A gift for James on his 50th birthday — a home

Source: A gift for James on his 50th birthday — a home The original story is by Jim McKeever for Irish Investigations. I’m so delighted by James’ 50th birthday gift – a home – which takes him off the streets of Syracuse, New York. I wish James all the best as he strives forward. It truly did take a village for this very happy event to happen.

Please go to Jim McKeever’s site to leave your comments. I don’t know how to close comments on my site. But he’s the one who wrote this beautiful article. https://irishinvestigations.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/a-gift-for-james-on-his-50th-birthday-a-home/

What Would You Do?

Homeless man with dog in the cold - Copy

By Judy Berman

Public shaming seems to be in vogue, and the homeless are being used to make the point.

In one story making the rounds on social media, an unshaven man in a raggedy coat enters a church. He definitely stands out among the well-dressed folks who gather for worship.

Those who bother to look his way, shun him. Then they turn their attention to a speaker at the lectern who announces that their new pastor is at this service. The speaker invites the pastor to come up and introduce himself.

People gasp when the unshaven man stands and walks down the aisle. He chastises the congreation for not living their faith when they saw someone who appeared to be homeless.

They, of course, are remorseful for their behavior.

I thought of this when I read two other bloggers’ stories about how folks respond when someone falls in a public place.

Jim McKeever’s blog, Irish Investigations, focuses on a video by Modern Pranksers. In it, there are two men on crutches – one well-dressed and the other one appearing to look homeless.

When the well-dressed man falls, people rush to assist him. Not so with the “homeless” man. The only one who helps him is another homeless man. The story is here.

Such pranks, that are played for entertainment on YouTube and on TV shows, “may reinforce people’s aversion to helping someone who looks ‘homeless’ or different in any respect,” Jim says.

I agree. There are better ways to increase awareness about helping others.

Homeless - U. S. Army soldiers - Stand Down for Homelessness

Diana Schwenk’s experience was different. On her blog, Talk to Diana, she wrote about the time that she was the one who fell in the street and no one came to help her. She was confounded and surprised. Her story is here.

“I imagine most homeless folks have felt this way at one time or another,” Diana says. “This is what it must be like to feel invisible.”

Homeless man on Mission St

There have been a few times when I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone to help a stranger. One of them was many years ago, when I first moved to Syracuse, New York.

It was evening. As I strolled along James Street toward State Street, I saw a man fall. His crutches lay next to him.

My first thought was that he had just come from the bar that I had passed.

As I drew closer, I suspected that he was in no condition to cross that heavily traveled four-lane intersection.

So, I helped him up. He staggered as we walked across the street. I supported him as he climbed the steep steps to the entrance of his apartment building. He thanked me, and we parted ways.

I never saw him again, but I think about him often and hope that he’s doing well.

Such acts might be considered foolhardy, given the existence of monsters like Ted Bundy who preyed on kind-hearted women. The serial murderer lured them to help him by feigning an injury.

Looking back, I realize things could have turned out differently.

Still, I’m glad I came to his rescue then.

Would I do the same today? I don’t know.

But, if I do, I want my actions to be driven by a desire to do the right thing and not because I’d be concerned someone might be watching and taping the encounter for a prank video.


Do these types of videos and actions help or hurt the homeless?


Music Video: Angel in Disguise – Songs for the Homeless – The people in this video reveal that homelessness can happen to anyone. There are plenty of worthwhile agencies where you can help.   

Thanks to my angel in disguise, my husband, for taking part in delivering food to homeless shelters and helping at a food kitchen for the homeless. Happy Valentine’s Day, honey.

Link: Jim McKeever’s blog “Irish Investigations” – “Hidden Camera Test of Kindness: Good Idea, but Unfair Prank” https://irishinvestigations.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/hidden-camera-test-of-kindness-good-idea-but-unfair-prank/

Link: Diana Schwenk’s blog “Talk to Diana” – “What it Must Feel Like to be Invisible” https://talktodiana.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/what-it-must-feel-like-to-be-invisible/

Photo: Homeless man and dog in the cold

Photo: Homeless – James Brown, a student nurse at Jacksonville University School of Nursing, takes a homeless veteran’s blood pressure during the annual Stand Down for Homelessness in Savannah. Sept. 15, 2009. Source: U.S. Army http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/03/US_Army_51483_260th_Soldiers_Stand_Down_for_Homelessness.jpg/598px-US_Army_51483_260th_Soldiers_Stand_Down_for_Homelessness.jpg

Photo: Homeless man on Mission Street, San Francisco, California Taken Dec. 27, 2009. Source: Franco Folini http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/18/Homelessmissionst.jpg/554px-Homelessmissionst.jpg

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


monopoly - moneybags

By Judy Berman

It is a squeeze play for more money. All the perpetrator lacks is a mask and a gun.

In the old days, such thefts took place by outlaws when robbing riders on stagecoaches or trains.

Now, it’s the banks, car-rental agencies and others who relieve folks of their money. Rather than luring customers in, they’re chasing them away.

My rant is the result of my bank using “statistics” to deny me a lower interest rate. In a letter, unsigned, the bank states that “our decision may have been based in part on a credit score.”

I told the loan officer that another bank has offered me a more attractive interest rate. In a standoff at the O.K. Corral, my bank does not flinch.

So I download my credit report. There are no red flags. No cautionary tales for the loan officer to “Run. Run in the opposite direction. Do not give this person any money.”

Instead, the report reveals that I have an excellent credit score.


My bank’s letter says I am approved for credit for the car loan. But it does not want to give me the reduced interest rate and repayment plan. Instead, the bank aims to go for $5 more a month – an additional $60 a year.

So, my bank decides to shake me down for $5 more a month on a car payment. It’s still willing to do business based on the original, higher interest rate.


I’d love to meet the bean-counting genius that thinks it’s a great idea to wring a few dollars more from a customer when another bank is salivating for that customer’s business.

Short-sighted. Penny wise and pound foolish.

This also happened a few years ago with a car-rental place.

We turned the car in with a full gas tank. But we didn’t realize that the agreement we signed required a receipt to prove we filled it up that day.

Even though they could see the gas gauge read “FULL,” they dinged us for about $18 more.

Great Train Robbery - screenshot

They may have made a few dollars more, but they won’t see any repeat business from us.

What is it with companies that have lost any sense of treating their customers right?

We also never lose an opportunity to tell people to beware of what they’re signing.

Now, we have a decision to make. One our current bank should have foreseen.

I do appreciate the service they provided at the beginning of our banking relationship. But I’m not feeling very valued right now.

My next move? Undecided.


What would you do? Have you ever felt undervalued as a customer?


COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Video clip: Shakedown – opening song in Beverly Hills Cop II sung by Bob Seger https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk-W_i7Z59I  

Music Video: For the Love of Money by the O’Jays https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXE_n2q08Yw 

Main Photo: Monopoly – moneybags – our Hasbro board game

Photo: Stagecoach – Concord stagecoach 1869 – public domain. “used by express companies on the overland trails. Soldiers guard from atop.” http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/41/Concord_stagecoach_1869.png/799px-Concord_stagecoach_1869.png

Photo: “The Great Train Robbery” (1903) – screenshot. Author: Edwin S. Porter Public domain. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/Great_train_robbery_still.jpg

Thank You, Thank You

Best Moment Award

By Judy Berman

To be appreciated for what you love to do is to feel as if you’ve been kissed by both sides of the sun.

Recently, two fellow bloggers nominated me for separate awards: Best Moment Award and the Sunshine Award. My apologies to both for a long overdue, but heartfelt, thank you.

  • Marilyn Warner of Things I Want To Tell My Mother – said she chose my story, “Musical Memories and Love” for the Best Moment Award because she was humming the songs I included hours after. That story, which ran April 20, 2013, looked at my life thru songs that were popular over several decades. This award, unlike others, singles out only one post, a reader’s favorite “best moment.”
  • Jane H. Johann of Johannisthinking selected me for the Sunshine Award, saying “I have chosen Judy because she brings sunbeams to my thinking. Clarity always follows after I read her lines of poetry or essays.”

Now I feel like I am in the Sunshine and this is my Best Moment. I know what a slacker I’ve been, so I will leave it up to my nominees to follow thru – or not – as they see fit. No hard feelings.

Here’s the rules and my nominees for the BEST MOMENT AWARD: Nominate 8 special, specific posts for this award. These are ones that truly touched me, made me laugh, or were memorable. (I cheated. I chose nine.) Please check them out:

–          Arindam – Race of Dreams, Hopes and Needs. While he writes beautiful poetry, he also tackles concerns in his native India. http://arindammohapatra.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/race-of-dreams-hopes-and-needs/

–          Mark Armstrong – His illustration of a smoking sneaker from the Boston Marathon tragedy and the question “Why?” is profound and moving. http://markarmstrongillustration.com/2013/06/18/social-media-not-your-best-guide-to-truth-understanding/

–          Bronx Boy of Mostly Bright Ideas – His post on “Getting Over My Down Under Fantasy” made me laugh and want to shout, “No, Florida is a much scarier place to visit than Australia.” http://mostlybrightideas.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/getting-over-my-down-under-fantasy/

–          Darla of She’s a Maineiac – She can make the most ordinary event laugh-out-loud. “So Here’s The Thing About Walking.” http://shesamaineiac.com/2013/05/23/so-heres-the-thing-about-walking/

–          Kate Shrewsday –  Love her stories on her family, and the ones on history are just riveting. This is one of my favorites that combines both: “Picknicking With Martians.” http://kateshrewsday.com/2013/06/17/picknicking-with-martians/

–          Lisa Tognola of Main Street Musings – I still crack up whenever I think of this story that she wrote about a trunk show in “Revelations From My First CAbi Party.”  http://mainstreetmusingsblog.com/2013/02/04/revelations-from-my-first-cabi-party/

–          Madhu of The Urge to Wander – Her photos from around the world have opened vistas to me that I hope to see in person one day. That’s why “Beyond the Gates” is one of my favorites. http://theurgetowander.com/2013/04/04/beyond-the-gates/

–          Sue Vincent of Daily Echo – Her photos of nature, her dog, Ani, and her views on life are always worth a read. “Late Night Coffee” was one of my favorites for those reasons. http://scvincent.com/2013/06/16/late-night-coffee/

–          Jane H. Johann of Johannisthinking – Sorry, got carried away here. If you’re counting, this is number 9, but when you read “Nadia … my little doctor,” I know you’ll agree this is a beautiful, touching post. It made me think of my grandchildren and of my late Grammy. http://johannisthinking.com/2013/06/11/nadia-my-little-doctor/

sunshine award - pinterest

Here’s the rules and my nominees for the SUNSHINE AWARD:

  • Include the award’s logo in a post or on your Blog.
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself.
  • Nominate 10 Bloggers.
  • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their Blogs, letting them know they have been nominated.
  • Link the person who nominated you.

Ten Questions:

  1. Favorite color: plaid (yes, don’t count on me revealing too much here)
  2. Favorite animal: dinosaur (because I don’t have to worry about cleaning up after it)
  3. Favorite number: 9 (Blame The Beatles)
  4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Does such a thing exist?
  5. Prefer Facebook or Twitter? Neither. Prefer face-to-face communication.
  6. My passion(s): My family, humanity, truth, justice, music and travel
  7. Prefer getting or giving presents: Giving
  8. Favorite pattern: Random
  9. Favorite days of the week: weekends
  10. Favorite flower: poppy – that’s why I love Claude Monet

10 blogs to nominate:

1. Kate Crimmins of Coffee Kat Blog. Her experiences working as a Human Resources executive and her cats are both something I love reading about. http://coffeekatblog.com/

2. Marilyn Warner of Things I Want to Tell My Mother. So much of what she writes triggers my own fond memories about my parents. http://warnerwriting.wordpress.com/

3. Island Traveler of This Man’s Journey. His photos and stories about family remind me to hold my own family closer. http://thismansjourney.net/

4.  Timethief of One Cool Site – is a source I’ve turned to on quite a few occasions for blogging tips and have appreciated the advice. http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/

5. Jen of Rumpydog – who cares passionately about animals, both domestic and wild. She works tirelessly to ensure legislation is passed to protect their rights. http://rumpydog.com/

6. Promethean Times – for its satirical look at the headlines. It bills itself as a “collection of oddities calculated to amuse, enlighten and horrify.”    http://prometheantimes.com/

7. Deb Adams – Gorgeous illustrations, delightful cartoon characters and Flash writing that will make you pause … and, go, hmmmm! http://adamsart.wordpress.com/

8. Shakti Ghosal – His posts on life and philosophy always make me think deeper. Very enjoyable read. http://esgeemusings.com/

9. Cult Fit – wonderful writings on philosophy, workouts and health. http://cultfit.wordpress.com/

10. My So Called Life Journey – a look at life and Dr. Who and much more from an up and coming writer. (Full disclosure: my youngest daughter, Jenn) http://mysocalledlifejourney.wordpress.com/

Pardon the very long post and my procrastination. These creative bloggers all do an excellent job in entertaining, informing and amazing us with their stories, illustrations and photos.

One Sweet Award And Paying It Forward

One Sweet Award - the Liebster Blog AwardBy Judy Berman

I’m a procrastinator. That’s the only explanation I can give for not immediately acknowledging that I had been nominated for the Liebster Award.

You might think, “Why didn’t you do this sooner? It’s not like you have to get all dolled up for the Oscars and walk the red carpet, fending off the paparazzi popping flash bulbs in your face.” You’re right.

“Liebster” (pronounced leeb-stir) is a German word meaning “sweetest,” “favorite” or “dearest.” This award, which originated in Germany, recognizes up-and-coming bloggers. Some I listed may not fall in this category, but I truly do enjoy them and recommend you give them a look.

In researching the award, I found that the rules vary. I, of course, chose the shortened version:

  • Thank the person who gave me the award and link back to their blog.
  • Copy and paste the award to my blog.
  • Reveal the 5 blogs I have chosen to award and let them know by commenting on their blog.
  • Pay it forward by awarding to bloggers I would like to honor.

So, here’s my official – and belated – thank you, Tina of Daysift, for nominating me for this prestigious award. My apologies, in advance, for breaking the rules.

Tina posts stories of family that kick-start me thinking about my own, photos of signs that will make you laugh and/or give you hope. Tina’s blog is always a treat. You can check out her blog at this link: http://daysift.com/

Here are the five blogs that I have chosen to receive this award. Please check out their great blogs:

1. Deb Adams – Art – http://adamsart.wordpress.com/

2. Jasmine Kyle – http://jasminekylesings.wordpress.com/

3. George Arthur White, photography and stories –

4. Marilyn Warner – Things I Want to Tell My Mother – http://warnerwriting.wordpress.com/

5. Peter Cawdron – Thinking Sci-Fi – http://thinkingscifi.wordpress.com/

There are many excellent blogs on WordPress. These are just a few of the ones I really enjoy. Happy New Year to everyone. May it be a most excellent year for you … and for all of us.