Michelle W. says this week is all about color. Specifically green, like my harvest of joy.

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But green isn’t just a color anymore.


Published over forty years ago, The Greening of America received a cosmically massive reception.

The New Yorker ran an excerpt in their September issue and it got more letters than any other article. Ever. The book was No.1 on bestsellers lists and sold skadoodles of copies, knocking reality for a loop. Leagues of media types discussed, praised, and criticized it.


Have you read The Greening of America?  Confucianist wisdom, it is not.  Charles Reich says his book is very straightforward about what’s the matter with us. He says we’re using up material resources at an unacceptable rate. And so, he advocates a less materialistic way of life.

Authority, schedules, time, accepted customs, are all forms which must be questioned. Accepted patterns of thought must be broken; what is considered ‘rational thought’ must be opposed by ‘nonrational thought’—drug-thought, mysticism, impulses.

The questions he poses ~ What’s happening to the individual in America? Is the individual going the way of the environment, being destroyed? ~ struck a chord with readers. The interesting angle?  Reich was no overgrown hippie, but a former Supreme Court clerk, a forty-two-year-old Ivy League professor, a seemingly serious person.

Annie Leibovitz photo of Charles Reich with Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead and Jann Wenner, 1971

Reich was a fan of the hippies and radical students on campus, the dropouts and rock ‘n’ rollers.  He felt they were pointing the way, not only with a refusal to join the power structure, but with their flower power, patchouli, and love beads.

Bell bottoms have to be worn to be understood. They express the body, as jeans do, but they say much more. They give the ankles a special freedom as if to invite dancing right on the street. . . . A touch football game, if the players are wearing bell bottoms, is like a folk dance or a ballet. . . . The new clothes demonstrate a significant new relationship between man and technology.

Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines greening as “becoming more mature and less naive, esp. in one’s understanding of social and political forces.”  (Entry note: Word origin of ‘greening’
after The Greening of America (1970), book by C. Reich.)

Might Reich’s countercultural (some might say flaky) concepts, like listening to the Grateful Dead and using marijuana, fix what’s the matter with us?

“Green” was a broader term to Reich than it is to us today. It was not just about environmentalism, but the whole package ~ feminism, gay rights, racial equality, military conflict, rampant consumerism, corporate power ~ issues that are still front-page.

It’s not likely that our society will undergo a total about-face of cultural and political institutions.  But we can look at the clouds from both sides, can’t we?


 Toni 3/23/17



Can you guess what Halle Berry and Rembrandt have in common?  Well, they were both born under the Sign of the Horse.


2014 is the Year of the Horse.


Other famous Horses you may know ~ Franklin D Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the US; Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon; the American singer Aretha Franklin; and the model Cindy Crawford.


If you were born in 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, or 2002 – you were born under the Sign of The Horse.

I was born in the Year of the Ox.  My advice ~  Never. Cross. An. Ox.

According to Chinese astrology, the animal signs that are four years apart from each other are believed to be compatible, but are incompatible if they are six years apart. Curious? Here’s the compatibility chart.

People born in the Year of the Horse are extremely animated and active. They tend to be energetic, bright and intelligent with excellent communication skills. Generally cheerful, popular and talented, they enjoy entertaining and are easy to get along with.


And there’s more to Chinese New Year than lion dances and firecrackers,  don’t cha know.

cny red underwear chai

If you are born in a horse year, tradition dictates that this year you should wear red. Every Day.  For a Whole Year.

tai sui amulet

According to superstition, in your zodiac year you will offend Tai Sui, the god of age, and will experience bad luck for the whole year. To avoid this you should wear something red, which has been given to you by someone else. I’m thinking underwear.  For luck and prosperity. (Oh, and expect all your whites to turn pink.)

There’s plenty of underwear for sale in Chinese shops ~ all sport the Chinese character Chai (Prosperity) emblazoned in gold.

cny red underwear shop


cny red underwear wearing chai

The Chinese Zodiac (中国十二生肖 Zhōngguó shí èr Shēngxiào) is on Toni’s Page.  Find out what zodiac animal you are, your personality traits, who you share them with….. and if you’ll be wearing red undies any time soon.

Does the horse sound like anyone you know?

Are you into the Chinese New Year animal signs?

What’s yours?


Toni 2/8/14



Marty Gitlin and Topher Ellis, that’s who.


These award-winning writers trace the history of your breakfast favorites in The Great American Cereal Book. It’s a fun, funny encyclopedia that includes every breakfast cereal ever created – from 1863 to the present.


Cereal box art is part of our shared snap-crackle-pop culture experience. My friends and I grew up glued to the television on Saturday mornings, watching cartoons and slurping up huge bowls of Cap’n Crunch.




Gitlin and Ellis show us cereal boxes as they morph over the years, and if you’re even a tiny bit nostalgic, the book’s photos will spark a memory or twenty. I remember spending hours in the cereal row begging Mom to buy Sugar Crisps so I could cut out records on the back of the box and listen to Bobby Sherman.



And, yep, there’s a chapter just for us ~  Pre-sweetened Baby Boomers. 

 And It’s….


Every page is a walk down memory lane. (It’s not as flake-y as it sounds).  In fact, seeing the box of Nabisco Wheat Honeys reminds me of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine Rub-ons. And I loved the Rice Krispies’ little plastic toys ~ animals, trains, cars, flowers, hats – with holes attached so my friends and I could keep them all on a string, like a charm bracelet.




Wackies cereal arrived in 1965 and vanished in 1966. It might have had something to do with the banana-flavored marshmallow bits.  Or the commercial.




Factoid: Granula (with a “u”) is considered to be the first ready-to-eat breakfast cereal. Invented in 1863, it was kind of an early version of Grape-Nuts.  Graham-flour dough was rolled into sheets, baked, broken into pieces, baked again and then crushed into even smaller pieces.

Sugar-packed nutritional disasters are in many breakfast bowls these days. Leprechauns, tigers and silly rabbits plug Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes and Trix.  Cartoon vampires like Count Chocula pitch chocolate-flavored corn puffs and marshmallows.



All of this retro-cereal talk almost makes me want to get in my PJ’s and curl up with a sugary bowl in front of Boris and Natasha. Actually, I favor Kashi Go Lean.  It’s a lightly sweetened mix of crunchy fiber twigs, crispy soy protein grahams, honey-toasted 7 Whole Grains and Sesame Puffs.


But honestly?

Given the choice, I think pancakes are upper-case gr-r-r-reat.

Toni 2/3/12