Three Fingers and a Bird

The True Story of the Profound Lesson I Learned in 1963 on a Barber’s Chair

Just eight miles south-southwest of where I thought John Wayne fought at the Alamo was a spot in San Antonio where serious thinking and deciphering came into my life.

Slightly west of the halfway point along the street I saw President Kennedy on the day before his assassination–between the San Jose Mission and Kelly Air Force Base–is a region where my father was considered “patron.”

Starting on the Southeast corner of Southwest Military Drive, and heading south for eleven blocks on Commercial Street, was the first of five business pillars of our community.

Three proprietors were the foundation of commerce on Commercial Avenue and gaining the kind of momentum two others, Joe Barry and Mr. Stacey had held for a number of years. 

The first was Raymond “Bud” Jones of the “Meal A Minute” 89 cent All-You-Can-Eat -Fish fame. Bud, who passed away in October 2018, opened his legendary restaurant in 1959 at the Military Drive/Commercial southeast corner. Today, this South Side institution still serves the All-You-Can-Eat-Fish for $9.75 with his daughter Cathy and family running it.

Joe Barry owned the Terrell Wells grocery and gas store that eventually became the original VFW Post 8541. My daddy, Walter “Corky” Dennis, would go in to buy a pack of Camels (later on, he graduated to Salem’s) as I would sit in the car and look at the screen on a front door. It was painted yellow and blue with a gingham dressed girl smiling with bread in her hands proclaiming that we should “Reach for Sunbeam Bread.” 

Mercy, did I have a crush on that pretty blond haired-blue eyed beauty! I wondered often if she was kin to Dorothy of Kansas and Toto fame. Perhaps a blond cousin?

Later on, when I became at least as good at ‘cipherin’ as Jethro Bodine, I figured her out. I deduced she was the older sister of another girl and her dog– the little tan one on Coppertone signs who was embarrassed about having her panties almost torn off.

Across the street from Terrell Wells Grocery was Stacey’s Barber Shop. With a prominent barber pole on the south front lawn, Mr. and Mrs. Stacey lived on the north half of their shop in a small white wood framed house.

It was a matter of honor, but mostly courage, to sit up high on the board placed on the white arms of the barber chair of Mr. Stacey. I proudly received my trims from the same man who had cut my great grandfather John’s, grandpa Jack’s and father Corky’s hair.

I liked to go there with Daddy. But Mom, not so much. Momma would always make me sit close to the front door as we walked in. It just did not seem quite right for a girl like Momma, to be in a barber shop. There was nothing really wrong with it. Other mothers and even Mrs. Stacey came in. But a guy could not really appreciate the “feel” of the place with women in there.

There seemed to be more laughter and the men could talk about men’s things like “baseball,” or “a missile crisis” when the women were away.

In early December, Dad took me in. Grandpa Dennis was in one of the waiting chairs at the far right end facing the barber chairs on the left.

Without Momma around I could penetrate farther in and get away from the front door where the Porky Pig, Zorro or Superman books were. Sitting between Daddy and Grandpa I could scan the cover of nearby True Detective magazines. Mr. and Mrs. Stacey would never allow anything more manly than that. But to a guy just about to turn eight, True Detective was very mannish. (Note: The word “Macho” had not been invented yet as far as I know).

As each customer walked in, they were passed an 8 x 10 black and white glossy of what was purported to be the “last picture of JFK before he was shot.” One of the barbers had bought it for a dollar at the drug store located next to St. Leo’s Church on South Flores Street during their 1963 Fall Festival and Tamale Sale. Dad let me look at it and I felt important.

“Okay, Jack, you are next,” said one of the barbers. He was talking to Grandpa, who got up and sat down in a man’s size barber’s chair.

I did not notice who just walked in. I was determining if Daddy would let me go next, after Grandpa, instead of him. If so, Mr. Stacey would cut my hair. Then my odds for getting a sucker were better. Some of the other barbers did not always remember to pass out the suckers. Mr. Stacey never forgot, plus he would let me choose the color. I would leave the yellows or browns for the poor kids that were stuck with the other barbers.

Richard Floyd, my step grandfather sat down beside me grinning.

“Paw Paw,” I grinned back. We hugged.

Paw Paw was a tall human being.   With only one good eye and a few good teeth, he was not much for the world to see, but to me he walked on water.

“What are you doing, gettin’ your ears lowered, Booger?” He waved his hand from front to back over his head.

“They only charge Paw Paw half price, because I only have half my hair.”

What a treat it was to have two grandfathers and a father in the same barber shop all at the same time.

“Are you ready for your birthday?” Paw Paw asked.

When Grandpa Dennis heard that, he called me up and reached in his wallet. He handed me a dollar bill.

“Grandpa didn’t forget your birthday,” he said. “You tell your daddy to get you something with this.”

Paw Paw saw what was going on and he pulled TWO dollars out of his billfold and handed it to me with Happy Birthday instructions to tell my Mom to get me something with them.

Three whole dollars in a matter of seconds and it was the most money I had up to that point in my life. (Note: That amount in 1963 is worth $25.36 today).

When I sat back down, secretly enjoying the $3 in my pocket, my mind immediately jumped to disenchantment. Suddenly, my brain realized what people meant when they said “bad luck or trouble comes in threes.” And it had nothing to do with the money.

I had been waiting for the third calamity to reveal itself ever since my beloved cockerspaniel Blackie died on November 4th and John F. Kennedy on the 22nd.  Within a little over a month’s time, there I was, in the middle of the prohibited end of the barber shop and suddenly going through trauma numero tres!

It was at this moment I discovered that BOTH of my grandfathers had three fingers missing from their left hands.

What was this? Why hadn’t I really noticed their left hands before? Or maybe I did, but it did not register until I saw them both in the same room. Or was it because I was almost eight and noticing more adult things? After all, I had just scanned the covers of two True Detectives.

For at least the next few weeks I was terrified of everything my hands touched. Perhaps this was some kind of omen or family curse? What were the odds? Two grandfathers with the same hands missing three fingers!

My Daddy, policeman Walter “Corky” Dennis, was one of the motorcycle escorts next to the President’s car on the Kennedy motorcade during his San Antonio visit the day before his assassination in Dallas.

Just in time for Christmas, Daddy explained that Paw Paw was only my step-grandfather, so it really did not count—-there was no family curse.

“You do not have to worry about it any more.”

Thank God for Daddy’s explanation. I didn’t know how much longer I could have held out keeping my left hand in my pocket everywhere I went. Each morning when I awoke, I would look to see if those fingers on that hand were still there. Somehow it would sneak out from under the pillow during my sleep.

Definitely, I would not dare do what the other boys were inventing in the cafeteria.   By placing a pencil on top of their middle finger and bending the adjacent fingers over the pencil, they could “shoot the bird.”

Not quite understanding what that meant, as far as I was concerned if I shot that bird it was sure to be a recipe for the family curse. I knew that bird had wings for a reason. Around me it was going to just have to fly away. I did not intend to lose my three fingers over a bird.
     

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Happy 82 Birthday Sir Tom Jones, From My Mom in Heaven

Knowing I’m an advid autograph collector, my mother, Geraldine Dennis was always on the lookout and obtained several signatures for me.

In April 1969, she took me to a Tom Jones concert with my cousins Carolyn Sanders Gerland and James Johnson at the Hemisfair Arena in San Antonio, Texas. Gladys Knight and the Pips and comedian Norm Crosby also appeared.

They performed on a stage, in the center of the arena, with an amazing orchestra on one side. I was only 13 and the entire show was incredible. Tom Jones sang such hits as “It’s Not Unusual,” “Delilah,” and “Help Yourself.”

I was mesmerized by the strength in his voice and boldness of his showmanship. (It would be three years later, in April 1972, when I would see Elvis Presley for the first time at that same arena…and up until that concert, never did I believe Tom Jones could be beat. LOL.)

Elvis & Tom, 1969

For years Mom would laugh and say, “When I die I want to come back reincarnated as a gospel backup singer so I can stand behind Tom Jones and watch him work on stage.”

She meant it.

On her 50th birthday we took her to the Magic Time Machine restaurant. It first opened in 1973, the year I graduated from high school, and continues to be a fun favorite in San Antonio.

 The Time Machine is like no other restaurant I’ve ever seen, with no two seating areas alike. In San Antonio, you can sit at the Sweethearts Table, in The Attic, a Thatched Hut or even an old Refrigerator. Mom loved the salad bar, a shiny red 1952 MG-TD Roadster modified to serve as a soup and salad vegetables.

“The thing that sets The Magic Time Machine apart is our zany cast of characters who transport our guests into another point in time,” their website bills themselves. “Our servers dress in costumes representing popular pop culture icons from the past, present, and future. The entertainment comes from the humorous interaction with your server in a family friendly environment. Pirate or Princess? Hero or Villain? We have characters for every occasion and group. At The Magic Time Machine, ‘Laughing Aloud is Allowed’!”

It was a fun night that January 17, 1988. Elvis was in the house and Mom told her friends Wayne and Betty Lewis, “I wished Tom Jones would make an appearance too” and explained her reincarnation wish.

We had great laughs but it was especially joyful to see her open my present to her—an 8×10″ glossy personally autographed picture of Tom Jones. The smile and happy tears on her face endure in my thoughts even today.

I took mom to see Tom Jones two more times (she had even seen him in Las Vegas) both in San Antonio’s Majestic Theater and the Laurie Auditorium. Each time she repeated her reincarnation wish–“gospel singer behind Tom Jones.”

When Mom died in September 2006, the funeral at First Baptist Church in Boerne, Texas was full. My sister Bobbi Shipman and I both addressed our dear family and friends, some we hadn’t seen in decades. Of course, there was great emotion and sadness.

To end it all, a gospel group from a Black San Antonio church led by Janet Givens (she has sang to royalty and backed up Michael Bolton) practically blew the stained glass windows out of the church with their songs. They concluded with “Oh Happy Day!”

Mom’s funeral was appropriately uplifting…just like her.

Happy Birthday Sir Tom Jones

I imagine that as Sir Tom Jones celebrates his 82nd birthday here on Earth June 7th, Mom will be wishing him good will and happiness from Heaven–and looking at his behind.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Idiots Who Think You Are Stupid

The United States has reached a point in our society where:

🔹You can actually quote exact numbers straight from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, documented literature from the Institute of Health and Vaccines…

…Idiots will still label you a “conspiracy theorist.”

🔹”Trust the science” is the most anti-science statement ever made…

…Questioning science is literally how you do science.

🔹A locked down nation with mask and vaccine mandates is stupid…

…When a wide open border defies all logic.

🔹A newspaper or television news broadcasts claims massive election fraud is “without evidence” or a “Big Lie”…

…But millions of Americans have seen foolproof evidence (including security cameras and phone tracking intelligence) presented repeatedly via social media, non-mainstream media, and as presented with the “2000 Mules” documentary by Dinesh D’Souza.

Don’t get us started. Here is the obvious as presented on social media by patriotic America:

IDIOTS WHO THINK YOU ARE STUPID

As of June 3, 2022 you can safely add 3% to each line item.
If you don’t understand this subscribe to CleverJourneys below.
Touche´
Biden, as a senator, actually proposed and supported the one on the left.
Both sets are idiots.
Democrat congressional representatives fleeing Texas to escape voting on anti-mask mandate.
Actual quote.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Expert Observations About Our Moon

Always fascinated by the Moon—perhaps because being a Baby Boomer, tales from my Chickasaw-Choctaw great grandmother Margaret Ralph-Morgan and being around during the early days of manned American space exploration–were influences.

We never took the Moon for granted. Not much in my experiences matched the 1969 landing on the lunar surface by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Meeting and interviewing Aldrin was definitely a highlight years later.

Jack Dennis with Buzz Aldrin

Here is a collection of interesting quotes from scientists, authors, researchers, NASA insiders and star-gazers relating to the enigmatic and often inexplicable nature of the moon:

Isaac Asimov,
American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University and Science Fiction writer. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time.

“We cannot help but come to the conclusion that the Moon by rights ought not to be there. The fact that it is, is one of the strokes of luck almost too good to accept… Small planets, such as Earth, with weak gravitational fields, might well lack satellites… … In general then, when a planet does have satellites, those satellites are much smaller than the planet itself. Therefore, even if the Earth has a satellite, there would be every reason to suspect… that at best it would be a tiny world, perhaps 30 miles in diameter. But that is not so. Earth not only has a satellite, but it is a giant satellite, 2160 miles in diameter. How is it then, that tiny Earth has one? Amazing.”

“The Moon, which has no atmosphere and no magnetic field, is basically a freak of nature”

Irwin Shapiro,
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

“The best possible explanation for the Moon is observational error – the Moon doesn’t exist.’

“The Moon is bigger than it should be, apparently older than it should be and much lighter in mass than it should be. It occupies an unlikely orbit and is so extraordinary that all existing explanations for its presence are fraught with difficulties are none of them could be considered remotely watertight.”

Christopher Knight and Alan Bulter
Book: Who Built the Moon?

The Moon has astonishing synchronicity with the Sun. When the Sun is at its lowest and weakest in mid-winter, the Moon is at its highest and brightest, and the reverse occurs in mid-summer. Both set at the same point on the horizon at the equinoxes and at the opposite point at the solstices. What are the chances that the Moon would naturally find an orbit so perfect that it would cover the Sun at an eclipse and appear from Earth to be the same size? What are chances that the alignments would be so perfect at the equinoxes and solstices?

Farouk El Baz,
NASA

“If water vapour is coming from the Moon’s interior is this serious. It means that there is a drastic distinction between the different phases of the lunar interior – that the interior is quite different from what we have seen on the surface.”

Mikhail Vasin, Alexander Shcherbakov,
Societ Academy of Sciences, 1970.

“Is the moon a creation of an alien intelligence?”

Dr Harold Urey,
Nobel Prize for Chemistry

“I’m terribly puzzled by the rocks from the Moon and in particular of their titanium content.”

Dr S Ross Taylor,
Geochemist of lunar chemical analysis,

Said the problem was that maria plains the size of Texas had to be covered with melted rock containing fluid titanium. He said you would not expect titanium ever to be hot enough to do that, even on Earth, and no one has ever suggested that the Moon was hotter than the Earth.

“What could distribute titanium in this way? Highly advanced technology developed and operated by entities that are immensely more technologically advance than humans.”

Dr. Gordon MacDonald,
NASA

“it would seem that the Moon is more like a hollow than a homogenous sphere’. He surmised that the data must have been wrong – but it wasn’t.”

Carl Sagan,
Cosmologist,

“A natural satellite cannot be a hollow object.”

Dr. Sean C Solomon,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“The Lunar Orbiter experiments had vastly improved knowledge of the Moon’s gravitational field and indicated the frightening possibility that the Moon might be hollow.”

University of Arizona Lon Hood
“We knew that the Moon’s core was small, but we didn’t know it was this small… This really does add weight to the idea that the Moon’s origin is unique, unlike any other terrestrial body.”

NASA scientists
The Apollo 12 mission to the Moon in November 1969 set up seismometers and then intentionally crashed the Lunar Module causing an impact equivalent to one ton of TNT. The shockwaves built up for eight minutes, and NASA scientists said the Moon ‘rang like a bell.

Maurice Ewing,
American geophysicist and oceanographer

“As for the meaning of it, I’d rather not make an interpretation right now, but it is as though someone had struck a bell, say, in the belfry of a church, a single blow and found that the reverberation from it continued for 30 minutes.”

Ken Johnson,
Supervisor of the Data and Photo Control department during the Apollo missions

“The Moon not only rang like a bell, but the whole Moon wobbled in such a precise way that it was almost as though it had gigantic hydraulic damper struts inside it.”

Moon rocks have been found to contain processed metals, including brass and mica, and the elements Uranium 236 and Neptunium 237 that have never been found to occur naturally.

Dr. D L Anderson,
Professor of geophysics and director of the seismological laboratory,
California Institute of Technology


“The Moon is made inside out and that its inner and outer compositions should be the other way around.”

Dr. Robin Brett,
NASA Scientist

“It seems much easier to explain the nonexistence of the moon than its existence.”

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

The Most Important Theme of ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad”

Rich Dad, Poor Dad revolves around three main characters: poor dad, rich dad (Robert T. Kiyosaki’s second father) and the son (the author himself as narrator of the book). The essence of each character is:

  • Poor dad – educated but lacking the street smarts
  • Rich dad – very little education (eighth grade), tons of street smarts
  • Kiyosaki – the spectator who learns lessons from both but internalizes only rich dad’s traits

The story of Robert Kiyosaki and Mike starts in 1956 Hawaii, when both boys were a nine years old. Their first get-rich scheme was a counterfeit nickel making company. They made plaster molds of the nickels and melted lead toothpaste tubes and filled the molds to produce the nickels. Their plan was foiled by Mike’s father, who informed the boys of their illegal activity.

After that day, the boys dedicated their free time to leaning about finance and economics from Mike’s father, the rich dad. The first lesson Mike’s dad made the boys experience was hatred of the “Rat Race”. He was able to achieve this by making the boys work in one of his grocery stores for three hours for ten cents an hour pay. Within a few weeks, Kiyosaki, tired of being exploited for labor, demanded that he receive a raise, but instead, Mike’s father cut his pay and told him to work for free.

Eventually, both boys tired of being under appreciated (and unpaid) and they met individually with Mike’s father. In their meetings with rich dad, he apologized for lack of pay and he offered them either the moral of the lesson or a pay raise. Both boys chose to learn the moral of the lesson, while rich dad offered them pay raises. He started at twenty-five cents, a dollar, two dollars, and even five dollars, which would have been considered a large amount of money for an hourly wage, but the boys still remained strong with their decision to learn the moral of the lesson.

The lesson to get out of the “Rat Race” and instead of spending your whole life working to put a little money in your pocket and a bunch of money in someone else’s pocket, have people work hard to put money in your pocket. Out of all the lessons that were taught to the boys, this one was the most important.

Poor Dad

The author compares his poor dad to the millions of fathers who encourage their sons to do well in school so they could get a good job with a good company. Poor dad believed in the traditional principles of working hard, saving money, and not buying material things that one cannot afford. He believed that having a good job with a solid company is what one should aspire for; hence he expresses disappointment when his son leaves the employ of a large, reputable corporation.

Poor dad looks to education as the passport to success. He held a doctorate degree, went to Ivy League universities, but was always struggling financially. He believed he would never be a rich man and the author points out that this became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Poor dad was more interested in a good education than the subject of money. The author wrote that his poor dad would always say things like, “I’m not interested in money” or “money doesn’t matter.”

The author points out that poor dad was preoccupied with things like job tenure and security, Social Security, vacation and sick leaves, company insurance and salary raises and promotions. The author felt that his poor dad was more interested in these factors rather than on the job itself. This is what the author calls being trapped in the Rat Race.

His poor dad worked hard incessantly but somehow never made it ahead financially. Poor dad’s approach to the subject of money was based on working hard to have enough money to pay the bills (in contrast to rich dad’s approach to make one’s money work for him).

Rich Dad

The author wrote that it was when he was nine years old that he started realizing that his rich dad made much more sense than his poor dad. It was from rich dad that the author learned not to say, “I can’t afford it”, but instead to ask, “how can I afford it?” He explains this principle by relating an incident when he and his best friend Mike went to work for Mike’s father. Rich dad paid them very low wages deliberately so that would stir anger and a sense of injustice in them and eventually for them to realize that in order to get ahead, one must work for himself and not for others.

For example, in that part of the book when the author complains to rich dad that he can hardly afford to buy anything with the wages he is paid, rich dad tells him that he shouldn’t dwell on the fact that his wages are low, but instead ask “how can I make more money” because this stimulates the brain to take action. His rich dad says that when someone says, “I can’t afford it”, his brain stops working. It therefore kills initiative and promotes passivity.

The author adds that while his poor dad invested time and effort in education, he did not have any knowledge on investing. His rich dad, by contrast, was very skilled in the investment game because that’s all he did. The attitude of his rich dad about money was manifested in the saying “the lack of money is the root of all evil” (his poor dad, on the other hand, believed that the love of money is the root of all evil).

According to the author, rich dad also nurtured the idea that taxes punished producers and rewarded the non-producers. He was the type who encouraged money talk at the dinner table and was portrayed by the author as someone who learned to manage risk, instead of not taking risks.

The Son (Robert T. Kiyosaki)

The author takes a common sense approach to the subject of money and emphasizes the need for accounting knowledge so that the reader clearly understands what assets and liabilities are. He makes simple diagrams that show the inflow and outflow of money and how the rich build up the asset column and the poor build up the liability column (expenses). It is obvious that the author places much importance on accounting knowledge – no matter how boring it is – because he says it is “the most important subject in your life.”

By using numerous examples and anecdotes, the author drives home his messages effectively, revealing his pro-capitalist stance.

The author also shows his understanding of the mechanisms employed by the government and the tax man and concludes that it is the middle class that actually pay for the poor. The rich are the ones who are hardly taxed because they have the knowledge to use tax legislation to their advantage.

A Primary Theme in Rich Dad, Poor Dad

One theme that’s apparent in this book is that for an individual to be wealthy, he must aim to own the system or means of production, rather than work for another individual. The author stresses that there is obviously something confining about being an employee; it shuts the mind to other possibilities and it stunts initiative.

Financial intelligence is THE most powerful asset. By studying the precepts of accounting and investing, the author believes that individuals will be able to see the difference between an asset and a liability; in fact it is the more concrete application of learning what’s right and what’s wrong. Generating a string of expenses is wrong, building assets is right.

Unlike individuals who earn and then pay taxes on what they earn, corporations earn, spend what they want to spend, and pay taxes on what’s left. Corporations, therefore, hold a certain degree of power. The rich know how to use this power, the poor don’t.

The author also believes that true luxuries are experienced when they are the outward manifestations of intelligent investing and asset building. He cites the example of his wife purchasing a Mercedes Benz because it was the car she liked and worked hard to be able to purchase it. The author cautions however about keeping up with the Joneses and getting into debt because of this human frailty.

Fear, laziness, cynicism and arrogance are to be blamed for most of human inaction.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

The Tale of the Texas Trooper and Circus Juggler on IH-10

Completed in 1990 after first being laid out in 1956, US Interstate Highway 10 is the southern most cross-country highway in the American highway system.

Out of the 2,460.34 miles from coast to coast, beginning in Jacksonville, Florida and ending in Santa Monica, California, the largest stretch, at 881 miles, exists in Texas.

Here is a legendary modern tale, based on a stretch of I-10 where the speed limit is 80 mph, around two long hours of driving northwest out of San Antonio, Texas.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

It Takes Village Idiots to Ruin American Cities

Democrat’s ‘Model City’ in Shambles

It takes a village of Democratic idiots to promote devastated communities as model cities. When their corrupt policies fail, they blame these violent and impoverished hellholes on “systemic racism”.

Good or bad, Malik Evans took over the office of mayor in Rochester, New York on January 1, 2022. Incumbent mayor Lovely Warren was voted out after numerous controversies that led the once thriving city to a destiny of high crime, poverty, homelessness and other such Democrat hallmarks.

On April 25, 2022, Warren’s husband pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine from his arrest at their home last year. Timothy Granison now faces a possible sentence of 5 to 40 years in prison and a fine of $5 million.

Today, gas prices in Rochester average $4.30 a gallon, up from the $3.29 citizens paid by Joe Biden’s fourth month in office. When President Donald J. Trump left office, they enjoyed $2.12 gallon.

1 in 25 Chance of Being a Crime Victim

“With a crime rate of 41 per one thousand residents, Rochester has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes – from the smallest towns to the very largest cities,” reports the NeighborhoodScout. One’s chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here is one in 25. Within New York, more than 98% of the communities have a lower crime rate than Rochester.”

There is a 1 in 125 chance of being a victim of a violent crime within the city with an extremely high (compared to the nation) murder rate. It’s not getting any better. Last year they suffered through a 56 percent increase in murder. 2022 is not looking so good either.

Rochester murder per 100,000 population

Welcome to the future. With Democrats in charge, this is typical. (If you live in Rochester, your chances of having your car stolen is one in 230!) Their fraudulent and illegal elections, immigrant policies and mafia-like control, consistently lead to corruption at the highest levels.

Ultimate Village Idiots

With now over 1 million illegal aliens encouraged by the Biden-Obama-Harris Administration to breach our borders, the nation is turning into a Rochester, a Los Angeles, a San Francisco, a Baltimore, or a Chicago.

Like in many other large American cities, traditionally the local government has been completely dominated by the Democratic Party.  

Once the 32nd largest city in the country. Rochester is at number 114 and falling. Its population shrank 6.5% since 2000. The poverty rate is at 33% and the only thing going up is STDs with gonorrhea up 78% and chlamydia rates placing second in the state.

While Democrats spotlight Rochester as the model for America, barely a week goes by without someone in the media, who has never been to Rochester and wouldn’t go there at gunpoint, describe it as the first city to conduct some socialist experiment.

Last year, the media heavily promoted then Mayor Warren’s push to use drug revenue for racial reparations and basic income. In typical Democrat fashion, the last thing the city–with open air heroin markets–needed was the government handing out free money financed by drug sales.

Of course, the New York Times chimed in, touting Rochester’s war on highways under the headline, “Can Removing Highways Fix America’s Cities?”

According to not only the Times, but mockingbird media across America, Rochester continuously does something excitingly progressive like defunding the police or being designated by ex-Governor Cuomo and now Gov. Kathy Hochol as a “model EV city” and setting up electric car charging stations across a city with few electric cars and a plague of deadly carjackings.

The cheapest Rivian (Biden’s and George Soros’ favorite) electric truck price is $77,000. That’s over two times the average household income in Rochester.

Prior to being designated Cuomo’s model city for charging the electric cars it doesn’t have, Rochester was his pick as a “model city” to fight global warming by building 10 miles of bike routes.

Those routes now offer Rochester’s bike thieves different options for making their getaway after over 100 bikes were stolen from a neighborhood biking program giving away free bikes.

“I just want to ensure that the people that did this know I love them and that our program is open to them,” then Mayor Lovely Warren assured the thieves. “We’re just extremely sorry that life’s circumstances led them to a place in which they had to make a decision like this to rob a free neighborhood program of bicycles.”

Warren

The free bikes program shut down within a year.

Fresh off the efforts to make Rochester into a model city for electric cars and bikes, Warren, Evans and the rest of the Democrat controlled council embarked on a social justice spree of police defunding and reparations.

In 2020, Rochester police tried to restrain Daniel Prude, a career criminal who had been arrested 37 times and convicted 9 times,who had taken PCP and was wandering the streets. Prude shouted, “Give me that gun”. Police tried to restrain him by hooding him and he died.

One observer described the aftermath as “morbidly obese white socialists showed up naked in white hoods and sat on the steps of City Hall with ‘Black Lives Matter’ written on their on their bottoms to protest a black mayor.”

“Not even the most dedicated white supremacist could have come up with anything more racist.”

Warren, Evans, and the Rochester City Council defunded the police, cutting millions from law enforcement in a city with hundreds of shootings. Police Chief La’Ron Singletary warned this would hurt the black community, but the media cheered Warren’s move. A BLM organizer insisted that, “police make neighborhoods more dangerous.”

“Murder, Carjackings, Violent Crime Surge in Rochester NY. Why?” a Democrat Chronicle article asked.

Evans

It was a mystery no one could solve. Especially the police who weren’t allowed to solve crimes.

As murders rose 56% and shootings shot up 90%, Rochester decided to offer iPads in exchange for “working handguns and assault rifles”. No questions asked. A week after the “largest gun buyback in Rochester history”, four people were shot in just one day.

Five months after announcing that she wanted to reimagine the police, Warren was indicted on campaign fraud charges. Then her husband, Granison, was busted in the takedown of a drug ring and a semi-automatic rifle was found in their home. Warren, who had allied with Bloomberg’s Everytown gun control group, claimed that she knew nothing about the weapon.

It couldn’t have been too shocking since her husband, was previously convicted of armed robbery.

Warren, of course used the Democrat’s favorite mantra and blamed it on racism. “Things are not that different from the 1860s and 1950s,” she insinuated. It’s just like the 1860s in Rochester under its black female mayor, black female police chief, and 60% black city council with only two white members.

Warren then doubled down on racial reparations and police defunding.

It’s important to “invest in the people, in the neighborhoods that suffered from the criminalization of marijuana,” she had claimed earlier.

Rochester isn’t suffering from excessive criminalization, but decriminalization. And the last thing a city overrun with drugs needs is more drugs, or police defunding, EV chargers, demolishing highways, or any of the other “progressive” gimmicks that Democrats keep jumping on.

The media is right. Rochester is a model. And a cautionary tale.

The former booming industrial city is a model for what the Democrats want to do to America, gutting industrial bases, replacing work with welfare, and then using black people as lab rats for radical social experiments like drug legalization and police defunding with deadly results.

Being a “model city” now means having every toxic leftist policy idea tested on you.

Democrats have failed at the most basic elements of governance in Rochester. And yet they keep rolling out exciting new ideas to fight global warming or transform society when they can’t even handle their existing responsibilities.

Evans raised over $175,000, twice as much as Warren, in campaign money thanks to donations from organized labor including the local teachers union.

Where does this leave Democrat model city Rochester? Let us count the ways:

🔹4th poorest city in the country.

🔹Top 5 dirtiest city in America.

🔹Worst rated schools in the state.

🔹Lowest literacy rated in New York.

🔹Graduation rate consistently between 40 and 50 percent.

🔹75% of Rochester’s children are being raised by single parents.

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Liberals Have Some Explaining to Do

The world is still waiting for liberals to explain…

🔹Where the flu went in 2020.

🔹Why the global death count didn’t change in 2020.

🔹Why Covid didn’t wipe out the homeless population (no masks or homes to be locked down in).

🔹Why billions of healthy people were quarantined for the first time in history.

🔹Why Covid avoided Africa.

🔹Why Covid avoided places that didn’t lockdown.

🔹Why a piece of fruit and a goat tested positive.

🔹Why the majority of positive cases at the beginning of the pandemic were people who hadn’t left their homes.

🔹Why Covid was the first virus in history where the majority of people who supposedly had it were “asymptomatic.”

🔹Why lockdowns did NOTHING to slow the spread.

🔹Why the vaccines did NOTHING to slow the spread.

🔹Why we’ve seen an 1,100% spike in myocarditis in children.

🔹Why football stadiums were filled with maskless people while our children were muzzled in the classroom.

🔹Why the Mainstream Media doesn’t cover the millions of adverse reactions and tens of thousands of deaths reported to VAERS.

🔹Why the violent riots of 2020 weren’t “super spreader events.”

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HEB FOOD DRUGS

Sources and Networking for Writers, Investigators and Sales People

“Where do you get your ideas for articles? How do you develop and retain dependable sources? How do you sell more? Increase business? Obtain information?”

These are common questions I have received over the years as a “Jack of All Trades” being an investigative reporter, insurance salesman, business executive, trade organization president, writer, detective and corporate facilities manager. The simple answer is to be a good networker.

Personal Connections

After making any connection, I always tried to build on it. Sometimes it takes creativity and thoughtfulness, but those are wonderful traits for life anyway. At HEB Food/Drugs, my division had thousands of employees (Partners), service providers, vendors and other resources to keep our stores, offices, warehouses, manufacturing plants and other real estate safe, lawful and in welcoming conditions.

H-E-B calls employees ‘Partners’

Early on, I would use Rolodex files (labeled: “Sources,” “Engineers,” “Partners,” “Designers,” Electricians,” and others) for individual information on people in each category.

For example, when I visited Austin, Houston, Dallas, the Rio Grande Valley, the Coastal Bend and other regions of Texas, the file for that area would include more than just names, phone numbers, and emails. It was critical to have personal notes to connect and care with individuals I may come in contact with. Examples might be:

Birthplace, Birthday, Anniversaries, Spouse, Children, Other Family, Connections, Hobbies, Interests, Education, and Accomplishments.

Others items to note might include Affiliations, Career and Work History, Goals, Prides, and other interests.

“Is Bobby, Jr. still playing baseball this year? How’s Nancy doing in track? Here’s an autograph of Tim Duncan for your brother. I know he’s big on Spurs basketball,” were some ways to build rapport.

The key was to capture the bits and pieces of hot, vital information
about people I met. These appear as phrases such as “Texas State alum,” “loves to fish,” “never eats lunch,” and so on.

Many times I kept a pocket recorder to help remember for when I jotted it down in the hotel room or plane ride later. As technology developed, I kept computer files and spreadsheets instead of manual Rolodexes.

Note: Even today, I do not include confidential information and confidential names on a computer or internet file. My reputation and ability to gather data and news depends on sources trusting me.

Resources You Can Count On

It’s all a lot of work, but worth every minute of it. What does all this
have to do with resolving an emergency, mitigating a problem, gathering resources, or closing the sale? Just about everything when it’s
used at the moment it’s needed.

Who can you depend on for help when your dealing with a hurricane, a sales proposal or news article?

I don’t subscribe to the saying “Networking is a numbers game.” The success doesn’t come from how many people you can meet. What you actually need is to have a list of people and resources you can count on.

One of my greatest mentors was a senior vice president of Facility Alliance at H-E-B, Ralph G. Mehringer. I watched and learned. When he met someone for the first time–a food server, janitor, visitor, new partner, whoever— Ralph was consistent about making them feel like the most important person in the room.

When I lived in an apartment above the Majestic Theater in downtown San Antonio, a neighbor, Walter Stovell, known as the “Godfather of Houston Street,” totally made eye contact with others–and he kept it. He smiled. He listened.

Majestic Theater

During conversations, Walter made comments and asked questions that showed he was hearing and listening. One day the current and two ex-mayors of the Alamo City walked by and Walter amazed me with his abilities to engage each one opportunities to express themselves without interruption.

What If You Need a Large List to Increase Sales or Potential Sales?

A sales person may mention to someone for whom has been a good customer, “I was just going through my checks, and I realized I spent over $2000 with you last year. I guess we’re really getting to depend on each other more than I knew.”

A typical question I receive is “where do you get your articles and story ideas?” They are all over, if you network properly.


You can expand networking by simply trading networks with someone else.
How big is your network? If you answered infinite, you’re
right. You’re only limited by the number of people on earth. Your network is potentially the size
of all your contacts, plus all your relatives’ contacts, your
friends’ contacts, your business associates’ contacts, and so on.

Suppose you want to introduce a new service you offer. Are you going to limit the list to the names you’ve been able to scrape together? Of course not. You’ll ask me for my list, and if I like the offer I might even ask a few other people for their lists. Instead of a few hundred names, you now have a few thousand.

Always treat anyone’s contacts with the utmost respect. Like tightrope walking, this is a system based on trust. A fall from grace, like a fall from the high wire, can be very hard to recover from.

3 Tips on Selling

🔹 Be Knowledgeable. If you want people to listen to you, you need to be an expert about the product you’re selling, about the market it exists in, and about the way it addresses the needs of your customer.

🔹Establish Rapport. Your primary responsibility is to establish a connection between the needs of the customer and the solutions that your product/service provides. It’s about them, not you. If you’re not paying attention to the customers’ needs, how could you ever accomplish that? Listen to what they’re saying. Ask questions to gain deeper understanding. Seek to build and demonstrate empathy.

🔹Build Relationships. Many people will go to online reviews to learn about your product or service. It’s amazing how much stronger leads are that come from customer referrals. Cultivating customer relationships will give you more leads, and when you listen to compliments and complaints about your offering, it will help you improve for future customers.

One final thought is to use the forever faith 80/20 rule. Twenty percent of your network likely provides 80 percent of the value. What have you done for them lately?

Jack Dennis

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HEB FOOD DRUGS

Thousands of US Flights Cancelled

Angry passenger in New York gets put in his place.

By 8 a.m. (CST) Monday, April 4, 2022, 2,134 airline flights were cancelled across, into and outbound the United States.

This followed carriers canceling more than 3,500 U.S. flights over the weekend due to employee absenteeism, storms in Florida and technology issues.

Close to 2,000 flights within, into, or out of the U.S. were canceled Saturday and a further 1,659 Sunday, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

By morning, Monday, 4,314 flights were delayed.

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A Bias For Action: Procrastination is a Personal Pitfall

Read This Now, Not Later

For a number of years I taught a class called “A Bias For Action” to literally thousands of employees in classrooms, meetings and one-on-one.

It was important to make certain we had “shared expectations” and “working definitions” immediately. Hard as it might be to admit it, we sometimes put off the tough stuff in our lives and especially our job.

Some leaders would avoid confronting a direct report who isn’t performing within the new work environment. Others had a tendency to postpone projects that would test their self-confidence, abilities, comfort zone or patience. But procrastination is a leadership pitfall. Causing stress and anxiety, it sticks with you like glue until you’ve addressed it. So tackle the tough stuff first, and you’ll immediately eliminate undue stress, build your abilities, raise your comfort level, and boost self-confidence, too.

Here are some points to keep in mind:

Procrastination is the enemy. 

According to “Psychology Today,” 20% of people are chronic procrastinators. They avoid challenging tasks or addressing big issues, even seeking out opportunities for distraction.

So, what’s the big deal? Procrastination is negative and always has consequences — some direct, some indirect. These negative implications can be tangible, like a missed deadline, and intangible, such as irritability from losing sleep over an issue. It’s an enemy that affects you, your team and your company’s potential to succeed.

Addressing challenges is often easier than you think. 

Taking the first step is the hardest part, but things often go smoother after that. The classic example is when you’ve needed to address a performance issue with a direct report and been a bit worried over doing so. Then when you go to talk about it, the person is surprisingly receptive, rather than reactive, and your anxiety melts away. You think, “Why didn’t I do that sooner?” You’ve freed up your emotional and mental currency, the problem is addressed, and now you’re able to get back to and really focus on your main job.

Dealing with “it” leads to greater productivity.

Some people claim that they work better under pressure and actually use that clichéd excuse to avoid a project, problem or person. But this mindset’s repercussions can prevent and destroy productivity.

For example, maybe you’ve put off fixing some software bug because it would test your patience and take too much time. Yet the crippled system slows the daily performance of your direct reports — and then stops altogether when it crashes one day. Everyone (most notably you) now suffers big consequences. You must do (in panic mode) what you previously put off, plus repair and pay for more serious damage that’s now been done. No doubt, fixing the problem in the first place could have lessened or prevented the blow, yet one common reason people procrastinate “dealing with it” is simply because they don’t know how or where to start.

Begin by putting some ideas down on paper and then build a specific, deadline-oriented plan for tackling that tough stuff…and there will be A LOT during this time. Doing so will help you create the accountability and steps necessary for your goal achievement. And it will also help prevent further procrastination, so you can drive, rather than dodge, that critical, ever-productive change.

 6 Strategies ASAP To Keep Procrastination At Bay:

🔹Start on the day before day one. Your strategy to avoid workplace procrastination should start before your employee’s first day. Start with clear and accurate job description matched up to accurately qualified candidates, then analyze the next steps of your hiring process.

By recruiting and hiring employees that possess the right skills for the jobs at hand, you’ll get off to a good foundation in your quest to avoid procrastination pitfalls. Incorporate checkpoints in your interview questions, reference check process and in your interview testing process to look for signs that your potential new-hire has a procrastination track record.

Clarify goals and expectations. Now that you’ve done your best to hire the right employee for the right role, it’s quintessential that you set them up for success with a strong start. By communicating company-wide (as well as departmental) goals clearly and defining the expectations of the specific role, you’ll alleviate gray areas that could lead to workplace procrastination.

Make communication a two-way street. As business owners try to avoid workplace procrastination and correct it when it occurs, opening the communication lines with employees can be the greatest way to drill down on the causes. Create multiple communication vehicles to help employees communicate with management regarding issues that could lead to and improve upon workplace procrastination. This communication strategy can consist of surveys, anonymous comments boxes and push notifications via mobile app or intranet tools.

Train, train and retrain. Bake procrastination avoidance strategies into your training program for all employees. Be sure to train managers on ways to spot, address and avoid workplace procrastination issues among their teams.

Work on your company culture. A team of motivated, engaged employees feels connected to the company mission at a deeper level and less prone to procrastination. Company culture can be the edge your business operations needs to keep procrastination and all its repercussions at bay. Creating a strong culture may consist of employee recognition programs, career development opportunities as well as work life balance considerations.

🔹Trust but verify. It’s important to place trust in your team and trust your hunches regarding your business, but the importance of measurement can’t be discounted. By setting up systems to measure deadlines, productivity and detect dips before they have detrimental impacts, you will gain real visibility into your business operations. Using this data, you can avoid workplace procrastination as well as be able to quantifiably reward the positive efforts of your team.

Letting procrastination run rampant in your workplace can cost your business customers, impact your bottom line and create a negative culture. If you make smart hiring decisions, set your team up for success and measurement performance, however, you’ll be able to avoid the complications that workplace procrastination can bring.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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Twice the Hero, This Olympic Swimmer Saved Many Lives

In 1976, Shavarsh Karapetyan, an Armenian Olympic swimmer who earned eight gold medals and broke several world records at European championships for finswimming, had just completed a 12-mile run with his brother Kamo when they saw a trolley bus crash into a dam reservoir. The trolley bus sank 80 feet offshore at a depth of 33 feet.

It was September 16, 1976 when Karapetyan risked his own life to save over three dozen people from drowning in the reservoir Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.

Despite zero visibility, he managed to kick in the back window, injuring himself in the process. He proceeded to save 37 people trapped in the bus, one at a time, for hours.

Using the routine he had developed from his swimming training, Karapetyan fell into a rhythm. He took five breaths, dove down for two passengers, and kicked against the top of the bus for momentum as he returned to the surface with the people in both arms.

He had instructed Kamo to stay at the surface and ferry passengers to the bank of the reservoir, as he dove again and again. Karapetyan’s own legs were bleeding, sliced open by broken glass, but that did not deter him.

The two-man lifesaving effort lasted about 20 minutes, before a rescue crew arrived, some of whom moved in on kayaks.

Because of the flurry of action and lack of clear government records, it’s unknown how many people the Karapetyan brothers saved; they estimate about 30. Some survivors freed themselves. Forty-six people died.

Karapetyan after rescuing about 37 people, is shirtless at the bottom center.

The combined effect of the cold water and his inquiries from breaking the glass window led to his hospitalization for 45 days after the incident, during which time he developed pneumonia, sepsis, and lung damage which ended his athletic career.

For years, his story wasn’t known, until an article about the event identified him by name in 1982. In 1985, he happened to pass by the Sports and Concert Arena when he witnessed a fire break out and rushed inside, again saving people trapped inside one at a time until he collapsed. He was again hospitalized with severe burns and lung damage.

He retired at the age of 24, having set 11 world records. Karapetyan held 17 world championship titles, 13 European championship titles, and seven Soviet championship titles.

He was born in 1953. As of 2022, Karapetyan says that he wouldn’t change a thing. Diving into Yerevan Lake that day cost him his athletic career. But he would do it again.

“There was no other choice,” he said. “I knew that it wouldn’t be right if the world’s fastest underwater swimmer was there and didn’t even try to help. Nature and humanity would have judged me. God probably would have judged me.”

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