Section 2

B. Other

(1) Edina H. in NJ: Haha, Funny remark on the great great picture.

(2) Rod R. in NJ: Thanks for the mention Blaine! Yes, I  love memoirs, and would love to read yours someday… you can’t tell me you don’t have lots of great stories.. Hope Cynthia and everyone are well… love the newsletter.

(3) Carol A. in NC: Blaine! I love “Blaines World” and request please change my email.  Thank you! Response: But of course. Thanks much for the heads up. And a request to others: As soon as you change an email notice, please let me know.

(4) Roger C. in PA:  Just wanna say this Newsletter is one of the better ones because it has a wonderful mix of text and graphic images.    Great way to start the New Year. Keep up the great work.


(6) Nelson S. in NC: If you’re looking for an interesting read on the context in which the American political scene is taking place, you might “enjoy” Joe Bageant’s book, “Deer Hunting with Jesus; Dispatches from America’s Class War. ” While a few particulars are a bit dated because it was published in 2007, the broad themes are more contemporary than ever.  The writing style is somewhat reminiscent of a bar room brawl.

(7) Donna S. in AL: I enjoyed the newsletter. I needed some of the laughs. 

(8) Brenda: I love the portrait of u . An ancestor whom u favour??

(9) Ernest H. in NC (with a REQUEST FOR HELP):

Click here to support Disaster Relief in North Carolina by Ernie Hayes

(10) Traci M. in NC (with a REQUEST FOR HELP):

Hey everyone, if you can please help me out. If you donate now, type in INSPIRE, and donor’s choose will match the donation!

Wanted: Interactive Learning!

Have you ever had to struggle with keeping up with the world we live in? This is the challenge that my students face when it comes to this ever changing world of technology. Technology is so… My students need the use of Ipad, so that we can record historical skits and complete interactive simulations.
(11) Sandy B. in PA: Oh I just LOVED seeing our former colleagues of BCCC!  They are all holding up well Blaine – but YOU have become more youthful with age!  Good for you!Must be the love of a good woman, yes?
My response: YES!
(12) Robin S. in PA: Interesting to see your review of Seth Godin’s new book.  I’ve been reading his daily posts for awhile now.  Very thoughtful and insightful guy.  Sounds like I’ll enjoy his book.  Thanks for the reco.
(13) Pat L. in CA: So nice to see great photos of our mutual friends!!  [not that I would ever trade places at this point!!].  LOVED the shot of the “talk” with the son — SO funny!
(14) Arta S. in PA: If you’re a retiree from Bucks County Community College, please join this group:
(15) Renee B. in NJ: Continue to Protect NJ Horseshoe Crabs and Migratory Shore Birds
(16) Chuck F. in NC:  I hardly recognized you in your black coat! Sounds like a great trip!!!
Section 4C
C. AN INVISIBLE THREAD: THE TRUE STORY OF AN 11-YEAR OLD PANHANDLER, A BUSY SALES EXECUTIVE AND AN UNLIKELY MEETING WITH DESTINY (Howard Books) by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresviowski is a beautiful story that will warm your heart.Schroff, the sales executive, first met Maurice Maczyk in the 1980s. They have since maintained a life-changing friendship that has spanned almost three decades.Many of the book’s passages moved me; among them:* Maurice looked at me and asked me a question.”If you make me lunch,” he said, “Will you put it in a brown paper bag?”I didn’t really understand the question. “Do you want it in a brown paper bag?” I asked. “Or how would you prefer it?””Miss Laura,” he said, “I don’t want your money. I want my lunch in a brown paper bag.””Okay, sure. But why do you want it in a bag?”

“Because when I see kids come to school with their lunch in a paper bag, that means someone cares about them. Miss Laura, can I please have my lunch in a paper bag?”

I looked away when Maurice said that, so he wouldn’t see me tear up. A simple brown paper bag, I thought.

To me, it meant nothing. To him, it was everything.

And this one:

* I was so incredibly moved when I heard Maurice say I saved his life. Heck, I nearly lost it throughout his whole darn toast. Whenever I hear someone tell me how lucky Maurice is to have met me, I have to stop them and correct them. The truth is that the lucky one is me.

Maurice taught me so many things; I can’t possibly list them all. He taught me how to live. He taught me one of the most important lessons a person can hope to learn-he taught me to be grateful for what I have. He taught me about resilience, courage, perseverance, and on the surface, at least, we had very little in common. There was so much about Maurice’s life I didn’t know. Only very recently, for instance did I learn that when I met him Maurice was actually twelve years old, and not eleven as we had always thought. He did not consistently celebrate his birthday as a child, and he may not have even known his real age when I met him. It was only when we started working on this book together that he figured out how old he was back them. I did not make the correction earlier in these pages, because that would not be true to the way the story unfolded for Maurice and I. The point is, there are many things that separate the two of us-age, culture, circumstance-and from the outside we might not seem like your typical close friends.

I also enjoyed the conversation with the author at the end of the book and, in particular, this observation:

* The most important thing I wanted to give Maurice was confidence. I truly believe it is one of the most important gifts parents or a caregiver can give a child. As hard as my upbringing was, and even though I was a terrible student, somewhere along the way I became an extremely confident person. I’m not sure how, but I did. And my poor brother Frank-he never developed that confidence because of the relationship he had with our father. And in many ways that lack of confidence doomed him. I believe confidence is what helps you dream and achieve those dreams, so I wanted Maurice to know how extraordinary he was, and for him to want something different for himself and ultimately for his family some day. Maurice was such an insightful child, such a smart boy, and one of the biggest obstacles in his life was that no one had ever told him that. You have to tell your children over and over how special they are, and no one did that for Maurice. I really believe if children have one person they can truly count on and who they know truly loves them, it makes all the difference in their life. I hoped I could be that one person for Maurice.

AN INVISIBLE THREAD makes you realize you can make a difference in the life of somebody else. Sometimes, all that’s needed is for you take a chance.


Section 11

Five Tips for Making Small Talk
by Diane Allen*

Have you ever attended a gathering where you knew you wouldn’t know everyone in the room and thought “Yikes, how will I have a conversation with these new people?” Even the most verbal individuals sometimes feel awkward when meeting people for the first time.  To make the most of your interactions and have some stimulating conversation, here are five important tips:1. Preparation, preparation, preparation – The best way to enter a meeting or event where you don’t know a lot of other people is to be prepared.  A good way to be prepared is to be up to date on some current events, but let’s remember to stay away from the adage of not talking about religion and politics.  What topics interest you?  What is the theme of the gathering? These are great starting places.  From there gaze through some recent magazines, e-zines, or your favorite websites to find current events.  Once you have some knowledge about the topics, develop 3 key points and 3 questions that you would pose to your new-found acquaintances about each of those topics.2. Elaborate on your responses when asked a question – If someone asks the all- too-common question, “What do you do for a living?” have a response prepared that goes beyond title and tasks.  Think about the impact of what you do.  Then craft a response that not only tells the person about you, but also leads to additional conversation.3. Show Genuine Interest in the Other Person – People enjoy talking about themselves, so put your listening skills to great use.  You can begin with the non-threatening questions about how they decided to attend the event, what they enjoy doing for winter (or any other season’s) activities, or even the best way they would choose to celebrate an occasion.  That can lead to many other conversations.

4. Treat Silence as a Transition – Pauses may seem very long but chances are they are only a few seconds.  Often the other person is processing information.  There is a balance between being the person who never takes a breath, and not saying anything.   Allow the silence a few seconds and then you can re-direct the conversation to a topic that is familiar to you and that most people can generally talk about. Of course, read body language.  If the person is not looking at you and looks like they want to get away, don’t take it personally.  Give the person an easy opportunity to leave the conversation.  Simply say “It was very nice talking with you; have a nice evening.”  You will likely feel better about yourself when you do this.

5. The Graceful Exit – Once the conversation seems complete for you, it is perfectly acceptable to nicely say something to exit dialogue.  Think of something the person said that was of interest, and simply say “I’ve enjoyed talking with you about . . .”   “I hope to see you again.”

With these tips in hand, you can navigate any networking or social event, and in the process you will likely make some new friends and valuable contacts to add to your personal or professional network.

* Reprinted with the gracious permission of Diane Allen. She is the managing principal of Diane Allen Coaching Solutions, specializing in coaching and customized workshops for individuals who are seeking to develop their leadership skills. Programs focus on executives seeking to enhance their strategic and creative thinking skills as well as leaders who are early in their careers.  For readers of this missive, Diane is glad to provide a complimentary copy of a valuable Critical Thinking and Creativity Tool that will provide you important information on how to optimize these key  skills.  To obtain your copy, please email Diane at: diane@dianeallencoaching.comand put “Blaine is Creative” in the subject line. You can visit her website:


Section 12A, NC events

(3) Award Winning Play Returns

Asheville,  NC  January 28, 2013

The Civil War in Western North Carolina,  still captures the attention of scholars,  history buffs and  playwrights , as it did in 2005, for  Sean O’Leary.  His   award  winning   play Beneath Shelton Laurel, commissioned by Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre in Mars Hill, NC,   drew sold out audiences. It is based on an actual massacre that   happened in Madison County  in early 1863,  where   13 men and boys suspected of Unionism were killed by Confederate soldiers. Set in a decrepit church   thirty years after the fact, two former Confederate officers and the widow of one of their victims struggle to come to terms with the defining event of their lives.

Beneath Shelton Laurel returns to the stage, in a   reader’s theatre production under the direction of Anita Chapman.  It  features  well known local actors:  Kermit Brown, Mike Vaniman , Steve Turner and Marlene Earp ( in the 2005 production ) and talented newcomers Ivy Medeiros, Andrew Griffin, and Gwydion Slashlee Walton.  Performances:  Feb 22 at 7:30 pm and Feb 23 at 2:00 pm at Simpson Hall (AB Tech, Asheville Campus).  Sponsored by Western North Carolina Historical Association.

$10 for adults / $5 for students / $8 for Members of WNCHA

For tickets: / 828.253.923

(4) Last Weekend for Sex & How to Have It! (+ Added Late Show!) 4 Shows Left!Thurs-Sat, Jan 31-Feb 2 @ 7:30Plus Added Late Show Feb 2 @ 10:00Don’t miss your chance to see what the Citizen-Times called“..Clever and contemporary beyond belief… Versatile doesn’t begin to describe this foursome’s talent…Perfectly delightful fun, frivolous and fast-paced…satisfying to the hilt… risqué and titillating, but not embarrassing or crude for crude’s sake…”Sex and How to Have It is “light blue” sketch comedy full of innuendo and silliness that’s had audiences rolling in the aisles. Written by and starring Brian Claflin, Kathryn Langwell, Valerie Meiss, and Glenn Reed, with additional material by Lisa Yoffee and Steven Samuels. Tickets $15. Get yours now! I saw the above show. It’s great fun!

(5) Charley Castex, International Psychic Consultant, will be in Asheville Feb 22nd thru Feb 25th.  Advance appointments for in-person sittings with Charley can be scheduled at:  Enjoy the empowering guidance that Charley has shared with thousands across the globe!

(6) DOG SEES GOD: CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE BLOCKHEAD has been extended through Feb. 10. For ticket information, please click: I recently saw this black comedy and enjoyed it. You will, too. Stefanie Crane, one of my favorite local actresses, is one of the several talented cast members.

(7) Gary in NC: Join the Asheville Community Content Team:

Section 12B, PA/NJ events
(1) Jennie Giardine-Smith in NJ: On Friday, February 8, from 6:00-8:30 pm, I will be promoting my new novel Opium Dreams at the Lower Bucks County Campus of Bucks County Community College.  You can find me in the Authors’ Corner during the art gallery show/sale.  There will be wine ($5 for a souvenir glass which can be refilled), free hors d’ oeuvres and a chocolate fountain! The address is 1304 Veterans Highway (Route 413), Bristol, PA. Feel free to share the invitation. I hope to see you. It sounds like a fun event!
(2) Celebrate the Romance of Valentine’s Day with “Love Letters”at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre Feb. 15-17

West Windsor, N.J. – Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special someone when M&M Productions brings A.R. Gurney’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play “Love Letters” to Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre.Performances are Friday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.A touching story that is both witty and bittersweet, this 1988 play follows the “near misses” of a relationship through a lifetime of love letters. From summer camps and boarding schools, through college, war, career and romance, audiences will watch the journey between free-spirited but unstable artist Melissa Gardner and dutiful lawyer Andrew Makepeace Ladd III as they write to each other about their dreams, ambitions, victories and defeats over the 50 years that they live out separately.
Directed by Mike DiIorio of Hamilton, the show stars Kelsey’s own M. Kitty Getlik of Hamilton as Melissa and Walter Smyth of Trevose, PA, as Andrew.The artistic director of Kelsey Theatre for more than 20 years, Getlik also served as the general manager of the Open Air Theatre at Washington Crossing State Park for 19 years. Among her many acting roles she has appeared as Mrs. Pearce in “Pygmalion,” Mrs. Higgins in “My Fair Lady,” Miss Hannigan in “Annie,” and The Wicked Witch in “The Wizard of Oz.” She also works as a performer with R & R Theater To Go, performing murder mysteries in the tri-state area.Smyth has appeared with noted Shakespearian actor Morris Carnovsky in “The Merchant of Venice” and toured in “Auntie Mame” with Hollywood actress Constance Bennett. He has performed in productions across the U.S. and directed the World Premier Production of legendary poet Robert Frost’s “A Masque of Reason.”Among the notable actors who have performed “Love Letters” over the years are Kathleen Turner and John Rubinstein, who opened the show Off-Broadway; Larry Hagman and his Dallas co-star Linda Gray (early 1990s), who reprised his role in 2006 with his “I Dream of Jeannie” co-star Barbara Eden; and Elizabeth Taylor and James Earl Jones, who gave an AIDS Foundation benefit performance in 2007. The play was also adapted into an ABC television movie in 1999, starring Steven Weber and Laura Linney.Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for students and $12 for children. For tickets, call the Kelsey Theatre box office at 609-570-3333, or visit the website. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking available next to the theater.

Kelsey Website
Audition Information
Kelsey Theatre 2012-13 Season Brochure

(3) LAUGH FOR A CAUSE!This Friday Night for ‘Cancer Cure’ in South Jersey

Bucks County (Proceeds go to help PA families with pediatric cancer)
IN March – Fundraiser for FOX-CHASE CANCER


We will see you LAUGHING at a show!

Thanks for supporting live comedy!
(4) We are very excited to announce that BuxMont Coalition for Peace Action is currently trying to reactivate a Central Bucks chapter.  We have scheduled a first meeting for Sunday, February 17th at 2:00 PM in the Zen Den, 20 Donaldson Street, Doylestown, PA.   We would love to have you join us.  If you are able to make this meeting, please RSVP to either this email or

We have some exciting stuff in the works and we are looking forward to events in Central Bucks County this year.  We are currently planning some events around gun violence prevention.
Our Mission:
The Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) is a grassroots citizens’ organization bringing together people of all ages, backgrounds, professions and political persuasions around three goals: global abolition of nuclear weapons, a peace economy and a halt to weapons trafficking at home and abroad.
(5) Mike A. in PA: Please join me at the 18th World Karate Union Hall of Fame. I will be teaching a seminar on Saturday at 10:30am. See you there! Ossa! It is going to be a fantastic weekend!

18th Annual World Karate Union Hall Of Fame Weekend

June 21 at 7:00pm
Chateau Resort & Conference Center, Tannersville, PA
(6) Rita O. in NJ: Guess who’s playing at Highland Place in Maplewood on Friday night? Danny Olinsky back in town from NC joins Gregory Petronzi on guitar and vocals. 8:30 p.m. and on.
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