Last week, fifty railroad cars of the Norfolk Southern Railroad derailed, in a fiery crash, in Ohio (near the State line, between Pennsylvania and Ohio). As reported, ten were carrying hazardous, toxic chemicals, which were in imminent danger of exploding. Crews hastily released the toxic chemicals that were in danger of exploding, into the air and began burning them, after the local residents were directed to leave the area, due to the imminent possibility of death.

Although our previous paragraph reads like an excerpt from the (1985) novel “White Noise,” by the post-modern author, Don DeLillo, it is, in reality, a terrifyingly, accurate, summary of that Friday’s news reports. Angrily, we thought of the myriad of vitally, important, governmental safety regulations, consistently, opposed by the Republican right wing and irresponsibly, eliminated by the former President, Donald J.Trump,                                                                                                                                            

The proximate responsibility and attributable guilt, inarguably, lies with America’s political right-wing legislators and politicians; the latter, financed by, anti-regulation, big business which, values profits over human life, and, in our view, may be clinically diagnosable as sociopathic..

It is frustrating and truly infuriating, to continue to observe the malign success that anti-regulation, advocates and lobbyists, have enjoyed, over the years, in tactically inculcating the Nation’s large, populist, constituency, to thoughtlessly and reflexively, respond to the asserted buzzwords, “socialism, or, “socialist” as a ubiquitous, epithet for un-American, or basic evil. Their adopted, classically, dynamic model, for this dynamic, was discovered by a well-known 19th Century Russian scientist who is credited with the developmental understanding of the “conditioned” (or “reflexive”) response to stimuli. In Dr. Pavlov’s, revealing trials, it was the hungry dogs’ response to the ringing of a bell; in the MAGA universe, it is merely the tactical assertion of the buzz- word, “socialism,” to alert the less than adequately, educated, right-wing constituents, to the purported existence of “evil” in what, in reality, are responsible governmental efforts to shield American citizens from harm.

It may be useful to once more, define the meaning and essence of “Socialism.” The latter term is a theory that comprehends the governmental ownership and control of all business and industry. There is not, nor has there ever been, a desire on the part of any American Administration, nor any possibility for the implementation, of such a form (or philosophy) of government.  Yet, bizarrely, the tactical designation of the term, “Socialism,” or “socialist”, is the “dog whistle” or Pavlovian bell, employed to elicit the desired and unfailing, negative response. It should be noted, that, as declared in an earlier essay, (“American Socialism”), it is the programs of compassionate capitalism, in our view, that have constituted the deterrent to any declared, need for an alteration in the form of government.                                                                                                                     

 The plethora of empathic, governmental programs, responsibly, enacted and designed to alleviate the suffering of poor and needy American citizens to be sure, are in no way socialistic. Nor are the many facets of the social security system (in which all conservatives, happily participate)  the federal FEMA programs of flood, tornado, earthquake, flood and forest fire relief,  postal and governmental health agencies, metrological and environmental agencies. Conservative politicians, self-interestedly, in acceding to the interest of anti-regulation, big business, shamelessly, and dutifully, assert that the prudent and responsible imposition of regulations, providing for the safety of transport such as mechanical efficacy, speed limits, safety at train crossings, transport of hazardous materials in close proximity to human habitation, and the like, are “socialism” (and ipso facto, bad);  however, the enormous cost to the governmental treasury, in restoration of the substantial damage caused by the catastrophe, which occurred, due to by the lack of application of relevant, prudent government regulations, regarding use and mechanical acceptability, is not. The tragic loss of life and health caused, on the date of the crash, by reason of the hazmat release has medically, been predicted to be exacerbated in the future.

Nor are regulations as insuring the purity of water, safety and effectiveness of medication, healthiness of food, safe and humane working conditions, safety of automobiles, roads, highways and bridges, air travel and too many other protective measures to enumerate, instances of the “dreaded” socialism.  

It would inarguably, appear that the greatest danger to the existence of a democratic Nation, is that of the grave misfortune of having a large, population of under-educated and poorly informed citizens.



Blogpost # 891         REMEMBERING CONVERSATION: An Elegiac Tribute

There are certain conventionally, predictable and appropriate remarks, made on the sad and memorable occasion of the death of a dearly respected, friend or relative. Often thought and articulated at such times, is a wistful, inquiry, by the present survivors, of the deceased, on whose life he has had a significant impact, as to the quality and nature of life in the absence of such an incomparable person.

However, our presented sad and commemorative tribute, is not, dedicated to any recently, expired human being, but, dolefully, to the worrisome, departure of the aged, but existential, societal institution of interactive conversation (N.B., as distinguished from “talk”). The latter had functionally, performed the foundational role of a vital societal, epoxy, and, as well, by virtue of its definitional, interactive nature, informed the ultimate necessity of defining one’s self-image.

It was, during its remarkable, longevity, referred to as the “art of conversation,” with good reason. The intrinsic feeling of acknowledged, mutual acceptability, and commonality of interest, outweighed any felt differences, inherent in the most controversial of issues. Conversations between academically, oriented, individuals, were useful, provocative exchanges on subjects of mutually, dedicated interest and conceivably, could delimit, as relevant, insufficiently, examined, or, stagnant, assumptions or preoccupation.   In all such events, each conversant was pleased with the recognition of his academic status, and the mutual, affirmation of the jointly recognized, significance of the chosen subject of study.

In the case of standard, social or informational conversation, the parties, eternally, accrued the salutary, reaffirmation of identity and relationship, as well as the mutuality of their concerns, or points of view. In our view, personal conversation, per se, might have less significance than its consequential benefits, regarding the reassurance of mutually, perceived, relationship and commonality of concern.

In sum, personal conversation, in our view, is far more societally, vital than admittedly, enjoyable and informative; it occupies the office, in effect, of an existential, and comforting, mutual reaffirmation of the stability of the parties’ inter-active identity and the continued existence of a familiar relationship.

Assuming, thematically, the analytic role of a (literary) medical examiner, we are able to discern three relevant causes of death, (1) the popular, but ill-considered, choice of the minimally, communicative cell phone ( viz., the solo transmission of digital signals through a hand-held device, to be viewed at some indeterminate time in the future, in lieu of humanistic, expressive, and responsive interaction), (2) The  Covid pandemic’s, prophylactic mandate to refrain from socialization, and, (3) The long-standing, populist, trend to prefer ephemeral and trivial entertainment, to the exclusion of the many salubrious benefits, ultimately, derived from reading of good literature and interest in the arts and sciences, including, insight into oneself and others, and mature perspective.

It may, empirically, be said, that an individual’s limited awareness of his (inner) self, and, notably, the world around him, predictably, ensures a lifetime of ignorance, insecurity and protective (at times, defiant) insularity. It is such limited people who are especially vulnerable to toxic demagogues and purveyors of false conspiratorial ideation. However, this latter subject is extraneous to our present theme and has been discussed, at length, in previous essays. Nevertheless, it is conceivable,  contextually, that, if informative, enriching and uplifting conversation, were made available, and experienced, such limited perspective might be broadened.

The demise of conversation and its consistent and dynamic assurance of shared, mutual existence, has resulted in the atavistic, coarsening of society. The resultant feelings of isolation, diminution of mutually accepted membership in, and corresponding, responsibility to, society, have existentially, challenged the universally exigent, concept of moral compass, the existence of humanistic empathy and rational respect for truth and justice; just as it has, simultaneously, exacerbated, dividedness, fear and insecurity.  The media has already reported on an unprecedented, rise in mental illness, most particularly, depression and suicide among the disoriented, young. The undesirable impact can, further, be easily, discerned, in the observation of our growing hordes of populist, right-wing constituents, ranging, respectively, from the herd of feckless and useless, lemmings, to their devotedly, worshipped, Zeus-like, brazen and ego-centric, ignoramus, former President, Donald J. Trump.

It is with an almost, over-powering sorrow and societal regret, that we render our post-mortem homage to the memorable and existentially, vital, social institution of human conversation. Nevertheless, in keeping with our innate and persistent optimism, we are resolved to persist in the hope for its secular resurrection.


 Blogpost # 890 BURDENS: Editorial

From a 21st Century perspective, it would appear an insurmountable, aspiration to seek to exceed, or, even, attempt to replicate, the hubris, implicit in the vain, sacrosanct, English Victorian (Age) delusion, that it was, the innate, “White Man’s Burden” [Kipling] to evangelize and thereby, “civilize,” the diverse, non-white peoples, inhabiting the Nations, (Colonies) then flying the English flag (courtesy of the superiority of the English Royal Navy). The era’s shameful, injustice, tragedy and human suffering, brought about by this singular dedication (candidly, an apparent, rationale for slavery) can be, accessibly, observed in the written European history, and in relevant, art, novels, drama, and painting.

On the other side of the Atlantic, many peoples of color, having been, forcibly and inhumanely, abducted from their homes on the continent of Africa, to be commercial, exploited as lifelong, farm chattels. This shamefully, cruel practice, albeit, condoned in the King James Bible,  was, by contrast,  here, not morally and  tactfully rationalized as, having  evangelical, and, ultimately, beneficial, purpose. Such inhuman practice was concededly, commercial and entrepreneurial, and rendered especially, profitable, for white, southern plantation owners, by the advent of the “Whitney Cotton Gin.” Such slaves were legally, accorded the status, of inanimate, farm equipment, and so regarded. [Dred Scott case-SCOTUS-J. Taney]. In plantation scale cotton, apparently, there existed no needful, self-serving, evangelical, rationale of “saving souls.”

It required a tragic Civil War, followed by a traumatic National, “Reconstruction Period,” to adjudge slavery “illegal.”  Nevertheless, disappointingly, the American promise of universal equality to the freed black slaves and their progeny, to date, shockingly, has still not, been fully effectuated. Despite the relevant provisions of the United States Constitution, judicially determined, to be  applicable to all citizens (i.e., inclusive of people of color), the passage of numerous  Civil Rights Statutes, Federal and State, and a plethora of legal precedent,  legally, confirming  such  equality, many white American citizens, atavistically, and persistently, still, adamantly, refuse to acknowledge  America’s foundational, principle of universal equality, as applicable to black Americans.

The historical consequence of the above failure, has proximately, led to an inequitable, and unjust, sociological, or societal phenomenon, the nature of which, has observably, been termed, “white privilege.” The latter term refers to the myriad of ubiquitously, imposed difficulties and roadblocks, experienced by black, as distinguished from white, citizens. Empirical examples of such, inequitable and illegal impediments, are observed in notoriously, biased, arenas, including, employment, wages, housing, financial matters (viz., mortgages and finance applications), health care, membership in social clubs, treatment by the criminal justice system, access to higher education, voter interference, residential proscription and, on occasion, pricing.

Most mainstream American citizens, consistent with their acceptance of the fundamental, democratic premises of their Nation’s Founders, favor universal equality, on moral and constitutional grounds, and ardently, oppose discrimination. Yet, they find themselves, presently, opposed by a large horde of National bigots, supplemented, by former President, Donald J. Trump’s, underbelly, cult, of lemming-like, MAGA- inspired miscreants. The latter horde of atavistic and anti-democratic, citizens, inclusive of the many fascistic, National White Christian Militia gangs, seem to eschew no action, perceived, by them to be in support of their bigoted, autocratic pretentions, even violent insurrection.

To be clear, we, in the interest of contextual, emphasis and clarity of message, have begun this writing with a reference to the spurious, Victorian Age evangelical theory, subjectively and arrogantly, ascribed the euphemistic, name, “White Man’s Burden,” and its  utilization as a self-serving, euphemism, for the conquest, plunder and the domination of non-European people with darker than white skins. By moral contrast the dynamics of our present theme and conception, of perceived, general responsibility (as opposed to an inherent, “burden”) is the conception sought to be expressed. One, moreover, founded upon a  common, implicit, recognition of universal, secular morality, humanism and fairness, as opposed to one, justified by the arrogant presumption of Victorian, National and religious, ethnocentrism. An entire universe of difference, additionally and notably, exists, in that the selected, targets of such principled mission of promoting ethical American humanism and universal equality, are the recognizably, misguided and ignorant members of our very own American ethnic society.

The contemporary, white, American citizen, inarguably, can candidly, state that he may, justifiably, elect to assert his personal freedom of conscience, temporally, regarding any possible participation in the previous decades of slavery. However, believers in the traditional American promise, who share the aspiration for a strong and enduring, democracy and its implicit promise of universal equality, arguably, should have the will to accept the moral obligation (burden?) to eliminate prejudicial bias, and thereby achieve justice and strengthen the Nation. To be clear, we refer, only to one’s felt, moral obligation and not the purported, demands of an innate or religious “burden.”

We are of the confident opinion, that the salient reason that progress in the movement for racial equality has been slow in its achievement of progress to date, is the illogical and impractical assumption that the task of reforming the hateful bigotry, stemming from the ugly blemish of past enslavement of human beings in American history is, principally, the responsibility of the victim i.e., the progeny of the formerly enslaved, (farm chattel). For the sake of discussion, despite the differences in factual context, would the hapless victim of violent act of rape, be properly, assigned the societal responsibility of dealing with the rapist, or, pragmatically, should a Jewish survivor of a WW2 German Death Camp, be rationally assigned the duty of meting out plain justice to the Commandant of his former Death Camp?

We do not purport, to maintain that the Black American citizen, alone, is unable to carry on the good work of the Civil Rights Movement. There have been uncountable numbers of well-known, heroic and nameless advocates for racial equality (N.B, black and white). What we sincerely, do maintain, is that the morally inspired, white American citizen, appropriately, needs to actively, increase his dedication, personal efforts and participation in this essential, American effort, towards true and universal equity, and a truly just, and enduring, democratic republic.


Blogpost #889 HERE AND THERE

With the advent of modern high-performance space telescopes (viz., Hubble, Compton, Spitzer), man has discovered, what appears to be an infinitely, endless, Outer Space, composed of innumerable, vast  galaxies, so remote from planet, Earth, that distances  are mathematically calculated in thousands of “light years.” We have come to realize, that our expansive solar system, is relatively, miniscule, in comparison with the size of the partly observed, Universe; which, itself, seems to be but a part of an unimaginably, awesome, Multiverse. The recitation of physical factors, such as distances, dimensions and other such features, set forth in scientific articles, in this context, is so extravagantly, awesome, that, with a baseline of empirical knowledge, merely garnered from life on this terrestrial planet, one cannot begin to rationally, comprehend, or even, imagine, the indicated distances.

Since man’s knowledge is exclusively, acquired by his empirical experience, [John Locke], it follows, that he is not, experientially, nor, potentially, capable, of the appreciation or comprehension of such vast, outer space dimensional concepts. It would appear, that the “sentient,” Homo sapiens, was relegated or, limited, to the contemplation of terrestrial, matters. The realization that humankind’s capability to live by reason (those humans that extol and employ reason) appears to be handicapped by his limited, earthly thought (and experience), perhaps, describable as “earth-centric,” caused us to deem it appropriate and relevant to rethink the subject of human epistemology. We suddenly, realized that Locke’s empiricism, logically, can be applicable and relevant, only to man’s life experience on earth and further, if there are alternate, objective, sources of understanding, scientific, or otherwise, man has been remiss in their attempted application.

Humankind’s, apparently, earth-centric and consequently, limited, quest for wisdom and enlightenment, entails the eternally, ubiquitous construct of question and answer. The foundational, underlying, premise of the rational and empirical method of seeking information, by the initial imposition of the relevant question, is logical and ultimately, useful, in matters, empirically, accessible, by way of earthly inquiry. Logic, mathematics, experience, and reference to experts or reference material on the subject are among the useful ways of attaining the determination of questions, or, solution of problems.

Mankind, in its contemporary, confrontation by questions which are not capable of empirical, answers regarding, non- earthly, matters, historically, had, traditionally, turned to religious dogma, for answers. The institution of Religion has always been an important and comforting, fixture in Man’s society. But religion is not factual, and has, inappropriately, been, used, to fill in the blanks, where empirical inquiry lacked desired answers. We are told that the Earth and its flora and fauna were created by an “omnipotent” God in six days, such an “omnipotent” creator, inconsistently, requiring the seventh day to “rest.” Scientific research, instead, universally, dates the age of the Earth at upwards of 4,400,000 years. Prior to Copernicus, religion stated that, since man is at the center of the Universe (concluded, prior to the-Hubbell telescope) the Moon orbits around the Earth. History shows that heretics were dealt with death, torture, or imprisonment.

The theme and context, of this writing, are not the hapless, criticism of Religion, but rather the debunking of the confident, aphorismic assertion, that, for every question, there somewhere, or somehow, exists an answer. Such traditional, and currently, outmoded, assumption, in our present view, appears, to be a clear manifestation of the egoistic inclination of an arrogant, Homo sapiens; the latter, an admitted, “sentient,” (but limited) marvel, of Charles Darwin’s, “Natural Selection.”

Some fundamental, non-empirical, questions, like the origin and nature of the immense, Universe, inclusive of our Solar system, and the unfailing, energy source for Earth’s gravity, should comfortably, remain, acceptably, factual, without the empirical, availability, or, the neurotically and arrogantly, asserted, necessity, of explanation or answer.


Blogpost # 888                                              FOXES IN THE HENHOUSE

George Santayana is generally given credit for the well-used phrase, “Those who neglect history are doomed to repeat it.” However, we prefer, the statement, to the same effect, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, adored by statesmen, philosophers and divines.”

In a recent essay, “The Cain Progeny,” [Blogpost # 886] we dealt with the universal, two-sided persona of humankind, at once, moral, humanistic and empathetic, at another setting or time, fascistic and inhumane. The writing made reference to the fortuitous election to the Nation’s Presidency, of people such as Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama, and, by contrast, the disastrous elevation to the Oval Office, of Donald J. Trump; the latter, seen by most mainstream, traditional American citizens as completely lacking in moral compass, and historically, the least capable of the Nation’s Chief Executives. The persona of Donald J. Trump, has, by academic experts, indeed, been likened to, a political and egocentric reprise of Adolph Hitler. Like the latter, Trump and his substantial horde of followers, concernedly, have been and still are, an existential, threat to republican democracy, analogous to Hitler’s destruction of the democratic, Weimar Republic in the 1930s. Trump has followed the autocratic-fascistic, playbook, in his, “Big Lie,” i.e., failure to concede his election loss to Biden, his deprecation of factual truth, derogation of the media, bigotry, deceit and unchecked, immoral self-interest. His cultish followers, despite his two impeachments and criminal behavior, nevertheless, urge him to run again for the American Presidency. Should their aberrant wish be granted, one might, conceivably, doubt the survival of our republican democracy.

The extant, empirical accessibility of such aberrant and incapable individuals such, as Donald J. Trump, to run for the Office of the American Presidency, is the thematic foundation for this essay. Yet, while Trump, in our estimation, is deserving of the blue ribbon for incompetence in office and immorality, our readings of American History, advise us that he was not the only flawed Chief Executive. We would, accordingly, ask, should any, desirous populist candidate, regardless of persona and capability, responsibly, be deemed, eligible? Isn’t past experience educative, as wisely, suggested by Santayana and Emerson?

It seems incredible to comprehend our extant, bizarre, state of affairs in which an applicant for an everyday job, viz., as a draftsman or an insurance salesman, as examples, must undergo, a preliminary interview and, successfully be adjudged as qualified, as a mandatory, prerequisite to his employment, but not the leader of the most powerful Nation on the planet.

What we would, beneficially,, suggest is that a bi-partisan or non-partisan, panel of competent experts, derived from politics and academia, thoroughly vet all aspirants for nomination for the Presidency (and, perhaps, as well, other high office), psychologically, educationally and experientially, to determine, his or her fitness (including nuanced, persona) and competence, should such aspirant for office, be nominated and successfully, elected. we would, additionally, and emphatically, urge that among the grounds for disqualification to run for office, should be the proven record of the particular aspirant for candidacy as having, at any time, been an “election denier,” regarding an election result which has been certified, as accurate and fairly conducted.  

Our Nation, must never again, be subject to an election by democratic means, of a would-be, autocrat, whose nefarious goal is to undermine that (our) democracy, like a predatory fox in a henhouse.


Post #887 TRUE LOVE AND BULBS (A Valentine’s Day Reprise)*

Caution, dear reader, brace yourself. In a few days, the perennial tsunami, appearing every February 14, will predictably reassert itself, in all its traditional force. The sole fans of the feared flooding are the usual suspects, the greeting card companies, the chocolate manufacturers, the florists, the retail jewelry businesses, the pajama industry and the novelty sales folk. The expected high tide of the Valentine’s Day inundation, judging by previous experience, will submerge all land masses, human population and baffle all reason. Among other phenomena, the advertising industry will publish a stage 4 hurricane of notices, featuring photo-shopped, seemingly amorous couples, in intimate proximity, to their highlighted sales merchandise.

Since (mercifully) this holiday has only a short half-life, one day, the need for effective, sales propaganda becomes urgent. Unaccountably huge profits are earned by companies who, presumptuously, maintain that there is a realistic (and commercial) need to supplement the interaction of couples, who love one another, with their manufactured paraphernalia. Greeting card companies are especially guilty of this self-serving assumption and hire distinguished “poets” to create trite doggerel, consisting of inane expressions of love and fidelity, for the thousands of presumably, aphasic, anonymous consumers.

The most objectionable of the various Valentine’s Day symbols is the trite, red valentine “heart,” an outmoded and retro- configuration, broadcast without relief; on all holiday products, greeting cards, gift wrapping paper, stuffed toys, pillows and candy boxes. This stale symbol is glaringly imprinted on all items for sale on Valentine’s Day, as well as on the consumer’s mind, by some Manchurian Candidate type, propaganda.

Various research people [ who apparently have no more pressing fields of inquiry for the employment of their Ph.D. acumen] have uniformly reported that the classic red symbol is derived from an early, incorrect understanding, by [no less than] Galen and Aristotle, who believed that the heart contained only three chambers. [It may be noted, that Dr. Galen and Mr. Aristotle were, innovatively, accurate on many other subjects]

The valentine depiction of the human heart, maintains the very same proportionate degree of accuracy, as a wood duck, in appearance, bears to a moose. Nevertheless, it has, over the ages, been foisted upon, and willingly accepted, by the consuming public.

In truth, the human heart is shaped like a pear and is the approximate size of a man’s fist. This life-or-death chest muscle is taxed with the existential job of circulating blood and oxygen throughout the body. It has no time, or noticeable inclination, for holiday Hallmark sales propaganda, as the purported source of love, courage, strength or kindness. The statement, “He has a good heart” should be reserved, solely to a positive determination by a cardiologist, and not a comment on such traits as a person’s, love, generosity or empathy. We are only concerned with cardiologists and not “cardeologists.” How would you value a positive comment on generosity, like, “He has good kidneys.”

It is certainly inarguable that all human thought and emotion are exclusively functions of the brain and, empirically, not the traditionally romanticized heart muscle. Admittedly, however, it would be impractical to artistically create a brain-shaped cartoon figure to serve as a symbol of the holiday.

The senseless valentine “heart” is best replaced by a preferable love symbol, the unique and marvelous tulip bulb. Certainly, the outline of the traditional bulb is simple to replicate, artistically. More important, the bulb has always been a reliable symbol of future growth and predictable beauty. Relative to the modern conception of true and healthy love, the tulip bulb is independent and self-sustaining, having within its inner self a sufficient systemic source of future nourishment as well as the natural ability and inclination for growth and the achievement of its innate potential.

The tulip bulb, in the Middle Ages, was thought to be magical and priceless. There are historical records of its individual sale for the modern equivalent of several thousand dollars. If you should offer one to him/her and it is refused, we earnestly suggest that you look elsewhere.


Why should it be necessary to dedicate a one-day holiday in recognition and expression of love; and, further, to do so by trite gifts of holiday nonsense? Love, where it is genuine, is experienced on a regular basis, and expressed in tender interaction and caring, personal acts. This one-day holiday is sadly comparable to gifts of free turkey dinners on Thanksgiving to the needy. Hunger exists year-round and the poor and unfortunate need more than a gratuitous symbol.

* perennial message



We are candidly, obliged to confess that, despite our lifetime of deliberation, we have not been, even minimally successful, in our attempts to comprehend the arcane nature and parameters of the human persona or psyche. Such analysis, if such were, indeed, possible, would enable the useful comprehension of human dynamics and its predictable, responses to the varieties of experience. We, inconsistently, observe the best in Man, by his demonstrated, laudable behavior, as well as his contrary, pernicious inclinations. Such inability to rationally, describe a stereotypic human psyche, is disappointing and unsettling since the same prevents the establishment of an empirical, guidepost, appropriate to the establishment of relevant, empirical policy.

The above conundrum may be adequately, demonstrated, by a few, representative, examples of such fundamental, contextual, human inconsistency.  In keeping with the theme of this essay, we see, as a  conceivable, possibility, that the ancient scribes who composed the Biblical chapter, “Genesis,” were, albeit, in that early era, empirically, aware of Man’s duality, by their symbolic creation of Adam’s sons, Abel (goodness) and Cain (evil). In the modern era, the literary provenance for such duality, is illustrated in such novels as, Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and Herman Hesse’s “Siddhartha.”

On a recent occasion, we viewed, two television, videos, respectively, concerning the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich and on the Auschwitz Death Camp. To, narrowly judge the population of Germany, by these historically atrocious events would be to irretrievably, condemn that Nation, as barbarous, cruel and psychopathic. A country of highly educated, cultured and aesthetic people, including Beethoven, Brahms, Rilke, Goethe, and Hesse, somehow, perversely celebrated, with passionate love and loyalty, the destruction of the democratic, Weimar Republic and the ascendency of a demagogic tyrant and the factory style, programmatic, murderer of six million European. Jews. The World saw the ugly morphing of a National Abel to a Cain of monstrous and inconceivable proportion.

Today’s German Republic, by observable, contrast, is, and has been for decades,  an inarguably, free, democratic and admirable Nation, a strategic partner to the United States, a  member of N.A.T.O, and a signer to the Paris environmental Accords. Its official, public, programs of remembrance and apology for the Holocaust, exceed in number and effectiveness, any and all other National programs on the subject. Anti-Semitism has long been declared, illegal in Germany, and in contrast with the United States, there exists in that country, adequate and enforceable, gun control regulations.

In our own Nation, we are able to see the contextual, dichotomy, as between the belief in rational, democratic and inclusive, rule, simultaneously, with misguided and immoral efforts to destroy the democratic republic, in favor of (a suicidal slide to) autocracy. We would, demonstrably, make reference, to the reprehensible, anti-democratic, existence of Christian White Militias, Trump his MAGA, reprobates, the horrendous, occurrence of the Washington D.C. insurrection and the persistence of racial and religious bias.

On the positive side, we can, happily, cite major U.S. governmental and mainstream citizen efforts, to achieve universal equality, America’s continued, support for the United Nations, and for peace, its efforts to improve the environment, including the existential effort to ameliorate global warming, by the development of, non-polluting, natural sources of energy, governmental and mainstream citizen, recognition of equal, citizen rights, as stated, in the First Amendment to the Constitution, scientific efforts to prevent and cure disease,  governmental, concern and assistance to needy citizens, citizen volunteer services in  National and International, National disasters and, markedly, a contextually revealing, empathic concern, for the Nation’s domestic animals, (ASPCA).

We will candidly, admit our inability to explain said themed, material dichotomy of the human spirit. Nevertheless, we have made the emotionally, ameliorative decision, to eternally, maintain, the recognition of Man’s, creditably, moral and humanistic qualities, in our attempts to mitigate the angst caused by Man’s inclination to travel the “Cain” route.

Nevertheless, in addition to the singular nightmare, of Hitler’s Germany, we are unable to assuage, our profound, stomach-churning, disgust, regarding two distinct, uncomfortably, memorable, matters: (1) Donald Trump’s televised, comedic and heartless, confrontational, mimicking of a reporter with observable symptoms of cerebral palsy, and, (2) in light of the plethora of mortal shootings of young children, at schools, parks and other places of assembly, the perverse, election, of certain Members of Congress, to wear on their lapel, decorative pins, representative of the automatic weapons, employed in effecting such lifelong, heartache and loss. Some characterological behaviors should neither, be forgotten nor forgiven.


*[Apologies for the title to Herman Wouk, author of “The Caine Mutiny.”]


In January, the United States intelligence services spied a large, white-colored balloon, hovering over the territory of the U.S., apparently, having entered by way of the Aleutian Islands, Canada, and then Idaho. The high altitude, guided, object, was identified and, as will be described, below, timely, dispatched over the Atlantic Ocean, off the Coast of South Carolina.

This writing is not intended to concern itself, as much, with China’s inarguably, improper incursion over, and trespass on. the airspace of the United States, nor the presumably, ongoing, mutual programs of spying between the two involved Nations (and others) as it does, with the telling right-wing, Republican, perception and response to the event.

It has been universally, noted, that the contemporaneous, iteration of the Republican Party, has not, as is appropriate, in a constitutional, two-party political system, engaged in the duty to responsibly, champion political and social policy, deemed preferable, to the tenets of the other party. In fact, it has been empirically, observed that the members of said party have refrained from the establishment of any proffered policies at all. The sole preoccupation has appeared to be, the respective, perpetuation of their respective political office, by the censure of  Democratic opponents, most particularly, President Biden, by any means, conceivable, ranging from subjectively, created perception to paranoid conspiracy ideation. In the dystopian, political MAGA (Trump) world, “facts” are not respected for their informing, and useful, accuracy, but, conversely, for their political, utility.

House and Senate Republicans, catering to their large, submissive, population of irresponsible, MAGA adherents, expended little time, or personal concern, regarding the serious, National implications of the recent, dangerously, aggressive, incursion into the United States air space, by Communist China. Instead, they reflexively sought to excoriate the Democrats particularly President Joe Biden, for his allegedly, prolonged inaction, in informing the American population and asserted delay in shooting down the Chinese spy balloon. It may be recalled that Biden was reflexively, blamed for America’s high price of gasoline and for the Nation’s general inflation. The army of, uninformed, and/ or cynical Republican critics, expended little thought, on the concomitant existence, of the state of general inflation on a worldwide nature, inclusive of the (worldwide) increase in the price of fuel. It is also, a matter of unfathomable, mystery as to the purported, attributed influence, of the American Presidency, upon the elements of cost, refinement and delivery of Middle East oil.

Senator Marco Rubio, for example, was among the partisan, outspoken Republican critics, who, in their pious, devotion to the imperial, NRA, and demonstrated, fraternity with America’s shameful, inventory of devoted, gun-toting, sycophants, complained that the offending balloon should have been shot down, immediately, and not, as, irresponsibly, maintained, delayed.

The well-worn, process of blaming President Biden for matters, over which he has, as President, little or no control, was memorably experienced in the Nation’s long overdue, withdrawal from Afghanistan, the brainchild of Republican, President, George W. Bush. Such withdrawal was promised by several U.S. Presidents, but, finally and dutifully, accomplished by Biden, who, was blamed for the ungraceful withdrawal; the latter, an, assured and inevitable result for any of the previous Presidents, had they kept their promise to withdraw from that problematic Nation, historically, termed, “The graveyard of Empires.”

The objective facts, of the relevant matter, indisputably, indicate that President Biden, being, seasonably, apprised of the offending spy balloon, immediately, consulted with his military and other relevant experts. The elected decision was,  in the interest of prudence and compassion, to wait until the same floated over the Atlantic Ocean, toward which it was steadily heading, before shooting it down, to avoid injury to American citizens, from the thousands of pounds of fallen debris. Biden’s critics should find no error in such a wise and humanistic decision. Nonetheless, Republican partisan politics, in recent years, appear not to be constrained by the existence of inconvenient, facts, nor considerations of citizen empathy.


Post # 584 BENEATH THE BLUE AGERATUM [reprise]

The soil curates small slips of man
His life, his work, his resume
The petit detritus of his life
A library of tales, again retold.
No need to search with system code
Items are best secured by chance
With lucky use of spade and rake
Close searched where man did live and die
A rusty nail, a piece of tool
Both witnesses to man’s resolve
To raise a shelter for repose.
A fragment of a printed page,
Reveals a ken that there’s yet more.
Old cans and jars and rusty spoons,
Betoken, victory over want,
And man’s resolve to live out life.
The grassy fields perforce are doors,
Enclosing bits of lives past lived—
Far warmer than some research “App.”
With cold results in digit code!

Leonard N. Shapiro, N.Y. 9/1/16


Post #823 Ragtime Reprise

It seems that when we reach our later years and are obliged to finally confess, that we are well into that stage of life, commonly termed, “growing old,” that we are, at times, confronted with the return of long-term memories, concerning singularly meaningful experiences in our past life; perhaps, a spontaneous projection of the stage- setting of a period of residence, in our very early life, the sound of a forgotten voice, or perhaps, a remembered scent (like ocean air, or a cooked food) suddenly recalled, after a veritable lifetime of subsequent experiences.

Such a sudden, recent memory visitation, was apparently triggered in us, by the mere encountering of the mundane verb, “crochet,” which appeared on the page of a novel we were reading. The word was not, in truth, used in any complex, metaphoric, meaningful or especially artistic sense; just the normal, unexciting and mundane word. At first, our lowering of the book and looking away felt unusual; then, a sudden eclat, “Mom!”

Our mother knew how to crochet and managed to be rather accomplished at her often practiced skill, despite the lack of a right index finger (amputated in the “dark ages” of medical ignorance of the White Russia of her childhood, in primitive manner, to prevent the spread of infection.) Crocheting was a common pastime when she was not cleaning house, cooking meals, tending to sick children or food shopping.

Historically, she may, perhaps, be entitled to be numbered among the world’s original recyclers; but truthfully, only did so, as a matter of necessity.  In the impoverished life, endured, together with her hard working, immigrant husband, and children, seldom was anything actually discarded, if it could be seen to have some other function, or some future possible utility.

Among our earliest memories, was of mother, actively tearing long, thin strips of cloth, from clothing and other fabrics, the latter, finally consigned to the dire functional diagnosis as no longer repairable, and, consequently, and at long last, falling into the rarified scientific category of “schmattas.” There was no limit to the wide provenance of these residual schmattas, old washclothes, towels, pants, undergarments, very torn sweaters, ancient shirts, blouses, dresses and whatever deserving fabric which, at long last, had fairly earned the right to meet its maker.

We would see her, in any break from housecleaning, cooking meals, nursing sick children, and the like, crocheting these substantial, multi- colored, multi-textured, accumulations of ancient family utility. Her recognized artisinal canon was area rugs, which  multi-splendored, objets d’art, kept our bare (or stockinged) feet warm, despite a cold flat and cold floor.

Then, a second lightening bolt (“eclat”)  struck; this time, a truly inventive, exciting and more scholarly eclat; as distinguished from the emotional jolt, set forth, above.

These cloth strips, torn from fabrics, used during the time of her family history, starting with her emigration to America, represent a witness, going back to the time of her escape from pogrom country and the Russian dark ages, though an American period, from Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt to John Kennedy, and encompassing events which occurred during such era, including, World War II, the Korean and Vietnamese Wars,  the exponential changes in technology and medicine, social upheavals and developments, indeed, all of the intervening domestic and World history of the era.

May not these historic strips, albeit arranged and conglomerated into somewhat different form, be of significant academic use to historians, economists and sociologists, studying the life and events of the approximately,  one Century of American existence represented, find a veritable treasure trove of desired information therein? Devoted and capable scientists obtain needed enlightenment from radioactive carbon, from fossils and geological strata, from the study and computation of tree rings, why not schmattas? Mom would be very pleased to know that they have yet another use.