Sunday, September 12, 2010

Vital Issues, Part II -- Corporatocracy

The United States was founded on the premise that "...governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." (Declaration of Independence)

There should be no "rulers" -- dictators, monarchs, emperors, etc. -- but, instead, elected officials should represent the will of the governed. Hence, such principles as "one person, one vote" have been established and perpetuated.

However, there is evidence that large corporations are exerting ever increasing control over government by means of large contributions to campaigns, the pressure of powerful lobbying groups, lucrative consulting and other employment offers to retiring legislators, not to mention possible out and out coercion and blackmail. The outgrowth of this corporate intervention has been termed "Corporatocracy."

Corporatocracy has no party. Businesses hedge their bets by contributing to candidates of both major parties. Citizens complain that there is little difference between candidates -- at least in matters which would affect the fortunes of the corporate donors. Consequently, party platforms have degenerated to so called "hot-button" issues which have little impact on the lives of voters, but which generate great water cooler conversation. The concentration on these non-issues obscure discussion of complicated, but much more meaningful issues.

Corporate influence over our elections threatens our entire way of life. Corporations have no nationality. Stock from publicly held corporations may be owned by other corporations, foreigners, foreign governments. In short, if you have cash and have no easily identified, direct link to terrorism or some other criminal element, then you can own stock in a "US" corporation. A 2005 analysis estimated that over 13% of US corporate stock was foreign owned. This percentage has almost certainly grown, if not skyrocketed.

So... who is being represented when, say, Giganticorp funnels a huge contribution into the campaign of Farly Hotaire. It's hard to know. But it's easy to say that it is certainly not the will of the governed. If not representing actual foreign interest, then it is at very least the interest of a small group of inordinately wealthy corporate high rollers.

The challenge -- how do we reverse this, particularly since the problem is in charge of the problem! Is the answer term limits? Is the answer publicly financed campaigns for all federal offices? How do we limit the collusion of corporate owned media outlets, an obvious conflict of interest? (Do you notice how much air time is given to items that obscure real news and public debate?)

We ignore this problem at the risk of our freedom... Corporatocracy is simply Neofeudalism, and believe me, you and I are NOT the nobility. We need to be thinking of this... not Mosques near Ground Zero, not Gay Marriage, not Birth Certificates.

No name calling, no talking points, no party lines -- no "isms" of any kind. But think about it... and contribute. Email your congressman.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

VITAL Issues, Part I

This is the first installation of my Vital Issues -- that is, issues that are too important to allow our politicians a free pass. These are NOT answers... just questions with some footholds for comments. Please... contribute your comments, get your friends involved... TALK ABOUT IT NOW. Write your opinions -- and then send a copy to you congressman or congresswoman.

The rules -- no name calling, no finger pointing, no buzzword, no talking points. Let's work together to solve some problems and demand that out legislators do the same!

OK... here goes:

The problem: Our mounting national debt.

We would not run our personal lives this way -- why do we allow our government to operate with this incredible debt, currently $13.3 TRILLION and growing. We spend over 9% of the Federal Budget servicing the interest on the debt.

Do you think this is only the Democrats? Republican talking points would have you believe this. But when George Bush inherited a budget surplus, the Republican congress balked at paying down the national debt, instead choosing the politically charged options of sending tax rebates to citizens. I wrote Texas Senator, Phil Gramm, author of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget Act of 1985 (a bi-partisan initiative, by the way), asking WHY we should not pay down the debt. This outspoken, courageous budget hawk wrote back with some idiotic talking points obviously authored by some ideologue -- Tom Delay, Newt Gingrich or whomever. Notice that Phil Gramm opted to retire soon afterward... could he not stomach this hypocrisy?

Our indebtedness has a grim underside... in the shadows lurks our debtors. China owns something like $800 Billion of the debt. Do you think this entitles them to a say in our foreign policy? I'll be THEY think it does! How do you think they would react if there was a chance we'd default on a nearly $1 Trillion debt? I think they might try to come collect their assets!

So... what do we do about the deficit?

Raise taxes? If so, what taxes? Lot's of Americans already feel overtaxed, particularly if they don't like how their tax dollars are used. Would they support tax increases if the revenues were pledged to lower the national debt?

Cut spending? What spending --keeping in mind that you can't balance your personal budget by promising to buy cheaper bread... it takes BIG cuts. Would Americans agree to decreased services if savings were pledged to lower the national debt?

How about it? What can we do... no name calling, no finger pointing, no buzzwords.

Friday, September 3, 2010

S**t or Myth? Or Both?

Are you one of those who believe the mid term congressional election doesn't matter? Folks... believe me... it is potentially the most important event in our lives. You might be like me -- I have a hard time being enthused by the likes of Harry Reid. He's condescending, two-faced -- in other words, a professional politician. However, if you find yourself believing what Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and the other Fox minions continuously spout, then you have a very short memory, and you're allowing yourself to be dangerously deluded. I just want to help you remember... here's some of the dangerous myths being circulated.

MYTH #1: President Obama is responsible for the TARP bailout.

REALITY: 100% false. TARP was proposed in September 2008 by Henry Paulson, George W. Bush's Secretary of the Treasury. Congress passed the Emergency Stabilization Act on October 3, 2008. The intent was to allow the Treasury to buy troubled, mortgage-backed securities, thus creating liquidity. Paulson wound up purchasing equity in nine major banks and using none of the money to buy the troubled assets. Just like with the invasion of Iraq, Representatives and Senators of both parties allowed themselves to be swept along by fear.

MYTH #2: Obama is a socialist -- and socialism is BAD!

REALITY: Well... by any definition, Obama is NOT a socialist. I don't think Obama wanted to acquire ownership in General Motors. I think either of  the George Bushes -- even Ronald Reagan -- would have done the same thing. It was a difficult decision. Personally, I don't know what the right thing would have been. It's all speculation. But Obama did not take office thinking, "Oh boy, now I can seize an automobile company!" He and others in charge did what seemed to be the best for our country... it was patriotically motivated, whether we like it or not.

Besides, not all socialism is bad. Shared community resources are all socialist: libraries, police departments, fire departments, trash collection, sewer systems, roads... the internet, itself, is fundamentally socialist. Institutional Socialism -- like most fundamental views -- is not what we're addressing here.

Think of it this way -- say you belong to the Rotary Club. The membership votes on a proposal to donate a certain amount of money to a local charity. This donation will be taken from membership dues. Some members support this use of funds, and some don't. However, all, by dint to their agreement to membership in the Rotary Club, accept the decision of the majority of members. I suppose those that simply can't accept it become Odd Fellows.

The Government is OUR organization. If we use our membership fees (taxes) to fund libraries, clinics, food drives, public health care, then this is NOT fundamentally evil. It is our organization, after all.

What has demonized socialism is the linkage of DICTATORSHIP and SOCIALISM. Stalin in the USSR was a dictator. Hitler was NOT really a socialist... but he was a dictator. Most modern democratic nations incorporate some socialist institutions. Socialism is inherently democratic -- the majority determines use of some public funds for the common good. Don't like it?

So... if you don't like socialism in any form, then you tell that to the fire department as your house burns to the ground. Then, get a time machine a go back to Feudal society... you should be happy there.

MYTH #3: Obama is a lot like Hitler.

REALITY: What???

Obama is NOTHING like Hitler, except that he's a dynamic public speaker. Sarah Palin, in fact, has more in common with Hitler... her distrust of immigrants; her morbid fear of "communism"; her over the top chauvinistic nationalism.
  • These ideas were held true by Hitler. See if any sound familiar in today's political debate:
  • Linguistic diversity is bad for society.
  • Democracy is bad because it grants power to ethnic minorities.
  • Great nations grow from military power and keep order in the world.
  • Communism is the enemy. (Hitler also thought Capitalism was the enemy... go figure.)
Hitler was dominated by his hatred and distrust of Jews. He was fixated on Race as the cause and reason for everything. We'll never know how much he was really the philosophical mastermind of the Nazi movement... he could have been just the deranged figurehead, much like a Germanic Glenn Beck, foaming at the mouth in his rabid dogmatism.

MYTH #4: Obama is responsible for the still faltering economy.

REALITY: The Republican contradiction is overwhelming: 1) government is incapable of restoring the economy, but; 2) the President is the reason the economy has not recovered!

There is an old business adage: a bad plan well executed is better than a good plan, poorly executed. The Republican minority has used the congressional filibuster for virtually every tiny bit of business -- from major initiatives to minor business such as innocuous staff appointments. The plans for economic recovery may not be the best -- however, the Republican have done everything possible to impede effective execution of these plans. These cynical politicians would happily see America suffer, if it means that Obama and his administration and congress appear to fail. It's about power, not policy.To doubt this sabotage, is to be politically naive.

MYTH #5: The bailout (TARP) was corporate socialism... a republican would have just let them fall.

REALITY: Well... yes it was corporate socialism -- but I don't think that's what was going on. The toxic assets were regulated primarily by gambling laws, not banking laws.

We don't know who was left holding the bag for the majority of these assets. I do have a guess. Here's a hint... they have a ton of money on deposit in the USA, and we owe them a lot of money. Answer 1: Saudi Arabia. Answer 2: China.

What do you suppose the reaction of China might have been to a call from Henry Paulson that went something like, "Uh... you know those credit default swaps that we used to secure a trillion dollars we borrowed to wage war in Iraq... well... gee... it seems that money is gone. Turns out that no one really understood how they were supposed to work... and... well... we can't pay you back... I'm sure you understand."

I've long wondered about the 911 bombing... all the bombers were Saudi... the only airplane allowed to fly after the bombing carried members of the Bin Laden family out of the US to their homes in Saudi Arabia. We let Osama Bin Laden slip though our fingers? I don't know... I'm just sayin'....

What I am saying... this is NOT Obama's fault... you can bet that no one will ever tell us the truth.

MYTH (shoot... I've forgotten what number we're on.. who cares by this point.) Obama and the Democrats are the problem.

REALITY: The problem is a handful of the ultra rich, heading up multinational corporations who would LIKE us to believe the Government is the BIG BAD WOLF. Do you know why? Because the US Government is the only institution with the clout to keep them from running roughshod over the rest of us. They would like to cripple the US Government... and they don't care if it's Republicans or Democrats. The fact is, they've found bunch of more willing stooges on the right side of the aisle. Those stooges have found a gullible constituency who are easily motivated by innocuous hot-button issues (e.g., Anti-Flag Burning Amendment) to vote against their own self-interest in favor of these super-rich few.

I find it likely that the same banks that were the recipients of billions in bailouts are now hoarding their funds, refusing to give loans to the small businesses that need money PURPOSELY to keep the economy from recovering -- hoping this will help their favorite stooges to win elections. Keep in mind that 80% of employment is from SMALL BUSINESS! Keep small business poor and the economy will NOT recover.

MYTH: Obama is Muslim... he was not born in the US... Michelle wants to abolish Christmas...

REALITY: Get real... we have BIG problems. Try to pay attention...

MYTH: Just about everything your hear is manipulation.

REALITY: Wait... this is true! It's ALL disinformation.

Here's the reality... electing a bunch of Tea Party right wingers will NOT fix things. Our next two years will be spent with the Birthers trying to subpoena Obama's birth certificate. Trying to dismantle the Health Care bill will result in the waste of THOUSANDS of hours already devoted to implementing the system, and general havoc. Two years (maybe 20 years, even) from now, we'll still be wallowing in recession, looking for someone to blame.

I can't tell you who to vote for... but I can tell to be very skeptical. Don't believe their rhetoric. (By the way... the one's that claim to be Libertarian, ask if they will, if elected, energetically support the legalization of marijuana.) Think hard, read all you can from every source you can find. Act as if your life -- and your child's life -- depends upon your intelligent, informed voting decision. This you can believe... it's not a myth!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I Did it Lao Tzu's Way

Many things have been happening in my life. Not the little minute toe-stubbing stuff... more the big bolder falling on the head type stuff. It's not my purpose to write about it here -- just to note that it's been happening.

Yesterday, I was thinking about a long held belief I've had -- probably since being cursorily exposed to the philosophy of Lao Tzu, the originator of Taoism. Though I'm too resistant to dogma to become a Taoist in any strict sense, I do feel that many of the ideas of Lao Tzu hit a big ol' twangin' G chord in my heart. In particular, the central concept from which the name is taken -- The Way, or the Tao; and, additionally, the concept of wu wei, which, oddly enough, is well expressed in the AA Serenity Prayer.

"Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Note that I left God out of it... you don't need God to use this "prayer"... it's more a contemplation than a supplication. In my own life, when things just get crazy hard, it often means that I'm straying off the path... I need to back off a little. Look for serendipity, coincidence, good fitting shoes.

So... here's the thing... after thinking about this yesterday, Dana and I decided to find a movie to watch. Without having any idea of the content of this movie, we decided on "Men Who Stare at Goats." Now... you can take from that movie whatever you want. But it's about The Tao... the current that we swim in, being open to outcome, and accepting destiny. You can fight the current, but sometimes, you need to just float a bit... see where the flow is taking you.

I laughed out loud dozens of times in the movie... but here's what Lao Tzu had to say in passage 41 of the Tao Te Ching:

"Scholars of the highest class, when they hear about the Tao, earnestly carry it into practice.
Scholars of the middle class, when they have heard about it, seem now to keep it and now to lose it.
Scholars of the lowest class, when they have heard about it, laugh greatly at it.
If it were not (thus) laughed at, it would not be fit to be the Tao."

I'm no scholar of the highest class... and popular Taoism is just as far from the ideals set forth by Lao Tzu as is Christianity from the teaching of Jesus, or Islam from Mohammad. But for myself and in my life, a little Tao goes a long Way.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Constitution on Mosques

First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

Article II, Section 2: "...he (the President) shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."

Just last week, Sarah Palin is seen on camera telling an Alaskan woman that she was working to "...elect candidates that understand the constitution."

Today, we hear, a woman who appears to be this same Sarah Palin urging, "Mr. President, should they or should they not build a mosque?"

Does Ms. Palin not understand the Constitution? Congress is prohibited from making any laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion, and the President has absolutely no power to establish laws AT ALL -- not in the Constitution. He should not offer an opinion... he should simply, as he has done, restate the content of the Constitution. Ms. Palin should take the time to read the US Constitution and stop cynically trying to stir up political controversy.

If I understand the Constitution, then I may not like KKK, but I have to support their right to assemble peaceably, and to exercise their freedom of speech. If I understand the Constitution, I may not like Larry Flynt, but I have to support his right to publish. I'm not a big fan of ANY organized religion, but if I understand the Constitution, then I have to support the right of religious groups to freely exercise their beliefs.

Ms. Palin -- I think you DO understand the Constitution, at least in the fundamental way that I understand the document. I don't think you're a constitutional scholar (Obama IS a constitutional scholar) but you don't really have to exercise the discipline to understand the intent of the authors of the document. NO LAWS REGARDING RELIGION.

Ms. Palin... I think you're just trying to stir up discontent and to appeal to the dark prejudice of ignorance. Somehow you believe this will help your political agenda... it may for the immediate future. But can't you, and the dozens of other power grabbers look at the bigger picture?

I wrote in a earlier blog about this quote, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." This is the bigger picture. Ms. Palin, you are a divider. You and your ilk are destroyers, not builders. You are the problem. You would wreck the car to stop the squeak! I wonder just what you understand at all... test yourself. Do you recognize that quote? Take a little quiet time... think about it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Wheel of Fortune -- America's Spin

About two chapters in to John Kennedy Toole's novel, "A Confederacy of Dunces", the character, Ignatius, cites De Consolatione Philosophiae, considered a cornerstone of thinking following the collapse of the Roman Empire. I had little working knowledge of this manuscript. When I attended school, the Dark Ages were referred to simply as "now." So, I may have forgotten whatever I originally learned.

As a refresher, I turned to my trusted literary authorities: Google and Wikipedia. Quickly, I learned that Consolation was written by the Roman patrician, Boethius, while on house arrest awaiting his execution by axe or clubbing -- the usual stuff of the sixth century. The book is related as a conversation between Boethius and Lady Philosophy. The Lady contends, among other assertions, that "...happiness comes from within." How Un-American... everyone knows that happiness comes from expensive shoes (lots of them), fast cars, rigorous practice of transcendental meditation, the South Beach Diet, and Dr. Ruth.

Another lady friend of Boethius is Rota Fortuna, the wheel spun by the Goddess, Fortuna, to determine fate of an individual -- of course, better known in modern times as the Wheel of Fortune. At the time of his writing, Boethius was imprisoned and awaiting execution... I guess he should have bought a vowel.

The fatalism implied by Fortuna as the arbeiter of destiny appears to have led, through circuitous logic, to the concept of the Divine Right of Kings. This doctrine is hard to argue -- kings rule because they are divinly anointed by God to rule. How do we know this? Because the King says so -- and he must be right, because God anointed him. The King is not subject to the will of the people; the Pope is infallible; it is blasphemy to question the Pope or the King, or even the doctrine that makes it blasphemy to question the doctrine. Some o' them ol' Kings and Popes must have had a good laugh over that one, huh?

All this, of course, is old news... several centuries old. However, this philosophy has found its way into the current political dialog. Why are some folks rich, others poor. Why are there haves and have-nots? Well... it's got to be good old Fortuna spinning her wheel. The rich occupy their position by divine right... or by simple dumb luck. The rest of us should just accept our place and vicariously enjoy the lavish excesses of the divine ruling class.

So... how do these divinly anointed folks keep from getting their heads impaled on sticks by torch bearing have-nots? Is it because the have-nots think somehow that Rota Fortuna is going to land on their lucky number? Or is it because after carefully examining the implications of Boethius' treatise, the have-nots have concluded that they just surrender -- if a divinely appoited one asks for your liver, give him also your spleen, for it was meant to be.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Don't Forget...

I'm not a fan of war as a tool of international relations. I like the saying, "If war were the answer, then there would be no questions." War makes more enemies than are killed or conquered. If someone killed one of my kids through an act of war, I would NEVER find it in my heart to forgive. In our middle eastern exploits, perhaps 500,000 civilians have died... that's a lot of hatred to face.

However... my heart is in a different place tonight. We have sent thousands of our soldiers to fight in Afghanistan. These are sons, daughters, fathers, mothers... friends and family. I can't imagine a lonlier feeling than to be in those dangerous, inhospitible locales, risking one's life daily, and living in the most uncomfortable, unforgiving environment on earth -- believing that Amercan's citizenry had forgotten me, or no longer cared why I was there!

It's our responsibility to know what our country's plan is... and if we can figure that out, then we should darn well care enough about our military to bring 'em home. Ask questions, and demand answers. The economy, health care, financial reform -- all important, but we just can't forget these people whose lives are on the line... Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal... this is NOT a political issue. Write your representatives and senators and DEMAND some answers.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Trivial stuff

Bombers in Times Square, floods in Nashville, financial chaos in the Euro-zone... yes, these things bother me. But not NEARLY as much as this things bothered me today.

1. That one bicycle rider.

You know the one I mean... I'm stopped at the stop sign, a four-way. He's riding on the sidewalk, coming from my right. I start to pull out -- he jumps off the curb, without stopping, rides directly in front of me. I slam on the brakes. He's NOT a pedestrian -- he's on a dang vehicle and that's a stop sign!!! STOP fer cryin' out loud.

2. Probably the same guy, later in his car -- can't seem to find the turn signal.

Ok... I know it's really difficult to work the turn signal. You have to actually move your arm forward a few inches, flex your withered muscles to touch a probably disease ridden lever... and for what? You know you're going to turn so what's the difference. HEY!!! I DON'T KNOW YOU'RE GOING TO TURN! And I'm making potentially life affecting decisions based upon you turning in front of me! Jeez, dude!

3. That guy's brother, driving along in the left lane of the freeway.

It's called a P-A-S-S-I-N-G lane. You drive along in the right-most lane, and pull into the left lane to pass. When you just drive in the left lane, it screws up traffic... drivers who are doin' it right, can't pass because you're blocking the way. Those who want to drive faster, can't get around you. Traffic winds up in a snarl and YOU'RE the CAUSE. Learn to drive.

That's all... tomorrow, I'll try to get back in tune with the big picture.

How to Make up Stories for Your Kids

How to Make up Stories for Your Kids (and Grandkids)
 
I'm going to tell you how to make up stories for your kids, grandkids, etc., that they'll love and will forever etch out your place in their lives. In addition, these stories will put ‘em to sleep at bedtime, and keep them quite as a Packard straight-eight when in the car.
 
I don't have an English Degree... never wrote a novel. My skills in this department were initially garnered from my Dad who told me similar bedtime stories when I was a kid, permanently damaging my mind, no doubt. I then honed this creative cutting edge with stories for my own three kids. Now I’ve extended into grandkids, nieces and nephews… even other people’s kids, so watch out.
 
This is a recipe, or a template, not a fill in the blank. You have to make up the characters, plot, dialog, etc. It requires little or no skill, effort, imagination or intelligence… perfect for the average, worn out, nearly brain-dead working parent.
 
1. The characters
 
First and foremost, the characters are your kids. If you have two or more kids, they still need all to be in the story. It’s no harder for the most part.
 
Second, each kid has an animal friend. My own kids had Morris and Nadine D’Taquinbunee (Rabbits of French extraction), Paul and Pauly Possum, Randy The Squirrel… grandson Cooper’s best friend is Alan the Alligator. They all live in the neighborhood and go to the same schools.
 
Third, they meet others, most often elves or other animals. They are usually a little skeptical of these new acquaintances, but always make friends.
 
2. The Setting
 
It always starts in the morning at home. Main character decides to go to animal friend’s house to cook up some activity. The story may leave the home setting – in they do leave, then the more insanely removed from home, the better. One of my kids Morris and Nadine stories always started with a ride on a green Honda motorcycle to a little grassy spot where Morris and Nadine liked to hang out. Cooper and Alan the Alligator often travel on flying jet skis to underwater locales, other planets, etc. However the plots are always equally mundane. The Story ALWAYS ends with the kids saying goodbye to their animal friend, and always involve eating dinner, getting ready for bed and going to sleep. The stories don’t end (like “they lived happily ever after”), they just go to sleep and wake up the next day, in the next story.
 
3. The Plot
 
As mentioned in #2, mundane is perfectly fine. They may go to the bakery to get a donut, look for colored rocks, learn a dance, make up a song (I’ll have a future note on writing songs for your kids), build a fort… or any of the things your kids have actually done that day. In one of my recent stories for grandson, Mason, we went to Allen Field House at KU, just as we had actually done that day… but in the story, they asked him (and his animal friend, Ollie the Otter – he likes otters) to play on the team to take an injured players place. Of course, then they came home, ate dinner and went to sleep.
 
4. Don’t be bound to outcome
 
Probably, you won’t even have to make up much of the plot… your kids will continually chime in with, “…and then they…”. Just go with it… repeat what they said and add another line like “…and you know what they saw?” They’ll probably tell you. It’s not Steinbeck.
 
5. Names
 
For some reason, animal friends in my stories often have alliterative names (Alan the Alligator, Ollie the Otter) and the kids seem to like that. However, the elves and development characters usually have more forgettable (you don’t have to remember them from story to story), but ridiculous names. Elves might be “Pffflllght” (Bronx cheer), Poohpocklenut, Ba-dip-ba-dip-ba-dip-Bill, or Jeeeeeeeeeeyum (say ALL the long e’s.) It makes ‘em laugh.
 
6. No-no’s
 
Nothin’ scary -- at least not really scary. The ghosts turn out to be friendly; monsters invite them home for Chinese checkers, etc.
 
Nobody gets hurt unless it’s a scrape on the knee that your main character actually received that day… you get the picture.
 
Nobody gets lost, at least not that they can’t find their way out of easily.
 
Don’t moralize… you can work some good behavior into the plot, but these stories should be fun. They’ll spot the propaganda (besides the eating dinner and going to bed at the end of the story.)
 
7. Series
 
Kids also like continuity. The characters can remember things they did in other stories, meet some of the same characters, visit the same places, or draw on their experience from other stories. Repetition makes your job easier, and they’ll help you because they’ll remember every tiny detail!
 
8. Finally, some hints for props
 
My kids like motorcycles, bicycles that turned into jets, bicycles that turned into horses (particularly magic, talking horses), skateboards that turned into space ships. They also always like finding hidden things, no matter how mundane, although these everyday items often turn out to be magic.
 
Also, the kids like having things from their real, everyday life thrown in randomly. Like, Mason’s shirt gets wet swimming with Ollie Otter, so he puts on the new shirt his mom bought him that day.
 
The perk for you, the parent, is that telling stories to (with) your kids will make you closer… and they’ll like you a little more. Make your bedtime stories a little more boring and the kids will go right to sleep… make the car stories longer… you’ll have the quietest ride of your life. Good luck.