Ask Your Doctor….

If you watch any commercial television, you have surely noticed how much of the advertising is for prescription drugs If you think that the advertising for prescription medication has increased over the past few years, you’re correct. Such advertising is legal in only four countries, with the U.S. being one of the four. Marketing of pharmaceutical products has been “big business” for a long time, of course. Companies making such products trained an army of sales representatives to take samples around to physicians and others responsible for writing the prescriptions.

They also initiated a major lobbying effort to persuade . . . → Read More: Ask Your Doctor….

2018 Ready or Not

Last year, 2017, ended not with a bang, but a whimper. While how the current year, 2018, will end is still unknown, the world in general and the U.S. in particular, are not on a good trajectory. While some countries are doing reasonably well, most are not. Even in the States, the microcosm of individuals and places doing well, doesn’t change the macrocosm. I am not worried about the planet as a whole. Earth has survived mass extinctions in the past, and life has continued. The life forms, however, changed. It is as though the planet was saying, “Well that . . . → Read More: 2018 Ready or Not

Living In Interesting Times

The expression, May you live in interesting times, is usually considered an ancient-Chinese curse. Whether it’s true that it is an ancient Chinese curse is doubtful, but the part about the curse definitely seems true. The reason the expression is considered a curse rather than a blessing is that interesting “times” result from political intrigue and wars rather than from peace, happiness, and tranquility. We (and that includes the mass of humanity at this point) are living in interesting times. Charles Dickens begins his great novel, A Tale of Two Cities with the following paragraph:

It was the best . . . → Read More: Living In Interesting Times

Slouching Toward Bethlehem

An English poet named William Butler Yates wrote the poem, The Second Coming, in 1919 not long after the First World War had come to an end. I was thinking about the current political situation in the U.S. when the poem bubbled up into my memory. Here’s the entire poem. As you read it, think not only about the chaos during and after the First World War, but also about our current politics:

            THE SECOND COMING Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the . . . → Read More: Slouching Toward Bethlehem

Thanksgiving, 2017

We have officially entered the “Holiday Season.” I started writing this post on Thanksgiving, which will be followed by Christmas and the start of the New Year. These are supposed to be joyous times. At this point, I have seen a lot of Thanksgivings come and go. For most of my life, it was easy to think of things for which I could truly feel grateful. This year, that’s not the case. Of course, there are things for which I am grateful, but my concerns about the state of our nation have put a damper on my gratitude. This is, . . . → Read More: Thanksgiving, 2017

Loose Cannon on Deck

The term, loose cannon, has been around a long time. Cannons used on sailing vessels were large, typically weighing several tons. To avoid damage from the recoil when they were fired, they were mounted on rollers and secured with rope. The cannon jumped backwards when fired. If you have ever fired a weapon, you are familiar with recoil. The cannons get hot when they are used in battle, and each time a cannon is fired, it jumps higher and rolls farther. If the ropes holding the cannon secure were to break, a loose cannon would roll backwards and crush anything—or . . . → Read More: Loose Cannon on Deck

We Will All Go Down Together

Shakespeare’s original use of what has become a common saying, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” was about differences between the families of Vietnam War protests. Even the Charlottsesville, Virginia illustrate just how crazy political life in the States has become.

The hostilities seem to have expanded, with election of Donald Trump seems to be proving my cousin right. One of the recent news stories says that the Vietnam War.

I was one of those caught up in both the Vietnam War protests and the Civil Rights movement. Many of those I . . . → Read More: We Will All Go Down Together

Dumbfounded, Discouraged, and Dismayed

I haven’t posted anything new in a while. I’ve been too busy reading the political news and wringing my hands. My sense is that the world situation is getting worse. We have, of course, had “dark days” in times past. I’m not sure there has ever been a time the planet was without at least one war going on. Most recently, in the States we experienced the World Wars (I and II), the Korean War, the “conflict” in Vietnam, and whatever is currently going on in the Mid-East. We’ve also had Civil Rights challenges, and various other conflicts and difficulties . . . → Read More: Dumbfounded, Discouraged, and Dismayed

What a Week

The impetus for this blog is the recent spate of race-based violence we have experienced following the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. The history of the US has, of course, a long record of race-based violence. How could it be otherwise when slavery was present from our earliest days. It is easy to forget, for example, that the White House was built by slave labor.

I am old enough to remember early TV news coverage of what were deemed “race riots” in the 1950s and ’60s. The principal minorities in the town where I grew up (Los . . . → Read More: What a Week

What Did You Get for Christmas?

On a cold and frosty late-December morning, when I lived in a previous neighborhood, I was out walking my dog. It was so long ago that in the years between then and now, not only has that dog died of old age, but my next two dogs have also died of old age. Even so, on that late-December morning I said something that still haunts me. A boy who lived in a nearby house, ran up to me holding up a new pair of gloves, saying excitedly, “See what I got! New gloves!” My reply: “They are really neat. Did . . . → Read More: What Did You Get for Christmas?