No eyebrows will be raised in response to the observation that the quantum of media advertisement on behalf of companies offering services in the nature of financial retirement planning is approaching infinite. To be sure, strategies for the accumulation of sufficient resources at retirement to enable the retiree and family to maintain a desired standard of living is extremely necessary and important.

There appears however, to be no media invitations offering services in the nature of counseling to the new retiree regarding the difficult adjustment necessarily implicit to the sea change in his life brought about by this epochal event. This may be attributed to the fact that this difficult and confusing task seems to be the sole responsibility of the retiree, himself (as opposed to financial planning, a business for profit entities); there would seem to be no relevance or occasion for media blitz.

To the point, a thoughtful plan enabling the continuation of a rewarding life after retirement is arguably of equal, or perhaps greater, import than financial planning but requiring a different stratagem.

It is the common experience to define oneself to more or less degree in terms of his life-long profession or occupation. After the consequential event of retirement, therefore, there is necessarily experienced a seismic change in self-identification as well as the routine and structure of daily life; this after 55+ years of consistent patterns of life and can be devastating. Those who confusedly and diffidently surrender to the profession of “couch potato,” whose sole diversion and activities consist in reading newspapers and watching television, relegate themselves to a meaningless, amorphous and unhealthy life; medical statistics show a significant occurrence of depression and general decline in health in such circumstances.

The retiree desperately needs a continued sense of purpose, self -worth and self- esteem in this new uncharted chapter of life.

We unreservedly state that life post-retirement can be no less than joyful, rewarding and, at the risk of hyperbole, the best phase of life (assuming, of course, the existence of reasonably acceptable health).

We have previously stated (Blog # 6) that, contrary to the opinion of some, growing old is not a disease and indeed, can actually be pleasantly anticipated. Gone are the stresses of earlier life, stresses of maturing, school and university stresses, early financial problems, later on, family and child stresses, employment and performance concerns and a myriad of others; these are now history, some barely recollected. At long last we are now gifted with peace and quietude. In addition, we have learned lessons in life which have provided philosophical perspective, have wisely learned to define ourselves by our capabilities and accomplishments (as opposed to our failures and matters of which we have little aptitude). We have perhaps learned the appropriate degree of response relative to the objective materiality of the respective stimulus and have acquired a reasonable measure of patience and endurance. Importantly, we have learned, empirically, that we are capable people and have been productive. We have also been pleased to observe that we are possessed of a personality which has been acceptable to the other people with whom we have interacted.

We are, at this point, fully capable of further significant self-realization without necessary distraction; we have suddenly attained an epiphany (Blog # 14) that we are, at long last, capable of reaping the well-deserved harvest of the fruits of our labors.

Once liberated from the proverbial treadmill and the daily grind, we are able to enjoy without limitation the “outside activities” and pursuits previously cultivated but not sufficiently pursued; the unrestrained pursuit of personally meaningful activities has the potential for continued growth, life enhancement and the preservation of self- esteem.

Planning for a fulfilling and satisfying life after retirement consists simply of the selection and continuous nurturance of desired, stimulating pursuits or interests, unrelated to the subject of our work and preserved until the opportunity for more active engagement.

Those individuals who have been fortunate (or far-sighted) enough to have acquired an “extra-curricular” activity, whether reading great literature, music, collecting, mechanics and the like, will now have the fortunate opportunity and luxury of their unrestrained pursuit. For others, there is volunteering, courses at colleges and universities open to auditing seniors and other avenues for useful dedication.

The retiree busily and energetically engaged in his chosen pursuit will derive joy from the opportunity for creative expression and a renewed life-enhancing enthusiasm; he will very soon realize that he has not become superannuated and ejected from his former work role, but has finally been liberated so that he can realize his personal dreams and attain a desired self-image. “Free at last!”



To the sage and thought-provoking observation, authored by William Shakespeare, in his play, “As You Like It,” “All the world’s a stage and the men and women in it merely actors” we would most respectfully and humbly, offer an addendum. In addition to the profession of actors, we would presume to add producers, casting directors and script writers. Moreover, the role(s) we opt for on the world stage may differ from the parts attributed to us by others, in the same ratio of difference as perception bears to reality.

The vital necessity to maintain a felt consistency of self- identification requires an acceptance and recognition by others with whom we endeavor to establish a uniformly accepted script (consensus of reality) and a common state of affairs. It is virtually contractual.

We tactically assign the leading and supporting roles, in the wake of events, in order to personally apprehend the actions of others in accordance with our own fixed expectations; the latter founded upon, and in accordance with, our individually perceived needs. Of course, too great a variance in personal interpretation from the public consensus of reality, would be, by medical or practical necessity, evaluated as requiring therapy. We may not all see the same color red at the traffic light, but it is a vital necessity to see that it is a “red” light.

We all appear to have our own nuanced recording equipment, visual as well as auditory, which transcribes our perceived scenario of events and which may be at variance from that of others based on (understood) past experiences, religious beliefs, personal assumptions and expectations; notwithstanding which it seems, experienced reality is solely accessible to us by means of our personal perception. To some extent, at least, each of us experiences a somewhat differing cinematic presentation. By reason of identical human dynamics, even settled “History” is subjective. (See: Blog #93).

Although circumstances and especially atypical behavior may cause the cancellation or amendment of an assigned role, there is an important need for us to see others in a certain defined role and context so that we may maintain an understanding of our own part in life’s play and retain our personal self-image.

It may be instructive to note that whenever we comment on others we are at the same time, describing ourselves. The choice of subject matter, selection of criteria, observations and judgments are no less than revelatory of who we are, our perceptions and personal take on reality.

It might therefore be concluded that observation and evaluation of events, are personal and individual; the recognition and general understanding of this phenomenon might prevent insularity and strife and ultimately facilitate societal consensus, peace and tolerance.



# 94 RAINBOW CONDUCTION (poesie, sonnet form)

It seems to be that poems are born
In rainbow current electric stuff
Stored in the brain for quick release.
Coleridge’s “images” and “economy speech”
In truth, the merely shorthand pulse of
thoughts, gay flowers, emotional sting,
The nascent scene to be reshown.
Our prose, slow grinder of our thoughts is,
No match, at all, for brain-wired speed.
The poem, the easy victor of the race,
Its speed apace with brain impulse.

With switch eternally set at “on”
For those forgoing day and deed.


A subtle smile is forgivable in reaction to the oft-repeated concern that “History is being re-written.”  The underlying assumption in that naïve concern is that there is a single, universal and objectively accurate recounting of the past which is authoritatively unassailable.

In the distant past, it seems, events were orally recounted by a tribal elder or a shaman and in similar fashion transmitted over the succeeding generations. This morphed into the reliance upon recognized and celebrated historians such as, Josephus, Tacitus, Herodotus and much later, Gibbons and Toynbee. It may well be that, all in all, the need for a uniformly accepted narrative has always trumped precisely accurate history.

There would, inarguably, seem to be a need for mankind to have an identifiable and personally relatable past in order to acquire provenance and context for his unique existence and as an assurance of his continuity. As a practical and educative matter, past behavioral lessons and skills are successively learned and carried forward in the improvement and development of civilization.

It is somewhat disappointing, then, to be instructed that history is written (altered?) by the “victors” (winners of war or dominant society). Wouldn’t it be much more satisfying to know, by contrast, that “true” history is a non-biased, objective account of the past; but it seems, disappointingly, that history too, Is subjective.  As an example, an account of the Vietnam War, written by a Vietnamese historian would differ, significantly, from that authored by a French or American writer.

In addition to national, ethnic and religious bias, a true, academic recounting of history generally speaking, is diminished by inaccurate accounts of past events (intentional or not), memory, language translational disparities, all of which is capable of resulting in disparate understandings.

In newspapers, editorial boards necessarily select from the plethora of events, those that in its judgment are of major interest to its subscribers in an effort to increase circulation, and in consequence, advertising revenue. Other media create history in the same way and for identical reasons. In an ideal world, events would be selected and presented in the perceived order of their national and historic significance. Thus the media has its impact on the recounting of history. It may also be supposed that the celebrated academic “historians” were, and are, somewhat affected, as well, by various non-objective considerations.

In our individual lives, we are affected in varying degrees by prevalent popular judgment as to the hierarchical importance of events, if not their actual factual content. In the interest of preserving our personal integrity; we need to inform ourselves and develop our own insight and understanding.

It is suggested that in our personal lives, the recollection of past events and histories are, as a practical necessity, also determined by consensus.


Blog # 92 APOLOGIA

In his earlier blogs, Pliny held that virtue, as is the case with all significant human phenomena, self-esteem, self- worth, growth and understanding, perception of success or failure, are internal, and all-important in our life-long private conversation with ourselves; especially in the perception of our personal identity. Good and virtuous actions and exercises of judgment, as noted, add to our ever accumulating account balance of self- esteem, while negative or wrongful ones would seem to diminish that all-important balance.,

Our earlier writings extolled the priceless value of all life and chastised people who hunt and kill animals for sport and pleasure. There is no rational or cognizable justification for the killing of animals for sport under any and all circumstances.

A brief review of the evolutionary process or general anthropology would reveal that mankind has eaten meat since his debut on the planetary surface. His physiology, including his dental inventory and his digestive and metabolic systems reveal that his slow progress and development towards a sentient being, capable of reason and understanding, has not yet resulted in the declaration that those features have become vestigial, (like the appendix). It is clear that from his most primitive days, man has always considered the eating of meat and fish to be the major source of his sustenance and survival; fruits and vegetables, apparently less so. Our digestive and dental phenomena, however, do indicate the innate capacity to digest and assimilate vegetation.

Recently, Pliny was the guest at a July 4th celebration on a farm in Connecticut. He was engaged in an interesting and enjoyable conversation and was eating an excellent hamburger. In the course of the conversation, Pliny interrupted and said, “This is a great hamburger, maybe the best I have ever had.” In response, one of his hosts replied, “It should be, it is” Tiny.” (explaining that “Tiny” was a young, challenged cow, incapable of ever producing milk). Once made aware of the identity (by name too!) of the source of his lunch, Pliny suddenly stopped chewing, felt guilty and disappointed in himself. At that point (if not many times before) Pliny realized that he has always been hypocritical, in this respect, at least, in that he often eats meat, while, simultaneously shutting his mind to the source and the practical logistics of its being brought to table.

Such hypocrisy has been so finessed that the perception of a quarter of a cooked chicken and some rice, appearing on a plate, is “dinner” and not the end product of a butchered bird. Accordingly, Pliny shame-facedly apologizes for this inconsistency between his moral averments and his actions in such instances. Under no circumstances, however, could he, himself, ever kill an animal (nor will he refrain from the chastisement of those who hunt and kill animals for pleasure).

In all other aspects of life, Pliny continues to derive pleasure and self-esteem in his dedication to living his life virtuously and encouraging others to do so.




Our nation has, of late, become unpredictably mono-focused on, and somehow mired in, the subject of immigrant policy, to the exclusion of far more vital and material issues such as, economic inequality and injustice, national security, health, environmental, criminal justice, voting rights and infinitely more.  In the present presidential contest it is no less than astounding to observe that these immensely important issues seem to have been relegated to the background and contention regarding immigrant policy, a far less significant subject, installed at the public forefront of our national concerns.

In spite of certain setbacks, including past immigration policy towards the Chinese, the refusal of entry of a ship carrying Jewish escapees from Nazi Germany, and very few others, Americans have always understood that our nation became great by virtue of liberal immigration, and the benefits ensuing from the admixture of diverse peoples, races, religions, languages and ancestry. The Great Seal (and many other applications) includes the proud, historic phrase “E Pluribus Unum” (From Many, One).

What we see as causative of this vexing dilemma, is the tactical (and historically, un-American) call to nativism by one of the current candidates for presidential office, which call, it appears, has historically had great appeal to those disappointed with their life, and those disgruntled folks of low information and insufficient education, seeking to identify an external cause for their dissatisfaction.

The great success of our relatively young nation which provides the motivation for so many people of foreign lands to desire to come here, is something to celebrate and share, not selfishly hoard .Strangely, many former immigrants to our country, after settling in, and a few generations of success, oppose the admission of others who identically are seeking a better life. How soon they forget! Gratitude aside, good fortune apparently, is not to be shared.

It might be useful to find other descriptions for the unregistered immigrant than “illegal alien”; these are people, not extra-terrestrials, whose” illegality” is confined to the absence of required paperwork and documentation, and not to criminal behavior.

It can be said no better than Emma Lazarus, whose words appear appropriately on a bronze plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty:



“… Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air bridged harbor that twin cities frame
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp” cries she
With silent lips. Give me your tired, your poor
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless, the tempest ‘tost to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden gate.”




The soil curates small slips of man
His life, his work, his resume
Some petit detritus of his life
A library of tales again retold.

No need to search with system code
Items are best secured by chance
With lucky use of spade and rake
Close searched where man did live and die.

A rusty nail, a piece of tool
Both witnesses to man’s resolve,
To raise a shelter for repose.
A fragment of a printed page,
Reveals a ken that there’s yet more.
Old cans and jars and rusty spoons,
Betoken victory over want
And man’s resolve to live out life.

The grassy fields are seen as doors,
Enclosing bits of lives past lived-
Far better than the research “App,”
With cold results in digit code!

-p. (attributed to Leonard N. Shapiro, August, 2016)