Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bill Cullen, Game Show Master

watch game shows to keep my mind active. I have watched quite a few different ones over the years, and I have found some game show hosts that I like more than others. One of my favorites is Bill Cullen (Feb, 18, 1920 - Nov. 7, 1990). Last week was the anniversary of his birth.

Bill Cullen was usually positioned behind the podium as the show opened instead of running out in the beginning like most game show hosts. He had a disability, an awkward gait, as the result of polio as a child, but he was not disabled. That was evident by his long career beginning with radio game shows in the 40's and ending in the 1980's. He hosted 23 game shows -- including the original
Price Is Right -- and served on panels and as a guest celebrity contestant. He died in 1990.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


In his seminal works, “The Denial of Death” and “Escape From Evil”, published posthumously,Ernest Becker ponders the central problem of human existence, the human as part animal-part god. We are that which has self knowledge as the Gods, yet are aware that we are flesh and blood and must die. It is that self awareness of our mortality that drives us to attempt to transcend our fate through the value we place in certain cultural institutions. The power of the state and religion are poignant examples of our attempts to identify with immortal institutions, to become something larger than oneself. And yet, Becker ponders why the destructiveness and evil in our history, why such viciousness in the name of our cultural institutions? For him and for me, the answer lies in that dichotomy of god-animal that separates us from the unthinking, that gift from the Creator so exquisitely described in the Book of Genesis. We are the animal that must feel heroic in order to transcend death anxiety, yet are inundated with guilt by our very heroism, our very identification with the cultural institutions of our society. It is guilt at its most primitive level, that which is associated with our feeble attempts to become god-like, to become more than animal. Becker suggests that it is our expiation of guilt that has led our cultural institutions to engage in countless wars, to sacrifice millions of our kind in service to our own mortality. Those within our ranks who question the “rightness” of our value systems must be persecuted; countries with different ideologies must be destroyed. And yet, through the bloodshed and destruction, a most central part of us realizes the illusion and fetishism inherent in this scapegoating. These destructive acts offer only temporary relief from our knowledge that we are less than Gods, that someday soon we will all die. Within these wars and murders I believe there are many more victims than the sacrificed.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Everybody Wants a Valentine

St Valentine's Day card, embossed and printed ...Image via Wikipedia

February is Creative Romance Month. It peaks in the middle with Valentines Day, the day when lovers express their love for each other. Everyone wants to be loved. In fact, it has been scientifically proven we actually need love, and there are many reasons why we love. At this time of year, due largely to seasonal commercialism, everybody wants a valentine.

Remember in elementary school when you took a card for everyone in your class and you knew everyone in class would give you a card, too? You still took special pains to select just the right card for that one special classmate. And then you went through the cards hoping your chosen person did the same thing for you. Valentines Day - when lovers express their love, when children express crushes with little cards. I remember one year, however, the teacher suggested we give valentines to just that special classmate. My mother said, "No, give one to each of your classmates." I was glad she did, because I remember a few classmates held only my valentine. My mother taught me generosity and compassion. Everybody wants a valentine, don't they?

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Value of Caring

How much is $375 Billion and why do we care?

$375B is more than $1000 for every person in the United States. It is almost half of the the $800 Billion figure of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) already passed by Congress last year and being paid to banks, financial institutions, and the Big Three automotive companies.

Focusing on family caregivers, $375B is an average figure provided by the
AARP Public Policy Institute in a report called Valuing the Invaluable: The Economic Value of Family Caregiving, Update 2008. $375B is based on the middle estimate of the number of caregivers if they were paid the middle estimated hourly wage of 2008. The report clearly states that the number of caregivers is increasing, and of course, they are NOT being paid.