Glimpses
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Get a taste of happiness
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Art & Entertainment

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Abstract Art

On the walls of art galleries throughout the world hang abstract paintings that interest viewers who seem intent in deriving the full benefits that the paintings can offer. Facial expressions are revealing. At a New York gallery, husband and wife look perplexed. The Louvre in Paris accommodates several head-scratchers.

The Prado in Madrid is the scene of a student field trip. “What is that?” a student asks. The teacher replies with confidence and authority, “THE STATUE OF LIBERTY.” Using their native language, all students shout in unison, “Nada.” The teacher: “The artist sees the subject and interprets to convey image and design.

It’s his rendition of what the statue should look like. That’s abstract art.” Noting that the vast majority has their doubts, teacher indicates the subject will serve as a basis for class discussion.

Clothing & Fashion

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Packaging Dress Shirts

Men’s dress shirts from the factory need undressing to reach the fabric. Handle the process quickly or you may have a handful of tatters rather than a sharply creased ready-to-wear. The first removable is a cellophane covering that should strip off in one piece, but peals off section by section. You are face to face with a shirt.

A plastic strip, sharp and firm, encircles the collar with no instruction on how to remove it. A thin scissors to snip nose hair does the job. Next, a price tag is sewing machine riveted to the shirt pocket. In and out, in and out with sharp knife or nose scissors to get rid of the pesky loops. A small folded insert is strung around a button, providing washing and wearing information.

It is easy to remove. Finally, pins, pins, pins. The factory folks must have a pin specialist. However, the secret of discovery is a gradual unfolding until you believe this shirt can take its place with others in your wardrobe. Be careful of that one pin around the neck. Get to it before it gets to you.

Commentaries

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Audiences Are Crazy

Attending events requiring public mixing is risky business. Danger does not lurk on getting there or on the return trip home. “Beware,” warns the magazine, Audiences Are Crazy. “Heed persons seated in front, alongside, and to the rear.”

The centerfold of the August issue features photos so scary with advice to avoid these wackos. “Remain at home and lock the doors.” Prominent offenders are painted half faces, usually of the red and blue varieties, super obsessors who bulge over a seat or two and who trudge between rows heading for rest rooms.

Animal owners bring pets for a night out. Cats and dogs mingle too freely, making deposits on newly shined shoes. The constrictor brothers, Boa and Noah, show off their namesakes, encouraging petting of their heavy duty reptiles. Those who have difficulty fitting into the scene? Audiences Are Crazy says to bring along noisemakers and make your own racket!

Commerce & Money

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Buy & Return

Have you ever thought about who shops at department stores and why? I was never mindful until one day it became necessary to return two turtle neck sweaters, Flaw—excessive spaciousness; price—$19.40 for both. Directed to Customer Service on the fourth floor, I estimated how long a wait, for at least thirty were lined up in front of me.

Of course, it would depend on the nature of each problem and the efficiency of the server to solve it. A veteran of Customer Service lines broke the tension by volunteering his assessment, “You can expect an hour delay.” Almost accurate, it took two hours. The question: “Do customers buy or do they return?”

Shoppers have a you-can-always-give-it-back mentality encouraged by salespersons, friends, and curious onlookers. A rack observer specializing in merchandise flow says, “You can see the stuff leaving the racks and coming right back. Leaving and coming back. Forget about those sales and ads. The shopper has returns in mind before entering the store!”

Communication – Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking

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Are You a Scanner?

Why is it that when opening a book or magazine, the first place readers go is to pictures, cartoons, and comics. They overlook the text although it tells the story which is why the author wrote the piece in the first place.

It is the basis for commentary, and it takes the most time to write. Why? Readers look for short cuts. They are overwhelmed by volume. They pause, skip over pages, and decide to focus on photos and drawings.

The more daunting then declare they read the entire work, offering a review and synopsis. Authors can do a great deal to help these unfortunates by organizing their material to recognize reading patterns.

Dining & Food

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Decaf or High Octane?

We drink decaf to banish the heebie jeebies. “Didn’t sleep a wink last night. Must have been the coffee,” says a yawning fireman. “Slept like a log. I drink decaf,” replies his buddy from hook and ladder.  Arguments rage between those straight coffee drinkers and the decaffers.

Straights—“‘Bug off. Stop polluting our coffee. Your stuff tastes awful.” Decaffers—“Healthful. Wholesome. Only Juan Valdez can tell the difference between straight and decaf.” To settle matters, we asked Pamela Grinder of the Coffee Bean Institute. Swiftly she replied, “Decaf is on the way out, killed by restaurant and diner owners.

Order decaf and you wait tons of time until served (a new pot is brewing). Order straight, it’s at your table before you can say Chuck Full of Nuts.” PamelaGrinder offers this prospect. “Consider decaf an endangered species. Drink coffee straight with some heebie jeebies.”

Everyday Life

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Air Conditioning

Are you an “I can’t live without air conditioning” consumer? Although most effective during dog days, does your penchant for cool and cold apply to all seasons? If you conform, an outline of symptoms and activities seems in order. You have made sure that wherever you are, so is the air conditioning.

Your home or apartment; car, bus, or train; buildings in which you work or visit; homes of acquaintances; theaters, restaurants, department stores. It is well known that persons without air conditioning need not invite you. A typical day: Making it through with air conditioning. Safe at home, apartment. Coolness pervades.

Elevator transports to garage, both with A.C. Start ignition and cool air pushes out full blast. Leisurely ride downtown into cool building garage and up to office suite, extremely cold but no complaints. Lunch in building next door with access by an air conditioned cat walk. Quitting—reverse process. Please note that at no time did the air conditioner lover have his nose out in the muggy humidity.

Families – Babies, Kids, & Children

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Baby Transports

You can’t miss them. The many ways to carry or transport infants. Some are so ingenious that they defy detection if the little one really exists. Strap-ons, knap-sack style, seem trendy with the younger set. The baby can view the scenery in front or rear, depending on the carrier’s preference.

But as baby matures and becomes heavier, strap-ons must give way to other conveyances. Baskets are ideal for to and fro—from car to cafe; from home to park; from uncle to aunt. In the cycle, baby outgrows the basket and is ready for a stroller.

Parents who do not want to relinquish cuddling assume long-term carrying responsibilities that terminate with shoulder strain and back aches. A time soon arrives when the stroller occupant is visibly restless and impatient, rattling the side frames. He wants out! He signals, Carrying and transport days are over. They are. He begins to walk.

Medical

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Broken Appointments

It seems that appointments are made just to be broken. Case studies tell us why. Drawn from the magazine No Shows And Why, the issue is put in perspective. A critical set of factors emerges from appointments with doctors. Potential patients cancel for a variety of reasons. Fear tops the list. “What I don’t know, won’t hurt me. What I do know, may.”

This thought runs through the mind of Cora Kissick as she dials Dr. Chicago to cancel a podiatry appointment. Meanwhile in an adjoining office, “Cardiology Mary” reschedules twenty-three appointments to fit in emergencies. Concession: Mary offers free dinners at Howard Johnsons to the dispossessed. During these hectic times appointer and appointee maintain calm to preserve stability.

Few complain. “It’s the American way to wait your turn. That’s what made the country great,” says Bert Townsend with obvious skin blemishes, spending time in his dermatologist’s waiting room. The NO SHOW magazine preaches civility. “Broken appointments is a two-way street. Reschedule with dignity and respect. A flash of humor relieves tension and demonstrates good will.”

Pets & Other Animals

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New Zodiac Signs

According to the Chinese zodiac. Buddha summoned all the animals; those who came had a year named for them. Each animal gave traits to persons born in its year. Headliners on table mats: Year of the Pig. Year of the Rooster. Year of the Dragon. Year of the Monkey.

Standing by are Dog. Ram. Ox. Hare. Serpent. Horse. Rat. Tiger. Milton Castor, an ardent fan of Chinese cuisine, furrows his brows, takes exception. His doodles transform the icons into grotesque figures. Rat sprouts horns. Ox takes on a rider. Dragon takes a wife. Milt signals or the manager and provides him with a new approach to zodiacism, illustrations and headings, (1) A quill stands for the year of the lousy handwriting.

(2) A TV stands for the year of lousy programming. (3) A hamburger depicts the year of inferior airline food. (4) Franklin 100 dollar bill reminds all of the year of high price tags. Manager shares Castor’s creativity with a table enjoying a dinner for ten. Milton Castor and the table for ten receive double order of egg rolls and especially prepared fortune cookies for service.

Situations & Events

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Auctions

Going! Going! Gone! An auctioneer’s chant that a Ming Dynasty vase has been sold to the highest bidder. Next lots: Oriental rug, six Hummel figurines, three-carat wedding ring, grandfather clock, silverware service for ten. It takes practice to attend an auction. Just walking in off the street may cost you time and money.

Some houses use bidding signals: A face-scratching, earlobe-tugging, nose-blowing, shoulder-lifting, and mouth-yawning. The uninitiated who innocently resorts to one of these bodily movements can find he owns an original Van Gogh. What does Purvis Pratt think, author of Auctions I Have Known? “Dressing hippy, sloppy, or goofy is out. Dress to look like other bidders. A boutonniere for men and necklace for women add a stylish touch.” Demeanor Pratt talks about first impressions.

“Strive for a look of self-confidence. Show that you are a bidder to be reckoned with.” Bidding if you are a first timer? Bid early to attract attention. Then settle back and allow others to carry on while you learn the ropes. It’s best to mingle and mix. As you move toward the door, walk arm and arm with a fellow bidder and remark, “Wasn’t that a spirited session?” Obtain name, address, and telephone number for future reference.

Socializing

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Are You a Joiner?

Who among us does not belong to a club, society, council, sorority, fraternity, or an assemblage of some kind? Very few. We are a country of Joiners. It’s the American way. We take pride in togetherness.

But as it must to all Joiners, they meet at the big one, THE ANNUAL CONVENTION. Goers fall into distinct categories. (1) Stay as long possible conventioneer. This Joiner lives for the moment, testing programs, facilities, resources, food, and drink. By sheer numbers, they dominate and create a budget-less environment.

(2) Make way for Joiners who make convention attending an art form. They skip lectures, meetings, and related functions. But to their surprise they are greeted as active participants. They are recognized from the podium as Joiners with the most interest. How do they do it?

Sports & Recreation

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Hear The Grunts

Tennis spectators and TV watchers hear a medley of grunts as players serve, return, and address the ball. Aficionado comments explain that the noises are sound effects to accompany strenuous strokes. “Wrong,” says Bruce Deuce, foremost tennis authority and winner of four grandslams.

“Coaches include grunts as part of training to unnerve opponents. At crucial stages, a certain kind of grunt can provide points necessary to win a match.” The magazine, Tennis Anyone? features a weekly series on grunts. An old standby, strongly recommended, a surprise grunt an octave above normal speaking voice.

Expresses an emotion, “Should have made that one.” Brings in the crowd favoring the missed shot grunter. Much lower on the voice register is the guttural grunt signifying frustration and disgust. Crowds dislike this grunt, some even boo. Poor sport. Bruce Deuce advises tennis watchers, “Enjoy the matches, and keep your ears open for these grunts.”

Sports & Recreation

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Abstract Art

On the walls of art galleries throughout the world hang abstract paintings that interest viewers who seem intent in deriving the full benefits that the paintings can offer. Facial expressions are revealing. At a New York gallery, husband and wife look perplexed. The Louvre in Paris accommodates several head-scratchers.

The Prado in Madrid is the scene of a student field trip. “What is that?” a student asks. The teacher replies with confidence and authority, “THE STATUE OF LIBERTY.” Using their native language, all students shout in unison, “Nada.” The teacher: “The artist sees the subject and interprets to convey image and design.

It’s his rendition of what the statue should look like. That’s abstract art.” Noting that the vast majority has their doubts, teacher indicates the subject will serve as a basis for class discussion.

Travel & Transportation

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America’s Love For Automobiles

America’s romance with the automobile is storied and legendary. Old time magazines show drivers with goggles behind the wheel of early cars of the period. As time goes by, new models strike the public’s fancy. Trade-ins, upgrading, sales, and purchases.

These transactions lead to the car of record, one that the owner will drive, show off, and maintain with every ounce of strength. Car maintainers are serious and resourceful. Self taught (no school offers courses), they are day/night laborers. Their visual acumen is wondrous. From a top floor of a high rise, they can spy dirt, dust, and spots attacking their vehicle.

Call for action. The avid maintainer loses little time. He’s on the scene— bucket, brushes, rags in hand—washing, cleaning, and shining. For the neighbors, he knows that the car he drives home must look as good as the car he drove to work. They notice. Regrettably, most do not possess car maintenance genes. Those who do can share their zeal with us less fortunate and adopt a car or two as if it were their own.

Weather

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Temperature Control

You can bear witness. Place several persons in an enclosure and listen to them sound of: “It’s too cold in here.” “It’s too warm.” “Turn up the heat.” “It’s drafty.” “It’s stifling.” Few seem to agree on what constitutes the ideal room temperature. Spouses raise the issue as a primary bone of contention. Bedroom blankets become frayed because of constant tugging to gain advantage.

Matters become severe with seasonal changes. Somewhat higher Fahrenheit signals heat-cutoffs in public places. Spring and summer are a long way off, but the thermostat regulators herald their arrival. Complain, and you are greeted by resort talk. Accept the situation and enjoy the movie wearing an overcoat.

“It will be warm when the theater fills.” It never does. The issue takes on sharp edges in cars where passengers realize that the designated driver controls their destiny. Since in a carpool, each has a turn at the wheel, it pays to move the thermostat quid pro quo. The world of entertainment has reached a crossroads. Patrons on a night out hardly consider artists or the program. They attend on the basis of the temperature in the theater. TWO THUMBS UP!

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