Monthly Archives: May 2022

The Other Side of the Couch – Tomorrow


I have always enjoyed reading the morning paper.  Having breakfast, sipping coffee and catching up on the news has been a pleasant ritual – well, sometimes not so pleasant, but at least a ritual – for many years.  I especially enjoy the “Funnies”, as my dad used to call them. I can remember in younger years being intrigued by the glamourous “Brenda Starr”, confused by “Little Orphan Annie” and her sidekicks, Punjab and the Asp, and entertained by the antics of Beetle Bailey and Lil Abner and Pogo.

I still enjoy the Funnies, having followed Gary Trudeau’s “Doonesbury” with relish since the 60s.  New entries into the art of creating an “aha” moment are “Breaking Cat News” by Georgia Dunn (commentary on the foibles of humans from the cat viewpoint), “Prickly City” by Scott Stantis, perhaps created as an antidote to Doonesbury, and the amazing “Pearls Before Swine” by Stephen Pastis.

Pastis is the master of the pun, and one often comes away from his morning minute with the groans that good puns elicit.  However, he also has remarkable insight into the sweep of history compacted into four panels – or six on Sundays.  It seems strange to write about all of these wonderful writers without including examples of their work, but because all is licensed and costly, none of it can appear in this writer’s blog.  Instead, I will summarize the panels that appeared in Sunday’s edition.

Panel 1 – 1987 – FCC – Do we really need a fairness doctrine to ensure the media will be fair?  We don’t.

Panel 2 – 2000 – School Board – Do we really need civics classes for these kids?  We don’t.

Panel 3 – 2005 – Senate Committee – Do we really need to be regulating social media companies like publishers?  We don’t.

Panel 4 – 2010 – Daily Tribune – Do we really need this many reporters covering government?  We don’t.

Panel 5 – 2015 – County Supervisors – Do we really need mental health funding?  We don’t.

Panel 6 – 2022 – Pig: Do we really need this much barbed wire around government buildings?  Goat:  We do.  Rat ( throwing a rock at said building) And that’s for faking the moon landing.

Here is the link to this amazing cartoon:

It is well worth seeing!

Mr. Pastis takes us step by step down the path that has landed us in this unimaginable place.  It’s just like the frogs that, when placed in a pot of cold water that is slowly heated, will not realize that they should jump out and as a result die.  We are the frogs, and the water has been heating for a long time. We no longer have agreement on basic truth; we no longer trust our institutions.  And our country is awash with guns.

The future is uncertain.  I do believe that the “the arc of the moral universe is long but bends toward justice” – MLK.  I wish that arc were not quite so long, and that I were more sure of where we are in that path.  Sometimes I hear the last gasps of a frantic and frightened group of people who can’t see beyond their fear of differences.   Sometimes I see a retreat into an imagined past that never existed but is somehow believed to be better than it ever was.  Sometimes it seems like the end of all that we have known.  At other times, more hopeful times, I look at the young people who are fighting for the planet, for the acceptance of different kinds of life styles and of different kinds of people, and I do see a possible future that is different from the one we are living.

So I will sing with Orphan Annie and Alicia Morton –

“The sun’ll come out tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
There’ll be sun

“The sun’ll come out tomorrow
So you gotta hang on ’til tomorrow
Come what may

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow
You’re always a day away”

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP
Communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, proud native Nashvillian – in private practice for 35+ years. I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts. Contact me at
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Futility Defined

Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash

We’ve been here before. This time will end like the last time and the time before that.  Since our country was founded, we have fought futile culture wars that delay but never stop the inevitable changes to our society.  

“Pray, do not forget the ladies”, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, John, as he sat at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.  Abigail wanted women to have property and voting rights.  John and the other men ignored her plea as they drafted the Constitution.  Women got the vote in 1920 but continue the struggle for equality. 

About half the delegates at the Constitutional Convention owned slaves.  They threatened to torpedo the entire project unless they were allowed to keep their “peculiar institution”.   Slavery ended with the Civil War but was followed by decades of domestic terrorism as white supremacists tried to reverse the laws granting equality to former slaves.   Racial inequality is still the most divisive topic we face as a nation and domestic terrorism attacks continue, most recently in Buffalo, N.Y.

We’re a nation of immigrants yet after the U.S. expanded from sea to shining sea, immigration suddenly became a threat.  Earlier immigrants, who now saw themselves as red-blooded Americans, tried to block later waves of immigrants.  They argued that the new guys would undermine American jobs and wages and our culture, ignoring their own successful assimilation.  

The latest culture war is the same stale mix of fear and hysteria.  In the 2020 census Americans could choose more than one ethnicity; many did so.  That change highlighted the fact that the percentage of white Americans is declining.   

Hoping to reverse demographic trends, white supremacists are joining the anti-abortion crowd.  The latest laws would ban abortions even when it would save the mother’s life or when the females (including VERY young girls) have been violated by rape or incest.  Other forms of birth control are also being banned.

None of the anti-abortionists have ever suggested that male persons should learn to use condoms, get a vasectomy, not rape children, and respect a woman when she says “no”.  They never will because that’s not the point of these laws.  These laws are intended to oppress all women while simultaneously forcing more white women to have babies. 

Closely aligned with the anti-abortion crowd are the Protestants demanding “religious freedom” laws which allow them to discriminate against people who are of other faiths, female, LGBTQ, or living any lifestyle which offends these self-appointed protectors of “Christian America”.  It’s also the most recent effort to entrench Protestantism as a state religion based on hysterical fear of Islam, replacing hysterical fear of Catholicism.  It won’t stop church pews continuing to empty. 

The most short-sighted culture warriors are the anti-immigrants. They are taking an enormous gamble that they’ll never end up old and sick.  Medicare already eats up a huge chunk of the federal budget and America’s working age population is shrinking.  Without immigrants to fill jobs and pay taxes, there won’t be enough money to fund Medicare in its current generous form.  

Culture wars ruin lives. Targeted people are terrorized with death threats (women are also threatened with rape).  People die violently.  But in the end, this war will end like all the previous culture wars.  

It’s time for the culture warriors to go through the seven stages of grief and learn to accept the things they cannot change.

  About Norma Shirk

My company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, helps employers (with up to 50 employees) to create human resources policies and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to help small companies grow by creating the necessary back office administrative structure while avoiding the dead weight of a bureaucracy.  To read my musings on the wacky world of human resources, see the HR Compliance Jungle ( which alternates on Wednesday mornings with my history blog, History By Norma, (available at To read my musings on a variety of topics, see my posts on Her Savvy (

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Oops, I did it Again!

My new raised bed garden

So, I did it again. I missed my deadline for this blog post! My apologies to my fellow HerSavvy blogmates. I’m not sure why the last couple of months have been so hard. Actually, that’s not true. I do know what has kept me distracted. Between family coming for the Passover holiday, stress over my husband returning to his office on a regular basis, and challenges at work, I just haven’t felt as centered as I like. Oh, and I planted my garden for the first time in two years, and I increased my fitness work. Phew!

Those last two things should really count as remedies rather than distractions. Working in the garden each Spring, watching it grow, enjoying the harvest as it comes, has always been so rewarding and fun. And this year, I have brand new beds that are pretty and practical (photos to follow). The added exercise comes in the form of more cardio and an extra strength training day. I’m starting to enjoy the increased strength and endorphins that come with the added sweat sessions.

Most significant, I think, is the challenge on the professional front. At this point in my working life, I don’t feel I should have to fight as hard as I have been, just to feel respected by my superior. Thanks to my network of fellow women professionals, I have learned to recognize my own worth and to advocate for myself. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle. Disheartening, frustrating, disappointing, and sad. The past several years of negative rhetoric and disrespect for real journalists have left me exhausted, too. I also believe the culture of misinformation and talk about “fake news,” has contributed to a society that is genuinely ignorant about the value of a free press, and what life would look like if it disappeared. So, I push on, striving to do my best work, telling everyone who will listen why I believe in my work and the power of the press to unite communities and to shine a light on all that is both good and bad in our world.

And as a woman of a certain age, it also feels bad to have to fight for professional recognition. I have decades of experience in my field, not to mention life experience. Backed up by results, that should all be enough. And yet I must constantly remind my superior of my value, hammer home the feedback I get from our community, and restate my goals and plans for expanding my role to serve the greater good. It is wearing me out.

So, I head to the garden or to the gym, sometimes even turn on some guilty pleasure TV. I call a friend, cry, or vent to a trusted co-worker. And sometimes, I miss a deadline. Even superheroes get tired, and I’m no superhero.

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the Editor of The Jewish Observer of Nashville, and a former small business owner.  Barbara loves writing, telling stories of real people and real events and most of all, talking to people all over the world.  The Jewish Observer newspaper can be read online at . and follow her on Instagram @barbdab58

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