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Bouquets, Brickbats, Ramblings

Updated on March 25, 2020
William F. Torpey profile image

Graduated NYU 1963. Worked in NYC in public relations 2 years then as reporter/news editor 32 years at The Hour newspapers. Retired in 2000.

A Bouquet Goes to All the Selfless Volunteers

Bouquet by Cascade Florist.
Bouquet by Cascade Florist.

A Brickbat to Capital Punishment

This Is  What One Huge Brickbat Looks Like!
This Is What One Huge Brickbat Looks Like!

This column is something of a swan song for me as I gaze toward the horizon of retirement from The Hour at the end of the month, so I thought I'd take a page out of Executive Editor John P. Reilly's book and hand out a few bouquets and brickbats of my own.

Capital Punishment

* * * A brickbat goes to anyone and everyone who still thinks it's OK for a god-fearing society to endorse capital punishment -- and to give up his hard-earned legal, civil or human rights for a seemingly easy solution to any problem. Criminal behavior demeans the criminal, but all mankind is debased when the state (that's us) decides to mimic that behavior by taking the life of any human being. What the state does to the least of its citizens, it does to me -- and you!


* * * A large bouquet to the myriad churches, synagogues, civic and governmental organizations and the many good-hearted people who offer their time, talents and resources to give the homeless in our country a helping hand. You don't hear very much about the homeless anymore, but they're still out there -- and they still need our help. Perhaps the government could do just a little more than it's doing now by coordinating existing efforts to make it easier for us to understand what we can do to help the homeless.

Highway System

* * * A brickbat goes to traffic agencies and highway engineers responsible on every level for the existing mess that comprises our nation's highway system. Is there no one anywhere who can address the multitudinous problems with our highways? Highway signs, where they make sense at all, seem to be made and positioned for people who already know how to get where they're going, not for out-of-towners trying desperately to find their way through the maze. Even on roads I'm familiar with, I often see broken-line passing lanes where I wouldn't pass on a bet under the best of conditions (those are disasters waiting to happen for strangers who trust those thoughtless line-painters.)


* * * A bouquet to all those dedicated citizens who offer their time, talent and services to their local, state and federal governments to help keep democracy alive by volunteering to serve for little or no pay on the boards, agencies, commissions and legislative bodies -- all this despite the abuse they often suffer in their posts. A bouquet, however, is far from adequate;. They should all be honored at an annual clambake by the taxpayers who reap the benefits of their service.

School Taxes

* * * A brickbat to all those childless citizens who balk at paying the necessary taxes to educate our future leaders, and to those thoughtless, selfish parents and school administrators who would force children to abandon their youth in order to attend school earlier in the morning, later in the afternoon and throughout the summer. The notion that taking away children's time for fun and games -- , i.e., being children -- leads to a better education is sadly mistaken. I'll approve of those changes when parents and administrators agree to getting a second job working five nights a week -- and another job working weekends.

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on May 17, 2000.

Should Taxpayers Without School-age Children Pay School Taxes?

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Gary Jules -- Mad World (Homeless People)

Depression Era Song By BIng: 'Brother Can You Spare a Dime'


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    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thank you, Eiddwen. And a bouquet of roses to you.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      10 years ago from Wales

      A great hub , I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I am now looking forward to reading much more of your work.

      Take care


    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      11 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I'm glad you enjoyed this hub, James. Thanks for the nice comment, and for supporting the ideas expressed in it.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      11 years ago from Chicago

      I enjoyed this article. Well done. I agree with your ideas. :)

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      11 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I appreciate your comment, Tony. Thanks for stopping by.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      11 years ago from South Africa

      A whole basketfull of bouquets to you for this one, William! A really great Hub. Thanks so much for sharing it.

      Love and peace


    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      11 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      The poor, the downtrodden and the homeless are always at the bottom of the priority list. They have no political pull, no lobbies, no voting blocs and no powerful friends. Thanks, Lisa, for commenting -- and for your kind words.

    • lisadpreston profile image


      11 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Why is it that you write everything Im thinking? LOL. You have a brilliant mind, of course! Speaking about the roads reminded me of when I covered the story about Gov. Strickland using our stimulus money for the roads. He put 340 million into them. Supposed to create jobs and make businesses want to start up where nicer roads were. You know, the same ole crap. I was so angry since we had just cut many childrens food programs and daycare etc. I think the money could have gone to the homeless and hungry children and families instead of our roads. But then, in my opinion, I think he just did that as a payback to the unions for their vote, seeing as how the only jobs that were being given were union jobs, not employment for the regular joe off the street. Oh it just makes my head spin to think of these things. Thank you again for speaking up for the downtrodden. You're the best!

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      11 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I greatly admire anyone who volunteers their time and talent to any just cause. I believe the more we achieve the more we should "give back."

      I'm also glad to see that the large majority of those who have voted thus far understand the need to support our children. My two daughters are grown and successful and, more importantly, "give more than they get." Thank you, Georgina, for your nice comment.

    • Georgina_writes profile image

      Georgina Crawford 

      11 years ago from Dartmoor

      Big bouquet to you and a thank you. I've also done a bit of volunteering in my time, sometimes other people's problems and pain seem like a tidal wave. Very interesting hub.

      I voted yes to the tax thing. Whether or not you have kids, our children are our going to be adults soon, and surely anyone would want to live in a society of well educated adults right?

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      11 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thank you, RedElf, for your kind comments, and for your personal efforts to lend a helping hand to the homeless in your city. It's people like you that keeps my spirits up.

    • RedElf profile image


      11 years ago from Canada

      I am so pleased to read your extremely well-written work. I am a volunteer with one local inner-city initiative that is working to end homelessness in our city - it does happen, one person at a time. Painfully slow at times but progress is always made slowly, and is certainly worth the efforts. Thanks so much for this thoughtful and thought provoking Hub. ;)

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      11 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I'm glad you like the bouquets, prasetio30. The roses are from Cascade Florists in Hartsdale, N.Y., which my cousin John Torpey owns and operates with his wife, Linda.Hartsdale is literally just down the road from Yonkers, where I was born and raised.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      11 years ago from malang-indonesia

      great bouquets information. I like your hub. beautiful bouquets I ever seen. thanks for share.

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      12 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      You're very kind, Peggy W. The world needs more people like you. Understanding the plight of the poor and actually doing something about it is very praiseworthy. Only with government help with the homeless problem be alleviated. Thank you.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      12 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Your views on the homeless are particularly on the mark. Having worked as a volunteer counselor for about 15 years in a ministry, there is only so much that can be done to help these poor people. (Poor in the sense of needing much needed help.) The government has to take a more active roll in ending this disgrace.

      I liked your bouquets and brickbats!

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      12 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thank you very much, Shalini. I'm delighted to have so many fans, and I'm glad you are my fan -- and I am happy to be yours as well.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      12 years ago from India

      Today, it's got to be bouquets - 300 fans! Congratulations!

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      12 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      The Nassau County commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a member of my Robert F. Garrison Post 3350 in East Rockaway, N.Y., told our members Tuesday night that there are 3,000 homeless veterans in Nassau County alone. Church groups and others make great efforts to help the homeless, SweetiePie,but such resources are scattered and simply can't do the job alone. Only the government has the resources to do what is needed to lend a helping hand to these unfortunate people. Like all poor people, the homeless have no spokesmen, no advocates and little hope. Thanks for commenting.

    • SweetiePie profile image


      12 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I agree whole heartedly our government should do more for the homeless, especially since many in our area or veterans. I found out recently from someone that in our area we do not even have a homeless shelter and the nearest soup kitchen is about ten miles away. This means the few homeless people in our community wander around because they do not have the money to ride the bus to go to the main homeless shelter. Even then I have heard the main homeless shelter has limited room, so it cannot help everyone.

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      12 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thanks, Claudia. I'm afraid if we all didn't chip in to help educate the nation's youngsters there wouldn't be enough money to give every child a decent education. In fact, if it weren't for the G.I. Bill, I would never been able to afford college. So I owe my NYU degree to Uncle Sam and all of America's taxpayers.

    • ClaudiaP profile image


      12 years ago from California

      Interesting poll. I voted "yes" even if I don't have children and much money neither.

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      12 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thanks, Benson. Crosby got his nickname, "Bing", because a boyhood friend saw that Crosby was a big fan of a comic strip called, "The Bingville Bugle." Bing was born "Harry Lillis Crosby" on May 3, 1903 in Tacoma, Washington.

    • Benson Yeung profile image

      Benson Yeung 

      12 years ago from Hong Kong

      Hi William,

      Nice hub, interesting even for someone not interested in bouquets, like me.

      About the "other William", I made a mistake. I thought Bing Crosby's real name was William.

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      12 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      The job of reporter really is exciting. There wasn't much I didn't know about the city of Norwalk, compu-smart, because I covered all the offices at City Hall every day as well as the meetings of the Common Council (legislative), the Board of Estimate and Taxation (financial), Planning and Zoning and the Redevelopment Agency. Earlier I covered police and general assignments. Even more fun, though, was covering the local and state politiical campaigns and state nominating conventions for governor and state offices. I still miss it.

    • compu-smart profile image

      Tony Sky 

      12 years ago from London UK

      William, you make the job (reporter) sound soo exciting and no doubt you were, and still, very much missed!


    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      12 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      You are very kind compu-smart, and wannabwestern. I always enjoyed writing the columns at The Hour newspaper. It was a respite from writing news stories, editing copy, writing headlines or laying out pages. But I still miss the hustle and bustle of the newsroom, the fight to meet deadlines, and some of the good people I was fortunate enough to work with. A few of my fellow reporters and editors are still there -- slaving away as always. That's - 30 - for now!

    • wannabwestern profile image

      Carolyn Augustine 

      12 years ago from Iowa

      Here Here!

    • compu-smart profile image

      Tony Sky 

      12 years ago from London UK

      A Large Bouquet for William, for his hard work writing about his very observant and intelligent views which are always on the money! I bet you were missed when you retired as i have always enjoyed and have learnt lots from your views!



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