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December 2021

Meeting Stan Freberg


In 1980 or 1981, AdWeek  magazine contributing editor Edwin Diamond assigned Gary S. Paul (me) to profile Stan Freberg. We spent a lovely afternoon chatting. He gave me a signed copy of the sheet music of Take An Indian To  Lunch as a souvenir. I mentioned what an amazing coincidence it was, on his album Pay Radio, that Capitol Records had an attorney whose name rhymed with the word attorney: Mr. Irving P. Laverny. “Paul, to tell you the truth, I made that name up,” Freberg told me. Perhaps it should not have been a surprise.

That same year, I interviewed the substantially less well-known Dick Orkin and Bert Berdis, beloved radio commercial voice talent.

London and engleman

Book: American Dirt *****

As I enter my 65th year as a reader (I started young), I look back on hundreds of novels (most of them sci-fi and humor) and can’t think of one that was more moving and compelling than Jeanine Cummins' American Dirt, the story of a woman’s desperate attempt to reach the United States after she gets crosswise with a Mexican cartel. I was literally in tears by the time I read the epilogue. It is compelling, well-written and moving. I had difficulty putting it down. In a way, it reminds me of one of the earliest novels I read, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, about conditions in the meat-packing business (of which he famously said, “I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.”) Sinclair’s social problem novel resulted in regulation of the food business. Novels, by personalizing social problems, are, I suspect, more effective than treatises. Let’s hope that Mexican immigrants received better treatment from government and citizens alike as a result of this dramatic tale, just as Cummins intended.

This and That

In the all-new PSACOT, less detail; just wanted to let you all know a wonderful thanksgiving was had at my older daughter’s house, with both daughters, both spouses, me and my lady fair and our 3-year-old grandson. Turkey for the carnivores.
Sign Humor
A friend tipped me to some very funny signs.
Someone else’s poetry
Brian Bilston: America is a Gun.
Starts like this:
Brazil is a football on the sand.
Argentina, Maradona’s hand.
Germany, an oompah band.
America is a gun.
RIP Dave Frishberg, 88, songwriter , singer/pianist
An appreciation of Frishberg (My Attorney Bernie, I'm Just A Bill)by my friend Daniel Dern.
Keillor On Love
“Falling in love is an exquisite State of stupidity and to have made such a wise choice in one’s stupor is excellent good luck.”
―Garrison Keillor from Serenity at 70, Gaiety at 80: Why you should keep on getting older

Gratitude and Thanksgiving

For 24 years, I have been running variations of the same Thanksgiving column, listing the things for which I am thankful. During the years when I had stopped posting regular blog entries, I started writing regular entries in a gratitude journal, which got me to thinking of the difference between thankful  and grateful. Google isn't much help:

Grateful: feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful.
Thankful: pleased and relieved, grateful

So, basically, it treats the words as synonymous. I do still give thanks for my health and my family. I am also grateful to have them in my life. I am grateful to be of use, to my family and others. [Turns out service is a Love Language] I am grateful for the love I get and the loving kindness I am now obliged to give everyone, since my heart Chakra opened.

I am grateful that my medical problems are all treatable. Every day, I am grateful to be here, because every minute I have had since January 2007 has been a gift. I cherish that gift. I don't need Clarence the Angel to show me that this is a wonderful life; unlike George Bailey, I have never for a moment doubted that the world is a better place for my being in it. I give thanks for my blessings every morning, and expect to do so for the rest of my life. And, yes, especially on Thanksgiving Day.

Finally, if you feel life has been dealing to you from the bottom of the deck, I recommend the practice of keeping a gratitude journal. Write down one or two things each day for which you are grateful. Big or small, serious or silly. You may find it helps you keep things in perspective; I know it has had that effect on me. Going back and rereading it sometimes can be an interesting and rewarding activity.

Happy Thanksgiving!