Tag: 2017 May Group Writing

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If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined. — Pyrrhus of Epirus There are many versions of this quote — first noted in Plutarch’s Parallel Lives. Most are specific in addressing the Battle of Asculum — in stating that another such victory with similar losses will be his undoing. But I prefer this […]

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Jury Duty: 12 Cranky People

 

(Note: Most of my stories here tend towards the light and fluffy. This one isn’t, so be forewarned that some of this is ugly. Even though this is all a matter of public record, I’m going to limit my use of names to the principals, and then only those I remember; it’s been almost 15 years. These are the events to the best of my recollection, some of which I learned in the trial, and the rest that I found online after it was all over. I’ll try to demarcate the two.)


Late on the night of Nov. 14, 1997, Elhadji Gaye pulled up in his green Lexus sedan in front of an apartment building in East Harlem, NYC. A driver for a livery company, he had received a call for a pickup at that address from his dispatcher. It was late, but Gaye, a recent immigrant from Guyana, was happy to work the long hours, as it allowed him to send more money back home; not only to his wife and children, but to his entire extended family.

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“Winners win!” I shouted. The only reaction was a chuckle from one of the assembled young men. The group varied in age from fourteen to eighteen. They represented four or five different nationalities. There was some real talent, but they simply did not know how to win. More precisely: they did not know what it […]

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The ancient Spartans are generally considered to have been practically invincible.  Name a great Spartan victory.  No, me neither.  I will bet you a dollar you can name a great Spartan defeat without even thinking.  The Roman army might be considered the most formidable fighting force in ancient history.  They started out as losers.  For […]

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Since I don’t like deadlines, I almost always finish my projects early. This post was no exception. And I grumbled about the finished project for several days. At first I identified a couple of people whom I sincerely admire, who had several attributes that I believed made them winners. I couldn’t help wondering why I […]

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Who’s the Most Poised of Them All?

 

I can’t explain why I signed up for the local Young Woman of the Year contest in 1991. An ordinary 16-year-old with a messy backpack and limited fashion sense, I was going to compete with other girls–sing, dance, wear glittering evening attire. Perhaps I and three other average girls from my small school participated because a popular teacher had announced it and persuaded us to participate. He made it seem like the right thing to do.

But we were made to understand that this contest wasn’t about looks–oh, no. It was about recognizing and cultivating poise, confidence, grace–the strong inner girl young woman striding into the new decade to make her mark. That mission explained the recent name change. Previously, the contest had been referred to as “Junior Miss,” whose past winners included Kathy Lee Gifford and Diane Sawyer. However, a truism missed by the minds behind Young Woman of the Year was perhaps not overlooked by Junior Miss: the nature-nurture team distributes its gifts unevenly and had already awarded poise to the brainy, beautiful teens before the contest began.

None of us four really knew what we were getting ourselves into. We knew there was something about fitness, elegance, and poise in evening wear, an interview with judges to show our genuine selves, and a talent portion. If I hadn’t been young and impractical, with short time horizons, just the thought of all the preparation and guts involved in following through would have intimidated me. I was acquainted from afar with the concepts of “elegance,” “evening wear,” and “dancing;” however, I had rarely crossed paths with them and if it hadn’t been for this contest, our meetings would have been rare and brief.

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It was the height of technology of the time. It was a new car, and the radio not only had AM and FM bands, but also a slot for tapes. No, not those cassette tapes some of you youngsters may know. This was before that. This sound system played 8-Track tapes. The 8-Track cartridge was […]

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