22 December 2010

One, Simple Telephone Call

With the FULL MOON - Winter Solstice y2010, on what would have been Willard Maas’s 91st birthday and is my 63rd,

... One, Simple Telephone Call:

Sexism and chicanery surrounding a farmland property’s mineral rights' matter is exactly why, when I was a junior in high school, Grandpa Willard was fired from Des Moines’ Brenton Bank. 1965. He, at age 45, and my mother had two children in college –– and two others still in high school, planning to attend college.

Willard had himself just left Iowa State University’s Department of Economics and interviewed at 14 different places. With his snow white hair, the man was told always that he was "too old." (Now allegedly a crime but, then — [and … now, … still … of course!] — very much an habitual workplace discrimination.) WHEN ... ... he was a land appraiser, new there in his first year, for this central Iowa bank.

One day he discovered a rock quarry underneath a 33 – year – old widow's property which she, having moved to California, still owned from her and her husband's estate back in Iowa — before the man had suddenly died. Because she desperately needed some money for her two children and from afar then, the single mother had requested the Bank to sell the property, she believing it nothing more than scrubland barely suitable for grazing cattle.

On behalf of this specific Brenton Bank having been asked by the woman to sell it off, Willard, then, was assigned to go out and appraise the property. He found a rock quarry underneath her scrub. When he went back to the bank and told them this, the bank’s officials said that he should call the owner and tell her a $ figure which she would be expecting to hear and that under no circumstance was Willard to give to her .no way / no how. the Truth about it all, let alone, the $ figure which it was actually worth.

The Bank officials planned to buy it all themselves, get its deed into the Bank’s owned records, then to later find an "appropriate" buyer for it such as a rock quarry business —— and, in the end, to give over to the woman in California only the amount from this sale which she would be expecting. To KEEP the rest for themselves.

Nights my mother and father were up late at the kitchen table, about two or three weeks' worth of nights. Then one of those days Daddy no longer had a job — and we were moving back to the farmhouse outside of Williamsburg; Daddy was going to go to work for Holden's, farm a little and walk the watchman's beat evenings and nights over at the Amana Refrigeration Plant 30 minutes’ drive away ... all in one 24 – hour period.

Grandpa Willard had not done what the bankers had ordered him to do.

Never having laid eyes upon the woman then nor since, Willard Maas telephoned her out in California, all right, from our home in Ankeny —— and told her of what he knew. And advised her to, straightaway, get for herself an attorney.

She did.

Willard Maas was fired. And, lock – stock – and – barrel, we all left Ankeny.

And I have never dealt, ever, with a Brenton Bank —— since. And will not.

Grandpa Willard was fired --- AND ... BLACKBALLED.

Before he made that telephone call to the woman, the Bank officials had further threatened him, "You tell her, and we will blackball you in all the banks in Iowa.

You will never work in another bank again."

Let alone, in a rural one, thereby ... his actually using the agricultural economics background and education which he had just acquired during his bachelor's and master's programs at Iowa State University, beginning these degrees then at the age of 40, thus becoming the University’s first "older" / “alternative” ISU student in the Spring Quarter of 1960. And because of this endeavor, our family had been written up and featured in the Spring 1961 issue of The Iowan magazine as that: the family of the "first" yada, yada, yada ...

And ... he never did. Willard Maas never again worked in another bank.

Without a doubt, Willard Maas at the second start of his college years (his first two years at Iowa State University having been derailed in 1939, by the poliomyelitis virus) —— as with others' lives similarly ... 'rerouted' —— could not have imagined for them all ... this end result.

No one will ever remember Grandpa Willard for the mighty fine Pendleton wool, bezillion – $ suits and the glove – snug Armani wingtips he never wore nor for the effusive parties he never threw nor for the lavish vacation cruises he never took, not even for the fact that likely due to his huge hearing loss and his brain in general, he did own the finest speaking voice and the most massive vocabulary of anyone I have ever, ever known.

But Righteous Ancestor Willard Maas .WILL. be remembered for ——
this one, simple telephone call.

18 December 2010

Mr DeFord's comment this week

[Carol DeFord and her spouse, Frank, regular ‘Morning Edition’ commentator on npr on Wednesdays, lost to death from cystic fibrosis a child at the little girl’s age of eight. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Deford

I loathe that this ("In a crowded world of images, you need the extreme to upset the accepted; you need a phenomenon to change the everyday.") is true re struggling against sexism, in particular. But it is true.

Frank DeFord, although he is senior Sports Illustrated writer, is the only man in sports media (of whom I know) who .regularly. writes about -- -- and then, too, actually in his very own voice loudly and .regularly. speaks out about -- -- struggling against sexism.

Frank DeFord has long, long ago made My Edition list -- -- the registry of names, past and present and of short - to - moderate length, of men (of whom I know) ... whom I do and would ... trust.]

Sweetness And Light

by Frank DeFord // 15 December 2010


On the whole, far less attention is paid to women's team sports than to women's individual sports. The most recognized female stars are invariably tennis players, swimmers, skiers –– whereas most popular male heroes are team players.

After all, these guys are on our teams. They're playing for us. Women's teams have never enjoyed that sense of the possessive.

And it's not so simple as the old glass-ceiling analogy. No, it's more emotional: teams represent our city, our college. They represent us –– the old team spirit. So, for many gentlemen, having a team of girls representing us is too much to bear.

And to be frank, female fans have themselves miserably failed their sisters; they've not yet come to support women's teams as men do their own athletes.

O, there was that feel-good moment in the summer of '99 when our American women won the soccer World Cup. But an attempt at a women's pro soccer league quickly collapsed, and a new one barely survives. Women's pro basketball is humored –– forced to play in the off-season, the summer, so the desperate arenas can at least open the concession stands.

In college, women's softball, volleyball, and ice hockey are tolerated mostly just as necessary evils –– fill up the Title IX quota. They sure don't fill up the stands. Watch your local 6 o'clock news. How often does the sports guy even make a reference to a women's team game?

Sure, Serena and Venus get mentioned during the Grand Slams; the be-sequined figure-skater dolls every four years at the Olympics; maybe golfer Michelle Wie if she's in contention this weekend — but women's teams?

That's why the University of Connecticut's basketball team and its 87 consecutive victories mean so much. The streak places a spotlight on all of women's basketball.

The Huskies force people –– men and women alike –– to at least think about women's teams. The idea. Little girls see UConn and they realize they don't have to pick up a tennis racket or a pair of figure skates. By being so good, UConn has not just transcended its sport, but it's doing a number on tradition. On sexism, too.

And, well, as for numbers, the Huskies can, within a week, pass the incredible record of 88 wins in a row set by the UCLA men back in the 1970s. Whether the Huskies break that record or not –– and they're not so very good this year that they couldn't come a cropper against Ohio State this Sunday –– they sure have made people notice them.

By its success, UConn is to women's basketball sort of what the Baltimore Colts-New York Giants overtime game in 1958 was to the NFL. After that, fans stayed tuned to pro football. They bought tickets.

In a crowded world of images, you need the extreme to upset the accepted; you need a phenomenon to change the everyday.
"Under no persuasion could I be made to believe that a human sacrifice several thousand years ago vicariously redeems me from sin. Nothing could persuade me that that was true, or moral, by the way. It's white noise to me." Christopher Hitchens, @ the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 13 October 2010, and published in Freethought Today, Freedom From Religion Foundation, December 2010 issue.

"I wouldn't say that religion is a form of mental illness, but I will say that religion allows perfectly sane and neurologically healthy people to believe things by the millions that only mentally ill people could believe on their own. The social support of doctrine allows for quite crazy beliefs in the 21st century to be held and operated upon by perfectly sane people." Sam Harris in discussing his The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values and published in Freethought Today, Freedom From Religion Foundation, December 2010 issue.

"Staff attorney Patrick Elliott's correspondence with the Janesville (Wisconsin) Public School system got Alcoholics Anonymous dropped from the curriculum of a public charter school." The Annual Freedom From Religion Foundation Report and Year in Review for 2010, http://www.ffrf.org/publications/freethought-today/articles/overheard-november-2010

"Another judge maintained that he believed women sought protection orders in order to get the family home. Another judge refused to believe one woman's story because her husband was a physician and a 'pillar of the community.' Another judge refused to believe a woman because she had no visible bruises by the time she appeared in his court, and he suggested she come back after her next beating!" -- -- US Congressional hearing - testimony re "justice" meted out on to ."American". women -- -- http://www.mith2.umd.edu/WomensStudies/GenderIssues/Violence+Women/testimony-morella