Vol. 6    No. 17
AUGUST 25, 2011

The Capital City Hues
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EDITORIAL STAFF

Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Ike Anyanike, Paul
Barrows, Alfonso Zepeda
Capistran, Theola Carter, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Eileen Cecille Hocker,
Heidi Pascual, Jessica Pharm,
Laura Salinger, Jessica Strong,
& Martinez White
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling   
                     Words of Advice
As another birthday and the years roll by, I become more reflective about life during the month of
August. I have witnessed far more days in the past than I will see in the future. And I strive to
maintain my dignity and sense of self in this ever-changing world that makes everything into a
commodity.

I wonder if I will have dignity as I approach my retirement years because the moneychangers on
Wall Street and in Washington, D.C. want to get their hands on my Social Security and Medicare,
which I and my employers have been paying into for the past 46 years and counting. Some people
always want to get between you and your money and then peel away some of it for themselves.

As I look back on my life, I just have to shake my head at all of the things that I worried about that
never came to be. In this, I can see my son Andrew. We talk about world events and about what
might happen. He is always talking about the imminent beginning of some battle in the world,
whether it be an invasion of South Korea or Syria — it seems we are whittling down George W.
Bush’s list of the “Axis of Evil.” And Andrew asks me why I am not more upset or concerned or
making plans for all of this imminent doom and gloom. And I reply that I as I get older, I tend to
worry only about those things that I can do something about and leave the rest up to God.

Yes, I wish I had all of those hours and days back that I spent worrying about things beyond my
control or even what I look like. Now we all should keep ourselves up — and I could do better in
that department — but how much time do we spend trying to make ourselves lighter or darker or
make our eyelashes long or short. Especially with the advent of mass media, it seems that the
vast majority of us don’t like how we look. And once we get comfortable with how we look, styles
and fads change and then we have to spend another small fortune to get in with the new look. Why
do we have such a hard time loving ourselves, warts and all?

Maybe I am just getting old, but I have come to realize that there is little I can do about it and I
should just embrace myself for who I am and enjoy me more. Maybe it’s because I don’t have
much money, but it seems that my inferiority complex is someone else’s cash cow. And what does
it achieve? Nothing everlasting, that’s for sure.

When I was younger, I remember that I couldn’t show any of my weaknesses or mistakes to others.
I was going to keep that to myself and in the process, I also shut a lot of other things out as well. In
essence, I kept the good and the bad out and stopped growing as an individual. It is important that
we allow the cleansing flow of human interaction go through us like a mountain stream lest we
stagnate emotionally like a cesspool. None of us is an island. All of us need other people whether
we like it or not.

Whenever I start drifting into a level of isolation from other people, I begin to think of Howard
Hughes the billionaire who stayed holed up in the penthouse of a Las Vegas Hotel, using tissue or
a cloth to touch everything lest he catch a germ. I do truly believe that Hughes went insane
because he could afford to — and did — cut himself off from other people. Stay in the flow of other
people’s lives!

I have to thank God for putting me in the position of meeting people from so many cultural and
ethnic backgrounds and being able to call many of them friend. When I was young, I believed in the
equality of all people. Well, I have met thousands of people in the intervening years — I’ve written
over 2,500 articles since 1999 — and I can now say that I KNOW that people are equal.

Every culture and geographic region on earth is filled with fascinating and complex people. And
within those parameters, I have been fortunate to meet people from all walks of life who share
some of the same values that I hold dear.

It is important for all of us in this increasingly global community to get to know others — or at least
about them — from different backgrounds than their own. While it may put one outside one’s
comfort zone, there is also something beautiful about the awakening that one can have about other
people and about oneself. There is an interchange of understanding that is incredible and lifts the
human spirit.

One of the things that I will always be grateful to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, my alma
mater, for is the ability to think abstractly and to “see” the world. There is a huge and beautiful
world out there that no one human being could ever comprehend. The world is filled with
complexity and detail.

There are times in my fatigue or just going over the same old ground that I feel that I know it all. But
then something happens and I realize that I know very little and my being is again opened up to the
possibility of experience many new things.

It seems that life is like a thousand veils shrouding our eyes. When we stare at the veil closest to
our eyes long enough, it seems that is all there is to the world around us. But then something
happens and a veil is lifted from our eyes and we can see more than we thought existed before. It
is important to always realize that there are more veils to be lifted from our eyes.

Stay open to learning. Stay open to life!