Post #463 (fiction no. 7)   THE ORACLE ON TREMONT AVENUE  (A modern day redux on Aesop’s, “The Grasshopper and the Ant”)  

The protagonist, Cedrick P. Boobish, (“C.P.”), having recently immigrated to the United States, from London’s East Side, and residing (“for the moment”) in a modest flat on Tremont Avenue, Bronx, New York, slyly, acknowledged to himself, with a subtle smile, that he, indeed, was an especially fortunate man.

Despite his recent, unjust expulsion, as a recently hired, adjunct professor, from a small, “non-descript,” College in England, he was, nevertheless, exultant, in the confident recognition, of being uniquely in possession of a rare, unorthodox and remarkably advanced, gift of reason. It was that rare and precious gift, he came to realize, which, no doubt, was the underlying basis, of his summary, tactical, dismissal from the College. To be specific, he felt that his discharge was motivated by the Dean’s apprehension, that, if he were further retained, the members of the college’s professorial staff would find themselves professionally challenged, threatened, by his especially nuanced and deeply insightful observations, relative to curricular subjects, taught at the College.

One illustrative, and typical example, of this, singularity, was his ongoing, disdainful, dismissal of the marvelous, 17th through 19th Century, Enlightenment thinkers, including, Copernicus (heliocentric theory of the solar system), and Erasmus. It was Boobish’s vehement, and often expressed, belief, that, the universally acknowledged, paramount contribution, to mankind, of said Age of Enlightenment, viz., the scientific and philosophical, disproval and rejection, of the ancient, religious trope, that Man was placed, at the center of the Universe, was itself, “incorrect.” Boobish declared, that such historical breakthrough, and the “purported, rejection,” lacked, even one scintilla of redeeming merit”.

Continuing with the intended narrative, we might, observe, that, our protagonist, Mr. C.P.Boobish, albeit, born to modest, economic, circumstances, was, by some propitious chance, possessed of the fulsome, theatrical accent, normally attributable to the British upper class, a  phenomenon, rarely, if ever, previously, encountered in the West Bronx. By virtue of its ethnic comparison, with New York speech or, even worse, with the Bronx diphthong, lent to his speech, in such venue, a misleading and undeserved, aura of authority, and far more troubling and deceptive, a false aura of wisdom.

Boobish’s self-serving, rationalizations for his total inability, to find employment in New York, were, dual; as to high scale positions, it was his evident brilliance, causing corporate representatives, to fear their own replacement, and, regarding lower scale jobs, was his obvious over- qualification. Rather than being discouraged, B.J. perceived, that it all was destiny, an inspirational message, directing him, by virtue of his unique natural endowments, to establish for his fellow man, a public advisory service.

Such advisory service, purely for practical reasons, would have its first and temporary location, at his ground floor, street facing apartment, until the time of its expected success, and predictable major expansion. The first week, following his affixation of an elegant sign, to the center-front window of his front-facing apartment, advertising his advisory service, was disastrous. The only parties that came to the door were, in order, the landlord, demanding her two month’s, unpaid rent, two solicitors, vacuum cleaners and magazine sales, and, finally, a young high school student, desperately, requiring tutoring in intermediate algebra. They were all sent away, the young student, angrily dismissed, on the firm grounds, that Boobish, as he haughtily proclaimed, “never, even once, heard of the subject of algebra, whether, intermediate or final.”

After approximately two months, more local people, started to slowly, drift in. The first was Mr. Bernstein, who was a tenant, upstairs, on the fifth floor of the same building, in which the advisory service was located. He explained that he is a medical student, needing funds and heavily in debt, having, recently, graduated from medical school, and presently, pursuing a course of specialization, in orthopedics. The problem, regarding which he needed advice and help, was the refusal of the landlord, to furnish sufficient heat to his apartment, thus interfering with his study, and causing him personal discomfort. The advice, and service, for which the indigent tenant, paid $50.00, was succinct, and frustratingly disappointing to Bernstein, (who, in truth, expected advice on legal redress) was simply: “Buy a warm sweater.” The young, Student-Doctor, pursuing orthopedics, left, disappointed, angry and embarrassed.

The following is a quick recitation, in summary form, of problems, brought to Boobish, seeking advice and assistance, and the nature of the advice, offered by such sage advisor: Problem, wrongful firing and loss of employment. Advice: “get plenty of rest”. Problem, wife being constantly beaten, by violent husband. Advice:” Get a big stick.” Student with claim of wrongful expulsion from University. Advice: “Get a job”. Severe alcoholism. Advice: “Stop drinking”. Problem, incessant, verbal battles between married couple. Advice: “Stop talking to each other, if you both remain silent, the argument will be ended.” Problem, Expensive, newly purchased, washer and dryer, do not work. Advice: “Do not use them”.

After the first few weeks of operation of this, remarkable consulting service, Boobish gathered his receipts together, for the purpose of prudently, depositing his net receipts, into his local bank account. It was raining heavily, that day, and so, he decided to take the bus. When the City bus stopped, at the proximity of the selected bank, Boobish, politely thanked the bus driver, and then, intending to routinely, step down, awkwardly, turned his foot, and slipped, to the sidewalk. He arose with some help from a bystander, apparently unhurt. However, when he attempted to walk, the leg, which he had twisted, stepping off the bus, at first, could not be moved, without extreme pain. Shortly, thereafter, he was able to walk home, very slowly and painfully.

He, awkwardly mounted the front steps to his apartment building, alternately slipping and catching himself, opened the heavy outside door, and painfully, limped to his first floor apartment. He had come close to slipping, yet, again, when he fumbled in his trousers, for the key, and, finally, sweating, shaky and puffing, let himself in, and tumbled, in relief, on the couch. He painfully, sat, for a while, noticing that his knee was, red and slowly swelling. After a few minutes, Boobish recalled, that the nice fifth floor tenant, Bernstein, is a doctor, working toward a specialization in orthopedics, of all things, and attempted to telephone him. He was not home, and disappointedly, and, in a state of impatient anxiety, he left an “urgent” message, for Bernstein, to call back, immediately, reciting the facts and his extreme pain and suffering.

Two hours later, Bernstein, “at long last,” came home, and in the process of accessing the message, recalled the insensitive and insulting, short shrift, previously afforded him, by the caller. As expected by Bernstein, it wasn’t long, before Boobish called again. Bernstein listened patiently, for a full five minutes, to the detailed description of the incident, and to an extensive account of the consequent, pain and disability. At last, in the midst of his frantic complaints, Boobish anxiously, asked Bernstein, the very question, for which Bernstein had been patiently awaiting: “I can’t walk on that leg; what should I do now?” Bernstein, smiled devilishly, after hanging up, but not before having advised, “So don’t walk.”


Blogpost # 462 ATTIC STORAGE

We are encouraged by examined history, literature and our personal, empirical, experience, to conclude, that there exists in mankind, various problematic proclivities, never critically evaluated, and seldom considered, but privately, put away “in storage” in his internal attic (unconscious?).  Included among these stored items, would be, as expected, hurtful, traumatic, and disappointing memories; but, also, inclinations which may be irrational but, stubbornly, enduring. Stated alternately, the personal assurance of a positive self- image is, eternally, of paramount importance, to man’s self- perceived identity and personal sense of worth, thus, indefensible, or unpopular, negative, inclinations, may be privately laid away or secreted, in his darkened attic.

Among such atavistic and retrogressive, inclinations, is a fear of, or antipathy to, “outsiders” or strangers. This pandemic neurosis, may help, somewhat, to explain the erratic objection, to immigration, by certain people, in a Nation, composed entirely of immigrants and their progeny. It is fear and insecurity, somewhere, locked away, perhaps more profound, than the popularly ascribed, “xenophobia”, that seeks to prevent immigrants from fleeing from the danger, or poverty, of a foreign country, to the safety and normality of a family life, in the U.S.A.

It disappointingly, often appears that after a generation or two, following their immigration to the United States, and adjusting and settling in, to a new and better life, many people oppose relief to others, suffering from their previous plight.  As shamefully and disappointingly expressed, “How soon they forget.”

We might be possibly inclined, as are many, to surmise, that patriotic, loving and steadfast protection of country, is involved, but we do not agree. Xenophobia, we are convinced, is the ostensible symptom, like fever, but the pathology resides, upstairs, in a pile of basic, psychological and infantile dust, in man’s dark, human attic. Immigration has seldom been easy, and has, often, been shamefully at odds, with the world famous, Statue of Liberty, welcoming the tired, poor, downtrodden and endangered immigrants, as expressed by the poetic words, of Emma Lazarus.

Federal Statutes, not very long ago, forbid the immigration of all Chinese, and other Asian peoples. Our saintly and revered, President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, yielding to populist anti-Semitic sentiment, refused entry of hundreds of Refugee Jews, returning them to Hitler’s Death Camps. Today, our autocratic President, Donald Trump, has defamatorily described, all Mexican and Central American people, yearning for a safer and better, family life in America, as “criminals and rapists.” He has restrained immigration, a right, expressly provided in our Federal Statutes, and has incredibly, and evilly, chosen to break up immigrant families, and, nightmarishly, put the separated, young children, in wire cages, on the American border.

We do not diagnose these policies, nor their, respective, “populist” support, as xenophobia; it is latent, hatred and ignorant fear of the “other” (prejudice), residing, in the attics, of, both, sub-rosa, or publically acknowledged, un-American bigots.

For those, unfamiliar with the “Dust Bowl” tragedy, in the 1930’s in America’s Central Great Plains, we would, earnestly, suggest the reading of George Steinbeck’s great novel, “The Grapes of Wrath.” The classic, historic novel, set in the 1930’s, America’s Great Depression years, dealt with an historically representative family, migrating from the horrific and deadly, Oklahoma Dust Bowl, to a better life in California. The suffering along the way, is moving; but more to the point, of this writing, is the unfriendly reception, upon arrival, by Californians, fellow Americans, of these desperate migrants, derogatively, called “Oakies.” The novel is a portrayal of actual reality, an historical work, and not a fanciful creation of the author, as confirmed by any study of the period.

One could not rationally, relegate the selfish and offensive treatment of the Oklahoma migrants, refugees from unprecedented, mortal danger, by the more fortunately resident, Californians, to xenophobia; all the involved people were unquestionably, American.

The cause is long packed away in the mental storage attics of those, who, instinctively, oppose the admission of the “other.” Is it fear of the stranger (in French, the word for foreigner, is “etranger”)?, symbolic self-loathing (remembering themselves in an analogously situated condition)? Basic, “we, they,” reductionist, or tribal bigotry? unsympathetic selfishness? insecure fear of change? Bigotry, plain and simple?

We would recommend, for the who selfishly, or, fearfully, oppose the charitable and empathic, practice of immigration, to brave the dust and detritus of an audit, of their personal attic to discover.


Blogpost # 461    RX FOR HUMANITY

We have often been diagnosed [with ample justification], as suffering from the chronic pathology of optimism, which we would prefer expressed, as “idealistic imagination.” The following writing, was created during one of our recurrent bouts, of that malady.

We have, tirelessly, maintained, that the recognition of the universal and eternal replication, of mankind’s classic issues, as portrayed in great literature and the arts (see for example, the previous mini-essay, “Hamlet in Iran”), is contemporary mankind’s available reservoir of wisdom and mature perspective. The great American writer, William Faulkner, is known to have written: “The past is not dead. It is not even past.”

The idealistic and imaginative question, we would raise is: if history eternally, repeats itself, and history is perforce made by man’s behaviors and action, is it empirically possible, to eliminate the eternal existence of tragedy, by a knowledgeable, and dedicated, alteration, where needed, of man’s faulty perspective, and thereby, his behavior? Put another way, does the historical existence of the classically analogous, recurring issues, a mandatory predicate for humanity? Or is there something better? Is tragedy and suffering, baked, by some evolutionary phenomena, into the human persona? We think not, but we are, after all, confessed, pathological optimists.

Recent, spectacular, and endlessly promising, advances and discoveries, have been made, in the scientific study of the human genome, in the prediction and [hopefully, soon] scientific amendment, of the undesirable features of targeted genes, thereby averting the illness, therein, chemically dictated.

Could there exist, in analogous fashion, a non-scientific, empirical possibility, that a useful protocol, or method of analysis, can be developed, to indicate objectively, an individual’s potential inclination, towards wrongful, excessive and other, anti-social behavior.  If so, might not the therapeutic disciplines of medicine and/or psychology, be utilized, as preventative avenues of reference, regarding such miscreant behavior, for the mutual benefit of the relevant individual, and of society?

Down through the ages, man has unsuccessfully attempted, by means of various primitive conceits, and accepted folklore, to predict the character and potential behavior of human beings. In the Elizabethan age, we have Shakespeare’s concerned, statement in Julius Caesar, “Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look.” The 18Th and 19th Century, saw the theory of “Phrenology,” the analysis of individual’s persona and capabilities, by observing the bumps on their head, later, travesties took place, such as the Salem Witch Trials, the evil practice of burning of old, and haggard, looking women, as “witches”; the 19th Century, featured the popular theories of Lombroso, viz., the prediction of criminality, by the discernment of “atavistic” (Stone Age) traits, in an individual’s appearance.

The foregoing instances of futile attempts, to predict the inclinations of man, were, predictably debunked. However, we would choose to raise a compelling question, as to the possible facility, of using modern and rational methods of medical and psychological science, to identify and prevent, the existence of an inclination for potential, anti-social behavior? Is it possible that an experienced, capability of the discernment of empirically relevant, nuanced characteristics, in participating individuals, to be societally and personally useful, in this endeavor? At a minimum, it would seem, at least, worthwhile to consider such possibility, and, positively, engage in such novel, targeted programs.

Prescribed sessions of regular psychological visits, (“check-ups”) especially in the developmental stage of younger people, similar to regular doctor and dentist examinations, could, prove valuable to the life of the participating individual and to his society. Routine inquiries, regarding developmental issues, phobias, insecurity, fears, disappointments and frustrations, anger and impulse management, sexual and gender issues, abuse, undue shyness or assertion, may prove beneficial in furnishing early solutions to many unspoken problems. With respect to adults, any of the areas, cited above, as relevant, might be explored. Additional adult subjects, such as perception of failure, perseverations concerning social, political, personal injustice, inclinations and “innate,” prejudices, social and financial issues, disability, aging, and other compelling personal issues, explicit or unconsciously feared, might be productively discussed and explored.

Such programs of (at a minimum) annual, personal check-ups, psychological as well as medical, could prove to be of vital importance to the quality of life of the participant; and, in terms of the possible avoidance, of mass shootings, assaults and other, anti-social behaviors, of existential importance, to society and its members. Thoughtfully construed, implementing legal requirements, as necessary, would not amount to, an “invasion of liberty,” at least, no more than required school attendance (at certain ages), taxes, registration of automobiles, and other routine, citizenship duties; all part and parcel, of each individual’s “Social Contract.


Post # 460      HAMLET, IN IRAN

Tragic events, recently appearing in the media, can well be seen as another confirmation, of our ever-present message, that great, classical literature and art, eternally, depict mankind’s universal challenges. We have declared that this enlightened realization, is what makes great art, meaningful and referentially useful, and have consistently, recommended the reading of great literature, and participation in the arts, as mankind’s best route to acquiring wisdom and mature perspective.

The recent shooting down of a Ukrainian (Boeing, Airliner), killing all 179 passengers, [mostly Iranian] is the latest example of the historically tragic, atavistic, and useless aspiration for revenge. The previous, tactical, American killing, of a highly placed Iranian General, Qassem Soleimani, reportedly, was the motivation for the downing of the plane, mistakenly, thought to be American. The fact that many of the airline passengers, of the aircraft, destroyed by such military reprisal, were Iranian, not American, is ironic, as well as tragic; were it a play, it would be within the canon of a “revenge tragedy.”

However, the intended theme of this writing, is the ethical, and eternal dilemma, of the temporal desire for revenge, and its ultimate and complete, uselessness.

In William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” the issue of revenge, is central to the plot, but as we, ourselves, read and interpret the bard’s meaning, is dealt with, dismissively.  The play, with which admirers of Shakespeare, are certainly familiar, examines the subject, and as we interpret it, subtly demonstrates, that revenge, is nothing short of, existentially, futile and useless.

It will be remembered, that the plot of Hamlet, is centered around Hamlet’s desire to exact revenge for the murder of his father, the late King of Denmark, by Claudius, the pretender to the throne, as demanded, by the ghost of his father, the murdered King,

The play, as a Shakespearean tragedy, predictably, ends badly, but, to the point of our theme, not before the famous, and, to us, meaningful, graveyard scene [“alas, poor Yorick, etc.”]. In the scene, the skull of a familiar of Hamlet’s childhood, is held up and the deceased, nostalgically and painfully, mourned and remembered.

As we perceive Shakespeare’s [electively inserted] graveyard scene, which expressly, articulates, mankind’s, virtually, imminent, mortality, one is invited to see the existential futility, of revenge, and, it’s pursuit, as a waste of precious, days, in the time-limited franchise of mankind’s life. We are of the considered opinion, that Shakespeare may be suggesting, that the ethical dilemma, posed by the wasteful, and often useless, desire for revenge, is subordinate, to our obligatory need to live life, while we still can.

According to the media reports, revenge was the obvious and admitted motive, for the intentional, downing of the erroneously chosen, [Ukrainian] Airliner, and the consequent, tragic deaths of its many innocent passengers. It was inarguably and unjustifiably, a tragic and meaningless, waste of many innocent lives, and, unfortunately, yet another cogent instance, of history repeating literature, repeating history.





Post # 459   OF CARROTS AND SELFIES (redux)

We willingly confess to an irresistible inclination to dwell on the vital formation and referential utility, of a candid, self- identity and image. As we perceive it, and have written, one’s felt self- image, is the result of a cumulative recollection of his past actions, particularly, his responses to external stimuli, favorable or, otherwise, his established capabilities and his personal perceptions. This may be what Socrates meant, when he famously taught, “Know thyself.”

We have often made the declaration, that every major judgmental determination, such as, the question of “morality,” is arrived at internally. Accordingly, we have written that the attempted instruction of the latter virtue, using the popular practice of external rewards and punishments, (religious or secular) is useless and potentially, harmful; it teaches the wrong lessons, viz., those of stealth and selfish motivation, instead of the valuable and enduring standard, of self-respecting, judicious, choice.

We would take the liberty to cite one more, among the many cogent, illustrations of the dynamics, of internal judgment. As can be readily and empirically demonstrated, the true essence of “personal success,” is an internally generated, sense of self-fulfillment, and not some publicly demonstrated, symbolic, accumulation of treasure.

The proper jurisdiction and venue, where such internal determinations, are forensically litigated and decided, is within the Courtroom premises of one’s own introspective reason and perception. It may be noted that, there are no statutes, in such consequential environment, authorizing the right of appeal; although, an impulsive, or unduly harsh, personal self-determination, is often capable of amelioration, or thoughtful amendment.

As a caveat, we do not dismiss or downgrade, iny any way, the indispensable function of overt appearance or demonstrated persona, especially, regarding essential, societal interpersonal communication. Conversation, itself, would not be possible, as a practical matter, without the mutually, recognizable identity, and familiar frame of reference, of the engaged parties.  In this writing, however, we are concerned, specifically, with the private, intrapersonal audit of the thoughtful individual, rather than his publicly displayed, appearance.

We have one more caveat, for purposes of clarity of intended meaning. The general practice of taking photographs, of ourselves, or with friends or family, of babies, children, events, places visited, pets, sunrises, and other subjects of interest, for future recollection, is certainly an approved, one. Depicted, memories of people and, of reminiscent events, are valuable, for many reasons, not the least of which, is a recorded, sense of continuity of life, and the nature, and history, of our personal relationships. Such phenomena, additionally, assist us in our perceptions of our evolving and changing reality, and our successive adjustments to reality. We, on the other hand, are concerned about the often observed, apparently incessant, drive to take selfie, after selfie, presumably, in the vain attempt, to produce a photo of oneself, which ever more closely, comports with the photographer’s fantasy about him, or herself, [usually inspired by, and modeled upon, unrealistic, criteria, observed in the media].

Even the kindest and most patient of readers, may by now, be [justifiably] puzzled. How is the subject of the futile, multiple recording of one’s appearance, in the vain search, to satisfy a selected fantasy, at all, related, to the subject of “carrots?’ The latter, an orange colored, root vegetable, has admittedly, been paired, by us, with the word, “selfies,”  in the title of this note. The salient reason, is that while the carrot plant evinces a nice green display in the garden, its real intrinsic value and exceptional beauty, is under the visible surface.

This mini-essay, has been denoted above, as a “redux,” because we have previously dealt with the identical theme, in a slightly different way. In the earlier writing, “Fred Rogers and Selfies,” we recalled an especially, meaningful installment of his wonderful and emotionally educative, children’s show. In the subject installment, Mr. Rogers, and his entire studio of children, sang to, and with, a young boy, confined to a wheelchair and evidencing the sad and dynamic activity of cerebral palsy: “It is you I like, not the clothes you wear, or the way you do your hair, but, it’s you…” This, insightful lesson, about true intrinsic worth, taught to the children in the studio, and those of the television audience, is a lifelong lesson for everyone, young or elderly.

We were, again motivated, to write on this subject, (“redux”) following a, disappointing, witness, from a park bench, [ while awaiting the rare advent, of an on time arrival, of the inglorious M-10 bus] of a young, rather attractive, woman, completely self- engrossed, and oblivious of her surroundings, taking and rejecting, selfie, after selfie, with, and without, the aid, of a “selfie stick.” She, we assume, was vainly, seeking a photo, which would comport with some personal, private fantasy, about herself  As we recall, when the bus finally arrived, she was still peering, intensely, at her “smart” phone.

If carrots had the ability and propensity to instruct, that intelligent vegetable, (please verify, with the esteemed, “Bugs Bunny”) would teach the lesson, that its own true value and beauty, are unseen, and exist below the ground, and that, analogously, in man, true beauty and value, eternally and universally, reside, below his visable surface.



Since the nineteenth Century, the American political scene has been dominated by two major political parties, and, perforce, has accurately been designated, as a two party system of government. In a two party system, the party holding a majority of the electoral votes, is referred to as the “majority”, or “governing party”, while the other, is the “minority party,” or the” opposition”.

It would appear to us, that a democratic, two party system, is preferable to the multi-party (usually) Parliamentary system, as being more representative of the individual voter, viz., more democratic.  It has historically been the case that, in the multi-party, parliamentary system, in order to form a (legal quorum for) a ruling government, a combination of (divergent) parties is, usually required, thus giving more voice to the voters of a minority party (added by statutory necessity) than is democratically warranted. This concern is obviously, non -existent, in a two party system, where “winner takes all.” The successful election of one party, in a two party system, such as ours, thus, completely and democratically, signifies the expressed selection of one candidate and his avowed platform of intentions, over the other.

The system and tradition of two advertised candidates, affords to the voting public, a clear, known and predictable choice, between the persona and political stance of the respective candidates, and their intended programs. Under a system of, “one man, one vote,” governmental policy, thus, is democratically designated, by the prevailing choice and expression of the people.

We have noted, with great dismay and concern, the recent rise, in this country, of a new, unforeseen and perilous form of “populism.”  As known, the essence of populism is a belief which appeals to those ordinary people, who feel that they, and their interests, are disregarded, in favor of an established elite. It seems to us, that, in the U.S., such a perception, is not generally maintained, relative to the subject of economics, since there is a plentitude of opportunity, for such expression, within the traditionally, accepted platforms, of the Democratic Party. Populism, instead, appears ,rather to be, a “tribal” feeling of joint insecurity and, a felt presumption, of the haughty disapproval and dismissal, of their interests, by the better educated and more sophisticated citizenry (“the elite”).

Some of these, self-conscious, “populists” would, if they voted at all, might, in a different frame of mind, go Democratic or Republican; such populism, in general, having no ties to any one economic or political theory or another. It may well be, that many of such feelings of disrespect, are self-generated, or subjectively perceived, whereas, others may, indeed, be based on empirical experience.

Nevertheless, such perceptions, whether real, or insecurely imagined, do, in fact, exist, and appear readily exploitable by demagogues and other “snake oil salesmen,” who falsely and tactically, portray the false impression of intimate identification with their plight, and appeal to such perceived insecurity, for political or other purposes.

Donald J. Trump, a former, mediocre, television host, of an inane television game show, nevertheless, proved his acumen, as such a perverse, missionary of misleading propaganda, to these, less sophisticated, sensitive and, presumed, deprecated, people. One recalls, the tactical, populist representations, of the purported claim of superiority, and brazen, widespread scorn, directed at the common man, allegedly charged to the fictional, “coastal liberals.”

It is essential for the Democratic campaign, to recognize such dynamics and the motivation, of these millions of voters; based on their perception, of being dismissed in significance, by the portionof the nation, termed, the “elites,” (meaning more educated, and favored). They are not described by, or members of, a particular political party. The National disaster of the Trump election, was not, to our understanding, a clear victory of his Republican Party, as such; functionally, it was, in large part, a victory, based upon the additional  supplement, of amorphous populism, viz., not political science but, rather, sociology. Such segment of the National community, can be, functionally, likened to the influence and dynamics, of an additional, or “third” party.

This is, the essential reason, for the Democratic Party, to change its, present, errant, emphasis, on beating Donald Trump as its primary goal. It must wisely alter such poorly conceived, emphasis, which will predictably, help Trump, by rallying the extant tribalism, and accentuating the basic, misguided, message of the populist, voters.

The Democratic Party’s emphasis should, more effectively, be on the traditional platforms that made that party great: fair labor practices, including, working conditions and adequate wages and benefits, health care, regulations protecting the citizen, the consumer and the environment, equal rights for all, prison reform, banking and credit reforms, protection of voter’s rights, a sensible program of gun regulation, old age and retirement benefits, a vigorous infrastructure program, water purification and forestry preservation, a more equitable tax policy, relief to the needy and disabled, lobbying reforms, tuition assistance to students, support for  cultural, arts and education programs, efforts to ameliorate climate deterioration, non-political judicial selection, efforts to eliminate illiteracy, regulation of the pharmacy industry, regulations protecting the purity of drinking water, food and the safety of medicines, elimination of capital punishment, improvements in educational assistance to the States, and many other vital and needed issues.

To deemphasize the above traditional Democratic positions, in favor of the criterion, articulated, viz., the perceived ability to defeat Trump, is to exalt the importance of Trump (which would greatly please his egoistic and neurotic, persona), but far worse, it would invigorate, the extant, tribal, instinct, of that unpredictable, “third party,” the populists, and their defensive, delusions. It would also, foolishly, ignore the very platforms, that built, and won elections for the Democratic Party.



United States Federal Government
Department of Citizen Complaints
Capital Office Building,
Washington, D.C

It is with appropriate gratitude, that we acknowledge having the good fortune, among the entire, world-wide population of human inhabitants, to have been be born, and to reside in this country, with assured benefits of liberty, as prescribed by the Nation’s Founding Fathers, and as guaranteed by its Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The Founders’ declarations concerning universal equality of all citizens, sagely and properly, eliminated the centuries-old, European system of privileged birth, and its unfortunate consequence of privileged classes. We especially appreciate the constitutional assurance, proscribing governmental interference with the right of every citizen (in principle) to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Since childhood, we were assured that these rights were, inviolate, eternal and enshrined; virtually, secular icons, to be, equally hallowed by all Americans. We learned to be proud of our country of birth, and in its, unfailing, moral rectitude. We were, in our younger years, however, not made aware of the ugly National blemish of inequality of race and gender. The Nation, we have happily, noted, has, recognizably made considerable progress, in this disappointing and unjust area, but, yet, cannot, claim, complete accomplishment, of its promised, universal equality of rights and freedom from bias.

We were taught, as schoolchildren, the American, semi-religious dogma, called “Manifest Destiny,” pursuant to which it was the prescribed, and inherent, duty of our Nation to expand its territories to the Pacific Ocean. We were never, informed, however, about the consequential Governmental program of removal and killing of innocent, Native Americans, and the destruction of their ancient culture, in effecting that xenophobic destiny.

Decades later, we were advised that the Indochinese War (Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos) was, imperatively, necessary in order to stop the formation of a dangerous Communist bloc, with Red China. The war lasted about 20 years, killed thousands of Americans and their allies, and an untold number of Asians, and tore our country apart, perhaps, irretrievably. After the war, Secretary, Robert McNamara, one of the war’s original promoters, and architects, expressly admitted, in his subsequently, published book, that the bloody war had, been an ignorant mistake; that, there was never a realistic threat of the feared, “United Communist Bloc;” in that, China, Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia and Laos, have historically, been, mutual enemies. [ Query, why did it take, Harvard’s McNamara, et long to discover the error? The war lasted 20 years]

Americans were always justifiably proud, that every citizen had the inalienable right to vote. Nonetheless, one observes, hypocritical travesties, such, as poll taxes, voter blocking, deletion and interference, and the wide-spread, undemocratic practice of gerrymandering, persist, to date. Would you also reconcile, the fundamental democratic guaranty, of one, man, one vote, with the continued maintenance of the Electoral College?

The Constitutional principles of Separation, of Church and State, were always earnestly maintained, by the Founding Fathers to be a fundamental guaranty of liberty, yet, we still suffer from religiously motivated, government proscriptions of the woman’s choice of abortion, have foolishly, meddled in the vital subject of contraception, and discouraged sex education in schools.

We were taught about the Separation of Powers, [Executive, Legislative and Judicial], functionally, and, in addition, the ability, of one branch of government, to prevent, the abuse of power by another branch.  (“Checks and Balances”).  At present it seems to be an impotent dynamic, as amply demonstrated our current President, and his illegal and unconstitutional usurpation of unauthorized powers.

Our Nation received the assurance, since the time of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, that America was to afford to the lower and middle classes, new and needed social programs, and the amelioration of want, by empathic benefits, included in a new American concept, of a compassionate Capitalism. Yet, the present government, in Washington, has permitted moneyed interests to exercise their influence, in eliminating, or reducing them (welfare, food stamps, unemployment and sick benefits, regulations of safety in the workplace, purity of food and water, fair housing and other like programs).

The Constitution, as is known, expressly, forbids cruel and unusual punishments, yet, America still tolerates, in too many jurisdictions, officially approved, killing of convicted individuals; euphemistically, called, “Capital (as in decapitation) Punishment.”

We have, publicly and accurately, represented ourselves as a Nation of immigrants, and their descendants, with an eternally open door, to welcome the poor and endangered, immigrant, as enshrined in our Statue of Liberty. Nevertheless, particularly, in the past few years, contrary to our history, Laws, our pretensions to decency, the government has permitted false and defamatory representations of fugitives and other immigrants, with brown skin, as undesirable, criminals, and has taken steps to block their immigration, as well as, mistreated them and separated their families.

We have acknowledged that the most valuable natural resource, of a Nation, is the quality and sophistication of its population, but have not been responsive to the need for assistance, to students, in the financing of higher education; resulting in substantial, life-long indebtedness of its graduates. Additionally, the government does not support, the cultural growth and improvement of its citizenry, by its denial of financial support to the Arts and Sciences.

The Courts, by their decisions, have permitted the misreading of the Second Amendment, to permit the free commerce and ownership of guns. A, objective plain reading of the same, especially with knowledge of the history of its time, clearly indicates, that, in order to induce the several States to (surrender much of their respective sovereignty) to an established federal government, their (the State’s) right to maintain an armed militia. would be preserved. The cynically intentional and tactical, misreading has earned miscreant members, of the gun lobby, multiple millions of dollars in profit; it is also the cause of an untold number of innocent deaths.

We continue to hope, together with, as well, we assume, of other loyal and believing, citizens, nevertheless, is that these past issues will be addressed and corrected, and not be shielded, or avoided by hypocritical and misleading euphemism. Our aspiration is and that the avowed, and traditionally laudable, image and promise of America, would continue in its progress toward the elimination of injustice, extremes in inequality, unfettered individual freedoms. We would, significantly, hope, as well, for a return to rational governance by leaders who are just, capable and sufficiently knowledgeable.

Until the foregoing is accomplished, would you please be kind enough to afford us some guidance on what to teach our young children.



Post #456 (fiction #5)   THE THREE BROTHERS*

If by some chance, you happen to drive through the small hamlet of Cheeseville, located in South Oregano County, Nevada, please be sure to stop at the Pizzeria, on Main Street, owned and operated by the Mozzarella brothers, Vince, Angelo and Bradford, (the latter, eldest, and third brother, from a previous marriage of their mother, Mrs. Angelina Mozzarella). Please be sure to ask for Bradford, or Vince, and say hello, and see how things are going. The three brothers are the owners and operators of the “Goomba Pizza Parlor, Ltd.” a well- known, successful business establishment, exclusively patronized, by self-styled pizza aficionados, throughout the entire, Oregano County.

You might ask Brad or Vince, whatever became of the Wolf Bakery, and Mr. B. Wolf, its vicious and loathsome proprietor. The last we heard, Wolf, who decided to incorporate pizza into his muffin business, had applied to the Superior Court of Oregano County, for an Order of eviction, against Goomba Pizza Parlor, Ltd., and, additionally, for a judgment for punitive damages, against the three proprietors.

To bring the reader up to date, the relevant facts are as follows. Wolf, a carnivorous and aggressive personality, had, conspired to, and by some sleight of hand, succeeded in, procuring the lease to the premises of the pizza parlor, and thereafter, as, tactically planned, in his drive to force the brothers out, raised the rent to an impossible amount. It seems that Wolf’s muffin business was in steep decline, and he lusted for the pizza parlor, which, in addition to being very profitable, was in vogue throughout the entire County. He also entertained an unreasonable hatred, against the three brothers, for many other reasons, besides business, among which was, jealousy over the desirably, close interactive relationship between the brothers (including the half-brother), who spent most of their working hours, happily, singing. When the brothers learned of certain unsuccessful attempts, by their new landlord to injure their business, they added to his irritation, a confident lack of concern, in face of the vicious (and, so far, unsuccessful) attempts by the, cunning, landlord to destroy their business.

What they wisely, did was to continue to pay rent, at the previous agreed rate (as opposed to the tactically, impossible rate, imposed by the new landlord, Mr. Wolf), which, in accordance with, the Landlord and Tenant Division of the State Supreme Court, Mr. Wolf learned, to his dismay, denied to a landlord, [ who imposed a penalty rent on his lease abiding tenants] the right of summary dispossess, for non-payment of rent. The landlord angrily, and tight-fisted, threatened further legal action.

The second attempt by Mr. Wolf, consisted of an attempt to falsely advise the public, that the pizza company, Goomba Pizza, Ltd., included, amounts of sawdust, in their pizza crust, to save money. This second attempt, slandering the product of the three brothers, was laughed at, by the highly satisfied customers, who were well aware of the method of preparation of the product, and immediately recognized the falsity, as well as the evil motivation of the slanderer.

The third (and, apparently, the final) attempt, was the costly engagement of a local attorney, with local political connections, to obtain a Court Order of Eviction and Damages, against the brothers, for withholding his right, as landlord, to possession, based upon the grounds of inadequate (but, regular) rent payments. This proceeding was brought by, Order to Show Cause, in the Superior Court of Oregano County, itself, [as opposed to proceeding in the Landlord and Tenant Division]. The case was still pending, when last we heard, and such was the reason we requested that the traveler, referred to in the first paragraph, speak to Vince or Brad; to obtain a report on the outcome of the third attempt, of the landlord, Mr. Wolf, to recover the building premises and oust the three entrepreneurs.

As it happens, just before the publishing of this writing, we received a text message, which, (happily) read: “The application of the Landlord, for possession of the premises, and for punitive damages was denied, due to the Applicant’s evident, deceitful action. It   was further ordered, by the Court, that, the three tenants are granted damages in the amount of $…….. against the Landlord, Mr. Wolf by reason of the latter’s illegal and inequitable business practices.

The three partners were happy and celebrated, in their usual, musical mode.


* We, emphatically deny, any and all, similarity between the foregoing narrative, and the children’s story, “The Three Little Pigs.”

Post # 455  ALL MY SONS (A pliny editorial)

Readers, old enough to remember, the dramatic (1948) movie, (or later release) “All My Sons,” starring the celebrated actor, Edward G. Robinson, as protagonist, may recall the plot, and its timeless message. The picture, based upon a play, by Arthur Miller, told the story of an airplane parts manufacturer, who, in order to keep his business from failing, knowingly, shipped defective airplane parts, to the military, during the pendency of World War 11, causing the death of several servicemen. The narrative, [a morality play, in our estimation], leads to an inevitable tragic ending, morally portended, by the commission of the mortal sin, of exaltation of individual need, over societal and moral responsibility. We understand that the Miller play is being revived for current audiences.

In common with all great works of art, “All My Sons,” articulates an eternally, ageless issue, in its case, the vexing choice, between financial survival and social and moral responsibility. This specific issue is eternally important, but it is one that is, especially, at this moment in our history, inarguably and existentially, relevant.

If mitigation, to some minor degree, is compassionately, to be accorded the protagonist, in the movie, it might be conceivably based, upon the rationality of his errant choice, the objective fear, of financial ruin. No such minor mitigation, can justly be allowed, to the big oil magnates, responsible for climate change, and conceivably, irreparable injury to mankind and the planet. Google search, reveals that one partner of the Koch Brothers business entity, David Koch, has a net worth of $44.9 Billion, and his brother, Charles Koch, with $44.8 Billion, Dollars. Like the fictional protagonist in “All My Sons,” these irresponsible, or more accurately put, psychopathic entrepreneurs, secure their profits from death. In the case, of the detestable Koch brothers, and other merchants of atmospheric poison, the homicide and injury is not limited to man, but also, to the Earth’s entire fauna and flora.

The declaration, of the revered, ancient Hebrew Sage, Hillel, and its later iterations, by Emmanuel Kant, and in the Christian, “Golden Rule,” prescribes the fundamental, and morally essential, basis of all human justice and empathy, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The profit seeking entrepreneurs in the oil and gas industry, the saintly, Koch Brothers, are the elite, among the unapologetic perpetrators, and financial beneficiaries of, serious and possibly, permanent, anthropogenic damage to mankind; including, the biophysical environment and ecosystems, biological diversity, natural resources, global warming, environmental degradation, such as ocean acidification, extinction of species, ecological crises and ecological collapse.

We wonder what these Koch miscreants, think of themselves; do they have a conscience, or sense of morality? We, in the desire for accountable accuracy, term such people, ”psychopaths;” who would, intentionally, create the risk that our living, verdant, planet, and its inhabitants, would be degraded and reduced to the stage, of a lifeless, orbiting sterile moon- like rock, in their insatiable, neurotic, and psychopathic drive, for unlimited billions of dollars. Do these monsters have offspring? Do they go to some church? Do they examine themselves, introspectively? Can they sleep at night?

The protagonist, in the merely fictional, movie, “All My Sons,” at the end, commits suicide, in remorse for his immoral choices. The Koch Brothers, and like (non-fictional) entrepreneurs who psychopathically, value profit, above human life and planetary habitation, yet continue to thrive.

Such villains can thrive, however, only in a nightmarish environment, such as ours, today, where a miscreant, Chief Executive, can permissibly, legally and publicly, break up families, and install the separated and helpless young children, in governmental wire cages.



Human, experience, has ineluctably, demonstrated, that there are no reliable formulaic prescriptions, in any degree useful, in matters concerning human behavior, as contrasted, by analogy, to the dynamics of chemical formulas, with empirically, predictable outcomes. For this reason, we have consistently impugned and detested  aphorisms, for their arrogant, ignorant and reductionist presumption of saintly rectitude, as hallowed solutions, to man’s presenting problems.

It is difficult to rate these inane, substitutes for reason, in order of merit, since it is difficult to discern merit in any of them. However, at a time in our current events, in which the phenomenon of “candidacy,” is presently operative, we would select a particular homily, as a frontrunner, for the very worst, and which, in our view, has little real, “bottom of the barrel,” competition. It also has, in its atavistic stupidity, provided us with the subject of this note. It pains us to be obliged to repeat the same, but we do so for referential identification purposes only: “Spare the rod, and spoil the child.”

We suspect that the home-spun laureate, who authored this shameful inanity, may be from the same school of classic literature as is, the simpleton, who is responsible for another well known, hoary, travesty, “Children should be seen and not heard.” The latter aphorism, suggests that well brought up children, should be silent, inactive, potted plants, rather than, enthusiastic and welcome participants, in normal family interaction. The parent who abuses mandatorily silent children, certainly is not, in any way, in the running, for a Fred Rogers gold medal, for parenting.

Someone might, generously and defensively reply, that these are traditional (“old”) homilies; to which we would, emphatically state, that in contemporaneous speech they would, accurately, translate to, “Child abuse and cruelty, are the accepted, and recommended modes of rearing children.” We would confidently declare, that there exists, no possible moral rationale for striking a child, [nor keeping him mute].  We are parents, and, candidly admit to experiencing, at times, the feelings of stress and frustration, inherent in child rearing, but, have never reacted to our frustration by physically, acting it out on the child. No one, we believe, beats his child, as purportedly, claimed, “out of love” or because, “he loves him.” Moreover, the child will not, likely, perceive it in that way. The child is physically abused, by the parent, as a result of the inhumane, venting of his own impatience and lack of understanding of kinder and vastly more effective, alternatives. An errant child, may forget the intended lesson, but he will not soon forget the painful treatment. Under such a regime, he, predictably may, later in his life, replicate such learned, cruel behavior.

There are far more effective, appropriate and loving policies, founded upon a taught sense of the child’s respect, for himself, and his own self-image. It should be emphasized, that, if a child is to behave properly, for the purpose of avoiding punishment, what will his behavior demonstrate, when he knows the disciplinary adult is absent. Lessons in rewards and punishments, place the subject of behavior in the wrong context, and are foolish, and self-defeating lessons; promoting the values of stealth and caution, instead of rectitude. We would offer the following, hypothetical illustration:

Supposing that [hypothetically], on some unusual impulse, I stole your cell phone. The next day, fraught with remorse and anxiety. I return it to you, confess and profusely and sincerely apologize for my wrongful act. You, being generous in nature, forgive me, and state: “I forgive you, let’s forget all about it and pretend it didn’t happen.” He may actually, forget about it, but I certainly cannot. I am still, internally plagued by the question: “What kind of person can I be, to have stolen his phone, in the first place?”

Morality is an internal phenomenon, closely aligned with one’s self- image (self-identity). By analogy to a long term savings account, a charitable or empathic act, is like making a deposit (reinforces) a perceived moral and just, internal feeling of identity, while a selfish or wrongful act makes an expensive, at times, a lasting withdrawal, from that account. For properly socialized individuals, self-appraisal is a vital ingredient in their life’s assessment, and a consistent positive self-image, is crucially important.

The truly enlightened and responsible parent, will endeavor to instill in the child, an internalized, and candid, sense and awareness of “himself” and his valuably essential, self- worth. This, admittedly, takes considerable time, and much disciplined and instructive patience, on the part of the parent. The child must learn, ultimately, through much patient and loving instruction, to be his own moral and empathetic supervisor, and when he does so, will, predictibly, grow to be an empathic and honest adult; and, at some, future day, an enlightened parent.

It must be said that, in such a proper program of enlightened teaching of virtue, perhaps, the most effective element, as an instructive model, is the exemplary behavior of the parent, himself.