Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 31, 2011

Is it possible that this could be remembered as the year that wasn't?

After all the upheaval throughout the world caused what seemed like daily tidal waves in our markets, the S&P 500 closed almost exactly where it began 2011.

After all the attempts by the Republican party to undermine the presidency, Obama's approval rating hovers around 50% and those looking to destroy him seem to have done as much damage to themselves.

After all the protests against the 1% and the calls for their undoing, the well-to-do are still doing very well.

After all the turmoil in our economy, the unemployment rate remained relentlessly static.

Yet, while this year concludes, at least statistically unchanged, it was as far from quiet and even as one could imagine. With the Euro-zone in upheaval, with government overthrows demonstrating time and again how elusive fundamental change can be, with the recent death of the North Korean leader and the uncertainty in an uncertain region, with China trying to define itself and its place in a new world order, with our departure from Iraq and a diminishing presence in Afghanistan and with a new disaster, man made or not, always seeming just around the corner, we watched and participated in the unfolding of events that changed the course of our destiny.

Domestically, the President has vowed in 2012 to do what he can to assist the ever shrinking middle class. After a year in which he seemed to be continually on the defensive, struggling at every turn to stop draconian cuts from being enacted, he has abandoned even the pretense of a group dynamic. He has announced that he will act alone in his quest, as he finally responds emphatically to the reality of an immutable and unrelenting opponent. It may not be the most efficient way to govern, but time has demonstrated it is the only viable option.

This is the year we will be subjected to endless rhetoric in the ever expanding election cycle. Accusations and character assassinations will be a constant. And then we will finally make a decision that could lead us into uncharted waters.

Perhaps 2012 will be different. Maybe this will be the time that all the noise, all the confusion, finally starts to dissipate. Maybe this will be the year we will see our world and ourselves with more clarity and comprehension. And maybe we can find a little peace in such unsettled and troubled times.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Other Dowd

There is something extraordinary about the Dowd family tradition ("Kevin Warns Republicans")

First, from my vantage point as a liberal Democrat, Kevin's annual observations are filled with wit, and a rational measure of distance (particularly this year) from the party that he supports. While I find fault with many of his contentions, such as his slap at Eric Holder for dealing with the very real problem of voter suppression, facts do seem to have a place in his universe.

Secondly, it makes reading the NY Times a more intimate experience. When Kevin's name appears on your pages, I feel like I have been invited to sit at the dinner table for the Christmas celebration in the Dowd household.

I thank the doctors who treated Kevin for allowing a Christmas miracle to occur. I wish Kevin continued health and many more years of telling us Democrats what we are doing wrong.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Playing in Endless Loop

 I awoke in the pitch dark, startled and wide awake. In my mind was a single continuous repetitive refrain. It was 1:45 AM.

Earlier in the day I had watched a video from a Columbia University graduate school musical follies production. In it was a brilliant MBA parody of "I Believe" from the "Book of Mormon".  The original  tune was a statement of unquestioned devotion to the Mormon faith. It was evident to me the song about fervor-like belief had limitless alternative possibilities.

Like a record with a broken needle, one stanza kept playing in endless loop. I made my way down the stairs to the computer.

I wrote random words on a piece of paper. The theme, fanatical trust of some Republicans in often ludicrous positions espoused by their chosen, quickly became my focus.

The chorus continued its relentless assault. Several times I tip-toed ever so quietly up the steps, trying to distance myself from the sounds in my head, to no avail.

Night eventually gave way to day and those in the house awakened to the various drafts of my work that I had left for them throughout the very early morning hours.Their criticism was precise and clear. First, I was absolutely insane for losing most of a night's sleep in this undertaking. Further, this was not  remotely near the masterpiece that I had seen through the fog in my head. They were correct on both counts. And that should have been the end of this tale. But it wasn't.

Activity only diluted the ever present noise. At each opportunity  throughout the day I raced to write my edits and additions. And so it continued until bedtime last night. I worried that silence would never again find me.

When I tried to read the paper this morning, the tune still lingered.  I sit here now, having just completed my changes, with a pleading  note to myself, stating this was "Hopefully the final version". I must move on. Work, my family and the mountain beckon. Life is, after all, more than just a song parody. At least that is what "I Believe".

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Fiction of Insurance

She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. My neighbor, who I knew only in passing, had stopped in the lobby of our building to chat with my wife. She was talking of a recent medical treatment as I happened by. She discussed, very matter of factly, that the cost of this care had not been covered by her insurance. That was all the opening I needed to launch into an extended, impassioned dissertation on the fallacy of "protection".

While up to 50 million of our citizens live in the unspeakably inappropriate universe where medical care must be paid for on your own dime, if you have one, the rest of us scramble to find the morsels of protection we have paid enormous sums to obtain.

With the coming of yet another dreaded insurance anniversary, my latest bill recently arrived, containing another double digit increase in my premium. How is it that in my legal practice I find myself almost begging to receive payment of fees that look like I am stuck in the 1970's, but in this alternate reality enormous annual cost escalation is a given? And how  would my clients react if I informed them that with their money they had obtained less than all of my services?

And yet, here, half a loaf is deemed better than none. We speak of deductibles, and co-pays, out of network and uncovered. We don't go to this doctor because he doesn't accept our plan, or worse, doesn't accept any insurance payments.

I read this morning of a nurse who was forced to use whatever power of persuasion she possessed so that a dying woman could receive insurance coverage and appropriate care in the last days of her existence("Looking for a Place to Die"). She wrote in detail of the challenges she faced in making this happen, and the possible truths she was required to invent to make an otherwise square peg fit into a round hole. Which brings me back to my neighbor.

I challenged her, in a rhetorical manner, to advise as to what our dollars really did buy. It was I  emphatically suggested,  merely a security blanket against catastrophe. While many of the everyday costs would fall on our shoulders, and while we would have to fight through mountains of paperwork and rhetoric to try to obtain coverage for this treatment or that, at least in our darkest days, we could be certain that our carrier would be there to comfort and protect.  And then we read stories like the one that this nurse relates, where even then, even when the worst is upon us, even then nothing is clear.

The next time my neighbor sees me coming, she will surely avert her eyes, find something that is of import on the other side of my universe, and head there. For she knows not what might trigger my next discourse on what ails us all. Or what should make us sick, like the fiction of insurance.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yogi Berra and a Game of Chicken

("Republicans in House Reject Deal Extending Payroll Tax Cut")

In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, it is deja vu all over again. Once more we stand on the precipice, as we watch a Republican created disaster unfold. Soon al-Qaeda will have a higher approval rating than Congress.

Is this another debt ceiling debacle in which we will be compelled to listen to an endless supply of right wing fiction before a last minute 'solution' is imposed? The Republican party can't even agree on its own supposedly immutable belief in no tax increases, including no termination of tax cuts. Who knew the Grover Norquist pledge came with caveats?

And the victims, as always, are those who are most vulnerable among us. In a time of such constant crisis, when there are so many in such desperate need, how can the Republicans even contemplate placing them in greater jeopardy? There is no morality in this game they play. It diminishes them, and our country.

Monday, December 19, 2011


"Private Torment Tops Terrorism"-

 I compliment Ms. Stanley for her excellent analysis."Homeland" was thoroughly compelling for its complex conflicted characters. Whereas "24" was driven by contemplated acts of terrorism, here it seemed to be merely background noise. This show felt Shakespearean in its desperation and deceit. And its principals were terrifyingly convincing in struggling with personal and professional demons.  The only bad part about this program is that it is over until next season.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

At the Far End of Life

("Life Goes on and On")

What would Mr. Atlas say to the enormous population who have aging parents in the throes of dementia or Alzheimer's?  Where does one find the joy or benefit in watching the deterioration?

I am troubled as I watch a generation outliving their funds and their fun. For too many, they hang on physically and financially in a world they only see from the periphery. Mr. Atlas is very fortunate that he has a mom who still has the capacity to understand and enjoy what life has to offer.

I hope in the future that we treat the issue of the extension and the concurrent diminution of existence, with the seriousness and respect it deserves. I lost my Dad 32 years ago and I have been forever grateful to have had the love and support of my mom for all this time. Yet for more than half a decade, she has struggled to maintain her ever more tenuous hold on the world. Even now, when I take her to lunch or dinner several times a week, she insists on paying though she can't find her wallet, or read the check, or even cut her food. There is beauty and  tragedy in this ritual, and it is this dichotomy that so many of us fight to understand.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dark Clouds and Silver Linings

This was definitely not a good week for the President. With the expansion of military trials of suspected terrorists, the expedited process for  pipeline approval, the further erosion of health care reform by permitting states more control over the particulars of coverage, and the overruling of the FDA position on access to the morning after pill,  it was but one discouraging event after another. Add in the temporary and tenuous continuation of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, and I find little holiday cheer.  I am a staunch advocate of the President and his policy positions, but I wish I didn't have to keep looking for silver linings in so many dark clouds.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Gift


He had been beaten blind as a puppy. When Mickey entered our lives, his eyes had already been surgically sewn shut.

When we first met, I was struck by how happy and unafraid he seemed. Mickey was then in the foster care of another family. Less than a year old, and only recently removed from his physical and emotional trauma, he showed none of the symptoms one would naturally expect. However, before our family would agree to expand to include Mickey, we had a "test" weekend with him..

He moved about our home, bumping into a chair or a couch, then bumping into it again. But never it seemed quite head on. Always, he exhibited a sense that something was in his way and so he would, even from the first, adjust.

Within what seemed like minutes, he would avoid the chair altogether, and then the couch. You could watch as he memorized his world. And when he moved up or down a flight of stairs, he would go through the same mental exercise. First there were mishaps, but none too great. And then there fewer. And then there were none. And then we adopted him at the end of the weekend. And he adopted us.

Over the next dozen years Mickey became an integral part of who we were. And where ever we were, there was Mickey. His gift produced some amazing results. Once we were visiting friends who had just moved into a new house with a pool. As we gathered for a swim, Mickey was the first in. Not intentionally of course. But, after a few short dips, the dimensions were understood, and for the rest of the day Mickey ran happily in circles around the pool's perimeter.

Through the years our other dog, Shadow, became best of friends with Mickey. A seeing eye dog of sorts. But the truth is, on many of our walks, both of them were off leash and there was really no way to tell which of the dogs was without vision.

Late in Mickey's life, our family circumstances changed and we were forced to find other housing for both dogs. After much searching we located an astounding woman, Shirley, who agreed to take Shadow, at that point old and in the early stages of decline. We were going to have to separate the comrades. A very dear friend had agreed to take on the responsibility of bringing Mickey into his home.

On the day that Shadow was leaving, we brought Mickey along to say his last goodbyes. When we reached Shadow's new residence, we lingered for some time. Mickey roamed through the house and soon was making his way around without any hint of difficulty. Shirley was clearly astounded,  never having met Mickey and being unaware of his amazing capacity. As we were about to go, Shirley asked if we would consider leaving both dogs with her. I went out into her driveway and cried.

 Until Shadow's passing, she and Mickey remained inseparable. After Shadow's death, Shirley continued to give Mickey a wonderful home for the remainder of his life. For, while Mickey had no vision, he had the ability to see the world as few others could. Loving, playful and forever happy, Mickey's early problems left physical scars but what remained was a dog that saw life's path clearly and followed it no matter the obstacles in his way.

Beware the Newt

From the Words of  Wikipedia- Characteristics of the Newt

Many newts produce toxins in their skin secretions as a defense mechanism against predators...newts of ... North America are particularly toxic... The Rough -skinned Newt...produces more than enough tetrodotoxin to kill an adult human  and some Native Americans...used the toxin to poison their enemies... However, the toxins are only dangerous if ingested... and the newts can be safely kept as pets... Most newts can be safely handled , provided that the toxins they produce are not ingested or allowed to come in contact with mucous membranes.. After handling, proper hand-washing techniques should be followed... It is illegal however to handle or disturb Great Crested Newts...

Newts are also very good environmental indicators because of their thin sensitive skin

The main breeding season for newts is between the months of June and July (after courtships of varying complexity) 

Editor's note- The Republican National convention is being held August 27 to August 30 in Tampa, Florida-  after the breeding season has typically ended.

Editor's note- as reported in Medscape Reference, the mortality rate from tetrodotoxin poisoning is approximately 50%... the patients who live through the acute intoxication usually recover without residual deficit

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Car Ride

The car groaned under the weight of its obligations. My wife, not known for her skills of complex math, somehow morphed into a genius when it came to precise spatial calculations. Dogs, cats, clothing and all the ski paraphernalia that was critical to our survival  was expertly arranged in the trunk in an area that to my eye was totally unsuited for the task. Our children were on occasion almost invisible in the back seat,  surrounded by  'stuff'. And for almost a quarter of a century, with animals,equipment, and children in tow,  we have taken our weekly journey in the winter to the Berkshires. 

At a wedding I recently attended, the bride, whose family has taken a similar life's path, spoke with reverence of the family travels. The best recollections for her were of the bonds formed in these hours on the road. 

I thought about why 2 hours in a car, week in and week out, back and forth and then again, would hold any allure. I know that not all trips of this length stir such wonderful emotions. Just ask my daughter about the ride last year from Fort Lee to her apartment in lower Manhattan, as I fussed and cussed, whined and bellowed.

So, what made all those miles over all those years so different? 

It was here that we found comfort in the repetition of the sounds and sights, in the familiarity and in the understanding of  the joys that awaited at the end of this road. 

It was here that over time musical tastes grew and changed.What began with the sounds of Tom Chapin, meandered through the years to Ben Folds,  bluegrass and  finally landed with the cowboy hats of country music. The downside of this eclectic mix and the passage of  miles was that  I learned  many of the tunes and sang them to the eternal consternation of my captive audience.

It was here, at least recently, that my son acted as news commentator, bringing all of us up to date on whats and the whys of the world. It was here that we spoke of the villains and searched for the heroes on our political landscape.  And it was here that NPR eventually found a home.

It was here that we were able to relax, to shed the distractions, to leave the problems of  the moment to another moment. Here issues with school or work, with boyfriends or girlfriends, with aging parents and  with choices that demanded an answer, had a smaller place.

And it was here that we relied only on each other. For in this world, there was just the 4 of us.

Over the years, pets have passed away and others have taken their place.Today there are sadly no more replacements. Now my children are fully grown. But still, on occasion, both of them take their seats and settle in, surrounded by memories of journeys past. And if you ask them, I would guess that they would say that this  sometimes cramped, long trip, taken over and over to the same destination has been, and continues to be, some of the best times of their lives.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Memories of Skiing With My Dad

My memory is not very good. I have a friend who seems to have a photographic recall of every event in her life. Not me. I have fuzzy images, just ideas of what I think everything looked like and how it felt. My childhood is now mostly a shadow. Moments that mattered and lessons that I learned are part of a history I can't retrieve.

It was 32 years ago today that my dad passed away. I was not even 30 at the time. I feel his loss acutely and it frustrates me that everything we shared seems to be disappearing from sight. I fear that one day soon all I recall about him will be manufactured, a reconstruction to match sentiment to fact.

I only went skiing once with my Dad. We were on a family vacation to the Pocono mountains. In the universe I imagine, there was but one rope tow for the use of the guests of the hotel. It was a cold day and my mother and sister watched the unfolding events from the warmth of the lodge. I had no idea of what I was supposed to be doing, and my Dad could be of little assistance. He walked with me as I tried to make my way down the slope, offering gentle encouragement. He picked me up and brushed me off as I fell repeatedly. And when I reached the bottom of the hill, we walked back up to the top and began our adventure again.

Is love as real if it is unattached to a touch, or a sound, or a smell? Will I soon lose everything but the memory of my love for my Dad? Will my love for him eventually be, like my adventure on that hill, just a story?

I hope not. I hope that what I feel does not need to be grounded in time and place, but that love lives in a world unto itself, as its own reality. I hope that if everything else should abandon me, that what my heart holds will remain immutably intact.  But most of all,  I hope that my Dad really did walk back up the hill with me that day in the Pocono Mountains, brushing the snow off my sleeves and telling me everything would be just fine. And that I believed him.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Crepe Suzette

We grew up 2 houses apart. The residence between us was just an annoyance and I used its backyard as a cut-through when I wanted to get to my friend's back door just a little faster. I developed a ritual of letting myself in unannounced, and would sometimes arrive, and stay, even though he was not home. That habit of assuming everyone was half expecting me has now continued for almost 6 decades.

My first unsuccessful attempt at a sleepover took place at his house. My succeeding efforts, equally bad, were never met with disdain, but rather with gentle humor. My stomach or head always ached just as we were readying ourselves for bed. But it seemed to matter not to my friend and my shortcomings were  merely treated as me being me.

When my friend turned 5, he and I sat at the dinner table with his parents and older sisters. He was able to request any food he desired. When the crepe suzette appeared in front of me, I looked at it, and then at him, and wondered whether I could ask for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Our bond was forged over our mutual passion, and natural aptitude, for sports. I was good, really very good. He was better. I could punt a football a long way, but in the endless hours we spent in the streets, kicking back and forth, I was always chasing the balls that soared over my head. I was a good pitcher, an All-Star, but despite playing hundreds of games of stick-ball, I don't know that I ever won. And then, there was golf. My dad introduced me to this game at a young age. I became, at the very outside circles, one of the best in the area. My friend followed my exploits and spoke of my successes  with a joy as if they happened to him. All these years later, he still tells tales of my early brush with greatness. Yet, almost from the first that my dad put some old clubs in my friend's hands, he was my equal, and soon even more. I admired everything about my friend, and jealousy at all the talent he possessed never entered my mind.

Over the past 40 years, life has taken us on different paths, with different friends and different levels of success. His drive and focus are legendary and have brought him to the pinnacle of every universe he entered. Our contacts have become infrequent, not because of any lack of effort on his part, but just because. Yet the feelings that came into being during those non-sleepovers, at the dinner table, on the streets and at the schoolyard, have endured.

In recent times, my friend's father passed away. I was asked to be one of the pallbearers at the funeral. At my friend's 60th birthday party, he invited many of those who had entered his life through the years to a golf extravaganza. My place was next to him in his golf cart. Last night my friend's daughter was married. People arrived from 4 continents to take part in an extraordinary event. There were many, I am sure, who had enjoyed long and important relationships with my friend. As Joanne and I took our place-card and headed to our table, there were assigned seats for each guest. Two seats to my left was my friend. Two seats to Joanne's right was my friend's wife. There is great significance in little acts.

So it was not all that surprising to me that I found myself tearing up throughout the wedding ceremony, and my friend's speech later in the night. When the desserts appeared at the end of the evening, there was the crepe suzette. Last night,  like that moment over 50 years past, I just kind of stared at the food before me. And I thought about peanut butter and jelly. And the meaning of friendship.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Speak Truthiness to Perry

"Perry's Anti-Gay Rights Focus is Divisive Even to Staff"

In paraphrasing Rick Perry's new anti-gay rights ad, the article states that Perry complained about the lack of "organized prayer" in public schools. That is not what Perry said at all. Rather, Mr. Perry clearly stated that "Our kids can't openly...pray in school." There is a big difference between the two statements.

While the Times is essentially correct in reporting that there is no state-sanctioned organized prayer in public schools, Rick Perry is, not to put too fine a point on it, lying about a ban on any student prayer. Whereas fact-checking is a vital tool to improve the accuracy of your articles, it should not be used to distort the actual words of a person to make them less false. Fundamentally altering the meaning of Perry's ad does a disservice to your readers -- and to the truth.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Penalty Box

Intimidation is an unmistakable part of almost every sport. It is how it is legislated, and what is condoned as an integral element of the experience that separates hockey from its other professional counterparts.

In baseball, the pitcher acts as enforcer, responding to some perceived slight of his teammates with a well placed fastball often at upwards of 90 miles per hour that impacts with a sometimes  fearsome noise into the body of its victim. But, while recognized as a part of the game,  escalating bean-ball wars are not accepted. There is a warning, and thereafter an ejection, and often a lengthy suspension. As such, it appears more as an asterisk than an exclamation point.

In basketball, unlike baseball, contact is a constant element of the game. Pushing, shoving, flying elbows and shows of bravado, occur throughout the course of almost every contest. There could be a natural tendency, in these circumstances, to stake out your claim to territory with your fists. Yet, there is little tolerance in the NBA for settling scores in ways other than by twos and threes. Brawls are treated harshly, with large fines (by the economic standards of our world, if not theirs) and suspensions. And those who are on the bench when an altercation begins must stay rooted to their seats. One foot on the court, and a playoff series can be deeply impacted. Just ask the Knicks.

Football moves at dizzying speeds, with huge men intent on imposing their will on other huge men. Bodies fly through the air, helmets are no longer protective devices but potential weapons, and mayhem seems a given. But even in this arena, which sometimes seems only vaguely removed from a 3 hour brawl, there are limits. The league has legislated to protect those who are most vulnerable, whether it be a quarterback looking downfield, or a receiver in the middle of a crossing pattern. While there are hard to define lines between what is acceptable and what will not be tolerated, there are lines. And once crossed, the penalties are severe. Fighting, while it would seem a natural outgrowth of what is transpiring on the field,  is definitely on the wrong side of that line.

Hockey, as the heart wrenching tale of Derek Boogaard so painfully demonstrates, lives in a different universe. Violence is a necessity to be celebrated, not regulated. The game itself, and all the beauty that flows from it, stops the moment the gloves are taken off and the combatants circle one another. The speed, the grace, the athleticism is gone. What remains is most often not even a response to an event that has just taken place. Rather, it is a statement unto itself,  sometimes almost a comical dance, and at others something far worse and very ugly.

It diminishes the integrity of all those who play and all those oversee this sport.  And for those like Derek Boogaard, while it elevates them in the moment,  it commits them to a career that has little to do with goals and assists.

It is not noble and heroic, but sad and destructive. It speaks to our worst instincts and it makes hockey a game of lesser value. "Punched Out" is a compelling and horrifying look at the human results of the choices that hockey has made. And it is an indictment. With an exclamation point, not an asterisk.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Sing Off

I once was a lead singer in a band. We played to a packed house. Our rendition of "Under the Boardwalk" was inspirational. Of course, attendance was mandatory at my grade school assembly, I was 11 years old, and my career ended as soon as I left that stage. But the point is that as far as I was concerned, and my mother fully concurred, I had a voice worth hearing.

I am now almost 60. Over the last half century, virtually anyone within earshot has been subjected, at random moments, to listening to a few seconds of my version of some tune. Those most vulnerable, of course, are my family. And they can't fathom, for one moment, what I am doing. My son, and one of his best friends, has compared the noise that comes from within me to that of Kermit the Frog. And my habit of either humming or singing in places from the streets to supermarkets, and everywhere in between, is deemed more of a condition than a performance.

However, some of my critics, who encompass everyone except my mother, who is now almost 94 and can't hear a thing, find that there are brief moments when I am not horrible. And so, as the songs in my head keep playing, I continue to bring them to the public, hoping to recapture the magic I exhibited on that stage at the Whittier School.

Yesterday, my wife and I took a 3 hour hike with some very close friends. On a mountain where we should have been skiing at this time of the year, we climbed instead. Up, not down, and then out beyond the boundaries of the slope and deep into the woods.

As we walked, we saw and heard no one else. At one point, one of my friends advised that up a certain hill was a retreat. There, he said, no one spoke. In the middle of nowhere, I guess to find one's center, there has to be silence. Not for me, I thought.

As we continued on, in the midst of all this isolation, it happened. And then it happened again, almost immediately thereafter. Something someone said triggered it, and I was once again doing my best impression of that 11 year old. Finally, my friend, said to me, in words that I have heard, in one form or another hundreds of times, "I love you, but not your singing". Even in remote woods, where the beauty of nature should have calmed the beast, it had emerged.

Like I have ever since I walked off that stage, I interpreted the critical review as but a bad joke. For I wanted to believe that deep inside, each person could hear the strains of "Under the Boardwalk" and was silently cheering for me. It is hard being able to accept the criticism and continue to move forward, but, like the millions who have stood in line waiting for their chance at stardom as the "American Idol" or the "Voice", I have always had faith in my talents.

But the sad truth is, I do sound like Kermit the Frog most of the time. And it is strange, bordering on bizarre, for me to break into song whenever and where ever I wish. It is not cute, or endearing, as much as I would like to suggest. It is, dare I say this to myself, annoying. And maybe, after 50 years of trying to impress those in my presence of the possibility of my greatness, it is time to stop.

I did not sing after my friend's gentle admonition. I will try, I think, to tone down, literally.  And see if there is an open spot for me at the next retreat deep in the woods.But I still wonder if they have a mandatory assembly every day there. And if, just one stanza of "Under the Boardwalk" might not help shake things up.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The "R" Word

I found it striking that the word rape found its way into today's article on Mr. Sandusky ("Indicted Paterno Aide Speaks of Only Helping Children"). Much discussion has recently taken place in your paper on how properly to characterize the allegations ("Confusing Sex and Rape", the Public Editor on November 20, 2011 and  the response of readers " The Language of Sexual Assault" on November 27,2011). Was it a deliberate reaction that we now are advised that "the assistant football coach told investigators he saw Sandusky raping a young boy"? Should we expect the "R" word to appear in the ongoing conversation regarding Mr. Sandusky?

I believe the description of the allegations to be wholly appropriate. I look forward to your explanation. There are many like me who are interested not only in what you say but how and why you say it.