Weekly Posting Goal:

Start off your week with a new post from Spark America every Sunday to get you informed and energized, and to give you meaningful, thought provoking information and inspirational dialog to share with your friends for the entire week. I welcome your comments.

Feel free to email me at GaetanoDrake(at)gmail(dot)com

I invite you to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section. Just click on "comments"at the bottom of each post.

Monday, March 25, 2013


Capitalism, Socialism, Patriotism, Feminism, Communism, and many other isim's, are used everyday, and the meaning of each can be found in Websters dictionary. I would like to introduce two new ism's in addition to these ism's, and an explanation to these ism's that is unlikely to be found in in any dictionary. These would be the word "Grandfatherism", and the word "Drakeism".

History teaches us that certain great men were responsible for their great contributions that helped shape and change the world around them, and in America one of those great men would be Abraham Lincoln. On the other side, history also discloses many not so great men whose names will not be mentioned because of the unworthiness of their actions.

In America today 95% of all people over the age of 65 who have adult children, also have grandchildren. That's about 60 million Americans!  Did you know that the average age at which Americans become grandparents is 45 and that a majority of men expect to become grandfathers at age 52? That means men today can expect to spend the majority of their adult years in this very important role.Researchers have found that grandchildren who have a close relationship with a grandfather are likely to perform well in school, display positive emotional adjustment, have higher self-esteem, and a greater ability to develop and maintain friendships.

Grandfathers have lots of wisdom and life experience to draw from.They have seen events and changes come and go. Even their mistakes can have a positive purpose. Because grandfathers are one step removed from direct disciplinary and parenting responsibilities, grandchildren tend to be more relaxed, more open to sharing, and may ask more thoughtful questions of their grandfathers. As grandchildren grow, they make attempts to learn about their world, their family, relationships, and society. A grandfather's perspective, formed from years of experience, can help guide, inform, and influence the growth and development of his grandchildren.

Grandfathers can have a powerful influence on their grandchildren by teaching about perseverance, loyalty, hard work, patience, and sacrifice from their many life stories. Grandfathers have lived through wars, hard times, cultural changes, and technological revolutions and may tell their stories in a lively, engaging way that allows the story do the teaching. For those grandfathers who may not feel they have much to tell from their own life experiences, sharing simple stories about how they grew up and lessons they learned in life can help grandchildren to recognize and appreciate the generations who have gone before them, as well as develop new values. While stories may cause grandchildren to think about personal values, a grandfather's actions are important too. Grandchildren are observers, and they can learn powerful, lasting lessons from watching a grandfather go through life with a sense of humor, dignity, and generosity.

Grandfathers in America have always played an important role in the lives of their grandchildren, as well as many other contributions to others who may have been part of their daily lives. In the last few decades that role seems to have diminished to the point as to seemingly unimportant, being replaced by the new weapons of mass distraction, which are decreasing the time that should be used teaching life skills to their grandchildren. These great men are needed more now than ever in American history and need to get back in the race. Grandfathers are the last line of defense to secure the perpetuation of human values and morality to future generations of young men and women growing up in this land of the free.It is time to say enough is enough, let us show you the way.

"Grandfatherism" needs to be established as the society of  men of a certain age who will establish, enable,  and pass on the moral code that will lead our future generations of young people to understand the true meaning of giving of themselves to help others, and to volunteer their lives for the better good of their common man. Grandfathers need to set these standards and be the examples, both of which they will leave behind as their contributions to humanity.

In most cases grandfathers possess three very important ingredients needed to establish the strength, durability, and longevity of this mission. These three ingredients being, time, genorosity, and the wisdom to establish this new "ism" into the fabric of American culture.

It is time to get off of your easy chair, the golf course, and of course set the right course. Get out the photo albums and share stories of the past.  There should not be the same excuses, just another day.

Oh bye the way, "Grandfatherism" just so happens to be a "Drakeism"

"Grandfatherism", an ism whose time has come.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Gift From Germany-----"Priceless"

When we think of Germany we most often think of superior engineered automobiles, beer, steel, warm friendly people, and a host of other accomplishments. Although these may be true, allow me let you in on a little known contribution by one German immigrant who was ahead of his time, and to whom I am eternally grateful. His name is Alfred Dolge.

If it were not for Alfred Dolge I would not have the heartfelt memories of growing up in Dolgeville New York. Alfred Dolge's destiny was my destiny and my love and devotion for this small historical central NY village has always been with me, and will be until the day I die. The streets I stroll down in Dolgeville are my streets of memory lane. How sweet are the memories, I cannot begin to count them, and they will live in my heart forever.


Born in Chemnitz, Saxony on December 22 1848, he entered into an apprenticeship into his fathers business at the age of 17 and pursued his high school studies at night. He came to what was at that time called 'Brockett's Bridge' in 1874 in search of a suitable location for felt manufacturing. He would often take the train from N.Y.C. to Little Falls and snow shoe to Brockett's Bridge, where he felt he had come home to his native Germany.

In 1887 the citizens in this small community which grew from around 320 to over 2,000, unanimously petitioned Washington to change the name to Dolgeville. At that time in upstate N.Y.'s history, Alfred Dolge's contributions to America were born.

 His philosophy was inspired by the readings of other great men of his timeand  Alfred instituted a form of what we now call social security, for at that time his dream was to create an idealistic utopia. His philosophy developed further when around 1876 he began to set up a pension plan, which later on added life insurance, paid by the employer. It was also at that time that he instituted a program of earning-sharing,whereby an employee received a portion of his earnings according to his contribution in brains or the value of his work. These earnings were not to be turned over until retirement, but was to be re-invested. These brilliant ideas earned him global attention. Where's Alfred when you need him?

A German immigrants contributions to America? Priceless.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Golden Rule---Still Golden

Today in America it seems we need to be reminded of a moral code that has always been a great teacher of how must live our lives. This code which tops the list of how we should always conduct our lives, should be galvanized into our children lives at the earliest age possible.

There are many ways for us to express the meaning of this code, the following being; "one should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable with ones self". This is the essence of morality. Perhaps the most common and recognized combination of words is, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Whatever way one chooses to remember this code means nothing until we integrate it into the fabric of who we really are and how we enlighten the lives of others. It can also be put another way. Expect from others that of which you bestow upon them.
If one chooses to study philosophy, sociology, psychology, Christianity, atheism, science or any other path to enlightenment, it really comes down to morality. The way we choose to treat others is the only moral code that we need to be teaching because it is the foundation upon which we will be able to create a whole new generation of children who will learn to care about others. It is our only hope to bring peace to Mother Earth.

We live in this great America now, and now is the time that we are equipped with all that is necessary to bring peace. Each one of us has a moral duty to see that this run for peace begins in the republic of "The United States of America". We exist now and it is about time to make our ancestors proud of what they left behind, "The Golden Rule", still so very right and so very golden.

No more excuses, take the first step, you will be golden if you do.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Talk About What You Care About

 Every discussion we have begins with an emotion and a reaction to that emotion that is trapped inside of our heads. When we have a discussion we have choices as to the words we use and what direction we would like the conversation to be headed.

It is evident in most of the discussions we Americans are having in public seem to be about the big news stories we read about or listen to on the technology highway. These media stories are raising havoc on the way we process information on our way of trying to discover the truth. Because of all this bad news we allow ourselves to listen to, we choose to discuss all the news stories the media decides is in our best interest to have to digest and discuss.We need to have discussions about things we care about most, and  how we can solve our own problems in our own lives and in our great nation. Remember being a good listener is just as important as delivering good dialog.

We need to start digging inside of ourselves to start discussing the things that matter most to us, not just what the media decides is best for us. When we say yes we need to mean yes, and when we say no we must mean no.

How each of us can change the world that surrounds us everyday and make it better has to become the meaningful conversation of the day. For if we are to make these necessary changes, we need to have the correct dialog. On of the ways to start is by getting to know your neighbors and the people you work with and begin to build a lasting relationship every day. Open the door to your life to them , it can begin as easy as putting a smile on your face and saying good morning. Yes, it's that easy.

When is the last time you took a walk across the street or next door to visit your neighbor to find out if there is something you can do to make their life easier? Bringing a gift that will satisfy a sweet tooth will open a huge door for a sweet life conversation. We need to do this and it needs to be done right now, today. Don't make today a day of the same excuses, just a different day.

Open that door and once it is open and you get in talk about the things you REALLY care about and that really matter. Then and only then is when we can build a stronger America.

America is you and you are America, let the changes begin.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Social Changes--The Time Is Now

It is time in America that we understand that we have the power and resources within us to spark social change. There seems to be the mind set that this is an impossibility and cannot be done. This is a direct result of the dire warnings we are getting from all the wrong sources. We need to seek out the measurable data that shows us how, for one example, to increase empathy in our children. We need to be more understanding of why we do what we do. Hello

Is it possible to prevent child abuse, bullying, and chronic homelessness? The answer to this question is a very large yes. This is just one example.

The first line of defense to prevent bullying of course begins in the home. We can reduce bullying in schools right away away by increasing students' readiness to learn. Teachers need more time to teach in the classroom. Schools need to increase recess time in order for children to learn how to control their impulses and bad behavior so they will learn how to get along better with others. This along with more frequent visits to the gym will teach them how to resolve their differences peacefully. We now have well conducted studies that will reveal that these things work.

We need to get smarter about the way we address social issues. Most people's views are shaped by big news stories, we need to seek the meaningful stories that most times get lost or go unreported.

We need to recognize that a key to social change is is to turn great ideas into great organizations. Find entrepreneurs who are passionate and driven to build these social change institutions.

We need scores of of organizations that build a coordinated effort to agree on the same principles and measurable goals that can only be achieved by working side by side.

Let us begin to get the job done.



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Intellectual Debates --- Mumbo Jumbo

Living in America today we live with the wondrous idea and privilege that we can make our own choices. This morning I made a conscious, or unconscious choice, to watch and listen to two separate debates, both on pretty much the same subject. That subject would be simply one's personal view on how life began, was it God and creation or the big bang (Science's theory).. I have my own personal view on that subject and anyone who knows me would know my answer to that question.

It is not my answer to this question or my personal beliefs that this is all about. Its about simple answers to some very hard questions and beliefs. After spending a better part of two hours of this intellectual farting back and forth among these four renowned PhD professors, I discovered one thing. With all their degrees and experience debating this subject, they left doubt in my mind, any of them even possessed an ounce of common sense. That even armed with all their degrees and mumbo jumbo, they left me feeling empty, not wanting more.

You can find these debates on you tube, I highly recommend you do so .

Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris debating 'morality and science', and William Lane Craig and Alex Rosenberg debating 'is faith in God reasonable?'  I would suggest that you may want to make a choice to participate in viewing these two debates. They may shed some light on this subject to you, they left me in the dark.

My point is this, and I would love to ask all four of these men one question. What do you personally do every day of your life to help your fellow man, and if you do, does this purpose come from the evolution of man's morality, the need to help others, or does this morality originate from outer space (GOD). Even if someday science proves without a doubt they are right, why in the meantime does it seem morally impossible to bring peace to this planet called earth.  I personally believe these intellectual men, atheist's in particular who believe in evolution, must have brains that have evolved past good old fashioned common sense.

Monday, March 4, 2013

'George and Gracie'--'George and Gracie'

In October 1950 America was introduced to George and Gracie, a loving couple who starred in the George Burns and Gracie Allen show. George and Gracie filled homes in America with the love and laughter they shared with one another, and left behind such humorous situations in which only they could deliver.

Here is just one example:
Gracie was on her way to the hospital to visit George's sister, and on her way out the the door George reminds Gracie to make sure she takes his sister flowers. Upon returning she is carrying a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers. Curious George asked Gracie where she got such a bounty of flowers. Her reply: 'When I was leaving for the hospital you asked me to take your sister flowers'.They were part of the beginning of iconic humor that stormed across America in the some of the best years in America, the 1950's. Humor to last a lifetime. George and Gracie's real life marriage was a great example of what marriage is all about, love and devotion.

In October 1960 in Auburn New York a new George and Gracie got married, solidifying the true meaning of this stout American tradition, holy matrimony. Gracie came to America at the tender age of 14 on the infamous ship 'Andrea Doria' with her family from Sicily possessing only a pocketful of hope and miracles. Equipped with her hope and hard work she ultimately owned and operated a very successful beauty salon business from which she has since retired.

Of course let us not forget the love of her life George, the man whose hand in love she took in marriage back in those good old golden days. In the traditional way this young couple met because of the spiritual connection between their two families, a connection that has given them the strong foundation on which they successfully built their lives together. Again following tradition, they named each of their children, Laurie after George's mother and Sammy in tribute to George's father.

Two great marriages, two George and Gracies. Strong marriages that had all the right ingredients to sustain one our most important life experiences.

By the way Gracie, Happy Birthday from Bob and Micki.
Now say good night Gracie.