Notes from Jan

Hand in Hand, the Best We Can

May 22, 2017

Flat boy’s on his way back to California. Stanley, reluctantly left on a spectacular New England day, while I eagerly dropped him off with an ETA of this afternoon.  Basil needs him home by  Friday.  If he arrives today, Stanley has a few days to adjust to the time change.

I did what many grandparents do and bought Flat Stanley and Basil T-shirts for show-and-tell. Stanley seemed to understand,  I did the best I could, considering his unique size.  Can’t promise he’ll grow into it. It read the usual: Someone loves you in Gloucester, Ma.

To be truthful, I did grow fond of him and our treks about town.  His curiosity forced me to explore and learn, which is good at any age, but important as one ages.

Alone again, I caught up on the news and learned that Roger Ailes, founder of Fox news, died.  As Don Aucoin wrote in the Globe May 19th, “Love him or loathe him, Ailes transformed the news.”

But how?

In this bizarre, chaotic time of “alternative facts”, spin-masters and instant messaging, where do we find truth? How would we recognize “fair and balanced”?

Gabriel Sherman, author of an Ailes biography, The Loudest Voice in the Room, said,”Roger recognized people wanted to feel informed more than be informed.”


Jeff Brown, author of the Flat Stanley series, died in 2003.  He was 77, the same age as Roger Ailes.  A few years before Brown died, Dale Hubert, a 3rd grade teacher in London, Ontario, Canada  started the Flat Stanley Project in 1995, linking children around the world through Stanley’s travels. Classes exchange ideas, ask questions and learn through this unique partnership.

Motives behind news gathering, reporting matters.

Ask Flat Stanley or whoever’s fortunate enough to hold his hand, do the best they can, for goodness sake.



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  • Reply Rita Dove May 22, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Yes indeed, it matters.

  • Reply Dan Russ May 22, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Thanks, Jan.

    Stephen Colbert said years ago that he pledged himself to what our culture wants: “truthiness.” Lately he has compared that to “Trumpiness” I would add that we want factiness, which is not about truth but about optics and metrics.

  • Reply wendy lane May 24, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Haha! I agree with everyone – you’re a wonderful grandmother! So good to catch up on your blog – it’s an incredibly busy time for me, so I’ve gotten behind. I continue to be thankful you’re writing and sharing with us! love you!

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