. It was a real book.

Profiles in Courage was no political biography book about how I was born in a log cabin. It was not about himself. It was about men in history who had acted courageously, even if it meant their political careers. John F. Kennedy was more than another pretty face.

Profiles in Courage was a book about ideals, about principles. It became a TV series. I can remember lying on the parlor floor with my head up against a hassock watching this week’s excerpt with the whole family. At the end of each episode there was somebody crediting John F. Kennedy, and some bit of his personal idealistic inspiration. If I’m not mistaken, he introduced the show, or signed it off – or something.

John F. Kennedy, the war hero, who had saved his buddies; the intellectual and Harvard graduate, the journalist, the TV show writer, the first Catholic president, the youngest elected president, the family man with a picture book wife and regular kids hiding under his desk at the White House, the little rich boy who had a feeling for the working stiff. John F. Kennedy, the man who was going to bring peace to the world at last.

By the time I got to Merrimack College everybody was enrolling in the Kennedy Army for Peace. They called it the Peace Corps. They say that it was really Hubert Humphrey’s idea, but it was Kennedy who pushed and promoted it. Every student that I talked to was joining the Peace Corps. They were all making me feel guilty and hypocritical. Finally we had a president who stopped the tradition of talking about peace while making war; a president who was going to turn it all upside-down. He was going to actively make peace and try to keep the war mongers talking. The whole world got his message and everybody was cheering – except the Russians and Fidel Castro.

Then suddenly it was eyeball to eyeball. The end of the world was on the horizon. But this was O.K. It was all for one and one for all. It was no pull-a-name-out-of-a-hat deal. If we were going to die, we were all going to die at once - BOOM! And who gives a damn. It was a relief. No more hiding under the desks, or looking for a designated bomb shelter, or storing up supplies in the cellar, or contemplating a slow death by some kind of horrid radiation poisoning. If the world really couldn’t be saved, then let’s end it, once and for all. We would prove T. S. Eliot wrong. The world wouldn’t end with a whimper but a BANG! We finally got this chicken-chicken stuff over with. Khrushchev pushed, and Kennedy pushed back – the Cuban Missile Crisis.

When it was over Khrushchev had blinked. Russian ships were on the TV loading up their ships and heading home with their bombs and missiles. Kennedy had stood up to the bullies and they were tucking their missiles between their legs and heading back to their own school yard. If there was anybody who doubted Kennedy’s policy at that time, I don’t remember that they had time to voice their opinion. The missiles were there; we were on the brink of destruction, and then it was over. It was scary, but we all went through it together – holding our breath.

I have heard many say that Kennedy did it all wrong, we should have invaded Cuba and put Castro to rest. But information from the Russian Archives has since proved that Mr. Kennedy and his brother were more than correct. The Russians had tactical nuclear weapons on Cuban soil and submarines off the East Coast of the U.S. with orders to fire if the U.S. had attacked. And due to problems in the Russian communications system the order to retaliate had been given by Khrushchev and couldn’t have been changed in time to stay a holocaust. The East Coast of the United States from Washington D.C. to Tampa Florida would have been gone – along with a heck of a lot more. The incident scared the heck out of both Kennedy and Khrushchev and they consequently had the infamous hot lines installed.

But, Kennedy was a president to whom the presidency wasn’t the culmination of his life and career. He was too young. He was just starting. He was going to really be something special. He would write history or be a movie star, or teach at Harvard. The presidency was just a stop on his way to bigger and better things and everybody knew it.

I was in my college History class at Northern Essex Community College. It was a renovated Haverhill grammar school. It cost me one hundred and fifty bucks a semester. I had a 1946 Desoto, fluid drive that had to be jump-started every day. I parked it on a hill outside the school and everybody watched and laughed each day as, my buddies and I, all pushed it down the hill to get it rolling and then jumped in when I popped it to a start. It was bright yellow, and we called it the Banana Boat. A phrase made popular a few years earlier by Harry Belafonte. This new junior college and the state-wide junior college program was one of Kennedy’s new ideas. A kid of my social class, and my finances, and my academic background had very little hope of getting a college education.

A young office worker stepped into our classroom, unannounced, walked up to the teacher’s desk and handed him a piece of paper. The teacher read the note, silently. Then he looked up at the class, and spoke:

“The president of the United States has just been shot in Dallas, Texas. The class is dismissed.”

A boy in the back of the class jumped up and started mumbling something about his tuition and that he was paying that teacher’s salary and he wanted the class to continue. The teacher repeated; “Class dismissed.” Then he turned and started gathering things up from his desk. The mouthy boy kept grumbling. He grumbled all the way down the corridor and out into the school yard. In a matter of seconds he had a crowd around him and was in a fist fight.

In the cellar of the grammar school we had a small make-shift cafeteria. It was just vending machines, a small bookstore and a couple of TV’s. We were glued to the TV’s. The girls were all in tears and sobbing. Their eyes were all wet and raw and their noses red from the constant use of tissues and table napkins.

My father had died suddenly and without warning a few years earlier. This assassination was the exact same experience all over again. Once again I was waiting for the doctors to announce that everything would be all right and that he would live, but just as with my dad, this wasn’t to be the case.

I was stunned in the same way as I had been with my dad when they announced that the president was dead. But, I was steeled to the concept of death now. I had no tears. I had no “whys.” Death has no explanation. The Nation would go on as it did after Lincoln, after Garrison, after McKinley. It would go on as it has after all the different presidents who had been killed or who had died in office. We had a system, and the system would go on; just as my life had gone on after my father’s death. Just as everyone’s life continues and goes on after the death of any loved one. You have no choice.

But a lot of dreams would now die and be forgotten.

At my father’s funeral, they kept saying that he was so young. And I thought, silently, does death have an age limit? Is anyone too young or not old enough to die? Hardly. Here was the hope of the world and he had just had his head blown off in Dallas, Texas.

Watching the funeral on the TV was tragic. Little John-John being prodded forward by his mother and saluting the coffin; the horse with no rider; the hauntingly slow, and penetrating cadence of the drums – a whole nation in mourning. The memories of those days never seem to die.

Maybe they’re not supposed to.

John F. Kennedy holds the unique distinction of being the only president to be assassinated more than once.

He was first assassinated on November 22, 1963 when he had his head blown off in Dallas, Texas. Since that initial assassination, John F. Kennedy has been slowly assassinated, day by day, by the written word in newspapers, periodicals, books, and documentary films in what seems to me to be an attempt to prove to us, the American people, that John F. Kennedy was such a terrible man that he really deserved to be killed in the first place.

I view this with the same attitude that I have learned to view rape. It doesn’t matter if she looks like a whore, acts like a whore, or even if she is a whore, no man has the right to take her without her voluntary consent.

John F. Kennedy, no matter what his character faults, did not deserve to be murdered. He may have been an S.O.B., but, as someone has said before me, he was our S.O.B. And if our government knows and has more information on what happened, it is time that we were informed and the information, at least, made available to our historians. I feel that I have a right to know the truth before I die. The time is here.

The suspects in the murder of J.F.K. include nearly everyone. The only prominent person or group not yet accused of the crime, I think, is the Pope.

Things we know: The Warren Commission Report was a blatant cover-up. The autopsy was fudged. There was more than one gunman. It now seems that there were so many bullets fired, one wonders how innocent by-standers weren’t hit – Oswald’s nest, the grassy knoll on the right; the grassy knoll on the left; somewhere from the front;
somewhere from the back; from the sewers. Assassins seem to have been all over the place. Shoplifters got better police protection than Oswald received walking up that ramp to his death at the hands of Jack Ruby. Who are they kidding! They had better security at the Lawrence police station, for god sakes.

To me, one thing does seem to be certain here. A whole bunch of prominent people have been lying on this matter. Why?

Americans have the right to know their own history. Open up all this secret stuff and, at least, let the academics in. Most everybody involved is probably dead by now. It won’t change anything, but it should be important to a people who keep making claim to be living in – the land of the free and the home of the brave.


The Hobo Philosopher


By Richard E. Noble

This is really something that I am almost ashamed to admit. Being an active participant and member of the “male” community, I have always been a vociferous and outspoken supporter of “cleavage.” I mean I was weaned into puberty by a Playboy Bunny - although I don’t remember her name ... or her face for that matter.

I mean please, before anyone gets the wrong idea, I drink beer and whiskey, watch all types of sporting events, and have never been one not to laugh at a demeaning, insensitive joke about any type of naked woman. But, all that aside, I’m all cleavaged out.

There was a lady doing the local weather report flashing me cleavage the other night and another on the early morning “Fishing with Bubba” show.

I have seen more cleavage in the last few years than I have ever been privileged to seeing in all of my previous life. And cleavage isn’t just cleavage anymore. I’ve seen young cleavage, old cleavage, golf ball size cleavage, softball size cleavage, upright cleavage, drooping cleavage, wrinkled cleavage, both king and queen sized cleavage and even semi-nippled cleavage. There is top cleavage, bottom cleavage, diamond cleavage, lower cleavage, side cleavage, and last but not least - butt cleavage. That’s right, butt-cleavage. Girls, who have no real cleavage in the traditional area of cleavage responsibility, have turned to exposing their better side. I can hardly believe it. There are seventy year old women not only showing the world, willing and unwilling, their cleavage but presenting themselves nude on grain and automotive calendars. And Diane Sawyer and Barbara Wa-wa are both screaming “you go girl!” Which is feminist for “I think you are a damn fool, but if it makes you happy to embarrass all of us females and womanhood in general, what the hell can I do about it - hee hee hee.”

At first I said, “Oh well, should cute young girls who are obviously proud of their burgeoning womanhood be deprived of their fleeting opportunity to exhibit their cleavage, front, rear or whatever? Gee wizz! What kind of old fuddy-duddy are you?”
Okay so we all get to enjoy “Bouncy’s” cleavage and Jennifer whats-her-name’s cleavage. I even enjoy the interviews where all these little girls with the budding cleavage express their embarrassment of their personal virginity. It is truly inspiring to see on the Tube a partially naked, pre-adult female, in a skintight, shear, flesh colored wrap, with extraordinary cleavage expressing a religious and spiritual desire to maintain her virginity. Is this meant to be a statement or a dare?

I have no doubt that in the opinion, minds and imaginations of a good many of their young, male, religious admirers, this fact of virginity must take a Kierkegaardian “great leap of faith” over the infinite cleavage of both time and space to find a true eternal resting place in the abstract phenomenological void between what really is and what definitely isn’t and what is OMG (“oh my God”) possible.

You know, I realize that there was once a time when even belly buttons had a modest pubertic fascination. You know, is it an inny, an outy, an uppy or a downy. But really, enough is enough!

Young, beautiful “virgin” females now dance regularly in public and without embarrassment in a manner that in previous years I could only be privy to at a five dollar cover charge at the Boom-Boom Room on Common Street or in Boston at Scully Square. Gypsy Rose Lee would be Gypsy Rose “Who” if she were starting out today.
I would say that this is all a matter of male chauvinism except the guy this young girl is dancing with is bouncing up and down wearing a pair of trousers that are so tight that the outline of what was once considered personal and private is purely visible to the plain and un-enhanced naked eye. One could almost hazard a guess as to whether or not this male dancer is Jewish or gentile!

If I were a pornographic film maker, I would make a movie where all the characters are fully clothed and all the scenes of encounter are shot in silhouette and shadows. I’ll bet it would sell a million copies. It would be soooo hot!
If this were a letter to the editor or Dear Abby, I would sign it - Overexposed!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

If you liked this review you might find the books pictured above equally interesting. Click on book covers to the right on this blog for more information. Thanks.

William Greider

One World Ready or Not

by Richard E. Noble

I read a book by a Mr. William Greider, “One World Ready or Not.” On the back cover of his book it states that he is the National Editor of the Rolling Stone. I thought that was a magazine about Mick Jagger and other horribly disfigured people who have made a success of promoting the concept of noise around the world.

I consider this book an economics book - but it is not a compilation of difficult theories. It is a vivid and insightful description of what is going on around the world, with chapter after chapter of everyday life descriptions. It is about the New Global Capitalism - the privatization of the world.

Mr. Greider’s book is a primer on getting up to speed on what is presently happening in the world economy. I consider it to be very intelligent and well thought; especially for a man who I presume spent the early part of his life following the Grateful Dead - the Rolling Stone Magazine, you will remember.

When I reflect on Mr. Greider’s book one of the many things that comes to my mind is a problem that he pointed out in the conclusion.

In a world of, more or less, dedicated Capitalism where supply and demand and profit-making are the sole motivation for investment and action, how does necessary but non-profitable “good” happen?

For example, you are a Capitalist Doctor in a Capitalist world. You are riding along the highway and you stumble upon an accident. Many people are sprawled along side the road bleeding and injured. You quickly discover that these people have no insurance and no money to pay for the necessary supplies, never mind your expertise, training and college loan. With Capitalism and supply and demand as your guide, how do you devise a profitable system or a method for their care?

Charity is not a system or method of Capitalism, it is a band aid. Charity is a notion that drains off the goodwill of Capitalism. It stands out as a flaw in the Capitalistic dogma, not as a positive attribute. Charity only becomes necessary because Capitalism has failed. Charity doesn’t make a profit. It is not a business. We can’t depend on Charity as a Capitalist economic tool.

The notion that people should all be pursuing their own personal good does not help our good Samaritan dogmatic Capitalistic Doctor.

As a Capitalist he must devise some sort of rationale whereby he can gain a profit from the suffering and tragedy he has encountered.

How does Capitalism feed the hungry who have no money to buy food, even if the Capitalist can produce sufficient quantities; how does Capitalism provide Aids medication to those with no money to pay even for its manufacture? How does Capitalism provide a profitable avenue for environmental safety when clearly polluting pays? How can profit-making provide living wages to workers when providing living wages means less profit and higher prices? The list where Capitalism has traditionally provided no answers goes on and on.

In the past, governmental socialism has been the safety valve of the Capitalist World. When the going gets tough the taxpayer takes over - that’s socialism, not Capitalism.

In the United States, back in the Wilson days, when the banks kept collapsing, the government and the taxpayer stepped in with the Federal Reserve System (Banker Socialism). When the Depression struck, it was Government Socialist spending that stepped in to save the day. Even if you say it was World War II that saved the economy, it was not the killing and the destruction that saved the world from the Depression; it was the government spending on the war effort that produced the jobs, that supplied the wages, that turned around the spending, that stimulated the investment, that paid the soldiers, that built the middle class, that saved the house that George (Washington - not Bush) built.

We didn’t need a World War II to save us from the Depression; we needed unlimited Government spending on a project that satisfied the moral work ethos of the people of the world. Any project would have done the trick, a pyramid or two, an aqueduct, an interstate highway system, a man on the moon.

Why can’t the project to save the world, and stimulate Capitalistic spending be something morally sound; as opposed to something architectural, or industrial or totally destructive, - as War?

When Europe had no money to buy products from the Capitalist world, we gave them the money.

We said that the Marshall Plan was a loan but most of the Marshall Plan money was never paid back. So, in effect, we made TVs and refrigerators - financed Europe’s reconstruction - for people and governments who could not afford to buy these products or materials.

We gave them the money to buy them; we gave them the money to manufacture their own TVs and refrigerators; pretty soon their economies were flourishing and they were selling us TVs and refrigerators. We had to start producing other things here at home to employ our own people to fill new markets from a more demanding world. I even hear Republicans today bragging on this world wide socialistic welfare project called - the Marshall Plan.

Why could this same technique not be used in curing the world of hunger or disease?
If people in Slumbovia need food, we loan (lend/lease) them the money, then sell them the food (deferred loan payback option - lOUs). Once they start eating more regularly, we loan (lend/lease) them some more money and start selling them some tractors. Pretty soon they are growing their own food and manufacturing their own tractors and we are selling them fertilizers, tractor parts and engineering expertise, and they are standing in line to buy tickets to Disney World. And all the while we are paying Henry Ford the II, 3rd. or 4th to manufacture this stuff.

Henry then gives everybody a raise at the factory and takes on more employees - just like we did in World War II. The only difference is we don’t have all the dead bodies and all the bombed out building to rebuild. Instead we start housing developments in Slumbovia. Pretty soon everybody is doing so well, we simply cancel all their debt obligations (call it a tax rebate to stimulate the trade balance, encourage consumption and new investment). The Donald moves to Slumbovia to find a new apprentice and he takes Martha Stewart with him. How can we lose?

There is a lot of world out there to be made prosperous and a lot of money to be made supplying the initial investments, the knowledge and the know how. If it works for war, and the Military Industrial Complex, why can’t it work for peace and refrigerators?

If this concept can work for refrigerators, TVs and even hula-hoops and Pacman, then why can’t it work for healthcare, the environment, science and the betterment of mankind in general?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf

This is a small compliation from my up-coming book on Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.

Adolf Killing ideas:

“...Thus, summing up, one can say the following: Every attempt at fighting a view of life by means of force will finally fail, unless the fight against it represents the form of an attack for the sake of a new spiritual direction. Only in the struggle of two views of life with each other can the weapon of brute force, used continuously and ruthlessly, bring about the decision in favor of the side it supports. It was on this account that the fight against Marxism had failed so far. This was also the reason why Bismarck’s anti-socialist laws finally failed and were bound to fail, despite all efforts. The platform of a new view of life was lacking for the rise of which the fight could have been fought ...”

Adolf on the destruction of an idea

“...the following fundamental realization is the result; Conceptions and ideas, as well as movements with a certain spiritual foundation, may these be right or wrong, can be broken at a certain point of their development with technical means of power only if these physical weapons are at the same time the supporters of a new kindling thought, an idea, or view of life. Use of force alone, without the driving forces of a spiritual basic idea as presupposition, can never lead to the destruction of an idea and its spreading, except in the form of a thorough eradication of even the last representative and the destruction of the last tradition.”

Noble on Killing ideas

And this is exactly what Adolf proceeded to do. He fought the notion of peace with the militarist glory of war.

He fought fear of death with the inevitable notion of the Social Darwinist that death is for the weak and sickly.

He preached immortality through the preservation of the race and nation to which he belonged; your death is of little significance when put aside the advancement of ‘your kind’.

He challenged democracy with the practicality and efficiency of dictatorship.
He challenged the principle of kindness and charity with the obvious unkindness and lack of charity provided by the everyday example of the All Mighty and exhibited through the vision of his pitiless disciple, Mother Nature.

He combated socialism with elitism, and appeals to the glory of the individual.
He combated the growing spirit of internationalism, with the more personal and less humanitarian notion of nationalism and patriotism.

He likened debate and thoughtful argumentation to a lack of resolve and an inability to make a decision and thus a lack of leadership.

For every thesis out there in the world about him, he provided an antithesis. He provided the practicality of Hegel with the fanaticism of Nietzsche.

Without doubt, Adolf was the spokesman for a faith. The preacher and the defender of the principles of the barbarian, the warlord, the defender of the sword; a preacher for the righteousness and glory of destruction; the gallant, fearless, defender of the dominant, the unsympathetic, and the right of might; a true defender of the principle of selfishness, and cruelty, all for the sake of the survival of ‘culture’ and the true chosen people. The modern day Ayn Rand political ideals and much of our conservative notions of today, Glenn Beck for example, are a spin-off from the above fundamentals of Hitler-ism in my opinion.

So Adolf provided along with terrorists tactics, a new faith, a new religion, a new philosophy – the principles of this new religion being Race, Country, Might.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Hobo Philosopher

A Noble Prediction for 2012

The extremely mild, moderate course that has been pointed to as the direction of the future by the Democrats and Obama seems to have been rejected by American voters as radical and leftist. The voters “common sense” has encouraged them into the belief that the National economy should be managed as they manage their household economy - times ahead are tough and therefore spending should be curtailed and cuts are even better. In consequence, they have reestablished the party with the worst spending record in all of American history - the Republicans - to do the job.

Ronald Reagan spent more of the taxpayer’s money than all previous American presidents combined. He tripled the National Debt in eight short years.

George Herbert Walker Bush, challenging Reagan’s supply side economics (give money to the rich and watch them help the poor and middle class) as Voodoo economics then doubled his predecessor’s negative achievement. He doubled the National Debt that Reagan handed him in just four short years.

George W. Bush then proceeded to outspend both his Uncle Ronny and his dad.

So now they are back to cure our spending “problems” and just when the majority of economists agree that government spending is, for the first time in thirty years, the advisable course.

Republicans have promised to cut taxes to the rich and the middle class, balance the budget - with no cuts in military and pentagon spending - and create jobs.

Creating jobs requires spending (investment/expansion) on somebody’s part. We are in a “deflationary” period. That is in real speak a depression/recession.

Because of the economic outlook the private sector is not spending, banks are not loaning, and businesses are laying off workers. Despite talk to the contrary, in such times, BOTH parties believe in government spending.

Republicans, sighting World War II as their prime example, claim to this day, that wartime government spending is what saved the American economy from the “Great Depression” of the 1920-30’s. Both Republicans and Democrats go on to claim government spending on the Marshall Plan followed by government wartime-like spending during the Cold War as the prime reason for America’s post war recovery and prosperity.

What Republicans don’t believe in is social or domestic government spending. Domestic spending in America and on the American people is claimed to be “Socialism” by Republicans. Military government spending is not considered “Socialism” but “Capitalism” by Republicans.

Democrats unlike Republicans believe that all government spending, social or military, is “Capitalistic” so long as it is filtered through private sector outlets, managers or expeditors. Republicans believe that this is only true of government military spending.

Accepting these dogmatic stances, we should be able to predict America’s future.

Since the Republicans are not in full control of the government at this moment, their objectives will be limited. They will have to be content in halting government domestic spending.

In the next two years they will attempt to stifle government spending, return taxpayers dollars to the Republican base, (the wealthy, super-wealthy, and national and international corporate interests) and reduce the expanding “Democrat” government in any way possible.

This is the modern day rebirth of the failed depression creating policies of Herbert Hoover. Enacting these policies, to the delight of American voters, should bring predictable results. A double dip recession should be on the horizon if Democrats and the president are not able to override these Republican intentions.

The president’s past behavior indicates a submissive positioning. The Democrats with the help of redneck Republican Dixiecrats watered down and undermined any serious liberal accomplishments thus far. So now with the cat out of the bag the “pussyfooting” should be over and the Democrats can claim that their hands are tied while the Republicans slash and burn and move us to the right and more militarism. The Democrats will continue to wallow in the delusion that the American people will eventually “see the light” and realize that Republicanism is truly anti-Americanism. It doesn’t seem to be happening. In fact, the reverse has been the norm.

Presuming that the Democrats and the president will cooperate with the Republican demands for political reasons we can then presume that the scene will be set in 2012 for a Republican take over of the entire government.

The economy and jobs will remain the problem in 2012 and the depression will be worse. The Republicans will see to it and the American people will blame the Democrats. I don’t see why the American people will not blame the Democrats. They have blamed the Democrats for these recent Republican obstructions and heaped past Republican failures onto present Democrats to boot. So why should we assume that the attitude of the American people will be any different in 2012?

With the Republicans in command in 2012 there is only one option for prosperity on the home front.

Since Republicans do not believe in government domestic spending as “Capitalistic” and since government spending is the only way out of a depression (depression = lack of private sector investment and spending) the Republicans will be required to create a bigger and more inclusive war.
The only other Republican alternative to war is to wait out the depression. I doubt that the American people in all their conformity will tolerate that alternative. There is also the fact that there is no economic evidence that a depression will bottom out and that businesses will return to spending and investment on and of their own accord. There is no evidence of any such thing ever happening. As long as jobs continue to decrease, consumption will decrease. Consumption drives investment. Nobody buying … no reason to increase production.
The American people "should" demand some type of action. Any domestic investment being considered “Socialism,” welfare-ism, wasteful, communistic and debt creating in nature, some type of war will be mandatory - war being interpreted as legitimate Capitalistic government spending by Republicans.
Bush had his sights on Iran when he left office. Already other Republicans are picking up the chant.
North Korea is a good possibility too. We could hit them both. China would be an insane selection but for Republicans and the threatened western capitalistic world, I wouldn’t take it off the table. It could be a big one with lots of money and jobs created.
Like it or not for Republicans war is synonymous with prosperity and economic growth. Peace is stagnant and deflationary. It can not be encouraged monetarily or economically. And if government domestic spending, investment and incentive are off the table in times of peace and defined as Socialistic, then their reasoning is logical.
As far as the American people go it does seem plain that they would rather sacrifice the arms, legs and lives of their children - or maybe their neighbor’s children - than put their dollars in jeopardy investing in health care and improvements at home for other Americans. Better to pave a road to war than an interstate in Mississippi or Ohio.
For corroboration of this analysis and prediction I suggest a study of the Roman Empire followed by economic analysis of the rise and fall of Nazi Germany’s military expansion - I suppose a study of the expansion of any military empire would be adequate.
I do hope these predictions are proven wrong in the future but my skepticism reigns at this moment. Not so much because of the actions of the American government but because of the actions of the American people - which is even more disappointing.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

This is a story from my most recent publication "Just Hangin' out, Ma." If this book interests you, click on the cover of this book at the right of this page for additional information and directions for purchasing a copy. Thanks!

Father Kelly

My wife constantly accuses me of having a moral conscience. She has learned over the years about all my friends, my family, relatives and whatever. She has come to the conclusion that none of the above contributed much to the development of my “moral conscience.” She suggests that the only influence in my life that could be responsible for this moral conscience that she thinks I have, must be the Roman Catholic Church.
For the longest time me and my street corner buddies went to Confession every Friday night. If St. Mary’s Church had two hundred people inside on a Friday night waiting to tell their confessions to a priest, 90% of them would be lined up at Father Kelly’s confessional. Father Kelly was a very kind and forgiving man and in his role as a priest he was equally generous with God’s graces. No matter how grievous a transgression you may have confessed, Father Kelly would say:
“Are you truly sorry that you have committed such a deed?”
“Yes Father, I am.”
“As your penance say three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys. Go in peace, my son.”
This, of course, was the reason for the long line at Father Kelly’s confessional every week.
On this one particular Friday night a priest who was waiting alone and lonely inside his little cubicle on the empty side of the church, stepped out of his anonymity and gave a speech to all us reluctant confessors.
He accused us of cowardice. Certainly we all couldn’t have committed such outrageous sins that we were afraid of an objective consequence or penance. He advised us to remember that all our penance and suffering here on earth would be to our credit once we arrived in heaven. He also insinuated that all priests were forgiving and compassionate by nature. No one should be fearful of having his confession heard by any priest.
Several older people rose from their pews but instead of walking over to our admonisher’s side of the church, they walked out the side door. They could come back later after things cooled down a little and reposition themselves at Father Kelly’s station.
The chastising priest shook his head in disgust and returned to his stall.
I sat there thinking about what the priest had said and I concluded that certainly with my little, dinky sins I should not be afraid to kneel before any Roman Catholic priest.
After about fifteen or twenty minutes of analysis and soul searching, I left the safety and security of my pew at Father Kelly’s station and meandered over to the other side of the church.
Naturally there was still no one there, so I stepped right up to the plate.
As a part of my confession, I admitted to this priest that I had been stealing penny candy from Dube’s Variety store which was on the corner of Chelmsford and Center Streets. He was shocked. He wanted to know why I did that. I stuttered and stammered. This had never happened at father Kelly’s station. He never said boo. He never asked “why” I did anything. He would say, “Three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys” and that was the end of it. Now this new guy was asking “why?” What was this? Is that a fair question for a priest to ask in a confessional? Was this a pop quiz or what?
“I don’t know why I took the penny candy Father. I guess I just wanted it.”
“Well son, as your penance I want you to go back to Dube’s Variety store. I want you to apologies to Mrs. Dube and I want you to pay her back for all the candy that you stole.”
OH MY GOD! What had I done? I was certainly heartily sorry for leaving father Kelly’s station. And certainly, I will never do that again! But now what do I do?
Would it count if I went back over to Father Kelly and told him the same sins over and got three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys - like I knew he would give me? Would I have to tell Father Kelly that I had been across the way to this other priest?
I went back to Father Kelly and he did just as I suspected he would, but yet the whole situation plagued me. Finally one day I gathered up all my pennies and went up to Dube’s Variety. I was trembling as I entered through her screen door. As usual it took her five minutes to get to the counter. I could have stolen a pocket full of candy by then – but I didn’t.
When she got to the counter, I laid down all my pennies and confessed. Mrs. Dube stared at me like I was a kid who had just landed on the planet earth from outer space. She scooped up the pennies and eventually sputtered, “You are an admirable young man.”
All the way back to my house I questioned if it was better to be a known thief and an “admirable young man” or to have remained anonymous and said three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys.
From that day forward I took my errands to Walter’s Variety on the corner down the hill on Center St. How could I ever face Mrs. Dube again, the little thief from down the block on Chelmsford St? I never stole anything at Walter’s. I wasn’t about to go through that again.