Not Only for High Holy Days

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"don't let it be one day of remembering in a year of forgetting," we say about mother's and father's days. but ditto for other holiday/holy days, like the high holy days, which are now officially over. we need all the help possible in taking the high road, which also requires (ouch!) some repentance.

now, don't turn off, we'll focus mostly on government's sins of omission, like giving over-drinking a pass. it is our fervent hope for public advocate betsy gotbaum to openly war against this awful dependence, which took her daughter-in-law's life. george w. bush should speak about how his wife, laura, intervened and got him to stop. speaking of sins of omission, intervention does work, but it's so rarely prescribed. and if joe biden's "non-drinking" is because he can't drink safely, we need to hear about it-a lot!

again, unlike over-eating or smoking tobacco, over-drinking, even occasionally, can so adversely-even disastrously-alter behavior. if only more had been said about sen. kennedy's over-drinking and how chappaquiddick might not have happened had he been sober. his "feeling no pain times" should not have been joked about at his memorial service; over-drinking is never funny. nowadays health experts say that means no more than two drinks daily for males, and one for females. and none for under-21s. now there's a lyric we need!

relax, overcoming alcohol dependence is only part of this column's "better new year" rx's. there's hope for overcoming the loss of neighborhood businesses in council member tony avella's resolve to get a commercial rent regulation bill out of committee. to support this long overdue neighborhood store rescue, call 718-747-2137. let's pressure other pols and candidates like comptroller bill thompson (212-669-3500). get our civic, political, religious, elder, whatever group really involved.

and let's "shop neighborhood," as small business owners are pushing for in the bronx, brooklyn and queens (daily news, sept. 21). internet and bargain shopping have also taken a toll on neighborhood stores.

now tom's great little "copy/printing shop" is leaving east 82nd street after nearly a decade to start a business in brooklyn. a rent hike's the primary villain. his closure will be an enormous cost to the community, where tom's expertise and moderate prices enabled many a low-budget civic endeavor, including my passion to get this column around. now where? but a heartfelt thanks to tom, susan and all the family for making the city a better, indeed a healthier place. every good wish!

speaking of health care or its lack in under-staffed hospitals and nursing homes, to the rescue is martine ehrenclou's new book, critical conditions: the essential hospital guide to get your loved one out alive. this social worker's essential guidelines come from personal experience and more than 150 interviews with nurses, doctors, social workers and families. every hospital/nursing home patient needs an advocate.

but the "advocate shortage" is surely a spiritual problem, which healthcare reform plans do not address. do pulpits? but order the book (lemon grove press), if possible from a neighborhood bookstore, for your own protection and for someone you love-or ought to love.

and let's somehow revive hubert h. humphrey's oft-stated belief that, "the impersonal hand of government can never replace the helping hand of a neighbor." or a family member's. put that to music too.

and smile, smile, smile (but not at wrong-doing). even science says it's good for our health, not to mention society's. let's post little "smile" word signs around the house-on our handbag, school bag(!), briefcase, lapel, umbrella, cane, wheelchair, walker and vehicle. it's doable. it works.">

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