There is a time for honesty and a time for kind, warm-hearted honest lying. For example, here are questions that absolutely require a “yes” as the answer, no matter what think:

“Do these jeans make me look fat?” If you say anything except NO, you’re too stupid to deserve a relationship.

“Were you cheating on me in … (a date more than 5 years previous) …?” Unless you are still in that relationship and intending to break up your marriage, the answer is NO. All you will do by telling the truth is hurt your partner and maybe (but probably not) relieve yourself of guilt. The odds are very good that you will also relieve yourself of your relationship. 

“Do you still find me attractive?” Any answer other than yes can cost your life.

On the other hand, failure to communicate critical information can ruin lives. I always think about Cathy and Heathcliff. He eavesdropped on half of her conversation and stalks off in a rage. He never considers asking her if what he partially heard was what she meant or what the context was. Of course, if he had, it wouldn’t have made a very dramatic story, but that’s a different issue. A ten minute conversation could have salvaged three lives.

In the movie “Fanny,” she never tells him she is pregnant, so he goes off to war (convinced she doesn’t love him) and gets killed. If she had told him, everyone — including the child — might have been happy. Every time I’m forced to watch one of these movies, I just get annoyed.

Brutal honesty is always more brutal than honest. If you are forced to say something you know will hurt, at least be gentle. Brutal honesty is not honesty. It’s a brutal agenda wrapped in fake honesty. Don’t eavesdrop. If it just happens, you are not allowed to use whatever information you think you’ve gained by eavesdropping in an emotional confrontation. No one ever hears anything good while eavesdropping.

Use your judgment. If you care about someone, don’t make them miserable because you feel guilty about something. Your guilt is your problem, not his or hers. Making yourself feel better by traumatizing someone else is not being honest. It’s narcissistic.


Fandango’s Provocative Question #90

I’m glad you did the math on this one. I got lost somewhere in the squaring of numbers but numbers aren’t really my world. Actually, I’m not sure this IS my world. I watched the debate tonight and I’m not sure anything happened. We were hoping Kamala would tear out Pence’s throat, but sadly, that didn’t happen.

I don’t do blog awards. I remember when I got the first one and I was so excited! An award! Garry wanted to know if it came with hardware (that’s how he refers to statues, things that hang on walls or stand on shelves and have your name engraved on it) and I said “no.” He said if it didn’t come with hardware, it didn’t count. The only ones I do are challenges — mostly using photographs. They can be interesting especially if you have a big archive.

I think the awards are a nice touch to NEW bloggers who don’t have much of an audience. Until you realize it’s completely meaningless and most people think they’re sorta dumb, it’s nice to get any kind of recognition. I got lucky and got a surprisingly large amount of recognition pretty quickly as did you, but most people don’t have that experience. I think we both also rode the wave of political craziness when we began. I started right before Obama’s second run for office and you with the hysteria of Trumpty Dumpty.

Of course, we never imagined an EIGHT MONTH QUARANTINE — EIGHT FREAKING MONTHS SO FAR — or having a blithering idiot running the country. Is that blithering or blathering? I keep forgetting. Maybe it’s both? Our blithering, blathering idiot. Yeah. That says it.

So as for me, give me liberty or death, but not long lists of questions. Also, if people keep sending me these awards, I’m going to drive all of you crazy by actually sending you a nomination and demanding repeatedly that you send these out to 14 or 18 or 22 people … and make sure you send me a list so I know who got the nominations so I can badger them, too.

How do I feel about blog awards? The same way I feel about chain letters and Ponzi schemes. At my best, annoyed. At my worst, really annoyed.

Meanwhile, they keep telling us to get flu shots, but they don’t have the super flu shots Garry and I need because there’s a national shortage of the super senior flu shots … so please shut up about it already. They don’t HAVE THE SHOT. I’ll get one when they have one to give me. Sheesh.



Fandango’s Provocative Question #89

I think we need to start with a definition because Karma means different things to different people and faiths, including people of no particular faith. The dictionary says:


In Hinduism and Buddhism, the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences. That is an extremely simplistic answer to a very complex subject. Informally, it refers to destiny or fate, as an effect from a cause. What most of us mean is “what goes around, comes around,” or some version of “the chickens come home to roost when you least expect them.” 

There are a million “expressions” that, on some level, refer to karma or karmic patterns. From the simplest “he got what he deserved,” to an intricate pattern in a horoscope or other psychic reading. I think we all believe in karma — on some level — or at least wish it were true. Because there are so many people who deserve a good kick in the ass for the terrible lives they have lived.

Shakespeare said (“Julius Caesar”):

“The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.”

I basically believe that we all reap what we sow. Whether or not we reap it in this life or in some other life yet to be lived is another matter. I’m not at all sure how I feel about the life-after-life concept. I like it in principle, but is it true? Real? Does it have anything to do with me or mine?

Is my Karma written in my chart? I don’t know. I never knew. The “psychic arts” have always been to much art and too little science for my fact-driven mind. Yet I also know that many things that happen to us in the course of our lives have no rational — scientific or mathematical or even logical — explanation. I have witnessed the inexplicable not once, but several times. I can’t cast off these events because I was there. They happened to me and they changed my life. So whenever I get too bound up in truth as fact, reality as science, I remember that I am not alive today because of science but rather because something completely without logic or science intervened.

What does that mean? I simply don’t know. I didn’t know at the time and I still don’t know. Something happened. It wasn’t a dream, it wasn’t drugs, it wasn’t hypnosis or delusion. It just happened. And why me? What have I done to deserve an extra shot (or three) at life when everything screamed “dead by morning”? The doctors didn’t know either. All they could say was “something happened” and send me home as quickly as they could lest something else — not so good — happen.

It does not seem to me that the best people get the best breaks or the worst people suffer the worst fates. The randomness of Karma — in all its manifestations — is what leaves me baffled by it. Evil people thrive and good people die young. What about the babies? The little ones who die in wars and accidents and plagues? Is that from a former life or are they being called to be part of a different life? I don’t have answers. I’m sure I never will.

We all want to believe in some kind of cosmic justice, in a fate linked to the quality of our life. But even when I’ve been give that “extra chance,” I never knew why I should be chosen. I was no better than anyone else and worse than many. I think on this one, we just get to wonder what it means … and what it means to us and ours.


Fandango’s Provocative Question #88

Coming from an abusive home, I learned very early how little control I had over my life. All kids have essentially no control because children have no rights and an abused child has even fewer rights. The only control children get is the right to beg, nag, or excel at a sport or in school. An abused child lacks even those minimal protections because an unstable parent can react in any number of ways to children, many of them violent and terrifying.

I grew up and as soon as I could, I moved out and stayed out. Not surprisingly, I married early because abused children are usually looking for a stable life situation — and to no one’s surprise, these early marriages do not usually last. They get outgrown. But the point is, by then I already knew how little control I had over my life. I understood that under a cool exterior can lie violence and cruelty. Later, I learned that simple good health was not within my control. I think I’ve spent almost as much time in the hospital and in recovery from some surgery or other than almost anyone else I’ve ever known.

Control is an illusion. Control is what we are sure we have over our lives until — out of the blue — our life takes a turn, hits a big rock, and slides into a ditch. Crash. All your firm beliefs that nothing can stop you doesn’t help because there are things — many, many things — that will stop you dead in your tracks.

I really love it when people tell me how nothing can stop them. Whatever they want, they can get it. All they need is to want it enough and keep trying. I never argue with people who talk like that. They believe it and who am I to argue? Personally, I’ve hit a lot of rocks and ditches. I’ve had my “life vehicle” battered to wreckage. I learned, painfully and slowly, there’s a time to put down the reins, let go of the steering wheel. Take a long look in the mirror and face your reality. Not the reality you used to have, but the reality you have today. Now. The real reality you live even if you have always gotten what you want. There comes a time to give up trying to control your world and go with the flow. To roll with life.

There’s no moral to this story. It’s just life. The only thing you cannot plan is a life over which you have full control. No one gets that. We all have some control, but ultimately, no one has full control. Ever. When life throws you a curve, you have a choice. You can spend your time fighting for something you can’t be or do — or with a bit of grace, find your way to being whoever you are now, in this time and place. Not winning all the battles doesn’t have to be tragic. That is where you have control. You can view changes as a challenge or as a catastrophe. How you see them is up to you. Just don’t pretend the challenges aren’t there. That can be calamitous.

A real world is not the worst place to live. A human life is full of weirdness, lies, and illusion, but going face-to-face with the truth can be uplifting. You don’t have to give up living. You do have to learn to live a life that works. For you. Now. In this time and in this place.


Fandango’s Provocative Question #86: DREAMS BY NIGHT

This week, Fandango would like to know what was the weirdest dream we can remember and what do we think might have triggered it?

This was a real dream. I remember it because it was very clear and because its meaning was pretty obvious. It had to be at least fifty years ago since I was in my twenties. I dreamed I was in a tall tower with a long, spiraling staircase. I was supposed to climb all the way to the top. It being a dream, no further explanation was necessary, so I began to climb. The steps seemed to go on forever. Time is very warped in dreams, so for all I know, it might have taken a few minutes or even seconds.

I climbed and climbed. Finally, at last, I reached the top. There, at the very top of the tower was a steel door with a heavy iron lock and a sign which said:

“Room of Records. Sealed. No entry.”

To this day, I have a lot of missing memories. This could be just as well considering what I do remember isn’t heartening. Nonetheless, it was a long climb to a locked room. I don’t recall any follow-up dreams, so I’m guessing I never went into that room. I never got to see those records.

Maybe those were our Permanent Records? You know, the ones they threatened us with in school, as in: “This is going on your permanent record, young lady!” All those permanent records have to be somewhere, right?


Fandango’s Provocative Question #85: LIFE DECISIONS & TIME TRAVEL

Time travel is my favorite science fiction subject along with witchery and wizardry. There are rules about time travel and always have been. I actually had to look up the rules, to make sure I remembered them. I found two sets, one from 2009 and another from 2015.

Both of these sets of rules are typically found in tales of time travel. The whole concept of time travel is mentally paradoxical and if you really think about it, it’s quite unhinging. That’s why I like it. I love the wild and crazy way you have to think about traveling in time. It’s impossible, but don’t we wish we could do it anyway? There’s a great series of books by Jodi Taylor called “The Chronicles of St. Mary’s” where nutty historians travel in time to view actual historical events and record them so that people finally get to know what really happened. The books are exciting and frequently hilarious. I think the series is beginning to wind down, but if you’ve never read the books, you have a whole series you can read or listen to on Audiobooks. I listen to them. Actually, I listen to them often. I’ve listened to the entire series several times, and a new book just came out which I have only read once … and I know there’s another one due in December.

So, about Fandango’s question:

The answer is yes, but no. Of course I’ve made bad decisions. Some were really terrible and I will regret them forever. But (there’s always a “but”), for every bad decision, in some way my life was changed, ultimately for the better. Change was not immediate or even quickly. Decisions made as a teenager didn’t come home to roost until I was well into adulthood. Karma doesn’t work fast, but but grinds very fine. Moreover, context matters. It can be decades before you realize that the bad decision you made in 1979 has somehow morphed over the course of decades to a great life.

I know there is no such thing as time travel. Even if there were “real” time travel, it would be dangerous beyond imagining because if you change one thing or one little part of a past event, other things will change. You cannot know what the potential fallout could be. Read Stephen King’s “11/22/63” about time travel and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It’s a brilliant piece of writing and it’s not one of King’s creepy horror stories. It’s genuine science fiction. Beautifully written and sometimes, almost poetry.

I know this sounds more like a book report than an opinion, but I’m seriously into time travel stories. If there’s not time travel, then I’m opting for magic. One of the other, but both would be lovely.

So, speaking of time …


Fandango’s Provocative Question #83: Who’s controlling what?

One of the big issues with WordPress’s decision to create a kind of block format that is very unappealing to most of us who aren’t here to make money but joined to show off our art, write about issues that matter, display pictures … the artists rather than the money-makers. I’m sure that a lot of us would happily at this stage hop to another platform … but what platform? Medium? They don’t sound like like they would welcome my freewheeling style. Blogger? Has anyone ever gotten a dialogue going on Blogger? I couldn’t. Eventually, I simply gave up. So Fandango’s question is simple and basic:

I think the answer is really that technology controls us. I wish it weren’t true. I don’t want it to be true, but it is. Without WiFi, there’s little I can accomplish. My bank is never open. Everything happens electronically by cell phone and computer. We live in a small town where shopping is limited. There is, for example, no camera store. If I need a lens, I have to buy it online. It’s hard to even find a contractor to do work we need to do. There isn’t much work, but we are a little too far from Boston to commute … and who in their right mind would want to commute to Boston?

These days, WiFi is not a luxury. It’s a utility controlled as a monopoly by whatever town you live in. We don’t have any choice but Charter and they can charge whatever they want since they have no competition. And, because we are a low-density population, other companies aren’t exactly fighting each other to come here and open businesses.

What we have is a lot of natural beauty, the winding Blackstone River and its tributaries, a long history dating back to the early 1600s … and WiFi for everything else. So yes, we are controlled by our technology. Sometimes it’s a marvel. Other times, you just need one long downtime of your cable and suddenly, you feel helpless. Your computer breaks and panic ensues. Your cell phone bites the big one and you literally don’t know how you’ll get through another day.

Yes, we are controlled by our technology, especially right now when we are living in a plague-ridden environment.

What can we do to change it? I don’t know. Nothing right now, but maybe in the future we’ll discover other ways of living. I know I didn’t grow up owned by technology, yet over the decades, I’ve rolled right into it. Haven’t we all?


Fandango’s Provocative Question #82

It’s Provocative Question time here on Serendipity.

He wants to know if we live up to our own standards. Do we?

I have thought about this often in the course of my life. I tend to excuse most people at least once or twice before I even get angry. But I do get angry, especially when someone has already apparently judged me. When this happens, the relationship usually ends and rarely gets put back together. I’m patient and patient and patient, but when the patience breaks, I don’t seem able to go back.

Is that a judgement? Yes, I suppose it is. It is certainly a judgement on the relationship, an admission that it is no longer viable for me. But over all? I think I’m harder on me than on anyone else. I’m a lot stricter with myself than I ever was with my son or with any other relationship. I tend to be both efficient and a bit rigid about obligations and frequently surprised when others are not. I try not hold others to my standards, but I admit to being disappointed when they don’t. I try to hide the disappointment.

I’m not sure what that means, but it has made me believe that life isn’t fair and expecting fairness is delusional. Life is what it is. It’s bumpy and twisty and unexpected. Whatever happens, you deal with it. Judge yourself, but try to not level it at others.


Fandango’s Provocative Question #81

From Fandango:

“Racism, especially in America, is a thorny and divisive topic. Someone I know told me about a song, “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,” from the Broadway musical “Avenue Q.” It goes:

Everyone’s a little bit
Racist, sometimes.
Doesn’t mean we go around committing
Hate crimes.
Look around and
You will find,
No one’s really
Maybe it’s a fact
We all should face.
Everyone makes
Based on race.”

I’d like to point out that racism by color has NOT always existed. Until the introduction of slavery — Black slavery — into Europe and America, bonds were largely religious and/or tribal. They were not based on skin color. The addition of skin color was a Christian weapon to justify slavery. It worked so well, they discovered if you turn any non-white people — North American Natives, abducted dark-skinned African natives, and Indians (from India) — into “barbarians” or “brutes,” then they weren’t human and you didn’t have to treat them as human. Race is, as human history goes, a relatively recent introduction to the haters scoreboard. Children who are brought up in a non-racist household in diverse neighborhoods often don’t notice skin color. When my son was growing up, I had to explain skin color to him because he had no idea what I was talking about. So I had to explain “more like my color or more like Garry’s color.” He still didn’t get why it mattered.

I don’t know what as a society we can do to stop parents who hate others based on skin color from pushing the same intolerance into their children’s little heads. Short of lobotomy — which occasionally seems like not a half-bad idea — how do you get ignorant, arrogant haters to consider the possibility that skin color has nothing to do with any other human abilities? People with other skin colors are as smart — or smarter — than lighter skinned people. They have the same sets of gifts for music, art, writing, mathematics or nuclear physics than whiter people do.

As racial groups, we may have differences in physiology. For example, Ashkenazi Jewish woman are more likely to get breast cancer than women without that gene. Young Black women are also more likely to get breast cancer. I’m sure one day we’ll work out the DNA links that make this true and maybe fix the problem. We know some of it, but not nearly enough. There are other ailments that are linked by DNA to specific groupings, probably many more than we know about.

Anything else is sheer prejudice.

Do people smell different? Sure they do. My son doesn’t smell like me and neither does my husband. A scent that smells good on me may smell awful on my best friend. Do they have different kinds of hair? Does baldness count? My grandmother was a redhead and I’m not. On the other hand, I inherited my father’s heart condition. I would have preferred the red hair. Oh, and Garry has dark skin and I’m about as white as anyone can be. We used to argue about beach vacations. His idea of a great vacation would put me in a burn unit. Somehow, we manage mostly because putting me in a burn unit would probably ruin both our vacations.

I don’t know why people hate each other for anything other than entirely personal reasons. It’s not that I don’t understand hate. I just don’t understand group hate, racial hate, religious hatred. But personally? I get the one-on-one thing. I often think the weirdest difference between any two humans is male versus female. It’s amazing that people so completely different manage to live together in some semblance of harmony for decades. It proves that tolerance can work.

Maybe if everyone  of every color marry until we are all one, nice tan, there will be no group left to hate.


Fandango’s Provocative Question #80

From Fandango, a deep, philosophical question. We need some of those because everything else is about disease or the news.

“I saw this question on a site that offers up a bunch of “deep, philosophical” questions and this one intrigued me. It’s about evolution, but not in the context of Darwin’s evolution of the species. It’s more about evolution of the individual and about who you are and how you change over time.

Here’s this week’s question, which is essentially about you. I hope you’ll have fun with it.”

That’s a pretty good question, actually. I am not at the “forgetting” stage of life. It doesn’t mean I don’t remember events, especially those which were significant, but I’m losing a lot of the details. Many formative life events go back more than 60 years. A lot of life has been lived since then.

If you think of your brain like a computer’s RAM, there comes that moment when you either have to offload material onto an external drive, or get a bigger, badder computer. The opportunity to get a bigger brain has not presented itself. Yet. You never know. Massive brain extensions might just come along any day now. If so, sign me up.

Otherwise, the me that I am is an amalgam of everything I was, wherever I’ve been plus all the people I’ve known, loved, hated, lost, or somehow just faded out of my life.

I often think my life is like a long flight of stairs. I remember a few things from when i was very young … before I could even speak. The next time I have a clear memory is moving to our house in Queens and meeting the girls who would be my friends for the next 16 years. The woods. Building “forts” and drinking lemonade while playing killer Monopoly on Mary’s front porch. The accumulated sunburns of childhood and wondering how I managed to avoid skin cancer, all things considered.

Piano lessons. Starting to play when I was just four years old and my legs weren’t long enough to reach the pedals. They had to put blocks on the pedals for me. I was really tiny. I complained a lot about having to practice, so one day my mother stopped giving me lessons until I begged her to bring them back. I never complained again. Music got “stuck” in my soul and never left. I would have been a musician except, it turns out, that loving music doesn’t necessarily give you the talent to perform it. I still love it and I play a little bit. I’ll be playing more as soon as I get my new strings.

Piano lessons?

I remember seeing Dumbo maybe half a dozen times one year because that was when my sister was born and the aunts who were taking care of me kept taking me to the movies. The same movie, as it turned out. My one and only trip to Rockefeller Center was to see Dumbo. Again. I was a permanent animation addict and still am. In between wanting to be a ballerina — my mother took me to see the NY City Ballet and I fell in love with the dancers — I also decided I could be a cartoonist. I actually had a little talent for cartooning, but by then, a love of words had intruded into my brain and wormed it’s way right into my soul.

No matter what I studied in college, I knew I was going to be a writer. I remember the first stories I wrote, my brief foray into poetry, getting my first professional writing job, then getting the next one … and many of the ones that followed. I never stopped writing. I also never stopped taking pictures or playing piano … until the arthritis in my hand made it impossible.

Here I am. Seventy-three. I can’t play piano anymore, but I can strum on a ukulele and am working on two different pennywhistles and a three-string cigar box guitar. It’s part of my life and there are people who still think of me as a musician because I got to know them while I was studying music in college. I don’t worry about the “long-term” future. I don’t know how long I’ll live, but I’ve survived so much, I figure I deserve some moderately healthy, if old, time to be me — whatever that is.

I remember Israel very well. Not so much the people as the place. The Old City. The open spice markets. Climbing to the top of the Old City wall, imagining the Romans attacking the city and “holding the fort.”. Lachish where the Egyption had an outpost down near Rehovot. A lot of work-related activity because it was in Israel where I learned to deal with software and write about it. The little English-language newspaper I ran — the most fun I have had on any job.

Leaving Israel and coming home — and realizing I felt like a foreigner. I feel like a foreigner now, too. Times have changed so much and so fast.

My home in Baka, Jerusalem. I lived on the second floor.

I still write. Probably more than ever, but this time, I write what I want, not what I’m paid to say. I still take pictures, even though the technology has changed enormously. I don’t know if I’m a better photographer than I was. I think a lot of the work I did very early on may have been more artistic and because I worked in a dark room, more “mine” that the work I do now. So f I’m maybe better or maybe worse than I was more than 40 years ago, but I’m less into portraits and much more into birds and critters and wild spaces  I became a climate believer in Israel, spending almost 6 years working for the Environmental Health Laboratory at the University of Jerusalem. That has carried me through the years. I’ve been beating people up over clean water for decades — for all the good it has done. In the 1980s it seemed urgent. In 2020, it’s a dire necessity that we change our ways of doing just about everything if we want to continue to live on this planet.

I can’t remember all the cats and dogs I’ve had in my life. I remember the first ones and those from the past 35 years. In between, I mostly remember work. It used to amuse me that all my girlfriends got pretty clothing and make-up and perfume for their birthdays and Christmas. I got briefcases and computer accessories … and when I was lucky, cameras and lenses.

I still read history and science fiction and fantasy with occasional forays into criminals and cops and courtrooms. I actually love courtroom dramas and sometimes I’m sure I could do a better job than the fictional ones. There were a couple of years when I couldn’t go a single day without watching “Law and Order,” but I’m in recovery. I’ve given up collecting dolls and ancient Chinese pottery, but there’s still an awful lot of collectibles in this house.

So. After all the sturm und drang of my early years, I’m comfortably married to Garry. Thirty-years this September. This one is until death do us part.


Fandango’s Provocative Question #79

Mookie Betts signed a $390 million contract with the Dodgers today. This ups the ante from $360 million and extends the contract to 12-years. I’m sure he’s explaining that it isn’t about the money. It’s about pride and honor. Personally, I think anyone who is earning $32,500,000 every year for the next 12-years will probably be able to put food on the table. It really is about the money. I don’t mind it being about the money because how many people are so good at anything that they would possibly be offered that kind of money? I’m just pissed that the Red Sox didn’t come up with the bucks and keep him here. We always come up short and then we have these terrible years with no pitchers, no fielding, no nothing.

The reason we have YouTubeTV which is the most expensive (but not by much) of all the streaming packages is that they have all sports — including the entire MLB baseball package. football, basketball, hockey, and who knows what else. It’s very heavy on sports. Garry is insane about baseball ⚾ beyond mere fandom. Even when the Sox are doing really badly as they surely will this year — we’re expecting them to be the bottom or next to the bottom of the Eastern Division — he will still watch at least one and often two or three games through the summer. So yeah, we missed sports.

I like baseball, too, though I’m not quite as fanatical as Garry, but I enjoy it. It’s a relatively peaceful game especially compared to football and hockey. And unlike football where I never can figure out what that calls mean, I actually know where the strike zone is and can call the pitch and know who is safe or out. I have a pretty good selection of Sox-wear.

Baseball is summertime for us. It’s what we watch through the warm, humid days and into the snappy days of Autumn. On a great year, it might be the only thing we watch from spring to fall. We also watch football, but now that Brady has moved on, I’m not sure we’ll be quite as jazzed as we were. We watched Brady from when they called him up from the bench until he moved out of town. I don’t even know why he’s still playing. He’s good-looking, well spoken, and I’m sure he could get any contract he wanted from ESPN. I thought he should have quit a couple of years ago so he could go be a broadcaster without waiting to get seriously broken. I still think he should retire while he’s healthy.

Especially during this incredibly intense and painful year, sports would have been a nice release from the pressure. But of course, when everything went to hell in a handbasket, why not sports too?

This isn’t going to be a “real” season. Just as well because we don’t have a single functional pitcher and our glorious outfield was bought by other teams who were willing to pay the big bucks which we should have paid. Never mind. We’ll bottom out this year and be much better next year and with a little luck, in one more year we’ll be heading for the playoffs.

Meanwhile, “opening day” is Friday for the Sox and Thursday for everyone else. Even with empty stands, it’s better than nothing.


Fandango’s Provocative Question #77

It’s another round of provocative questioning from Fandango. Today’s question involves blind justice. 

I have never believed that our system of justice was genuinely just. I don’t think a lot of our laws are just and didn’t think so even when I was a child.

How could a country founded on slavery have real justice? We had to have a war to free those slaves, but that wasn’t enough. Everything we’ve tried to do to create equality has failed. Blind justice? Deaf, dumb, racist — and for sale for the right price. It has always been obvious that those who have enough money get away with murder. The poor were lucky to escape prison for smoking a joint.

Now, of course, smoking joints is mostly legal, except at the federal level where it is still a crime and there are tens of thousands, maybe millions of pot smokers in jail for something that’s now legal. Then there are millions of poor people, colored and pale in prison because they couldn’t afford a decent lawyer.

It doesn’t mean that none of the poor or brown or black or tan people didn’t commit a crime. Maybe they did, but considering all the other issues — poverty, color, being in some other way “different” or in the wrong place,  it’s hard to tell. Add that to district attorneys who are determined to get guilty verdicts because that’s how they get promoted. Here and everywhere in this country, our system of justice is “pay as you go.” I know that race is a big issue, but I think the real bottom-line evil is money. Rich folks don’t have to obey the same laws we do. If, by some chance a very wealthy person gets nicked by the cops for something — like massive fraud, for example — they have that special color that enable freedom for even the worst criminals: money, which in this country, is green.

A really rich black person will win over a very poor person of any other color person because money almost always wins. We are shocked to our boot straps when the rich lose in court.

Americans believe that greed is good, that there’s no such thing as too much money, that we all deserve as much as we can get any way we can get it. It’s not in our constitution, but it’s deeply part of our culture.

If we don’t get past it, we will wind up a species without a planet, let alone a government.