Friday, November 1, 2019

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: A Gay & Lesbian History

I was recently asked by my church, the United Methodist Church of Palm Springs to participate in a series of talks for Gay Pride in Palm Springs in November. Since our Gay Pride weekend begins today for three days, I felt honored to be asked.
     A great deal of time was spent researching this topic and the talk I will give (below) is what I will present at church this coming Thursday, November 7, 2019.
     I am adding it to my column because I feel that our lives are shaped, are "designed by the societies and cultures we live in and have always lived in. As Americans we live under our Constitution, a document designed by man. Earlier mankind lived in tribes and loose gatherings of societies that were developed to ensure that they and their prodigy endured.
     Many things were learned in my research and so I thought it was appropriate to share my findings not only in church but here as well.

Alan Krug
November 1, 2019

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: A Short History of the Gay & Lesbian Movement

I chose this title, HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT because throughout history there have been, well, men who like men and women who like women and probably a variety of other combinations we just don’t know about. The names vary by culture but it has been OR was not accepted since the beginning of time.

Every one of us grew up in some religious tradition that pretty much across the board condemned queers, butch, bears, faggots, and any action that caused men to spell their seed as it was considered an abomination against the will of God. How did we know? For most of us it was at church ... if you were a Jew, Christian or Muslim. All three religions come from the father Abraham and his wife Sarah. We are not alone though; other faiths have similar restrictions as all have been told in one way or another to be fruitful and multiply.

This reminds me of the time I heard Spencer Wells talk about his mapping of the world’s DNA.
He came on stage and without preamble said, “I’m here to tell you there was an Adam.” The air was suddenly sucked out of the auditorium. Continuing he added, “And he was black.” We had now reached the vacuum of outer space as there was NO air left in the room. Anyone who has come “out” of the closet knows the feeling.

As I contemplated what I would say about the history of Gays and Lesbians I wondered, were they Gay then too? Could they be any different than we are today?

Gay history, as we know it begins with the Bible. Everyone knows the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah. Did they lust after the angels? Were they hot? In any event the word sodomy, used forever now, came from that nasty town that God destroyed. I might add that even today theologians are arguing about what really happened and what it really meant. I would say from that time until now most people have already made up their minds, and it’s not favorable.

For some reason then and now men have much more concern about their fellow man and what they do. Leviticus notes in chapter 18, verse 22 “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have some done an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is on them.” That pretty much tells the tale, don’t you think? Or does it? I would ask then as now, what right does anyone have to judge what is done in your home, in your bed? I certainly don’t care what they do; why are they so interested in me? Jealous I might have more fun?

Among hundreds if not thousands of recorded cases of same sex acts recorded in justice or church records from Medieval Europe until today few were for relations between women. For men, the English law of 1533 made buggery punishable by death.

Century after century penalties ebbed and flowed. The Renaissance saw an openness not seen in hundreds of years. They saw serious penalties and then a relaxation. What I got from the histories though was a dry clinical outlook that made being Gay like a rat in a cage, being watched and then reporting what they saw. History seems to have no understanding of love, or passion, even caring. Since I have moved here (Palm Springs), I have seen couples that have been together longer than most “straight” marriages. I have seen the other side too but I have known many straight, whatever that might mean, men brag about their female conquests. My God, what do you think the MeToo Movement is about?

While there were periods in history against Lesbians they usually got off more easily than men, as men, who else right?, couldn’t possibly conceive of how Lesbians could commit the sin of illicit sex. After all they had no penis and no seed to spill. I’m not kidding. Sexual relations between women could only have one purpose: to enhance real sex, i.e., sex with a man. Read the histories, you will see.

You notice I haven’t used the word homosexual yet. I don’t because the word was only coined in 1869, the year one of my references started their Gay history because it was the first time a Latin - Greek word was created to describe same sex relations in a medical sense. It entered the medical lexicon in 1892 a few years after a similar German word. It was when a realization that all that had been thought before was reevaluated and people realized that men or women could love each other not only intimately but sexually. It was inborn. The word heterosexual was only coined a few years later as there was yet no word to describe relationships between a man and a woman! Homosexuals have the honor to be identified first!

An example of hidden in plain sight would be Oscar Wild’s famous and still popular play, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. Many of us had to read it in high school and most of us have seen it performed at one time or another. It’s a theatre staple. However, did you know that the word “earnest” was a Victorian code word for being homosexual? So, like another scandalous movie, THE LAST TANGO IN PARIS, it’s not the girls the boys are after, it’s the boys. TANGO was considered so scandalous that the American version had Marlon Brando having an affair with an underage girl. In the original French version, it was a young man.

Silver Daddies, as one popular male web site is called, follows a long and venerable history of pairing older men, “Daddies” with younger men, “sons.” The first recorded actions of older adult males mentoring and loving youth starts with the recorded writings from Ancient Greece. There it had to be a free born adult male and a freeborn youth that had a form of mentorship. These youths were between the ages of about 13 until 19 when they then were considered men. The idea was the older man “trained” the younger in the habits of being a man. Similar societies occur in Africa. Many of my older students, when I was in the Peace Corps, had scaring on their bodies given when they were in the bush for up to 8 years learning the ways of their tribes and learning to be a man. Called secret societies they would never admit to or talk about what they endured. However, we do know there was sex between males.

Romans also practiced this kind of mentoring but were stricter allowing only slaves and those purchased youth to have such a relationship with an older Roman citizen. A citizen youth was not allowed such unions.

Many American tribes, north and south, had cultural traditions dealing with and mostly allowing men and women to have same sex relationships and also allowed men to dress as women and live as women. Settlers and the church condemned such actions and forbid them though it is said they still exist out of the white man’s view even today. Indeed, many Gay individuals were honored and became shamans and medicine men and women.  The tribes believed they had special gifts and powers.

After WW I, many Gay men and Lesbian women went to Europe. Even though France has no laws against same sex liaisons, Germany did.  Prof. Hirschfeld, a Jewish liberal Gay man fought most of his adult life to overturn the German Paragraph 175 that originally made sodomy between men and later women a crime with jail time. His research center was one of the first casualties of Hitler’s triumph of 1933. Speaking across Europe and to visits in the United States, he argued that same sex attraction was a natural phenomenon and could not be altered. 

The biggest change in modern sexual history can be placed at the door of World War II. Millions of men and women, upwards of 30 million were displaced and left sheltered towns and homes and for the first time found others like themselves. While the U.S. Armed Forces prohibited such actions in WW I, liaisons were encouraged in WWII combat as it was recognized, as Romans had 2,000 years before, “buddies” could and would watch over each other in battle.” However, after the war, Gays and Communists were considered bedfellows and many Gay men, especially, didn’t fare well in either the government or private industry. It was a hard time to be Gay even as the number of clubs and groups grew. Cities enforced ordinances, treatments were often ordered and police raids became common targeting known hangouts. The irony was that many of the Gay and Lesbian bars were run by the Mafia and to stay open paid weekly bribes to the local police departments. Don’t pay and expect to be raided.

Many groups were started in the 1930’s and beyond but the battles they fought were more with each other than getting political traction. The Mattachine Society, formed in 1950 in Los Angeles, was an organization to support Gays and Gay rights. Most of the members were originally Communists but as the Red Scare of the early 50’s increased many members left. The group grew until 1953 when the founders left and the group wanted to assimilate, ape the mores of their heterosexual brothers and remain in plain sight with their “tastes” kept private. Others argued that they should be accepted as they were. By Stonewall they ceased to have much support.

Daughters of Bilitis, was the first Lesbian civil and political rights movement that was formed in 1955. It was conceived as a social alternative to bars subject to raids and police harassment. It morphed into providing support to women afraid to come out. The group rose at the same time feminists became active and there was a tension between older and younger members. It finally ended after the 1968 convention where fewer than two dozen members attended.

As we all know, in June of 1969 patrons of one of the worst bars in New York City fought back. It had been a bad month there and bar after bar was raided. Finally, late night patrons had had enough and fought back. It wasn’t just one night either, it went on for several nights and again the following weekend. As we heard here in church, those that were there that night didn’t realize what was started. It was a “raid” that was heard ‘round the world.

However, it was the AIDS epidemic that changed the course for Gay men forever. Finally identified in 1981, it would kill 660,000 Americans as of today and the count is still growing but at a much slower pace. It took groups like ACT UP in NYC to picket and press for medicines that were being used in Europe first to care for those with the virus. The other center was San Francisco that may have had the largest concentrated Gay population at the time. In just a few years thousands died and often the meds finally used could be as deadly as the disease itself.
Even today, there are about 26,000 new infections each year, infections that needn’t happen. As we said in my youth, “good girls don’t get pregnant” because no one told them about sex, just as many areas of the country today refuse to discuss Gay sex and prevention methods. 

I have pointed out that religion, especially Evangelical religions have been no friend to the “Queer” community and continues its drive to take our rights away. I read that over 1,200 laws and regulations have been attempted in this country, mostly in the Deep South, to not serve Gays, not hire them and even attempts to take their rights away. Even though it is legal for same-sex couples to marry we thought this battle was over but just like Roe v. Wade, the battles have just begun.

People think they “know” Gay people, who they are and what they do. A study a few years back that actually asked Gay and Lesbians what they did for a living surprised the researchers. The top 15 were:
      Training and development specialists
      Social and community service managers
      Technical writers
      Occupational therapists
      Massage therapists
      Urban and regional planners
      Producers and directors
      Probation officers
      Morticians, undertakers and funeral directors
      Physical therapists and exercise physiologists 
      Computer and information systems managers
      Lawyers, judges and other judicial workers
      Web developers

You notice that hair dressers, decorators and such were not in the top 15. So, while they are there, the majority of people you deal with professionally are Gay in plain sight and you may never know it.

Another group that is considered vulnerable today are the transgender men and women following the time-honored judgment from ancient times that you are the sex that your genitals indicate. However, an excellent documentary at Cinema Diverse told another story. We have all been taught that sex is black and white. But as any Queer can tell you in the real world there is black and white and about 7 billion grays in between.

PBS did a wonderful special regarding young men coming out to their parents. One was a Mormon boy in a large Mormon family. They were shocked of course but finally accepted his orientation after much discussion, prayers and such. At the end, the father related how a friend came up to him and commiserated with him about his son. Then added that he didn’t know any Gay people. The father said, “I told him oh, you do, you just don’t know it.”

I would like to leave you with this thought, probably most if not all of the clothes you are wearing were designed or copied from a Gay clothing designer, many of the movies and cable shows have Gay writers, producers, actors and camera men. At the recent Cinema Diverse I saw the documentary on the artist Steven Arnold, a flamboyant artist who died of AIDS in 1994. Before his death he was interviewed on TV and asked about his thoughts on being Gay. He shrugged it off and said that he was proud to be Gay. Look at the heterosexual world, how boring! You need Gays and Lesbians to give the world some spice, some color. And you know, he was right!


Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to take the time to read earlier blogs where my emphasis is to explore the ways art and design affects our daily lives ... and always has. I share with you what inspires me with the hope that it will inspire you as well. Comments are always welcomed! 

Be sure to check my ETSY store ... I am adding many new and exciting, collectible birdhouses and craft items. Many of the items talked about here will be for sale there!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

I Love Dawn Dishwashing Soap - Maybe You Should Too!

I have either washed or dried dishes pretty much all of my life. I can remember going to my grandparents and the youngest aunt and I were assigned dishwashing duty after dinner. She washed and I dried. 
     As a bachelor I used the same soap my mother did, Joy. It cleaned well enough I guess. When I married we worked out an agreement that if one of us cooked, the other cleaned up. My ex tended to make a big mess and I soon discovered if I cooked I might as well do the dishes as I kept washing things when I was done before serving dinner. Everything was clean and she had little to do.
     Somewhere after getting married I made the discovery of Dawn dish detergent. My mother used Joy and I used Joy as well. After getting married I bought Dawn on a shopping trip because there wasn't any Joy (oxymoron name for sure - who finds "Joy" in dirty dishes?) It was a product I had never heard of. I soon discovered it's wonders when cleaning our Tupperware. Anything oily had to be squirted directly with detergent to get the oil out. However, I soon discovered Dawn cleaned that Tupperware without any more soap or fuss.
     One Father's Day the surprise for me was a new dishwasher. My days with Dawn were ended.
   Years later when I was learning how to oil paint and went to a folk and art painting convention in Las Vegas, one of the instructors told us that we didn't need to buy expensive brush cleaners, plain old dish detergent would do just fine, then noted for oil paints Dawn got them really, REALLY clean. So, after a painting session I would put a bit of Dawn in my palm and scrub away on all the brushes I had used. And yes, most, if not all, of the paint came out. As I shifted to acrylic paints for both crafts and canvas painting I always used Dawn.
     Another teacher also touted Dawn and said a drop or two in the cleaning water wouldn't hurt anything and so in my cleaning tub, you know the one with holes on one side and three places to clean and rest brushes I added a drop of Dawn to the water. I have done that for years and can't see that the paints are any worse for wear.
     Doing a little research I discovered that the soap was introduced by P & G in 1973. The main difference with this and other dish detergents is it contains alcohol that makes it very effective in getting off dirt and grime. Soak a BBQ grill in water that covers the grill with ½ to 1 cup of Dawn a few hours and the gunk will almost fall off. Yet it is safe to use on animals. Most sea life covered with oil during oil spills are captured and cleaned with the stuff. It's that gentle and won't even burn their eyes. We have all seen seagulls and pelicans covered with oil only to be washed in a tub filled with (Dawn) soap and returned to the wild.
     Around the house I have found many other uses for Dawn as well. Because I live in Palm Springs we are "supposed" to use sunscreen that is oily and having a naturally oily skin, the only thing I have found that gets my glasses streaklessly clean is Dawn. I get the lenses wet, put Dawn on  my fingers, carefully rub the lens and frames, wash off and have completely spotless lenses! Nothing else seems to work as well.
A year outside had not been kind to these cushions
 When I finally got around to rearranging my patio, I took the patio furniture I purchased a few years ago because it was cheap, then put outside in the rain, sun, heat and cold when I got a more suitable indoor sectional. I figured it was time to clean and cover the cream colored cushions and arrange the patio.
     I got a trashcan, put some Dawn in it, filled it up with water and scrub brush in hand started scrubbing all the cushions that sat outside pretty much ignored.
     It was already 90ยบ when I started but I figured that a good scrubbing was in order so I wet the cushions, scrubbed with the soapy water and when that was done washed the cushions with a heavy stream of water to get the soap off. I stood them up to dry them faster and left them in the sun. With 6% humidity it didn't take long!
     Today there are a whole bunch of offshoots of Dawn. Dawn 2X, 3X and now even Platinum all attempts in my mind to charge you a little more when the original will work just fine!
You can see Dawn got rid of
most of the stains!!!
     Too make sure I don't have to scrub off those white cushions again, I bought colorful towels to cover them with because I had to move the huge club chairs with ottomans under the lemon tree. It faces a wall that has plants and offers shade though right now hot is HOT and after about 9 am no one wants to sit outside. Soon though, the evenings will be mild and it will be fun to sit outside with a cup of coffee and a book or magazine in my lap.
     Dawn has many more uses too. I leave soapy Dawn water in casserole dishes with baked on grime, it can be used to clean concrete indoors and out. Put some on the offending oil spot, let sit awhile then scrub with a brush and hose off. Even spots on clothes can be removed. Soak the offending spot with a bit of Dawn, let sit for an hour or so, then wash.
     I am sure there are far more uses but the artist in me thought maybe I should pass what tips I know  on. Painting is expensive enough without adding even more expense. Things you already have around the house can be just as useful and are cheaper than some of the products we are told we need today.

Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to take the time to read earlier blogs where my emphasis is to explore the ways art and design affects our daily lives ... and always has. I share with you what inspires me with the hope that it will inspire you as well. Comments are always welcomed! 

Be sure to check my ETSY store ... I am adding many new and exciting, collectible birdhouses and craft items. Many of the items talked about here will be for sale there!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

I'm Tired of Sequels, Are YOU?

TOY STORY 4: Newer but not necessarily better.
     The other day I went to see TOY STORY 4. I had enjoyed the first three TOY STORIES and was eager to see what more they could add to a wonderful trilogy. I had been warned though by my friend in China that it wasn't all that good and that his 10 year old nephew didn't like it partly because the translation on the screen moved too fast and he had no idea who all the toys we were so familiar with had come from. I found it very derivative and thought if they hadn't seen the first three it really didn't make much sense. 
Can any Aladdin compete with Robin Williams?
     This isn't the first time I noticed that Disney was capitalizing on hits from the past. One of my all time favorites from Pixar was ALADDIN. I went to see the live action version and while many of the songs and characters were there, it felt contrived. What you can do with a cartoon and CGI is very different in feel and execution. You expect a cartoon to be, well, beyond reality. It is often unsettling to see what appears to be live action react the same way. The magical charm is somehow taken away.
Can anyone real beat
Super‐cali‐fragil‐istic‐expi‐ali‐docious but
   I finally got around to seeing the "new" MARY POPPINS and was very unhappy with it. There wasn't even one hummable song and it was shamelessly derivative of the original in just about every scene. The original may have been 55 years old but it has stood the test of time. This one will fade into oblivion.
     I thought that maybe I was alone in this until I read a commentary in TIME Magazine who pretty much came up with the same conclusion. I guess more of the cartoons will be made into live action, actions taken to milk to the last dollar amount of a prized property. I guess they think that if your kids or grandkids have never seen it, it's new to them. Pity the poor parent or grandparent who has seen the remarkable version with a milked down current version.
Same cast, more boring plot
because,well, times HAD changed
As I pondered this I began to consider how this same thing was happening on TV. "Magnum P.I.," Hawaii 5-0", "Murphy Brown" which I never liked before and liked even less 30 years later mercifully gone and "Will & Grace" also recently cut by the network. What was funny 20 years ago is no longer funny when Gay marriage is legal and gay men refer to their husbands and women talk about their wives.
     Again the movie industry talks about declining ticket sales. Have you looked at the weekly features? It's Blah Blah 3, or Remember This 5. Not many years ago they joked about ROCKY 25, HALLOWEEN 30 or SAW 15. I can remember being startled by the first FINAL DESTINATION movie but by FINAL DESTINATION 3 you knew when the next "accident" would occur. That last Avenger movie this year had such horrible ticket sales that it was pulled from all theaters in two weeks. Remember ISHTAR?
     Where are the new ideas, the new plots? It's a sad commentary when Amazon Prime or Netflix win more nominations on either TV or the Oscars than the film makers do. My recent bingeing has been on such shows as GRACE & FRANKIE, LONGMIRE, LUCIFER, STRANGER THINGS - all three seasons, TALES OF THE CITY, BLACK MIRROR. They are original and if there is another season as engaging and changing each year.
BLACK MIRROR brings back the terror of "THE
TWILIGHT ZONE" in a new 21st Century way!
       Now the one thing from the past that I have revisited just for laughs was the old CHEERS about a bar run by Sam Malone a washed up Red Sox relief pitcher. I was surprised at both the writing, how smart it was, even today, and the acting. From the first episode it was funny and as the years went by continued to be smart, sassy and relevant. There are few on "free" TV today. You have to wander to cable for Amazon or Netflix where I've discovered many of their made for shows come from England, often BBC. Are the British funnier than us? I find that hard to believe but their shows are and also far more serious and less predictable.
Suddenly Lucifer is far more sexy
and dangerous all over again
     As I wrote earlier this year, I saw 10 movies during 2019 FilmFest and while some were weird or strange at least they explored new topics. Chinas's DEAD PIGS told about the corruption of a manufacturer who made pig food that started killing the pigs around Shanghai as his sister stood against authorities trying to tear down the family home. A Danish film was downright mesmerizing and deserved better than it received. The audience was so engaged with a kidnapping that when they realized what crime had been committed nearly everyone screamed at the same time, NO! When was the last time you were in a theatre where that happened? It surely wasn't  STAR WARS 21! That we got to see and talk to the cop profiled in BLACKKLANSMAN, suddenly, white supremacy felt all to very real.
     When I was a journalism major in college my director / teacher told us you only needed three books to be successful to be a good writer; one of them being the Bible. Every story of mankind is in there he told us. And while there have been some blockbusters that came from there in the past, brought forward to modern times, maybe it's time to do a little mining there again. After all, critics say STAR WARS is nothing but a cowboy western on a planetary scale and cowboy tales come from our past and probably the past of every culture from the time of the Bible on.
Kids and adults are terrorized in STRANGER THINGS
     The studios, the directors and especially the screenwriters need to mine their own home and town and country and the world events of today. If there aren't a 100 stories after watching the nightly news each and every day, they aren't trying hard enough. I am reading Srinivashan's AMERICANA:  A 400 Year History of American Capitalism that tells the history of America through economics in a way I have never seen it before. If any book has plots and subplots of American history that needs to be told, at last I might add, this is it. 
     There are many stories out there that need to be told again and again for "those that forget history are bound to relive it." As we have seen in the movie theaters the past few years, producers, directors, screenwriters and actors think we have forgotten; we haven't. If you are going to do it again at least do it better "OR" leave it well enough alone.

Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to take the time to read earlier blogs where my emphasis is to explore the ways art and design affects our daily lives ... and always has. I share with you what inspires me with the hope that it will inspire you as well. Comments are always welcomed! 

Be sure to check my ETSY store ... I am adding many new and exciting, collectible birdhouses and craft items. Many of the items talked about here will be for sale there!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Amazon vs. Consumers Reports Ratings

     I don't know about you but I am always comparing products. Years ago the only valid "tester" of things we purchased was either word-of-mouth or CONSUMER REPORTS. If you were a camera nut, or auto fiend there were magazines that, and still today, give you their impressions of various models made both here and abroad. As with all things however, you had to trust the reviewer.
     However, after a series of items, purchased on Consumer's recommendations, went south big time, I refused to continue my subscriptions anymore. Instead I would ask friends about items they bought or learned my lesson from bad purchases.
     When Amazon came along and started their star system, 1 - 5 stars, that became a convenient place to check out any items you wanted to buy. Rather than read the 5 star reviews, I hunted down the 1 and 2 star reviews reading the complaints then deciding if I could live with the faults or not. After the review scandal where it was revealed people were paid to write good reviews, I again backed off. However, I was back soon figuring the lowest scores had valid truth and they were not paid for that review.
     This week, in light of the Amazon made up PRIME holiday this July 15 - 16, I checked out a lot of things that I didn't need and did succumb to a few. I was also reading a copy of Consumer Reports and since I had had lousy luck with vacuums of any sort I was in the market yet again. Up to this point I've had the best luck with a $25 O'Cedar Robot that manages to collect at least most of my Labrador's hair. She is an unmitigated fur ball that has me vacuuming once or twice a day. And that's after brushing enough hair off her to fill a pillow! The stick cordless vacuum gets clogged all the time. I spend more time finding the clog than vacuuming.
     Consumer's had a review or a variety of vacuums and one, an electric Dirt Devil got a high rating. They noted that it had a 26 ft. cord that had a retraction feature, a biggie for me, and was good on carpets and collecting dog hair. 
     Yet, when I looked up the same model on Amazon, it only had a 2 star rating and many complaints. I wondered, how could the same model tested in a lab and considered good be rated so poorly on Amazon? Then it dawned on me. Testing a product has a short time frame in which to measure. On Amazon, these aren't testers but users and they often have a much longer time frame when they use an item. It is their experience, the experience in the real world that gives a much better view of products.
     Consumer's car reports have a longer time frame and continuing ratings on cars as they age. But that's all. Other items don't have that luxury of time and while they perform well in the short term, begin to fail as they age. Another-wards, what's good today may not be good tomorrow.
     Amazon is not much better actually. The review process is tedious and ultimately boring. After you purchase something they will send an email asking you to rate the item or the purchase. You open the email and are supposed to click one to five stars. Then the screen changes and you are asked to sign in, give the review a headline and write not too few or too many words about the product. Even though they even identify you as a "verified client or purchaser" you have to prove that yes, you are you and by then, well, I give up. Why are they asking me all these questions? They know I purchased the item. Let me rate it and if necessary comment. While I understand some of the need, my time is valuable too and if I give it 3 stars I don't want to write a "report." It's middle of the road. "Enough" said.
     Its common knowledge that bad news travels 10 times faster than good news. I was taught this  as a Journalism - Marketing major in college. If I get a particularly terrible product you can be sure I'm going to comment. The same can be said for a tremendous product. Most things, however, are okay and don't deserve other than a 1 - 5 star rating. Who wants to spend an hour writing about their experience? I have enough to do maintaining my condo, dealing with the dog, cooking meals for myself, housecleaning, doctors appointment, and oh yes, finding time to be creative, not always succeeding. Amazon needs to streamline the process for the majority of their reviews. They know who I am. They know I am a "verified" purchaser. Will I continue to look at reviews? YES. Do I need to write WAR & PEACE for each and every item I purchase? NO!
     The only way we can really know for sure which gives better or, shall we say, more accurate reviews, is to simply buy the product and see which review is more accurate. The one good thing about buying it on Amazon is that you can, within a certain number of days, return it. That process is thankfully simple though its often a hassle to find a UPS Store of FedEx store nearby or open when you happen to be in the area. The service center for UPS in Palm Springs closes for lunch around 2 to 3, usually when I am out and about.
     As we become a more and more online shopping community, I think we are finding that the old ways of doing business don't work. As other retailers smarten up we are again seeing what was old becoming new again ... service. Real service not the made-up kind we deal with on the phone. However, success will be in the details and the execution. As I have said before, manufacturers will have to be much more attentive to their customers. You might have been able to sell shoddy products in the past, but not anyone, where just about everyone with a cell phone, can make comments that are available to everyone else. These comments can make or break companies, and do. If everyone gives a product 1 star and wishes it could be a -1 star, would you buy it?

Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to take the time to read earlier blogs where my emphasis is to explore the ways art and design affects our daily lives ... and always has. I share with you what inspires me with the hope that it will inspire you as well. Comments are always welcomed! 

Be sure to check my ETSY store ... I am adding many new and exciting, collectible birdhouses and craft items. Many of the items talked about here will be for sale there!