Diane Vogel Ferri is a teacher, poet and writer. Her essays have been published in Scene Magazine, Cleveland Christmas Memories, Raven’s Perch, and by Cleveland State University among others. Her poems can be found in numerous journals. Her chapbook, Liquid Rubies, was published by Pudding House. The Volume of Our Incongruity was published by Finishing Line Press. Diane’s essay, “I Will Sing for You” was featured at the Cleveland Humanities Fest in 2018. Her novel, The Desire Path can be found on Amazon. She is a graduate of Kent State University and holds an M.Ed from Cleveland State University.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Little Good News - Drive-through Generosity

It has been reported that a new type of paying it forward is happening in America.  It's drive-through generosity. To be honest I have probably used a drive-through fast food only a few times in the past 10 years so I have little chance of experiencing this phenomenon.

But I thought I'd bring a little good news today instead of the disillusioning crap we hear day in and day out everywhere we go.

Americans are being spontaneously generous! Sometimes unbroken chains of cars at a McDonald's or Dunkin Donuts are paying for the car behind them - and then they pay for the car behind them - and so on! At a time when our nations leaders cannot seem to even be civil to each other, this seems inspired.

You may remember the movie "Pay it Forward" which came from a novel of the same name by Catherine Hyde in 1999. In the story the protagonist does three good deeds and asks the beneficiaries to do the same.

Fast food operators are reporting that drive-through generosity is happening several times a day. The largest out break occurred in last December at a Tim Horton's in Winnipeg, Manitoba when 228 consecutive cars paid it forward. Last April a Chick-fil-a in Houston had 67 cars (come on, America!)

Since I don't do drive-throughs I'm going to find another way to pay it forward. How about you? That's your good news for the day.:))

From the wisdom of  Willy Wonka said - "So shines a good deed in a weary world."

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Why I Love The New York Times

This is not a paid advertisement or any other kind of advertisement - just something that occurred to me this morning as I leisurely read through the Sunday New York Times.

I learn something every week. I learn more than one thing. The logo subtitle is "Expect the World"and that is what you get. I believe that most ignorance and bigotry stems from a lack of a world knowledge and awareness that there is a whole planet out there, full of life and humans that are nothing like yourself.  Once you gain a larger perspective your mind and world opens up in glorious ways.

But I digress. (Again, my worldview is complete in posts from a year ago)

Today I read about schools "flipping". This means that students watch videos of teacher lectures at home, on their smartphones or computers. If they lack technology they can access them at the school tech lab. When they are in school they do projects and homework in small groups with teacher support. Teachers say it is a way to reach every child, to help kids with homework when there is no support at home. Students can view the lectures as many times as they want at home. It is timesaving and, although the article didn't say this, my guess is eliminates a lot of time taken up in social drama in the daily school hours.  Apparently, in some schools they are seeing great success with students who had previously failed classes. Failure rates have declined and graduation rates have increased.

I read an excellent article by Nicholas Kristof who writes nothing but excellent articles on the world's marginalized, underprivileged and forgotten - especially women and girls in sexual trafficking. Today it wasn't about some third world country - it was Nashville.

I read an article about Tim Gunn, of Project Runway fame, who never came out to his parents, but tried to commit suicide at 17.  Again, acknowledging that no one would choose to be gay, bullied, repressed and hidden. At the end of the article he said if he had succeeded killing himself he wouldn't have had the wonderful life he's had.

There is a whole page about German words that express the inexpressible in English. New proposed German words like herbstlaubtrittvergnugen which means kicking through piles of leaves - made up of the words autumn-foliage-strike-fun.  I like plauschplage - the pressure to make small talk with people you interact with every day. From prattle-plague.  That tells you something about me....

Another article delved into the connection between success and musical training
. Examples of many high achievers in government and media (like Condoleeza Rice who trained to be a concert pianist) were included. Makes a lot of sense.

The Arts and Leisure section, while giving me a yearning to be back in New York City, is always inspiring. The amount of human creativity exhibited in this section is a beautiful thing. I feel relieved that I cannot see all these wonders since I am not there - as opposed to when I see them in Cleveland papers and wonder why I am not going to all of them )usually a lack of someone to go with that would truly enjoy it as well.)

I put aside and savor the Sunday Magazine and the Book Review section to take into my week. I find a list of books each week to add to my reading list.

I could go on and on - that's just snippets of October 13, 2013 in The New York Times.

Monday, October 7, 2013

What If There Was a Day...

I am itching to write about my angst and outrage over our inept Congress and the "shutting down" of our government, but you can read excellent commentaries by writers more eloquent than I and we're all sick to death of it, aren't we? So I share a poem of an opposing nature...What if there was a day....

when nothing happened,
in between wars and elections,
storms, giant waves, quakes and funnel clouds?

Teams had the day off, strikes were averted,
traffic moved like a dream,
thieves and attackers took a break.

Juries were sent home and judges napped,
school children forgot to bully and fight,
theater lights darkened, celebrities tired of their capers.

Reality shows were in rerun, mortgage rates
and the stock exchange remained as the day before.
No one was born, no one died.

Newspapers had nothing to print,
talking heads stopped talking,
all media were muted and stilled.

What if the cadence and rhythms of the planet
spun in harmony and coexistence
for just one day...