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January 18, 2007
“The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844 - 1900)
1. Making Money, Slowing Alzheimer’s at the Same Time
2. The Eleventh Commandment, Part 2
4. A “Jeopardy” Answer?
5. About Montebello E-News and “My Montebello”
MAKING MONEY, SLOWING ALZHEIMER’S AT THE SAME TIME?
There is money to be made in an emerging field, brain exercises. Do not be surprised if we one day see a franchise called “Bally’s for the Brain”. (Yes, Bally’s, make a donation to a specified charity and you may have the service mark.)
But this lesson is not about starting a business.
There is a strong feeling in our country that everyone should speak English. Those who feel that way are right. Ease of communication through a common language, even official language, is useful in breaking down barriers, making friends, dealing with emergencies, and, yes, strengthening democracy. At the same time, bilingualism, even multilingualism, is useful in breaking down barriers, making friends, dealing with emergencies, and strengthening democracy. Even more, there is research which suggests that bilingualism would be useful in slowing Alzheimer’s. (Google “bilingualism senility” for the specifics.)
In 2006, this writer had the privilege of meeting Dr. Renford Reese at Cal Poly Pomona. Dr. Reese started a program called “Colorful Flags” after teenager Latasha Harlin was killed by a store employee over ten years ago, in a dispute over a bottle of orange juice. Dr. Reese thought that, by teaching a little culture and language, he could break down ethnic mistrust. (See his Web site, www.colorfulflags.org.)
Has “Colorful Flags” worked? Dr. Reese gave me language cards which I keep in my wallet. I have tried a couple of Hindi phrases with an employee in Montebello. Yes, the program works. I now have a friendly acquaintance, if not a friend.
If you answer the multiple-choice questions below and e-mail to email@example.com, with “E-News answers” in the subject field, you will be credited toward a “certificate of recognition in community affairs” to be awarded in 2007 by a local nonprofit organization.
1. When it comes to language ability, which does more for a country and the individuals living in that country?
(a) Knowledge of the common language.
(b) Knowledge of the common language and a language spoken by many residents.
2. What is the most enjoyable way to learn a second language?
(a) We create a circle of learners and ask a friend who is bilingual to teach us.
(b) We take a course at a community college, practicing at a restaurant after class.
(c) We borrow tapes or books from the library, or use a program like “Colorful Flags”.
3. In which way does bilingualism help, other than slowing Alzheimer’s?
(a) It enables us to understand others and avoid miscommunication.
(b) It gives a businessperson a way to increase business.
(c) It adds to our personal skills, which might mean a raise, promotion or hiring.
(d) We get enjoyment from reading classic and modern literature in the native language.
Семь раз отме́рь, оди́н отре́жь.
Translation from Russian: Measure seven times, cut once.
In part one, we talked about confirming before acting on information. The greater the consequence of our judgment, e.g., are we sending troops to a war zone?, or more irreversible our action, e.g., are we emptying our life’s savings with a cashier’s check?, the more time we must take and more reluctant we must be to decide or do anything without the confirmation. The suggestion was made that each of us have a guardian, that is, a person who would do the research to get the confirmation, since it would be impractical for each person to do so him- or herself. We ended asking what concrete step to take because of the importance of having confirmation before deciding or acting.
The next step is to identify a guardian, but before we do, we should answer why the guardian should not be “somebody famous and remote, like a President, spiritual leader, head of a consumer organization or movie star”. First, the more distant a person, the less we know about him or her. We must not depend on a carefully crafted media image to determine whether we should believe that person—and, by extension, any organization with which that person is associated. Since we have no means other than the media image for judging the integrity of the person, we simply should not give credence to his or her statements without confirmation. Second, it is antidemocratic to have others do the thinking for us. Democracy does suffer—with consequences worldwide—when we let others do the thinking for us. That said, we will explore briefly why it is acceptable to have a guardian who is close to us, but not one who is remote.
One reason for having a guardian who is a family member or long-time friend is because we have dealt with the person long enough to know something about her / his knowledge and discernment. Another reason is that he or she is easily reached and can be questioned about a matter, unlike a person who is remote. Drinking morning tea and talking with the guardian about a proposition on the ballot or a letter which has come in the mail is much better than reading a remote reporter’s account of what a remote celebrity has said. We do not surrender to a guardian; rather, we trust his or her knowledge and experience about purported facts as we ourselves ask questions and decide what to do.
Democracy works best in a small, amicable group. This does not mean that everyone in the group must adhere to the same faith or philosophy. This does mean that everyone in the group is, first and foremost, a seeker of truth, as difficult as that can be, given that our assumptions about our world are continually challenged by events and discoveries around the world. And if there is more than one guardian in a group, even better.
We might be saying to ourselves, “Who in my extended family or among my close friends has the time to be a guardian?” A feasible answer to that could bring a needed renaissance of democracy in our country and give democracy a new respect around the world. You decide whether the answer, in the next part, would be feasible.
FOR EVERYONE. Crime Alert. According to Jerry Banuelos, crime-prevention coordinator for the Montebello Police Department, criminals posing as residents are approaching retirees in Montebello and asking for help in cashing supposedly winning lottery tickets. The criminals disappear after persuading the retirees to give money. If you witness this, do not challenge the criminals, but get information about them, like a car license number, and call our police department at 323.887.1313 immediately. Note that, while serious, this is not a "9-1-1" emergency.
FOR EVERYONE. The Montebello Chamber of Commerce, Montebello Lions Club, and the City of Montebello are presenting "Gangs and the Law". If you believe that we have a gang problem in Montebello, you might want to attend. The guest speaker is Superior Court Judge Steven Bromberg. Lunch, Monday, February 12, $25 per person. To make a reservation, 323.721.1153.
To learn about this newsletter, Montebello E-News, and the accompanying, growing Web site, “My Montebello”, visit www.mymontebello.com. Also, you will find instructions and contact information for submitting announcements for publication in this newsletter.
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