In your Facebook photo
you look like you lost something
but don't know what it is.
I don't remember you
looking like that.…Continue
Homer described laughter as "the celestial joy of the gods after their daily banquet." Darwin said of laughter, "It seems primarily to be the expression of mere joy or happiness. We clearly see this in children at play who are almost incessantly laughing." More recently, Freud thought it's a "cathartic" response to emotional tension. Readers Digest had a column titled: Laughter Is the Best Medicine.
I don't think any of those definitions apply to Dr.…Continue
When you've reached my age,
and know you're a dot,
like the sands of the Ganges,
indistinguishable from innumberable other dots,…Continue
When you know you're a dot,
indistinguishable from trillions of other dots,
tiny, insignificant dots,
it can be hard to …Continue
(The following is a biographical excerpt from my book GROWING UP TOGETHER. It's not in the edition currently circulating, but will be in the next. I publish this on the week my mother died two years ago. Mom would have been 96 on April 2nd. We buried her on her 94th birthday. I think she'd have gotten a kick out of this section. Certainly, she wouldn't have denied it.)
It cannot be said we had a home without strife. There were a number of reasons,…Continue
(The following is from my book, GROWING UP TOGETHER. It isn't in the sample copy currently circulating. I look forward to comments how you envision your soul. Maybe nobody believes they have a soul any longer.)
In my childhood imagination, I envisioned the soul as a piece of cheese, like my father ate with lunch on Saturday. When I broke the commandments in "thought, word, or deed," my soul became covered in a thick, dark mold that was only alleviated when I…Continue
My father was a dirty mic, my mother was a whop, though you didn't want to mess with her, my wife when she was alive was a kraut, but I don't know what she is now. My girl friend looks like a chocolate bunny, but she's really a spic. The frogs never won a war cause they eat snails and drink wine instead of Budweiser. I've known a lot of Jews and camel jockey's going way back, but don't know how they got here. We never had any camels and we could have just imported the bagels. You…Continue
Alan Watts thought he'd be totally forgotten in fifty years. Until his death at age 59 in 1973 he was the most widely known exponent of Eastern religion and thought in the US. He was among the few public intellectuals the country had at the time who didn't come from academia, which is saying something since we have so few.
He was born and raised a Christian in the small town of Chislehurst, Kent in England and for a time was an ordained Episcopalian minister serving as…Continue
The likelihood of war with North Korea increases every day. We know the American fleet is closing in on the area, and rumors have it that troop maneuvers are taking place in Alaska--the nearest land mass.
The reasoning I'm using is based on what we know about the man who has the authority to make that decision. For those who read the remarkable, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, the collection of articles by professionals on his mental condition, he has a…Continue
The following is from a section in my new book, titled Growing Up Together. I introduce readers to Joseph Ellin, my friend who was a philosopher. The quote is taken from Joe's book Morality and the Meaning of Life.
To have meaning in your life requires that you create a meaningful life for yourself through interesting activities; but this is evidently not enough. Unless some morality also enters your life--love, friendship,…Continue
(The following is an excerpt from my new book: Growing Up Together)
Dad taught me never to talk about religion, sex, or politics if you can help it. Of course, those are my favorite topics.
He went to an all boys school and was only taught by Jesuit priests. While he showed allegiance to the Pope, he was more influenced by the "Black Pope," the head of the Jesuit order. In college, he helped found a fraternity…Continue
I live on the intersection between Third Avenue, otherwise known as the Bowery, and E. 10th Street in New York City. I've lived here since 1978 but only learned recently that the Bowery is the oldest street in the city, dating back to the 17th century and before that it was a Native American trail.
Not to be outdone, Tenth Street for centuries was the link between the West side and the East side of the island. Today it's the only side street that goes all the way…Continue
Recent remarks by Tim Wise, a figure known nationally for his views on race, admonishing his audience to "listen" to people from other races is a bit discouraging given experience and the years that have gone by, but not since a president has been elected using racial baiting as a campaign tactic.
It appears we are back to square one and the prognosis is not good. How many outbreaks of racial violence will there be in the "Trump" era? We have no idea what his response will…Continue
From the New York Times, Nov. 29, 2016
By Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States
We do not yet know the policy of the next administration toward Palestine, but we do know the policy of this administration. It has been President Obama's aim to support a negotiated end to the conflict based on two states, living side by side in peace.
That prospect is now in grave doubt. I am convinced that the United States can still…Continue
Robert Gottlieb is a fortunate man who knows it, takes his fair share of credit but doesn't beat his chest.
As an editor at Simon and Schuster in the 50's who "stumbled" into the job (rather than being born into it) educated at Columbia rather than Harvard, he worked his way up the ranks to become editor-in-chief of Knopf--easily one of the most prestigious and profitable publishing houses in the land and then editor of The New Yorker. It doesn't get better…Continue
The following post is written by Eugene Kalin Ph.D. and Melvin Shaw Ph.D.
Why is it possible Donald Trump may become president when it is crystal clear that he is an immoral, self-serving, hypocritical demagogue who lies incessantly and is only interested in exploiting others and generating vile misogyny, racial bigotry and xenophobia? In the process, he has encouraged violence against women, African-Americans and Muslims and has bragged about his…Continue
The model is Brexit. Forty years promoting unification after the worst war in human history didn't matter. The vast majority of the "ruling class" and responsible media were against it. The Prime Minister, a conservative, well liked, staked his career on it. The polls said it was not going to pass. Yet it did.
The latest evaluation is that it was due to voters who rarely if ever voted before. They were "under the radar." The pollsters didn't have access to…Continue
I am an independent. I think it's every person's right to be idealistic and hold out for a better world, even if it means rejecting the "old" one. I'm proud of my daughter for being that way.
My generation started the attitude as it now persists. We said politics is rigged, the system is warped, and all politicians are wicked. The Viet Nam war turned us into a gang of cynics by the age of nineteen.
Then, we watched the likes of Nixon elected, and G. W. Bush, and…Continue
In receiving the National Medal of the Arts from our President Barack Obama this week, director, writer, and actor Mel Brooks at the age of 90ty said: "I'll use it as something to put a hot cup of soup on, so it doesn't burn the table."
In crediting the President for his efforts to honor the nation's diversity, Mr. Brooks, who is Jewish and formerly married to the actress Anne Bancroft, a Roman Catholic (she was Mrs. Robinson in the Graduate among many roles) Mr. Brooks said: …Continue
The writer who most informed me about race was James Baldwin. His theme, repeated often in his books was that racism doesn't morally demean the object of prejudice, it demoralizes and corrupts the racist. To this day, I haven't heard a more accurate description. "Nobody is a villain in their own eyes," he said, yet racism continues to be the primary motivator in American politics.
I believe racism was less understood, however, in Baldwin's day than it is today. Even the…Continue