The Emotions of Abuse


Lyn’s book is out, and the initial reviews, largely from other writers, are outstanding.

The book is a look at the motions involved in domestic abuse (physical and emotional), expressed through poetry.  It’s based on her personal experience in an earlier period of her life.  It’s not a chronology or autobiography in the traditional sense.  Instead, she uses a variety of poetry forms to the conflicting feelings that can arise and the “look and feel” of the experience.

The book is newly available on Amazon, Google books, and Barnes and Noble, as well as from the publisher, Lulu.

We think this is an important work, especially for anyone going through this trauma.  Please help us spread the word.

Lyn Crain, In My Shoes: My Poetic Journey from Abuse to Victory, Lulu Press, 2016.



Youth and Ignorance


Part of the frustration of growing older is seeing the mistakes that younger people make.  63bec9b050483c69c8b2594d9e2787cfThere are experiences you want them to have that they won’t.  There are experience you don’t want them to have that they will.  Sometimes the damage is out of their control; sometimes it’s self-inflicted.  You want them to have the strength to rise above the damage, but that’s not something you can give.

(1) As a child of a teenage mom, there’s really nothing good to be said about the experience.  I was perhaps luckier than many in that my grandparents could step in and provide a stable environment.  Now, in this country according to AARP, more than 7.8 million children are being raised in homes headed by their grandparents, and this number has been rising sharply.  I didn’t know that I was on the cutting edge of a social trend back in the 1950s.

There are both positives and drawbacks to having elderly surrogate parents.  The positive is a stable family environment.  The negative is that there are a lot of things they just can’t do.  Activities ranging from pitch-and-catch to camping are off the table.  At the time I didn’t realize what I missed.  I didn’t see what other kids were doing that I couldn’t.    However, I made sure my own kids were not similarly restricted.

(2) Most kids have an amazing ignorance of the world around them.  Until they start driving, most can’t tell you how to go from the grocery store to their home.  We don’t need text messaging to distract drivers.  All we need is an inexperienced driver who doesn’t recognize a turn he needs to make until the last second.  Add weather, texting and alcohol, and its amazing how many actually survive being teens.

(3) American society is still shaped to a large extent by Winston Churchill’s famous description of liberal and conservative.  To paraphrase:  if you aren’t a liberal when young, you have no heart; if you aren’t a conservative when you are old, you have no head.

In US society, the youth are more liberal, and can be at times quite vocal about what they feel, but they don’t vote.  Fewer than half of Americans under age 30 vote in presidential elections.  That was the major challenge of the Sanders campaign this year — Sander’sCPS%20age reliance on a constituency that is unreliable.

The lesson of the Bush administration is that “what you don’t do matters.”  It’s no accident also that Catholic and Episcopal liturgy each week asks for forgiveness for “things not done.”   If a few thousand younger voters turn out in Florida in support of Al Gore in the 2000 election, then there would have been no Iraq war.   Without the war, there is much less government debt and we could afford lower cost education and healthcare that we desperately need.

The people who feel that voting is a waste of time are the ones with blood on their hands.

We would have a very different America now if a few more younger people had felt compelled to vote in 2000.


(a) The Election Project, University of Floriday.

(b) AARP “Grandfacts”

The Economic Treadmill


Maybe stalemate is the better term.  How do you get a situation in which hours worked are increasing, real wages are declining, and business productivity is dropping?  Perhaps it’s a bit late to worry about how we got there, because that’s where the US is now.  The Wall Street Journal reported today that the US has the longest decline in productivity since 1979.  The other two pieces were already in place.

It’s the chicken and the egg thing again.

  • Business leaders won’t invest in growth until they see a real potential for increased sales. Businesses will also try to hold the line on salary expense by continuing to offshore jobs and use cheap H1-B workers.
  • Consumers are squeezed by rising education costs, healthcare expense and health insurance costs and the erosion in value of Social Security payments due to artificially low cost-of-living adjustments.  Any growth in spending is being fueled by increased credit card and car loan debt, while the financial basis for repayment of that debt is eroding.
    • Also in the WSJ today: US household debt increased by $35 billion in the last quarter.  The debt was in the form of credit card balances and car loans.  Excessive debt can place both types of lenders at risk.  Another bubble?

Conservatives are pressing for reductions in government spending, much as they did in 1929, when government is the only means for intervention in the economy available to get it moving again.  Japan has demonstrated what happens when government doesn’t act:  three decades of economic stagnation.  Can the US cope with that?

Conservatives look to technology to provide a path forward.  However, technology changed from a net job creator to a net job destroyer in the 1990s.  We can automate more than 40% of current jobs out of existence by 2040, but we don’t have anything for the people put out of work to do.  (Source: McKinsey study, reported at  The jobs to disappear address all levels, from CEO to anesthesiologist to taxi driver.

Some look at this future and see the best hope as a Martian colony.  However, most people don’t have that option. Some are leaving the US for other countries, the American Diaspora about which I have written.  One client of mine has found the quality of life in Saudi Arabia to be vastly superior to the US (and that client is female).

For the US, economic survival will require finding a “new way forward” that is real and different from the current, monotonous ideological mantras.

Ideology is a crutch. It is no replacement for intelligent thought.