Archive for September 2012


It was a white leather-look jacket that drew me into the Christian based clothing store in town. “Hello, how are you?” the proprietor asked. “I’m fine,” I said, how are you doing? “Very well, he answered.” “Good,” I said. “That’s what you want when you’re in business.” “Obama says I didn’t do it myself,” he said. “He’s absolutely right,” I responded. “For example, your customers were able to get here because of the public roads and sidewalks, and the lights to see their way by.” That pretty much ended our conversation, but not my thoughts. Without public highways and roads, his business would have been extremely difficulty to maintain – if not impossible. And what of the harbors and ports maintained by the public by which he received shipments of his products. Or trade agreements with the countries who created the goods he bought … Oh, I think it’s a good bet he borrowed money somewhere along the way, or at least uses banks insured by FDIC. I’ll bet, too, that he relies on the postal service to some extent. And I assume he has a lavatory somewhere in the store, with efficient sewage disposal and safe running water in the sink for drinking. Given that his business is Christian-based, I’m pretty sure his beliefs and subsequent business choice depend upon experiences with others who set him an example and standard. Most likely his church had a guaranteed mortgage at one point. If not, it depended on the community getting together to support it.

It’s not all public funds that support his business. What of all the stores around him, helping to bring in business, and the newspapers that make it possible to advertise his wares. Then there’s all the support those other businesses receive from public funds. Just as his customers probably work for, have been employed by, companies who have relied on the public infrastructure for their success.

But let me get away from his situation and into mine. It is true that my parents saved for my college education – for which I feel tremendous gratitude. My college was supported – like basically all institutions of higher education, by endowments. And I probably would not have been admitted to my college had it not been for an excellent public education at all levels through secondary school. Then my graduate degrees. Yes. I worked very hard for them, but those institutions as well relied not only on endowments, but also on grants, many of which came from public funds. The very research that contributed to knowledge in my field depended largely on NSF grants. I can’t forget, as well, that my entire career as a professor was at institutions supported by public funds.

Yes, I can be proud of what I’ve accomplished, as can the proprietor of the store with the white leather-like jacket. But the pride has to be tempered by gratitude for all who have helped me – us- along the way.

“No man (woman) is an island.”

By the way, I didn’t try on the white jacket, much as I would have liked to. I just couldn’t afford it, even though it was worth the price. I hope others are grateful for whatever made it possible for them to try and buy. And I’m happy for the proprietor’s success. I want that store to be there for a long time to please me when I walk by, and occasionally buy.


I thought I had published these, but I don’t see them. Forgive me if this is a duplicate.

Posted September 22, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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I promised some photos of the Ireland trip. Just please be mindful that I’m an amateur with a shoot and click camera. I do have more, but I need to finish up now because my cable connection is being installed. Hurray!

Posted September 18, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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Let us of the various Abrahamic communities gather as a society at the Well of the Living   8 comments

A long, powerful, beautiful, and hopeful thought for the day. This is what we need in these terribly troubled times, a story of reconciliation of the sons of Abraham. ben-ghazi-yom-kippur.

I promise, more Ireland photos to come, but some things are more urgent.


Posted September 13, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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From lush green nourished by a summer of rainfall to the heights of the Cliffs at Moher to the depths of a cave carved by ancient waters to barren land strewn with glacial rock deposits, the senses were caressed with calming gratification. One week in Ireland was not enough.

Either we were very lucky, or we brought with us the gift of sunshine to folks longing for an end to the rain. Whatever the reason, we enjoyed perfect temperatures in the 60s and 70s. And relaxation. I’ve come to realize that there are three factors that make traveling so restorative.

1)    We leave behind the stress of daily negative news. (I learned in a course in journalism that good news doesn’t sell.)

2)    The people tourists meet are all employed, resonating contentment.

3)    While the news of joblessness in Ireland, as elsewhere, is tragic, we can take in the information without the pressure to feel responsible for casting and/or encouraging the corrective vote.

Our excursion guide was about the best we’ve every experienced, informative, fun, filled with enlightening stories about the country – the kind one might get sitting at the kitchen table over a cup of coffee.

We were directed to restaurants and pubs where we enjoyed delicious food – always accompanied by potatoes in at least one form. Yes, Gordon, I did have a glass of Guinness or two. And music, classical Irish and traditional.

The economic news was not good, reminding me, as always, of my gratitude that I can travel and enjoy such happy experiences. My joy would be complete if I knew such pleasurable calm were the world’s norm.

Mostly, it’s true what they say. Ireland is a wonderful place to visit.

I haven’t had time to download my photos. Eventually I’ll have something to post here.

Posted September 10, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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