The salient aspiration of the American-born children of newly arrived, (early 20th Century) Eastern European immigrants, was to adjust, “fit in,” and be identified, as authentic, American citizens. It was an empirically difficult challenge. At home, their parents spoke some rudimentary English, but most often, Yiddish and one of the other Slavic languages, and had, culturally, imported many European folkways into the newly adopted, domicile, across the entire span of the Atlantic Ocean, and sociologically, across, centuries of human enlightenment and technological advancement.

Long before the advent of popularly owned television, radio was the prime link between home and the outside world.  It was a source of news, music and drama; for sports fans, especially those residing in Brooklyn, reports on the wins and losses of the beloved, Brooklyn Dodgers. Brooklyn residents, not only stayed posted on the Dodgers’ wins, losses, and seasonal standing, relative to other teams, in the (their) National League, but as well, the personalities and affairs of the players. We can recall a scene from a wartime movie, set in a dense jungle, in which a soldier, coming through the allied lines, was identified,  as a friend (and not enemy), by his correct answers to questions about the Brooklyn Dodgers; such as, “Who is the Dodgers’ 2nd Baseman? Answers, such as, “Jackie Robinson,” served as the admissible shibboleth. As the movie implied, the ”Brooklyn Dodgers”, morphed into a popular National symbol.

Consistent with, and in furtherance of, their ardent aspiration to quickly, morph into regular Americans, most first-generation Americans, especially those living in the Borough of Brooklyn, became outspoken Dodger fans and, when possible, loyally attended their home games, at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field. Some, however, chose to become fans of the purportedly, more elegant, New York Yankees, whose home field was, and still is, Yankee Stadium, located in the Borough of Bronx, New York.

 In the poorer neighborhoods, complimentary passes to local, major league, baseball games were charitably, handed out to school children, by an organization named, “Happy Felton’s Knothole Gang.”  Thus, we were, by good fortune, enabled to attend several Dodger games and a few Yankee games, gratis, at their respective home stadia. We were, appropriately, grateful for the opportunity to attend those big-league games, despite the fact that the free stadium seats consistently, were located at the farthest reaches of the stadium, (“the bleachers”) high above the rear portion of center field.   Although thus privileged and excited to see outfielders like Duke Snider, up close, we were often obliged, to rely on a portable radio, to be apprised of game developments. The most relevant benefit, however, consisted in the commonality of mutual support and experience with regular American youngsters, not born of recently immigrated parents. When the Brooklyn Dodgers left Brooklyn for Los Angeles, we mourned the tragic loss, in tandem with other, long established mainstream New Yorkers.

Varying degrees of strain were regularly, experienced, at early stages, by the children of immigrants, upon their daily return home from school, or following engagement in sports at the local public playground. The family context at home, understandably, and exotically, was a combination of old-world nuance, foreign accented English speech, reflexive foreign exclamations, as well as atavistic, behavioral expectations of children, at variance with the new American folkways. There were, in essence, two cultural realities, with which the challenged, first-generation Americans were obliged to assimilate and empirically, comply.  Variations in difficulty, in this respect, might depend upon the parents, erudition, length of time in the United States, interactive experience with non-immigrant members of society and the frequency of interactive communication at their place of employment or business. The most noticeable, obvious challenge was in the confrontation of their foreign accent.

It is obvious that very young children, universally, first learn to speak from their parents.  The offspring of immigrants acquire, thereby, the singular, additional problem, of developing unaccented, speech, when desired, at the age of interaction with their peers at school and at play. Added to this exacting challenge is the unfortunate tendency, of children, to cruelly, react, to any differences perceived in other children, in their appearance, speech impediment or nuanced language pronunciation.  In some cases, this leads to the choice of limitation of the victimized, first-generation American, early circle of friends to others with foreign accents; which defensive response, compounds, and extends the problem. It is ironically bizarre to note, that late in maturity, adults who retain vestiges of their former (foreign) accents are, for such reason acceptably, perceived, as “charming,” “cultured” or “interesting.”

We, like most of our known members of the European first-generation, Americans, with which we were acquainted, went on to pursue higher education and successful professions or careers; “Geenzi” (Archibald) Edelman is now a successful cosmetic surgeon on the West Coast, and Selwin Abramovitz is a full partner in a New York City, “white shoe” law firm.

During our recent visit to Dr. “Geenzi” Edelman, we had the mutually recollected pleasure of attendance, at a baseball game, between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. Geenzi, who these days, is flush with money, had purchased, in anticipation of our visit, two of the most expensive stadium tickets, alongside first base.

 As we walked to our prime seats, instinctively, and with a hard lump in my throat, I looked out, towards deep center field at the high rows of sunny bleachers.


Post # 695    ON ADVOCATING FOR DEMOCRACY: Pliny Editorial

It has been our, anecdotal, albeit common, experience that mainstream American citizens, possessing adequate education, and mature social sensitivity, traditionally, exhibit the tendency to remain discretely, silent, or to tactfully, select mild and inoffensive language, in their restrained response, to undemocratic, radical or bigoted declarations. Irrespective of what may be a truly obnoxious declaration, their subtly, restrained, considerations of maturity of perception and learned sophistication, often inclines that, reticent, second party to the conversation, to gracefully, edit, the full extent of his internal emotional response. Would that such reserve were universal, this writing, in such unlikely event, might be of little utility. As illustration, it would be a virtual challenge to discern the true merits of an unbalanced, controversy between the kindly, empathic and soft-spoken, Fred Rogers, and the aggressive, foghorn delivery of an Alex Jones, or the brash and offensive, Marjorie Taylor Green.

We have accumulated sufficient and personally affirming, experience, that our Nation’s inadequately, educated, and unsophisticated, population, generally, seems, as a group, to be, entirely unrestrained, and insensitive in their raucous, expression of radical, right-wing views. These outspoken rants are predictably, inclusive, of their consistent opposition to the fundamental principles of Democratic Republic, viz., equality,  universal right to vote, separation of church and state, the exercise of compassionate capitalism,  (the latter, ignorantly termed, by them, “socialism,”) gender rights, personal liberty, and xenophobic opposition to refugee immigration.

In consideration of the direction of our extant political climate, it appears, existentially, necessary to eschew our customarily, socially refined and considerate deportment, in order to ultimately, avert an analogous, democratic tragedy, as occurred in Hitler’s demagogic destruction of the Weimar Republic. When appropriately, called for, it has become a matter of democratic necessity, to voice, one’s fully expressive opposition, and to demonstrate by unabashed, overt behavior, our views on the evil of autocracy. As has been historically shown, the greatest threat to democracy is silent tolerance or, personal indifference to autocratic or undemocratic, memes and their proponents.

We are much concerned, to about an autocratic, and want-to-be (again), President, are wary of his millions of populist supporters, including the fascistic militia style hate groups, of the recent, violent, insurrection against Washington, D.C., the disgraceful members of the U.S. Congress, who support autocracy and oppose civil liberties, and of the ignorant opposition to literate citizens referring to the latter, as the “enemy” or “coastal elites,” the State Legislatures which have, officially, passed voting laws, aimed at discriminating against communities of color, the denigration of our traditional American voting process, attack on the free media, xenophobic opposition to immigration, the promotion of the “Big Lie,” and subjugation of actual fact to alternative propaganda, the exponential rise of conspiratorial ideation, denigration of science and education, book banning and book burning, unrelenting prejudice against black people, Jews, Hispanics and gays, the prohibition of women’s right to abortion, and their equality of opportunity, the insidious infiltration of hate groups into the municipal police forces, the encouragement of gun ownership and use, plus other populist, anti-democratic selections from the right-wing menu. This context, frighteningly, resembles the pathology of The Weimar Republic and other internally destroyed democracies.
The Nation has been for some time, visibly and ominously, in a veritable Cold War, with many members of its illiterate and self-defeating, (their ill-considered, destruction of democracy, will curtail their liberties, as well) underbelly. Mainstream American citizens, have the immediate, existential responsibility, to our Nation, and our future progeny, to be, energetically, proactive, in publically and confidently, speaking out, loudly and clearly, whenever, and wherever, relevant, to flush out America’s fascistic, Putin or Trumpian, style offal, at its first, tell-tale and obnoxious, whiff.


Post # 694 THE “SPALDEEN”

We now return for a brief visit to 1948 Brooklyn, this time, for a sports story. The family, at this time, was residing in the Brownsville section of East New York, on Stone Avenue, three blocks from Belmont Avenue, the latter being the commercial area. In addition to the various stores (ex. The bakery, the appetizing store, and a shoemaker), there are numerous wooden pushcarts, selling vegetables, fruits; and culinary equipment. However, Selwin liked best, the large wooden barrels, sitting on the sidewalk, containing, respectively, “the best sour pickles in the whole world,” as well as a wooden barrel with pickled herring, called, “schmalz” (fat) herring, a favorite of his Lithuanian-American father.

There is no school today, Sunday, the rainfall had declined to a light drizzle, and so, Selwin put on his jacket and Brooklyn Dodger baseball hat, preparatory to going out to play ball. However, his mother stopped him and asked that he go to “Segaloff’s (bakery) first, and purchase the usual, two pound (sliced) rye bread and six rolls. Selwin was only mildly disappointed for two reasons; the first reason was that his mother had given him enough money to also, buy himself a sour pickle, from the barrel. Selwin was convinced, as he told “Geenzy” Edelman, that eating sour pickles in the rain, greatly enhanced its flavor. The other reason was, that he enjoyed the comic facial expression and wet, slurping sound of old Mrs. Segaloff, with her mobile, loose dentures, repeating his order for: “dewpon rye and sicsh rollsh.”

This writing is entitled, “The Spaldeen,” and it would be timely and appropriate to relate its intended, context.  First, a brief, elucidation. Spaldeen, was the universal, Brooklyn corruption for “Spaulding,” and specifically, referring to the pink smooth rubber balls, used for handball, catch, stoopball, stickball and other Olympic games. The spaldeen is readily, distinguishable from the fuzzy-covered tennis ball, also possibly, manufactured and sold by the Spaulding Sport Company. In emergencies, many youngsters would spend hours, industrially scraping off the covering on tennis balls, in an attempt get to the precious pink rubber ball, viz., the spaldeen.

In early 1947, the year, of this narrative, America and its Allies were still at war with Germany and the “Axis” powers, and, consequently, a great many items, essential to the war effort, were difficult, or impossible, for a citizen to purchase. Among this class of unattainable goods, was the rubber ball, since rubber ranked high among the materials essential for the military.

Luckily, Selwin did have an old spaldeen, so that when Geenzee, as usual, arrived with his leashed dog, Bruno, and asked, “Yuh gottaball ?” He was able to answer in the affirmative, “Yeah, but only an old one.” “Gudenuff”, responded Geenzie,” let’s play stoop ball”. Stoopball is a baseball-like game, where the players take turns, bouncing the ball against the steps of a front stoop. Catching the ball on the fly is equal to an out; like baseball, three outs and the other player becomes the “batter.” Uncaught balls are assigned, by distance, single, double, triple, and for an uncaught, high and long trajectory from the steps, a home run. Geenzee was the first-up  “batter” and, energetically, seeking a “triple,” or home run, pitched the ball so hard against the steps, that it sailed over to the next-door neighbor’s property and became immersed in a large, flowering shrub. Geenzee called out loudly, to Bruno, “geddaball.” Upon hearing his master’s command, Bruno charged into the shrub and immediately, emerged with the prized but aged, spaldeen between his large front incisors. Upon returning the ball, it was discovered, that Bruno, when snatching the ball with his mouth, apparently perforated it, making it useless.

Geenzee, red-faced, and in a guilty and subdued tone, said, (sotto voce), “Whattabout marbles?” 



The First Amendment to the United States Constitution (“Bill of Rights”) contains the following language: “Congress shall make no law, respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” [The Establishment Clause]. This limitation on the power of one of the three branches of American Government was empirically, based upon the many centuries of religious repression and conflict which had been the tragic history of Europe. Accordingly, the U.S. Constitution does not contain any reference to a God, whatsoever. One of the Founders famously, said, “To put God in the Constitution is to put Man out.” Church and State were intended to be completely separate to avoid the excesses, which historically, made for injustice and immeasurable misery in the historic past.

Yet, this prudent and fundamentally, sound provision, in our view, has not been scrupulously, observed by government, and this consequential failure has been directly, responsible for the eternal existence of a hotly contested and angrily, divisive, contemporary issue, viz., the woman’s personal right to an abortion. More on this subject, following another glaring example of our theme.

For centuries, (1656-1956), the Nation was, unfairly and illegally, burdened with the inarguably, unconstitutional and biased, government legislation, known as the “Blue Laws.” Blue Laws restricted or completely banned, some or all business activity on Sunday, for the express purpose of promoting the observance of the Christian Sabbath. Contemporaneously, there remain restrictive laws, concerning the sale and purchase of liquor on Sundays. It may be noted, that there are approximately, ten to twelve separate religions in America, only one of which is Christian. More to the point of this essay, such restrictive legislation is in obvious antagonism to the Establishment Clause. This Nation, tolerated, worse, enforced these laws, which were obviously, based on the religious belief of one of the several American faiths, including atheists. In Court actions, various social rationales were creatively, articulated, justifying the retention of the Blue Laws, but no appropriate recognition of the fundamental American authority on religion, the establishment Clause. We, who are law-abiding citizens, wonder and are disturbed by this inconsistency.

We see such inexcusable injustice in the pronouncements and rulings of governments, State and Federal, on the question of the woman’s right to elect abortion, a position, which clearly is sub-rosa, a part of religious dogma. Its proponents, empirically, cannot take the position of responsible respect for life, itself, when the ardent and very passionate opponents to abortion strictly oppose support and assistance after the fetus is born. Nor can it be anything but religious belief when such parties, oppose contraception, support gun ownership, oppose refugee immigration, favor capital punishment, and have gone as far as committing murder of abortion providers.  

We, disappointingly, have failed to learn of cases where the Establishment Clause was raised, in matters concerning this significant and personal woman’s liberty, and hope that, ultimately, it will suffer the same fate as the unjust Blue Laws.



In recent years, our perennial pleasure at the anticipated arrival of the warm spring season has been marred by the insidious, cold draft of a developing autocracy in America. Admittedly, we first took particular notice of the trend to such political pathology, with the arrival of Donald Trump on the political scene. It was his demagogic, populist, appeal, to the many reductionist, inadequately educated voters, that enabled his ascendency to the Oval Office.

During his one term in office, Trump exemplified many of the historical indicia of autocracy (with the enthusiastic approval of his numerous, cult-like supporters). These included the disparagement of truth, and the substitution of “alternate facts, significantly, including his “Big Lie,”( concerning his election loss to Joe Biden), followed by his incitement of a violent insurrection, his attack upon the institutional media, his disparagement of science, learning and education, his vocal opposition to immigration, his sub-rosa relationship with the Russian autocrat, Putin, his opposition to health and safety regulations, his demonstrated, racial prejudice and his notable, serial mendacity.

History reveals that a regular part of the tactical propaganda of autocrats is the policy of alteration of the accurately recorded, facts of history, in order to comport with their political worldview and justify their harsh rule. Consistent with the contemporary (worrisome) trend to autocracy, an aggressively, vocal group in our nation, inclusive of many of the somewhat, more literate, as well the typical Trump supporters, have actively sought the redaction of the period of the enslavement of black people, from the curriculum of American education. As is perversely common in fascistic or autocratic rule, they would reframe or abridge history, to suit their skewed, manufactured, version of reality.

History is man’s only record of his past; to modify or abridge that factual record is to, totally, destroy its credibility and value, as a reference guide to present understanding, enlightenment and choice of action or policy. To abridge or alter written history is to devalue it to the point of complete uselessness. The professed rationales for censorship of recorded history are entirely specious and indicative of tactical deceit. One rationale is to avoid embarrassment, or feelings of shame, on the part of young students. The other irrational justification is that it would create disharmony between the races. These asinine statements of purpose, or justifications, are revelatory of a colossal ignorance or naiveté, on one hand, or tactical, motivation on the other. Neither are empirically rational and thus, demonstrative of the absence of any principled justification for historical censorship.

The class of ”protected” young students would, in any event, be apprised of the many decades of black slavery in their various readings and by the highly publicized civil rights movement and public programs, appropriately seeking equality between the races. Newspaper and media reports regularly deal with the subject. Those who profess, that the non-deletion of this dark period of American history would create tension between the races, can be properly, be described as intentionally deceitful, or just plain stupid. It is true that such element of tension, between the races, does exist contemporaneously, in various degrees, which most citizens of goodwill, white and black, have been striving to lessen and ultimately, eliminate.

Furthermore, those who, foolishly, would argue that the study of American history, which is inclusive of its dark periods, would cause discomfort to the young students, will undoubtedly, themselves, suffer the exorbitant price of parental, loss of credibility, on the part of their subsequently, informed children.                                       

By instructive analogy, what would be the value of an accountant, or a business entity, which only records profits and not losses, a baseball team that only counts its own runs and deletes the score of the opposition, or a census taker who intentionally omits to include certain classes of citizens.  No justification, real or contrived, would value the results of such useless, tabulations. A Nation’s incomplete history is similarly, useless, (a) since the deleted portion may provide the desired information and, (b) since a subjectively, abridged account of history, empirically, lacks confident factual credibility so that it is not, ultimately, reliable.

The motivation of the right-wing proponents of the abridgment of our history, like the fascistic book burners, are fundamentally, interested in controlling the public’s thoughts and in the alteration of their empirical knowledge. Their desire is mind control, the certain route to autocracy. We have observed, in a prior writing, # 657 (“American Lemmings”) that such enterprise, ultimately, is a “double-edged sword.” Should such misguided American citizens be successful, in their anti-democratic, or pro-autocratic goal, they will suffer, as well as mainstream American citizens, an inevitable, loss of liberty.

We must remember that the educative and candid teaching of our unabridged and complete history (called “Critical Race Theory,” by those foolish and unwitting, lemming-like citizens, who oppose teaching the entirety of American history) does not seek additional grounds for criticism of our Nation, but only the complete, unaltered and accurate presentation of the entire record of our past. Universal knowledge of America’s “dark” periods, additionally, is mandatory, in order that they not be unwittingly repeated.

The irony of the “CRT” opponents is that their point of view, ultimately, is consistent in keeping with autocratic dogma, the application of which is, predictably, productive of limitless “dark periods.”


Post # 691   MEDIA MEDICINE: Redux

The United States, reportedly, is the industry leader in the advertising world. It is home to the largest and most complex advertising market of any nation. This mini-essay’s purpose is to question the propriety of American television advertisement, in the existential and multi-faceted area of medicine.

Scientifically, and logically, the most vital phase in any physician’s treatment of patients is that of acquiring sufficient knowledge to enable appropriate consideration of their respective, nuanced conditions and their past medical history. In addition to the presenting cause, which brought the patient to the doctor, it is vitally important, for him to take into consideration, other past medical problems, organic and otherwise, the general condition of the patient, including, age, chronic illnesses, blood type, allergies and current medication. Prior to diagnosis and treatment, the doctor must familiarize himself with the patient’s particular nature and history, in order to be capable of correctly diagnosing and effectively (and safely) prescribing, appropriate medication.

Regularly transmitted, televised commercials, promoting the purchase and application of particular medicines, (in some cases, for serious physical and mental disease) are irresponsibly, broadcasted to general, unseen millions of viewers. Each such sales pitch tactically utilizes music, exciting props and stereotypically attractive men or women, and is transmitted to the target audience; the latter, as shown by sales data for the advertised product.

Pharmaceutical commercials universally, advise dramatic and rapid, full recovery from the use of their branded product. These would include, as advertised, such pathologies as, cardiac problems, hepatitis C, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, eczema, acne, HIV, flu, shingles, ulcerative colitis, cancer, bipolar depression, schizophrenia and M.S., analogous to the 19th Century, traveling grifters, hawking their celebrated, and purportedly (universally) effective, “snake oil.”

At times, there are general restrictive reservations at the end of the commercial, incomprehensively, rattled off with the speed of a Gatling gun or an auctioneer of farm equipment.  Another cynically worded “assurance,” is the impotent caution: “Do not use, if allergic to any of the ingredients.” We would presume that there are very few people, if any, among the many millions of television viewers, who are familiar with the ingredients in the chemical composition of the advertised, pharmaceutical compound. In our (angry) view, the preceding two reservations are clearly and irresponsibly, cynical and, perceptively, constitute an inadequately communicated, moral admission of corporate, guilty conscience. No attention whatsoever is extended, in their rosy predictions of outcomes, to individual nuance, to side effects of medication, to possible interaction with other medications, to allergy, to age differential, mental health or anecdotal health history.

Fiduciary responsibility needs to be imposed on Pharmaceutical companies (by Statute) in view of the potential existential outcomes in the wrongful, inappropriate, selection of medication, for patients with various medical problems. Medicine is not within the category of products to be responsibly, advertised for sale like sheets and pillowcases, clothes, smartphones and cologne. Tobacco advertisements, for example, have properly, been banned for public health reasons from such advertisement, and so should medicine. Qualified physicians, with specific knowledge of the individual patient’s medical nuance and history, are not replaceable by T.V. glitz and glamor.



Our Nation’s, optimistic Founding Fathers had assumed that citizens of diverse opinions would amicably and constructively, debate the day’s contested issues and further, that the results of such debates, would be of use, in the proper conduct and maintenance of a representative democracy. As declared in prior essays, the reality proved to be disappointingly, otherwise. Citizens sharing identical opinions formed insular groups of people of like opinion, in reciprocally, acrimonious, relationships, with other such groups, of divergent views. These “cold wars” were and still are notably, strident, regarding the contested issues of abortion, right to bear arms and immigration.

Thus, regrettably, in our extant, divisive society, the retention of one’s principled candor, as well as his desired relationships, requires, at times, (with mandatory exceptions, below) the exercise, of an appropriate measure of circumspection in our societal inter-active communication. In similar fashion, our familial and social relationships, from time to time, call for such contextual diplomacy, in one’s statements and responsive communication. Stated simply, the intention is the continued maintenance of one’s honesty (consistent with his self-image) while not offending the speaker; with whom one may significantly disagree. We will furnish a few fictional fact patterns in illustration.

Example: A newly engaged couple attend a dinner, given by the parents of the future bride, principally, to meet the prospective son-in-law. The latter has always hated seafood. As it happens, the host has prepared shrimp marinara as the main dish, and during the meal, she asks him how he likes the dinner. A response, which is diplomatic, yet, nevertheless, true, might be: “Everything was beautifully done,” thus, truthfully complimenting her on the appearance of the meal, but avoiding the subject of taste.

Example: An ardent New York Yankee fan is having drinks, after working hours with a few of his fellow office employees. One of the groups makes the following assertion: The Boston Red Sox, are, by far the best team in the American League. To avoid contention, the Yankee fan might inoffensively, respond: “I saw the televised game, last Wednesday night, they are a great team.”

Example:  A married couple, walking together with the husband’s parents are participating in the Easter Parade, on Broadway, in New York City. The husband’s mother is sporting a particularly garish, wide-brimmed hat, with large, attached, artificial flowers, and asks her son whether he agrees, that her Easter Bonnet is chic. The circumspect son, examining the atrocity, might, candidly and inoffensively, respond, “It certainly is striking,” or, the hat is “outstanding.”

We would recommend such circumspect replies, aimed at the avoidance of the unpleasant necessity of candid, uncomfortable disapproval, to normally, acceptable parlance. The tactful practice should be strictly, limited to social discourse, that is free of offense, or that does not decry principled morality or constitutional rights, viz., equality, and free speech.  The recounting of racial, religious or ethnic slurs, or jokes, does not, and should not, merit the grace of circumspection, but should be publicly and energetically, rebuffed. Reprehensible statements are not deserving of a safe harbor. We would furnish a somewhat unusual, (albeit true), recollected illustration of an unusual hybrid of the two principles.

It was in the late ’60s, we as young lawyers, attended a local Bar Association holiday cocktail party. We noticed a woman, energetically, and vociferously, arguing in favor of censorship; a practice, which we have eternally abhorred. The violation of freedom of speech, by means of the arrogance of individuals, who, arrogate to themselves the sacred duty and the singular ability to protect society from sin, has always rankled us.

The enthusiastic and personally vexing, speaker, apparently mistaking our resolved silence for tacit agreement, smilingly approached us and made an enthusiastic declaration about the responsible necessity to promote a moral society, and, accordingly, the positive impact of censorship. We repressed our strong feelings of anger and, tactically, avoiding the subject, politely said to her, “May we get you a drink or, perhaps, some food?” She, nevertheless, continued, unabated, to preach her ardent sermon on the benefits of censorship. Finally, we stated, politely, and circumspectly, “To be frank, Miss, we have never approved of censorship.” She unabashedly, responded: “Really? Then, pointedly, “Well, then, what do you think of sex, in the movies?” To which question, we, instructively, and sarcastically,* answered: “It probably could work, if the seats don’t fold up on you!”


* N.B. With maturity, sarcastic anger was beneficially, eliminated from our personal behavior.


 We have on occasion, overheard the negative judgmental declaration, that someone or something is not au courant, but remains stubbornly, or unfashionably, old-fashioned, or “retro.” Nonetheless, based upon our perception of the contemporary scene, we would maintain, that such judgmental epithet is not necessarily critical, or dismissive. While it is inarguable, that one is obliged to be “up to date” in certain areas, such as medicine, science, computer engineering and current events, it is our view (and the theme of this writing) that the formerly admirable criterion, of being universally, in sync with the times is now, in our view, questionable. The world and its human inhabitants have materially, changed, and not uniformly for the better. In support, we offer a few, comparative illustrations:

[Family retro]. It was not that long ago, that the designation of family or family member, signified certain features that identified the relationship as unique and distinguishable from other members of society, even the closest of friends. The family group evinced a singular, nuanced lexicon, the sharing of predictable opinions, and mutually agreed upon stereotypes (albeit, possibly, inaccurate). They usually had meals together (especially, dinner), went, en famille, to religious and many recreational events, especially vacations, and, generally, enjoyed an intimate, intra-family relationship, inclusive of a consistent pecking order; a parent, for better or worse, being the ultimate authority.

[Family now].  The traditionally intimate relation of family members has been recast, into an informal category of publically, recognizable group of individuals, each with his self-determined, independent agenda. Parental direction is, at times, even denigrated as, imperial, retro, and, at times, an interference with privacy. Often, children are not heard from, for days, with the possible exception of some sort of unsatisfactory and, enigmatic, computerized message. The institution of family, as an intimate unit, has, unquestionably declined, from its traditionally personal and societal fulfilling, status.

[Identity, communication, retro]. Before the advent, exponential development, and universal use, of the addictive and convenient “smartphone,” individuals communicated with each other, in person or by telephone, enjoying the social and psychological benefits of assurance of a familiar voice and personal recognition, unhampered emotional expression, timeliness and relevance of response, as well as the basic, assured ratification of one’s own nuanced, public personality.

[Communication now] The effect of the separation and isolation of the parties due to modern electronic communication, and the resultant absence of felt intimacy, in effect, makes mere acquaintances of friends, and, indeed, has discernable impact on all of our presently listed categories. The costly surrender of the benefits of personal communication, in exchange for little, digital-like symbols, projected on a small, hand-held, lighted screen, is an exorbitant price to pay for speed and convenience.

[Citizenship, respect for democracy and the rule of law, retro]. During the period of the Second World War, the population was united in its support of the Nation and proud to carry the assigned designation as American. It bought wartime bonds, practiced air raid drills and paid rapt attention to the radio reports of the progress of the war. Children collected scraps of iron and rubber for the war effort, during after-school hours, adults volunteered as “Air Raid Wardens,” and American society was united,  by the strong epoxy of patriotism. Listening to Presidential, “fireside chats,” regarding America’s military progress in the war was a routine weekly, practice. The end of the war saw America’s relieved and overjoyed population celebrating together, in neighborhood “block parties” and many other events.                                       

During this comparative period in our recent past, appropriate respect for the law, for academic achievement, for schoolteachers, elementary and college level, for the police, for elder members of society, the handicapped and for the government, was the mainstream, American, norm.

[Citizenship, respect for democracy and the rule of law, now] The modern period, especially following the toxic, virulent pathologies of Trump and Covid, evinces a markedly, comprehensive change in the general nature and outlook of the American citizen. The elevation to the Oval Office of an incapable, ignorant and immoral individual, whose words and nefarious deeds, exacerbated a prior developing, national divisiveness, and promoted action, which was anti-democratic. Refusing to accept defeat on an election for a second term, Trump instigated an unprecedented insurrection, to stop the formerly peaceful, democratic transfer of the Presidency to the winner, Joseph Biden involving many hundreds of rioters. An even worse consideration, as an existential threat to democracy, is Trump’s large support in the previous election and their continuing loyalty, thereafter, by the undereducated, underbelly of our Nation. The would-be autocrat, Trump, is an undeniable, existential threat to our democracy.

 There is, unfortunately, a multitude of such citizens, who oppose the valuable, definitional, democratic institution of the popular vote, and lemming-like, unwittingly, act against their own, ultimate democratic rights.  Frighteningly, many State Legislatures have ominously, and perniciously, passed Statutes, purposed to limiting the votes of members of communities of color, due to their previously, heavy votes for Biden. In the desire for candid empirical analysis, we have previously stated, that a plethora of dumb people is an existential hazard to representative democracy.  It is among such people that conspiracy ideational theories thrive, and “truth” ignored.

[Respect for knowledge and factual truth, retro]: America, eternally priding itself on its enlightenment and accomplishments, has traditionally, exalted intellectual prowess and human advancement to a high plane. The citation of exceptional Americans, Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Thomas Alva Edison, Stephen Hawking, and Jonas Salk, is to select but a modest sample of our Nation’s brilliant scientific minds. In literature, educated citizens have traditionally extolled the abundance of great authors, including, Herman Melville, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Toni Morrison and Ernest Hemmingway. There was then, a shared respect for eclectic knowledge, liberal arts and the humanities, which subjects tend to enhance man’s perspective, as to himself and the world. Serious plays, poetry, essays and other literary creations of aesthetic and informational value, were, beneficially, popular and served to enhance the citizen’s quality of life, and maturity of perception.

[Respect for knowledge and factual truth, now]: It would be an aesthetic falsehood and a stretch of reality, to liken the contemporary period, to that of the described, recent past. In the mundane lives of a vast number of uneducated and ill-informed members of our national population, aspiration to the goals of enlightenment and wisdom, is either, limited or completely, non-existent. The existence of empirically truthful facts, in fact, truth itself, among that population, is not, ultimately and appropriately, decisive, when compared to subjective, self-interested, fantasy. The governmental patent for societal depravity, deservedly, should be granted to Donald J. Trump, who is universally credited, among a plethora of other harmful traits, for his serial mendacity, his disparagement of “truth,” and the new tactical institution of delusional, “alternate” facts.

Education, research, art, the humanities and literary achievement are no longer matters of exalted public interest, due to the influence of Trump, and especially, his ardent supporters, the hordes of undereducated and uninformed citizens. Moreover, in many quarters, conspiratorial ideations gain easy victories over empirical facts. Sad to say, the traditional, mainstream, American citizen, has reason to fear the possible advent of autocracy, as the possible successor to our democratic republic.

The foregoing selected illustrations of representative features of the recent past, and the indicated, factual, comparison with their contemporary context casts considerable doubt on the negative, or derogatory, context, of accusations of “retro” or “old fashioned.”



We have noted that debate on the subject of proper human diet, when it comes to the subject of eating meat, tends to get acrimonious. The arguments, empirically, tend to reside in various contexts, evolutionary, biological and simply ethical. We would like to consider both sides of the issue, as we see them, in an objective, analytic fashion, prior to offering our position, on the sensitive subject.

Arguments for the propriety of eating meat:

  • The natural structure of man’s teeth is demonstrably, omnivorous. There are teeth specialized for eating meat as well as plants.
  • Our bodies produce chemicals designated for, and specialized, in the breakdown and absorption of meat
  • Plants do not provide certain nutrients contained in meat; the latter provides 83% of our protein
  • The farming of vegetarian foodstuffs is responsible for 70% of harmful pesticides and fertilizers and, further, requires deforestation to provide sufficient farmland
  • Meat-eating is a significant part of our culture

Arguments in favor of vegetarianism:

  • Killing animals for food is cruel, atavistic and immoral
  • Necessary protein can be obtained from eating many other foods such as tofu, beans and nuts
  • Eating meat is among the causes of colorectal and other cancers
  • Slaughtering animals for food brutalizes man and diminishes the unique sanctity of life

 This issue is the sole instance in which candor obliges us to admit to a measure of hypocrisy. Despite our eternally consistent opposition to hunting, guns, animal cruelty and abuse, we do confess to eating meat as well as fish, salad and vegetables. However, we have found it, emotionally, and morally, necessary to, for example, consider the quarter of chicken on our dinner plate, alongside the rice and vegetable as ”dinner,” rather than a bird murdered, to satisfy our appetite. Despite our eternal disapproval of duplicity, at times when we eat meat of any kind, we confess to its personally emotional and acceptable identification, as “dinner” or “food.” Absent the utilization of such convenient and accommodating fiction, it would be impossible for us to enjoy any meal containing meat.

We have consistently aspired to avoid hypocrisy, aside from the above singular instance, regarding which we, humbly, confess (mea culpa).



We will candidly confess, that until we heard the irritating, cacophonous, Germanic, sounding, “Trump,” we had optimistically, and perhaps, naively, assumed that American democracy was a permanently installed, planetary fixture. Our firm belief was that, (albeit with some defects, presently in the slow, but steady, process of repair) the Founders’ radical experiment in the Republic had permanently succeeded.

Nevertheless, since the noun, “Democracy,” signifies, rule by the people, it tautologically follows, that the nature and quality of the rule, are dependent upon the nature and quality of the people. The wise admonition of Thomas Jefferson, often quoted by us, declared that for a democracy to succeed, it requires an educated and informed citizenry.  

Simultaneously, with the shocking elevation, of that ignorant, incapable, and systemically immoral, former game show host, and real estate grifter, Donald J. Trump, to the American Presidency, we came to appreciate, with fear and trepidation, the Nation’s vast number of uninformed and unenlightened citizens; and to empirically, observe, that the unhealthy existence of such a vast number of dumb citizens, is ultimately, and predictably, hazardous to the life of our Republican Democracy.

Pursuant to Trump’s directions, (during and following) his single and singular, four-year term of office they, as loyal members of his newly conglomerated cult, reliably, have been, and still are, enthusiastic participants, in the contemporaneous threat to our Republican Democracy. It is pathetically true that they remain completely unaware that such threats, ultimately, have relevance to, and impact on themselves, as well as the mainstream, more enlightened, citizens of the Nation.

Trump, a would-be autocrat, refused to accept his clear defeat, (after his singular, four-year, nightmarish term) and like an autocratic leader, created the “Big Lie,” viz., falsely and tactically, declaring that he was the legitimate winner. This was despite several official audits declaring the fairness of the election and approval of the accuracy of its computation. The vast hordes of Trump cult followers, pursuant to the express invitation by Trump, mounted the infamous 1/6/21 violent insurrection at the Capitol Building, to, stop the declaration by the Electoral College that Trump had lost, and declare, (the autocratic “Big Lie”) the election, fraudulent, and install Trump as winner. The unprecedented revolt failed, but not before until the commission, by the dedicated domestic terrorists, of homicide and grievous injuries and the causation of substantial property damage. The worst damage, however, was to the integrity of the vote, i.e., to definitional democracy itself.

The vast number of witless insurgents, apparently, were, and remain, incapable of understanding that any threat to democracy, incited by the narcissistic want-to-be autocrat, Donald Trump, or themselves, constitutes an effective threat, as well, to themselves. The attack on the democratic vote was, an attack, as well, on their own right to vote, and an invitation to autocracy. The latter, if successful, would significantly, curtail their own personal liberty, freedom and quality of life as American citizens, as well as other Americans. Their insurrection, and other anti-democratic efforts, effectively, are as contrary to their own interests, as it is, unjustly, contrary to the rights of all American citizens. Like lemmings, the unwittingly, loyal Trump acolytes, do not comprehend the danger to their way of life, and liberty, in their suicidal opposition to equality and civil rights and unwitting, self-defeating support of autocracy.  

The harsh facts of the continuing, Covid epidemic, demonstrate the impact of their ignorant opposition to medical science and scientific advancement, by the demonstration of far greater numbers of infection and deaths, among those, thoughtlessly, and loyally, supporting Trump’s claim that the danger of the viral infection was minimal.

The support of right-wing efforts to eliminate government regulations (viz., health, air and drinking water quality,  labor, food, transportation safety) are similarly, contrary to their own personal interest in remaining safe and healthy, by the limitation of unhealthy pollution, and other hazards caused, in aid of profit-seeking, sociopathic industry.

In a Nation, populated, 100% by immigrants and their descendants, only thoughtless, persons with lack of perspective could possibly align themselves with xenophobic opposition to refugee immigration.

An instructive comparison may be derived, between the actions of this underbelly of America, and the courageous Ukrainian defenders of their homeland and its tradition of democracy, against the illegal, and unwarranted attack by the autocratic, Putin and Russia. The leadership of the Ukraine and its citizenry are deserving of kudos for their valiant defense of their National integrity and its democratic way of life. Whatever the result of the wrongful incursion and the admirable defense, at the time of this writing, the big, powerful Russia has been halted in its military tracks, by the dedicated defenders of the Ukraine and Ukrainian democracy. We are hoping that this wrongful war will end soon and victoriously, for the defenders.

The unwarranted, siege of Ukraine by, Putin’s Russia is a textbook example of an “external” attack by an autocracy on a democracy. Ukraine’s patriotic defenders have proven themselves admirable, in their defensive protection of their homeland and its democracy.

The insidious, “internal” attack on democracy, by America’s unwitting, thoughtless and disgruntled citizens, might indeed, be more difficult to repel. There are individual rights that are capable of perversion, to serve wrongful end, and liberties, capable of being manipulated for reasons, harmful to the continued existence of democracy.

It is a matter of profound injustice, that the mainstream citizen, appreciative, of his identification as an American, with its plentiful cornucopia of rights and protections, is made to feel threatened, by this large population of inadequately educated, poorly informed (or misinformed) fellow Americans, who lack sufficient perception, to discern the underlying motivation behind the tactical memes of anti-democratic demagogues, and the “alt” facts, of errant politicians.

 Like a misguided and franticly possessed herd of lemmings, they unwittingly, rush to their own, personal disaster, in their suicidal, thoughtless opposition to democracy.