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Bruce Allan Bressack

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Here's some of my BOOMERS articles written over the years. These articles appeared in The Hippo newspaper, The Compass newspaper, and on their websites.
Bruce Allan Bressack
SHOOTING STAR
Call me weird, but every time I see a shooting star I wish for 'World Peace'. And, I've been doing it ever since my first child was born.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes [most times!] I'm tempted to be selfish. But, somehow I catch myself 'just-in-time'.....but not before my 'right brain' conjures up images of enormously expensive, and totally unnecessary, "toys".

Not that wishing for 'World Peace' isn't selfish. I figure it this way - if people stop shooting each other, it's bound to be good for me and the people I love.

Nope, I'm not a 'Peacenik'...anymore. Nor am I against, for example, the war in Iraq (which, god willing, will end before dusk today)...

And, I don't think that I'm a liberal (or conservative) ideologue... But, it just seems that the world would be a far, far better place if 'we all just got along'.

So, is the world ready to 'Give Peace A Chance'?

Hard to say, but I think there's a chance if we can just keep the politics (and the politicians) 'out of it'.... ....that is, until they abandon the notion that you need to drop bombs while simultaneously seeking a lasting peace. As the song goes, "There Ain't No Peace In Dying".

Don't give up quite yet.....next time you see a shooting star, wish (and pray) for 'World Peace'. Maybe God will hear you. If nothing else, you'll feel better about yourself.

© Bruce Bressack
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BABY BOOMERS BUST OUT
16 Tons, and what do you get?

Well, you can do the math, but I think it still adds up to "another day older, and deeper in debt". And, math aside, we still wind up owing our soul to the 'company store'.

Baby Boomers were born at "just the right time".

Some were idealistic, defiant, and anti-establishment, while others tried desperately to "fit in" while retaining their values, aspirations, and dreams. We all felt we could change the world, if only we could wake up before noon.

Then, we eventually became 'The Establishment'.

We infiltrated the workforce, married our "soul mates", [sometimes, more than one], raised children, and went about chasing the American Dream.

Was it worth it?

For the answer, you may have to dust off the old Betamax and fire-up your 35mm Carousel Slide Projector. The memories should all come flooding back...

...the good times...
...the difficult times...
...the times in between...
...while the 'Times of Your Life' soundtrack plays quietly in the background.

So, show-of-hands baby boomers, was it worth it?

Come on, put down your microbrewery beer and Wall Street Journal and raise those hands high. Be proud of what you've accomplished. Yes, there's way more to go, but now it's finally your turn. It's time for the "Baby Boomers to Bust Out!"

Here's the well-thought-out (and instantly appealing) plan:

- If you can afford to, 'Take Early Retirement'
- If you can't afford to, 'Take Early Retirement'
- Do what makes you (and your current soul mate) happy
- Follow your dreams and be selfish (in a generous way)
- Sha, La, La, La, La, La, Live for Today!

And don't forget to tell the company store that you're all paid up, and you want your soul back!

© Bruce Bressack
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RICHIE HAVENS
I came upon a child of god last Sunday evening and his name is Richie Havens. And for a brief time, the promise of peace and love echoed in the Tupelo Music Hall.

Havens, the first musician to play at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, received worldwide recognition as a result of that fiery and soulful performance. His voice and guitar-playing style are immediately recognizable and inimitable. As Greg Greenway [the opener that night] put it, “Havens is the real, real deal”.

Havens is a master at taking songs we’re all familiar with and making them his own. His rendition of the song ‘Here Comes The Sun’ makes the original version by the Beatles sound sophomoric and amateur. Sorry Fab Four.

And move over Bob Dylan, Havens owns your song "Maggie’s Farm" now. You wrote it with great style and imagination, and sang it like you meant it, but Havens plays it like he grew up there and still has the dirt lodged under his fingernails.

When Havens played the Joni Mitchell song ‘Woodstock’, I welled up with emotion and longed for a different time and place. Not for a return to the “free love” and excesses of the '60s but for the promise of peace that my generation failed to deliver to our children.

My favorite Havens story that night was about our government’s unending quest to “conquer space”. He spoke of the billions of dollars spent each year on space exploration and noted that, “Don’t they realize that the planet Earth is already in space?”

This is the reason we desperately need artists like Havens – they constantly remind us all of the blatantly obvious!

Havens was much more than a musician/performer that night. He was several levels, and light years, beyond that. He was a humble spiritual leader — a Priest, a Brahman — reminding us that the world would be far, far better off, if we all just took care of each other.

I know what you’re thinking. “Corny, hippie crap”, right?

Call it what you will, but I’ll take a boat-load of hope and optimism anytime. Lest we forget, peace is not a four letter word.

© Bruce Bressack
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WHERE'S GEORGE BAILEY WHEN WE NEED HIM
During the last recession, Investment Guru Warren Buffet said that, “stock valuations weren't enticing enough just yet”. In other words, it wasn’t the ideal time to buy stocks.

Well, if you’re one of those conspiracy theorists, you might conclude that there are “powerful people” out there who say things like that just to drive the stock market down. Why, you may ask? For the answer, you might have to ask Mr. Potter.

Mr. Potter is a fictional character from the 1946 movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. He lived in the small town of Bedford Falls, where life was simpler, kinder, gentler, and where neighbors and friends took care of each other. Make no mistake about it, Potter had none of those qualities and he owned everything worth owning in town, except George Bailey and the Bailey Building and Loan.

In an emotional scene from the movie, financial panic was spreading throughout the town. There was a run-on-the-bank, and people were lined up in front of the Building and Loan demanding their money. George tried to explain that their money wasn't in the Building and Loan. It was invested in each other’s homes and backed by shares in his company.

George didn’t have the money on-hand, but Potter did and he was prepared to make an “offer”. Word was that Potter was offering 50 cents on the dollar for each Building and Loan share. George knew exactly what Potter was up to. He wanted to gain control over the Building and Loan and expand his dominance over the town of Bedford Falls.

In a spirited and passionate voice, George begged his friends not to sell their shares to Potter - “Can’t you understand what’s happening here? Don’t you see what’s happening? Potter isn’t selling. Potter’s buying. And why, because we’re panicky and he’s not! He’s picking up some bargains. Now we can get through this thing all right. We’ve got to stick together though. We’ve got to have faith in each other”.

Although the movie is fictional, the sentiment is very real. The Potter’s of the world are out there lurking in the bushes. In good times and bad times, they win. They have “Un-Saintly Patience”. They wait for the stock market to go down, or "intentionally" drive it down, and then they buy, buy, buy. They always get richer.

The “joke” circulating during the last recession was that 401K’s were now 201K’s because they were worth half what they used to be. While the stock market has improved in recent months, it’s still a volatile market. What George would tell us is that we can get through this thing all right. We've got to stick together, and we've got to have faith in each other.

And, he'd tell us to remember that "Potter isn't selling, he's buying", at 50 cents on the dollar.

© Bruce Bressack
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ALL THIS STUFF MAKES GOD'S HEAD HURT
In the beginning, God was created [invented?] to unite us. And then, religion came along. And that’s when God was cut into hundreds (if not thousands) of little pieces.

Naturally, or naively, each religious group believes that their God is the only God, and that their faith is the only faith. And, just to make sure that their religion is “#1 on the pop charts”, some religious people are anxious to disown and disavow all other religions.

Man oh man, sometimes it just feels like we’ve bastardized God’s original and simple plan for us.

Does anyone remember the plan? It had something to do with hope, peace, charity, brotherhood, and loving our neighbor. I think, in God’s mind, our neighbors are all human beings on the planet, not just the people who live on our block or practice our particular faith.

But hold on, we haven’t complicated it enough yet. You guessed it ... let’s add politics, and political parties and factions, into the religious mix. Now, let’s throw in the prejudices that some people have towards people who are not the same race, creed, ethnicity or (dare I say) sexual orientation.

All this “stuff” divides us, which was not what our founding fathers had in mind ... you know, the one God ... indivisible ... with liberty and justice for all “thingy”.

And, all this “stuff” makes God’s head hurt. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll find it in his heart to forgive us. Until then, I thought I’d vent a little on his behalf.

© Bruce Bressack
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