Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Television Knows Best

Here is a list of some of the television shows that have been in production since 2000, beginning with those initiated at the turn of this century, and continuing to the present season of our discontent.Their titles resonate in today's bizarre universe:

Closer to Truth
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight
The Amazing Race
Pardon the Interruption
Cashin' In
The Biggest Loser
After Words
Criminal Minds
Hell's Kitchen
Mad Money
America's Got Talent
How Do They Do It?
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Your Business
American Greed
The Big Bang Theory
1st Look
Primetime: What Would You Do?
Fault Lines
Let's Make a Deal
Monsters Inside Me
Pawn Stars
Ring of Honor Wrestling
Royal Pains
Shark Tank
Watch What Happens: Live
Way Too Early
American Pickers
American Restoration
Blue Bloods
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That
Dual Survival
Gold Rush
How the Universe Works
I (Almost) Got Away with It
My Strange Addiction
Pretty Little Liars
The Talk
Unusual Suspects
The Walking Dead
Who Do You Think You Are?
2 Broke Girls
American Horror Story
Game of Thrones
Impractical Jokers
Last Man Standing
Once Upon a Time
Talking Dead
The Voice
The First Family
The Haunting Of...
Hotel Hell
Hotel Impossible
House of Lies
Justice for All with Judge Cristina Perez
Major Crimes
The Americans
The Big Brain Theory
The Blacklist
Devious Minds
The Face
The Haves and the Have Nots
Hit the Floor
Life Below Zero
Masters of Sex
Orange is the New Black
The Profit
Who the (Bleep)...
Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell
The Affair
Almost Royal
Are You the One?
Celebrity Name Game
Cement Heads
The Fabulous Life Of...
Fake Off
Friends of the People
How to Get Away with Murder
The Meltdown
Rich Kids of Beverly Hills
Running Wild
Somebody's Gotta Do It
Wake Up Call
With All Due Respect
You're the Worst
American Crime
Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?
Better Call Saul
Blue Collar Millionaires
Blunt Talk
Cold Justice: Sex Crimes
Dawn of the Croods
Difficult People
Fresh Off the Boat
I Can Do That
Job or No Job
The Last Man on Earth
Life in Pieces
Living with the Enemy
Master of None
The Odd Couple
Race to Escape
Repeat After Me
Richie Rich
The Royals
Secrets and Lies
This Is Not Happening
A Wicked Offer
American Crime Story
Little Big Shots
Mercy Street
Not Safe
Pitch Slapped
Recipe for Deception
Those Who Can't

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Two Dissimilar Dislikes

This past weekend your paper ran an article about Trump's wild ride to the doorstep of the presidency.  Unscripted, unorthodox, unwieldy and in so many ways unbelievable. 

There is none of that in Hillary Clinton or her candidacy. Every word she utters, every smile she shows, every hand she shakes seems considered, calculated and in so many ways, contrived.

In a landscape where a strange haired outsider can make life so uncomfortable for her (and I am merely talking about Mr. Sanders), Ms. Clinton will soon face off against a boorish lout, full of himself and of virtually every quality a trained politician rejects. And it is precisely that contrast which will so animate this debate season. 

Hillary Clinton, dedicated public servant, who has spent a lifetime serving others, but seems to many only to be serving herself. Donald Trump, dedicated first and forever to himself, who has spent a lifetime in the pursuit of his own pleasures.

Both equally disliked. Go figure.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Behind the Curtain

This piece meanders through a universe of characters who seemingly have one mission only:  please the boss. It is not a political headquarters but a running episode of "The Apprentice."

The obsequious, the untrained, the unprepared. Like the master scribbling notes just before a speech, the acolytes serving as his alter ego to the public make stuff up on the fly. No direction, or more precisely only one, pay homage to Mr. Trump.

See him rail against Paul Manafort for attempting to reign him in. No one challenges the great Wizard of Oz. 

What do we learn from this peek behind the curtain? Not much except what we have long suspected: there is an underlying fear of failure even in the face of victory. As the demise of Mr. Cruz beckoned, Donald Trump worries of forces allied against him, seeing danger as much as basking in the glory of this improbable moment.

It is a picture of a king, awarding loyalty over competence, fealty over, well, anything else. We are witness to a wild ride at 30,000 feet, from high above an earth whose realities Mr. Trump cannot possibly understand from this distance. 

For him, and for us, tomorrow will likely look remarkably like today, organized only in the sense that everything emanates from and revolves around the center of this universe. Those in his inner circle buckle up for better and often the worst, as this wild ride continues towards its ultimate intended destination in Washington. Hold on.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Woman Card

("What My Mother Sees in Hillary")

While this is a touching tale of one woman's struggle to overcome the prejudices that pervaded her existence, it makes me wonder why we have such a hard time elevating Hillary's candidacy based on her gender.

Is it because this is a fight some consider a relic, something that was of the time of burning bras and Gloria Steinem? Is it because Hillary has been in our conscience for so long in so many different roles that we have wearied of our consideration of her worth as a representative of all women? Is it her toughness that makes her seem, well, less feminine to some? Is it because of 2008 and the emotional election of an African American that we find this story, Hillary's story less compelling, less interesting?

I do understand that Mr. Trump inspired much backlash with his Megyn Kelly, Carly Fiorina gratuitous demonstrations of Alpha male idiocy. And his "there Hillary goes again playing the woman's card" did generate the production of the Woman Card. But really, apart from the self destructive behavior of the Republican presumptive nominee, there is little excitement for the "first woman" role in this campaign.

In fact, the negative response to the comment from Madeline Albright of a special place in hell being reserved for those women who did not vote for Hillary, sent a strong signal to the Democratic front-runner to downplay this as a focal point of her message.

Whatever the underlying basis, there is scant connection between the story of Ms. Gutting's mom and the saga of the first woman with a serious chance to break this most incredible glass ceiling. If Hillary wins it will be for many reasons, but bringing this particular saga to a conclusion is not high on that list.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Donald Trump Interviewing Donald Trump For a Job

Dear Mr. Trump:

I pose this hypothetical to you:  There is a job opening for a critical position in one of your businesses. An applicant is interviewed by you. He is an older gentlemen, one whom you might not otherwise consider because of his age, but you know of him in another context and so decide he is at least worthy of a small moment of your time.

His physical appearance is unusual to say the least. His skin tone is many shades off, and what should be a standard caucasian off white has been replaced with a kind of burnt orange. His hair is long in the wrong places and there is more than a hint that something is amiss on top of his head.

He comes across as brutish, almost arrogant. His language is unnecessarily coarse and improvidently direct. He demonstrates a total lack of propriety in his manner and his speech pattern, and most strikingly takes gratuitous swipes at those lower on the food chain. He has what seems to be an enormous issue with ego.

Beyond the look and feel of this person, it is apparent from the first that he has virtually no knowledge regarding the critical issues relating to the job for which he is seeking your approval. He covers up his deficiencies with bluster, obviously hiding his fundamental lack of a grasp of the intricacies and specifics with virtually nonsensical blabber. He has not taken the time or the effort to try to learn even the most rudimentary aspects of your business. When you press him on various matters, he deflects and tries to steer the conversation in another direction. When he tries to impress you with his acumen in a field totally unrelated to the one in which he is now seeking employment, you easily see through this ploy. And when you look further into his resume in other areas, you are concerned that it is far less impressive than what he would suggest.

At the end of the interview, the candidate stands up, shakes your hand and asks when he can start the job.

Mr. Trump, what would your answer be?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Donald and Megyn, Sitting in a Tree

("Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly Are Convivial in Prime-Time Special")

Vice President Kelly anyone? In a universe where personal and political expediency Trump all else, suddenly Donald is in bed, so to speak, with Ms. Kelly and a host of others who previously found Mr. Trump repugnant, repulsive and ridiculous.

If it is not an orgy, at least it is a warm embrace, as party leaders and Fox kiss and make up with the presumptive nominee.

It was inevitable. Mr. Trump, despite his boasts of independence requires the money and machine of the party. For the Republican front-runner, in this land of convoluted logic, if Ms. Kelly can forgive his trespasses,so, he would suggest, can all women. Fox and Ms. Kelly can only embellish their ratings and value by ending the war of words and courting their prize possession. And Mr. Ryan and the Republican establishment will certainly be on the outside looking in come November should they leave Mr. Trump on his own island of ignorance and conceit.

For all, the charade of camaraderie and care will now play out in earnest. Act two of the show has now commenced.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Olympic Games - Yes or No

("Should Brazil Postpone the Olympics?")

We turned a blind eye to the atrocities in Berlin, the repression in Sochi. We allowed Beijing to host these games notwithstanding its human rights violations. Even deaths at the hands of terrorists were not enough to stop the proceedings in Munich.

It is beyond comprehension to believe that economic and political turmoil in Brazil will disqualify this country from acting as host to the world this summer.

But, in addition, to put the athletes at almost certain risk of illness in the polluted waters, as well as exposure to the Zika virus (notwithstanding the fact that it will clearly reach far beyond Brazil whether or not the Olympics is held), raises a serious question for immediate consideration.

Few athletes will raise objections, as their life's work will outweigh all other considerations. If history dictates, the show will go on.

Two Hours - Four Minutes - Barriers of Mind and Body

("Man vs Marathon")

The record for the fastest mile ever run stood at 4 minutes 1.4 seconds for almost nine years before that day in May of 1954 when Roger Bannister ran a full two seconds better than the old mark. It was a physical feat many experts had deemed unattainable.

45 years later the new (and still current) standard was set, more than sixteen seconds faster than the time posted by Dr. Bannister. Yes, sixteen seconds.

How can we measure the limits of our physical and mental capacities? While the consensus would seem to be that we are a full generation away from watching the two hour barrier for the marathon fall, the lesson from that damp and cold day in England is that we cannot truly know what the human heart and mind can accomplish. People do scale unscalable heights.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Storm Clouds

("When Did Optimism Become Uncool")

The last eight years have been an unrelenting stream of negatives emanating from the Republican party. Our economy is bad, enemies abound. The creation of millions of jobs is ignored, our attempts to begin reconciliation with old foes like Iran and Cuba is ridiculed. Meanwhile the Democrats, in very large part, have allowed the message that the sky is indeed about to fall to fester.

Republicans do well as aggressors, Democrats not so much.

From this maelstrom arrives Donald Trump, heading a party that is all (and only) about messaging. And Mr. Trump knows messaging.

Optimism is not only uncool. it is as foreign as Mexicans and Syrians in this environment. Make America Great Again captures the essence of the constant drumbeat that has hypnotized and mesmerized a party.

"It is not as bad as you think" would not make for a wonderful bumper sticker for Hillary Clinton, try as she might to hold on to many of the accomplishments of the Obama years.

This fall will pit the "end of the world" rhetoric of Mr. Trump against what? The Democrats will again be playing on the Republican home turf as we watch events unfold and wait for optimism to peak out from under the gathering storm clouds.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Donald Trump, Swiss Cheese and Pancakes

The two bedrocks of Mr. Trump's campaign were his financial independence and his willingness to stick by his statements no matter their political incorrectness. 

Now, with breathtaking, neck twisting speed, we are informed that this man who cannot be bought is up for sale to the highest bidder and will likely be at a pancake house in your neighborhood in the near future glad handing (oh, I forgot he doesn't like to shake hands because of the germs in touching you) for dollars.

And further that all those keep the immigrant out, send the immigrant back mandates were really only "suggestions." Wait, you mean he was not absolute in his passion and position but merely throwing out whatever popped into his head? 

Mr.Trump's foundation is a Swiss cheese of contradictions and his candidacy rests not on principles but on three card Monte.

Ms.Collins asks that Mr. Trump "show me the money." If she goes to the local house of pancakes this Saturday at 2PM she just may see it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Oh The Things You Can't Say

You must remain silent
You can't say a word
Not of secrets you're told
Not of whispers you heard

You have locks on your lips
And no, no on your brain
You can not let it slip
You have nothing to gain

You can not ever slip. It may lead to a fall. That would just never do. Just say nothing at all.

When you're asked what's up
Say the sky, little more
If they press you much further
Tell them there's the front door

You have to be careful
And pretend you don't know
Give a nod or a shrug
Cause its all just a show

Just a show's all it is. Make believe, its pretend. Can't tell what you know, cause you might lose a friend.

Oh you might lose a friend.
Or maybe much worse.
No, the secret stays secret
Despite how they curse

Can't make up a lie
You're no good at that
Just muffle your mouth
With a sock or a hat

A sock or a hat or a shoe if you must. Whatever it takes to keep your mouth shut.

Oh the things you can't say
That you hear all the time
They lead to no good
If you talk its a crime

A felony it is
Lock him up, toss the key
You can never forget
A good friend you must be

Oh the things you can't say
Oh the words you must not
Oh the secrets you keep
Oh the battles you've fought

Oh the battles you've fought, just to keep it inside. Want to tell it to all, oh the thoughts that you hide.

And if you should speak
When you know you should not
Just deny that you spoke
If you should get caught

No, I don't really mean that
Don't mean it at all,
Just say you don't know
Or say nothing at all.

If there is a lesson
To be learned from my poem
It's keep your mouth zipped
Don't let your thoughts roam

Oh, the things you can't say
Oh the words you must not
Oh the lips you must button
Oh the grief if you're caught

Oh the trouble you'll have
It's not worth the pain
Just forget what you heard
And turn off your brain

Let me end at the end
Cause there's no place to go
And the things you can't say
Stuff them all in your toe

In your toe, or a shoe, or a sock if you must. Wherever they fit, in a place that you trust. Out of sight, out of mind, out of reach, hard to find. Just find a safe place for the things you can't say. Just find a safe place and lock them away.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Food for Thought

I imagine how it must be in first class on the plane. The drinks flowing, the food choices many and sumptuous, the seats holding you in a warm embrace, the atmosphere reeking with the smell of decadence.

Meanwhile, back in steerage, I am asking my wife if she is going to eat all her potato chips, as the six that came in my bag did not fully satiate me. I resemble a sardine, wedged in and hoping the person in the window seat does not have a weak bladder. I stare towards the front, envious of what life is like on the other side of that curtain.

Welcome to Yankee Stadium.

It was not always that way, or at least not the way I recall it. "Baseball and Ballentine" was how the game was sold in the days of my youth. Very plebeian, without the frills, a game for the masses to share and share alike. This was not the place for gourmet, but was intended for those folks who believed that hot dogs and hamburgers were as American as the pastime itself.

I show my ticket to the guardian of this gate. She stands outside one of the many restaurants in this House that Ruth did not build. She slips on my wrist the band that will permit me inside the Jim Beam lounge, with its free popcorn and peanuts (how would I have to amend the lyrics to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame?"). For those who did not pay the requisite price, this place, like others reserved for the elite, is as off limits as the clubhouse was to the fairer sex in the Berenstain Bears classic, "No Girls Allowed." Mine is a mid-level price ticket, and thus my entry to the more refined dining establishments will not be granted, my garnished wrist notwithstanding.

This is not to say that there are not a plethora of choices available to the "have nots' (at least as it is defined in this universe) such to warm the heart of a cardiologist seeking to increase his clientele. In fact, it should be mandatory, in addition to posting warnings about the thousands of calories you are about to ingest, that there is a reminder to those indulging to be certain your life insurance premium has been paid. In no particular order of the magnitude of their negative impact on bodily functions, there is the Triple Play Stand with its burger with beef, bacon, pastrami, American cheese and goat sauce; NY Grill with a shaved pork sandwich featuring broccoli rabe and provolone cheese; the Grilled Cheese stand (we do like our cheese);Chicken and Waffles; Brother Jimmy's Barbecue with its fried pickles and mac and cheese; Bacon on a Stick (which needs no further explanation); Tacos; NYY Steak Express and, of course, a Gluten Free NY Grill for those who actually are cognizant of some dietary restrictions.

Throw in all the ice cream cones or the tiny plastic helmets that house your favorite flavor, and you have undoubtedly just completed one of the most unhealthy meals you will ever consume. Oh yes, if you are still hungry, maybe you can top it off with one of those foot long hot dogs demanding to be wolfed down.

While I stare in through the window at those who are dining with their tablecloths and their utensils not made of plastic, I think back on those simpler times when baseball was free of steroids, wild cards, instant replays and wristbands. When there were not waiters and waitresses who came to the seats of the wellest to do and asked them to place their order. When hot dogs and hamburgers were the only options and we did not line up for our Chinese food or even Papa John's pizza.  

Those days are long gone and what remains is something that Phil Rizzuto might, in his own unique lexicon, respond to with a "holy cow." Now that could well be the name of the next food offering to appear at the Stadium.

Man Overboard

Nate Silver and the other data driven experts just took us for a nice ride on the Titanic. Mistaken predictions piled so high we couldn't see the iceberg directly in front of us. 

And the ultimate disaster is that we now have a sinking feeling notwithstanding all the polls which reveal that Hillary will win in a landslide. There is the sense that predicting the level of animosity towards the Democratic frontrunner or the fervor that will propel the candidacy of Mr. Trump is not knowable by scientific calculation. That we underestimate the power of Donald at our peril.

The Nates (Cohn and Silver) and the other collectors of the "tells" that reveal our inner truths, will have to shake this off, climb back on board and try to right the ship in what surely shapes up as a titanic struggle this fall. They should just remember to wear their life jackets this time.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Shock and Awe, Part Two

It is his version of shock and awe. Donald Trump stumbled onto something with his damning of Mexicans and has turned that moment into a movement, catapulting him to heights even he never anticipated.

He tried this before, centering a potential run for the presidency on the illegitimacy not of millions but of one. With his fictional Birther controversy, Mr. Trump captured the hearts of those privately seething at the thought of a black man with a foreign sounding name telling them how their country should function.

And while, after far more than 15 minutes in the spotlight, Mr. Trump faded in the last election cycle, he must have sensed that outrageous and outrage were nearly intersecting.

Four years later, four years further disenchanted with their own leaders as well as with a Democratic party they hated with ever greater passion, the discouraged and distressed were ready, willing and Mr. Trump was able to complete his and their break from any semblance of political orthodoxy. 

With each new foray into the abyss, with each demand that our borders be closed to Muslims or their neighborhoods policed, his call for our allies to pay a ransom for our assistance, his threat to tariff our way into new jobs, with each hyperbolic statement unmoored from facts or logic, he became ever more ascendant. For now it was time, his time, and with his innate understanding of what makes for compelling entertainment, he captured what was being handed to him on a silver platter.

He destroyed those who were living in a universe of rules which no longer applied, who were bewildered and befuddled by a language they were unable to speak. Mr. Trump stood alone, ready to reconstruct a collapsed building. 

Mr. Trump is a hat with a logo, a genius at marketing, at the art of the con. He has spent a lifetime readying himself for today. And when he sensed the weakness, when he could denigrate with impunity, when he could fuel the anger without repercussion, when he could brand Bush as low energy, Fiorina as ugly, Cruz as a liar, Rubio as an unprepared baby, the king of image making was on his home turf. 

Now he stands alone, a product whose time has come. Donald Trump, master manipulator, now the master of his party.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sticks and Stones

When vitriol is what you serve for breakfast, lunch and dinner, don't expect those at the table to be hungry.

If there is a lesson to be learned, and I still think it far too early to draw definite conclusions, it is that, even in your own house, there are limits to political incorrectness. 

Mr. Trump began his campaign by eschewing the concept of coloring within the lines. He convinced those who pledge allegiance to him that we no longer have the time to waste on speaking in innuendos. It was merely a sign of weakness to hold one's tongue. And so he didn't. 

As if those he insulted, whose integrity he impugned, whose manhood or womanhood he demeaned, would ultimately respect him for his brutal honesty. 

And he seems hurt by those who now reject him, like a wife beater surprised when his spouse refuses his embrace. Mr. Trump may live by the sticks and stones saying, but his words are coming back to hurt him.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and the Value of Imagination

Yes, Hillary Clinton can be dull. Yes, she lacks the capacity to bring listeners to their feet, to startle them, to draw them in. 

Mr. Brooks damns her not for what she says but what she doesn't. That she gives the right answers, just not the ones he wants to hear, that her message is not tone deaf, merely that it does not elevate, that she is good but not great.

But good, Mr. Brooks is far better, far more palatable, far more worthy than horrid. Mr. Trump does not lack imagination for he can imagine his Great Wall, he can imagine his 45% tariff, he can imagine tax cuts for the 1% coupled simultaneously with increased spending and debt reduction.  Mr. Trump is all about imagination, for he is not in the least grounded by the reality of what awaits. 

The prescription for what ails us does not lie in creative thinking unless it is tethered to facts and truths.

Mr. Trump may create a vision, but he has none. He may stir the heart, but he shows none. He may have imagination but it has no relation to that of John Lennon's.

Good, in this setting, is way good enough for me.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Presumptive Nominee

We are a country of almost 324 million people. To be eligible to run as a candidate for President one must be a natural born citizen or a U.S. citizen, 35 or older, residing in this country for at least 14 years. It is estimated that approximately 150 million people meet these qualifications. And of all those, Donald Trump has emerged as the standard bearer for one of the two major parties in this nation.

Has there ever been a worse choice in the 240 years that the United States has been handing out vote for me stickers? Someone so uniquely unsuited, with no political history, no fundamental understanding of the issues, no well constructed beliefs, no intellectual curiosity, no filter for his often bizarre and more often antagonistic ruminations. Someone so egotistic, so bombastic, so uncivilized and so unqualified to handle the unfathomable responsibilities of holding the highest office in this, and quite honestly, any land in our world? 

He has gone from sideshow to center stage, from carnival barker to presumptive nominee, from the Donald to THE DONALD. And he has proven that when it is your time, no wall can be erected, no tweet can be concocted, no illegal immigrant can be found, that can stop you from fumbling, bumbling and stumbling all the way to your party's nomination.

Who is going to save us from ourselves if this huckster should emerge as the next President of the United States?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Bill Murray and Robert Frost

("Life as Presidential Could- Have- Been")

956,733; 112; 2084; 401. Any guesses?

As reported in an article in the Atlantic in 2013, those figures are, respectively: miles traveled, countries visited, hours in the air and actual days of travel for Hillary Clinton during her four years as Secretary of State.

Ms. Clinton has always been willing to do the heavy lifting. Eleven hours of Congressional grilling on Benghazi must have seemed like child's play for this woman.

I wonder how many hands will be shaken by Hillary and Donald as of November (well maybe not so many for the Republican who is hand shake averse), how many speeches will be spoken, how many times each candidate will think "if this is Tuesday it must be Belgium."

Running for President is not  for the faint of heart or body. To spend almost two years of one's life merely applying for a job, having to remind people each and every day who you are and why you are uniquely qualified to deal with the plate full of disasters that will greet you every morning and go to bed with you every night, is quite possibly a definition of insanity.

For Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump there are many months ahead of playing Bill Murray in Groundhog's Day. Or they may be reminded of those immortal words of Robert Frost: "The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep."

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Leap Too Far

Both dissatisfied with the status quo? Yes. Is that in itself a predicate for a partnership or alliance? Nah!!! 

Those who support the vision of Mr. Sanders and his inclusiveness, his call for dignity through a living wage and health insurance for all cannot find anything redeeming in the wall that Mr. Trump would build or his intended destruction of the lives of millions seeking a home in a country built on embracing those in need.

There is no symmetry in their message, no connection between the entertainer inflaming the worst in us and the life long independent voice imploring us to find the best we have to offer. 

Oil and water. Not left and right, but right and terribly, horribly wrong. For Mr. Sanders and his millions to find comfort in the arms of Mr. Trump would not be a leap of faith but jumping off a cliff.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Alzheimer's - A Response to "Fraying at the Edges"

Courageous. Geri Taylor is staring into the abyss with grace, dignity and resolution, not allowing an insidious disease to define her. She is a person living with Alzheimer's, not an Alzheimer's person.
The inevitability of what tomorrow will look like does not, for Ms. Taylor, demand that today be without meaning.

Like millions of others, I have watched as a loved one lost contact with her surroundings. It can be extraordinarily painful as the ravages of the illness become ever more evident. It is a frightening and depressing journey for those of us who are mere bystanders, and I can but imagine the horror for the one who feels his or her existence slipping away. 

I applaud Ms. Taylor for allowing the reader inside her head, inside this world. And I thank the New York Times for opening up a critically needed discussion on a terrifying topic.

We are a population living longer but far too often and for far too long in a diminished state of being. We must attack Alzheimer's as if it were a mortal enemy, every bit as dangerous as the person holding a gun to our head. For in truth, it is.