I held off discussing this. It was shocking to me at the time.

I held off discussing this. 
It was shocking to me at the time.

About 2 months ago, on a cold day in Burbank, CA,
I was headed to the supermarket shopping center.
I took a little shortcut that most people don't use to get into
the side of the main area. In this area away from any traffic, was
a man lying with his head on the cement.
Clearly homeless, looking dazed, unshaven, wearing rags
that were all he had and covering himself with
newspapers, I stopped the car and got out. 
I stood over him, awoke him with my voice and
handed him a decent amount of money:
"I want you to walk over to (nearby chain) right now, get a
full meal -- you are to use this only for food--
is that understood?" With no expression he nodded
his head up and down.

I noticed we were in the same
age range (late 50's-early 60's) and as I was getting back into
my car, I decided to make a social commentary:
"America sure has changed" I said.

"Yeagh...and we got a NWORD as President!"

Did I think about walking right back over and take
away the gift I had given this stranger?
Yes I did. I will not lie about that.
And then I thought about something else I had once heard,
got into the car and left.

“Carve a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment.” -- MLK

What would you have done?   eliotstein@yahoo.com

My Brush With The Greatest--Mohammed Ali

My Brush With The Greatest--Mohammed Ali

It was the very late 1970's. Toyota had planned a major print campaign that would appear in every magazine, newspaper and billboard in the world.

It focused on how everybody in the world loves Toyotas. Representatives from children to adults would appear in the distinctive clothing of their countries and parts of the world around a Toyota and the main attraction would be the greatest--Mohammed Ali--standing in the center.

To my surprise, I was selected to be in the ad and represent--the Arab countries.

When I arrived at the photo shoot, they dressed me up in a sparkling white Arab outfit complete with head piece.

Mohammed Ali and his bodyguard came into the room. I had to say something to this bigger than life personality.

I walked up to him, smiling, and I said, "I'm the very first Jewish Arab!"

Instead of the return smile, laugh or clever retort (a specialty of his) that I expected, both he and his bodyguard just stared coldly at me, saying nothing.

In the ad, I was standing right next to Mohammed Ali and would be seen worldwide.

How could anything top the disappointment of the Greatest not appreciating my humor?

The very next week as Toyota prepared the distribution of the ad campaign, Mohammed Ali was all over the news. 
Not for his new association with Toyota--but for an alleged serious financial scam for which he had been indicted by the Federal Government.

And this news was everywhere.

Toyota immediately dropped the campaign and their association with Mohammed Ali.

It paid outrageously well for the 2 hours of work, but I would rather have been next to the Greatest in a worldwide ad campaign then be paid anything at all.

They Have Their Musical Legacy And I Have Mine

Just in time for the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Selma March, we have a group of college students celebrating on a bus by singing a racist song that has its roots in the legacy of their fraternity. Hey fellas. The late 1950's are calling. They want their bigotry back.

I was thinking about my own musical legacy that started in the late 1950's and continues until today:

I listen to Nat King Cole over and over.
(I have his autograph on a 45 record cover in a frame on my wall)
I listen to Dionne Warwick over and over.
I listen to  the Four Tops over and over.
I listen to the Temptations over and over.
I listen to the Supremes over and over.
(Even though I had a run-in with Diana Ross once and yes--she's an egotistical bitch)
I listen to Martha and the Vandellas over and over.
I listen to the Jackson Five over and over.
I listen to Sam Cooke over and over.
I listen to Marvin Gaye over and over.
I listen to Stevie Wonder over and over.
I listen to Smokey Robinson over and over.
I listen to Ray Charles over and over.
I listen to the Marvelettes over and over.
I listen to B B King over and over.
I listen to the Fifth Dimension over and over.
I listen to the Dixie Cups over and over.
I listen to Jimi Hendrix over and over.
I listen to Gene McDaniels over and over.
I listen to Mary Wells over and over.
I listen to Barbara Lewis over and over.
I listen to the Shirelles over and over.
I listen to Aretha Franklin over and over.
I listen to Ella Fitzgerald over and over.
I listen to Dinah Washington over and over.
I listen to Louis Armstrong over and over.
I listen to the Platters over and over.
I listen to the Ronettes over and over.
I listen to the Chiffons over and over.
I listen to the Crystals over and over.

The following songs put me into a dream world every time I hear them:
Reach Out I'll Be There - Four Tops
Someday We'll Be Together - Supremes
A Rainy Night In Georgia - Brook Benton
Valley of the Dolls - Dionne Warwick
Oh Happy Day - Edwin Hawkin Singers
What's Going On - Marvin Gaye

Anybody Notice Anything?


Welcome to the 1960's

Today is the 50th Anniversary of American ground soldiers for the first time in Vietnam. They were Marines. And the official beginning of  "The 60's" as for the first time, the children of America began protesting U.S. involvement in a war 10,000 miles away that was never officially declared. Over the next 10 years, America would drop more than 3 times the amount of bombs and chemicals than they used in WW2 on a tiny Southeast Asian country.

This war would see 58,000 Americans dead--the majority--the youth of America aged 18 to 25. And an additional 100,000 with lifelong permanent injuries.

And as America became a divided nation--those over 30 in support of the war and those under 30 against the war (in general), we saw a political and social phenomenon that destroyed the country. Parents not talking to their children. Children not talking to their parents. 100,000 young people 13-23 taking off in the middle of the night for San Francisco with no notice. Protests in the streets nationwide and on college campuses. A generation gap unlike that had ever existed. Young people hitchhiking all over America, easily recognizable by their new clothing and hair styles. The re-introduction of a brief 1930s fad, marijuana, on epidemic scales. New social protest movements everywhere from every segment of society that felt they were getting a bad deal. The sudden strange musical shift, even from the world's most popular English band. The draft dodging. A sexual revolution that makes "50 Shades Of Grey" seem like a cartoon.

And there was total culture shock from the generation that had just seen WW2 end 20 years earlier. Had America slipped into some kind of parallel dimension?

Nobody had ever dared to question the actions of the U.S. Government, let alone, the children of the nation.

Welcome to the 1960's.



SELMA MARCH March 7, 1965

1965 started out as a magical year in America because of the variety of Pop Culture--TV, Music, Movies were the greatest!

At the same time, young people of America had an important question on March 7, 1965:

How come these people are not allowed to vote?

 Here is how society responded to America's children:

"You're too young to understand. Go listen to the Beatles."

"We do not discuss things like that at this school."

Those same young people wanted answers and would soon explode across the nation.

2015, 50 years to the day of the Selma to Montgomery March.

In more ways then one, the "60's" are going to start the very next day as you can see from this archived newspaper: