Monthly Archives: March 2018


Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day on the Roman calendar that became known as the “Ides of March.”  It marked the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar and the turning point in Roman history.  It was also a day for the common people to celebrate and feast in honor of the goddess of the year.

We don’t pay much attention to the death of Julius Caesar nowadays, but we mourn the death of civil debate in our national arena.  We have no feast to celebrate the popularity of any current political office holder, but only the bitter taste of discourse so harsh that we turn away in exasperation and disgust.

Donald Trump was duly elected under the existing electoral rules, yet the losing side of voters, politicians and media appear devoted not to accept the electoral outcome but to demean and find some way, anyway to dethrone him.

As a leader and healer, Trump is the elephant-ego who has a derogatory nickname for friend and foe alike.  He contradicts himself regularly and only seems coherent and mentally stable when reading from a teleprompter.

The Democrats, under the hysterical minority leadership of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, don’t bother with too many nicknames, or offer any alternative proposals, but declare every Republican achievement as a total disaster.

With little else to do, they lead the parade of fierce non-Trump voters and the media to trash his every move and desperately search for some way to unseat him.

With all this disharmony, all this name-calling and all this hostile discourse, since the election of Mr. Trump in November of 2016:

  • The economy has grown about 3.2%.
  • The 2017 tax plan appears to be generating positive results in raising wages and creating economic expansion.
  • The unemployment rate is at its lowest point in almost 20 years.
  • Our military has put ISIS on its last legs.
  • The stock market is up almost 25%.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor, black unemployment has fallen to 6.9%, the second lowest number since they’ve been keeping track.
  • The president has agreed to personally meet with Kim Jong Un, the first sitting president to meet with the North Korean leader.

Probably more accomplishments we’ve seen in one year than we’ve seen since Lyndon Johnson.  Not too bad for an unpopular president.

Now for some other things going on.


According to the Anti-Defamation League, incidents of Anti-Semitism surged 57% in the U.S. last year.  This was the largest increase since the ADL started keeping track.

Study:  The U.S. Has the Worst Quality of Life

According to a new study by U.S. News and World Reports, California has the worst quality of life of all 50 states, while North Dakota has the best.  The news magazine looked at each state’s environment, the physical and mental health of its residents, its political activism and its fiscal stability to come to its determination.

The study found the states with the best quality of life are North Dakota, Minnesota , Wisconsin, New Hampshire and South Dakota.

The states with the worst quality of life are California, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois and Texas.

Regardless of the study, I don’t think I’ll move to North Dakota.

Homeless in California

Governor Jerry Brown is entering his final year in public life riding high in opinion polls and generally praised by government officials.  But as the spotlight shifts to a new generation, there has been an increasing focus on the blight of poverty and homelessness under Mr. Brown’s watch—by his fellow Democrats.

Major Eric M. Garcetti of Los Angeles was the latest to weigh in, discussing what he said was the absence of state assistance in helping cities deal with the homeless.  Mr. Garcetti has come under fire for a major homelessness problem in Los Angeles, in a series of editorials in the Los Angeles Times.

“I love this governor—I think he’s done a tremendous job,” Mr. Garcetti said, “but in his last State of the State address, there wasn’t one mention of homelessness.  We need the state to step up.”

At a debate of Democratic candidates looking to succeed Mr. Brown as governor, Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor, spoke of California as a state plagued with high poverty, noting that this has happened as government has been controlled by Democrats.  “This happened on our watch.  We own this.”

One More Time

Mitt Romney is running to be a senator from Utah, which appears to be a platform to run against Trump in 2020.  If he campaigns against Trump like he did against Obama as a well-qualified business and government official who is reluctant to fight back against unfounded personal attacks, he will lose.

Romney will have to applaud the accomplishments of the Trump/Republican administration but say it was time to have a more consistent, less antagonistic and polarizing leader at the helm…and, above all else, he cannot let the personal attacks go by unanswered.

Trade War Coming

In his usual helter-skelter way, President Trump has threatened to impose a 25% tariff on imported steel and 10% on aluminum.  Trump thinks trade wars are easy to win.

The markets aren’t so sure.  Often these raises in tariffs don’t last too long, especially if there is retaliation.  Wars are not always predictable.


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As I approach my 87th year of residence on planet Earth, I find myself thinking a lot about two things:

First, where my appearance first started and how my life grew through childhood, then through the struggles of finding an identity in the work-a-day world into what became an invigorating career as a small business entrepreneur and on into an enjoyable retirement.

Second, my birthday thoughts are about my father and his life.  We’ll get to that shortly.

So now with some fading physical agility, I guess it’s only natural to spend more time looking back.  It’s been a good life, so come along with me as I reminisce.

I was born in the Rockaway Beach Hospital on the southern shore of Long Island, New York.  Two years later, all evidence of that occasion was destroyed when the hospital burnt down.

About that same time, we moved to Jackson Heights, on the north shore of Long Island, where three of my father’s siblings and their families all held forte.

I was an underachieving but passable student in the relative ease of elementary school.  I was average height, but not slim.  When I fell down at about eight or so and broke my collar bone, it became clear I had very poor eyesight.

Although I loved sports, my limited sight kept me from playing baseball or football.  I helped organize and be a manager for our independently organized Spades and the Jr. Dukes.  Couldn’t we have thought of better names?

A basketball was big enough for me to see, but I was mediocre at best.  I had poor stamina; and my shooting was inconsistent at best.  I could pass, but you don’t get points for that.

From about age 11 on, I went to camp every summer—not because my parents could afford it but my mother was the year-round bookkeeper for a camp of 1,000 kids, separated in five age groups, built around a nice large lake in Port Jervis, New York.

Camp was fun over the years.  I was a camper, waiter, dishwasher and a salad chef’s flunky.

High school was kind of an entertaining merry-go-round.  I took up smoking and got involved in student government, but I have no recollection of what the politics were all about.

I failed French I with the textbook my uncle wrote.  My mother was quite upset.  My uncle thought it was a hoot.  The teacher failed me because she said I was cheating by copying from my neighbor’s final exam.  What she didn’t realize is that with my poor eyesight, I could barely see my neighbor’s paper.

So I repeated French I, and then they put me in the French Honor Class, where I sat in the back of the room reading Howard Fast novels.  By the end of French IV, the teacher realized I hadn’t been very attentive so she promoted me, but not in the Honor Class.

By the third day in Mr. Eckstein’s French V class, he said, “What are you doing here?  You don’t have a clue.  So he sent me back to French IV, where I somehow managed to get through the State Regents exam

The rest of high school was mostly uneventful.  I got away with a lot because my brother-in-law’s sister Esther always kept the attendance records (Delaney Cards) and she covered up a lot of my transgressions.  Couldn’t have made it without her!

Moving on to college at the University of Oklahoma was a venture into another culture and a different world.  Instead of moving into a college dorm, I went into an off-campus rooming house (big mistake).  I hung out with a bunch of older veterans, who gave me a different kind of education.  The only part of college life I participated in was the O.U. football games.  That was exciting!

I enrolled in the School of Drama, because I thought I wanted to pursue a career in stage design and lighting.  I had to take some beginning courses in speech and acting with all the young aspiring actors.

To be honest, they were all naïve and terrible.  I, who had no interest in these courses, was the outstanding student—and then Dr. Morteman, who oversaw my area of interest, wanted to know why I wasn’t up at school six days a week instead of going to play basketball or just hanging out.

That kind of settled it.  On to UCONN and a more familiar cultural environment, as well as my immersion with Beta Sigma Gamma I have blogged about several times.

After a crash course one summer in French, I got all the credits I needed for graduation.  The irony was, Professor Croteau, the French teacher, was probably the best teacher I ever had.  He made a year of French fun and a breeze to get through.

All in all, I was not unhappy my school days were over.  So much growing up!

As I have passed into my 80’s, I think of my father a lot and how our lives have been so different.

Through only a high school graduate, he was well-read and far more capable in the work world than he was able to demonstrate or achieve.

At age 87, he had suffered back pain for 30 years or more without the availability I had with pain management and relatively-minor corrective surgery.

For many years, prior to WWII, my father was a printing broker (independent salesman).  He met my mother at a small S&L where she was a clerk.  The war essentially put the printing business on hold.  After that, he had  series of unchallenging jobs, including his last working years with his brother in a small ceramic tile jobbing business.

Different than mine, retirement for him and my mother was not all that happy.  At age 84, he and his wheelchair became residents of a nursing home.

He didn’t write a blog.  All he did was listen to music and the weather.  I watched with great anguish his struggles to open and turn the pages of a newspaper.  I think it was more a symbol than a meaningful reading activity.  I’m starting to have that same difficulty.

Although we shared the discomfort of a bad back, my life has had much more fulfillment.

So that’s my story.  At 87, I have a lot to be thankful for—lots of good friends all over the country; a marriage that works with a partner who has been a traveling co-pilot; two independent kids, successful in their own way; and a lot of great memories.

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