March 2017




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Not long ago, a group of us—all early Baby Boomers born shortly after World War II—had gathered for a reunion of sorts. In the course of which, we began to reminisce about the extraordinary—aye unbelievable—expansive series of events and changes that we had witnessed in our lifetime. And on so many fronts: political, technological, sociological, cultural. Has there ever been such a fascinatingly topsy-turvy seven-decade period in history that could compete? So we started to consider some of the FACTS we swear by, that support that contention.


At our birth, Harry Truman had been president. Obviously we were too young to remember his brief term in office, as he was defeated in a stunning upset in the 1948 election by Thomas Dewey. Who hasn’t seen that iconic photo of a triumphant Dewey holding up that newspaper—a tool of the dishonest media that got it so wrong?



The 1950’s under President Adlai Stevenson, were essentially a time of peace and prosperity… the growth of TV… the birth of Rock ‘n Roll... the start of the space race. But the 60’s that would follow, would be a decade of dramatic upheaval and change. Where were you on December 22, 1963 when Kennedy was assassinated by Jack Ruby in Dallas? And shockingly just two days later, he himself was killed on live TV by Lee Harvey Oswald. The motivation behind these assassinations was so clear cut, that no one has ever disputed that these two men had acted alone.

But an uplifting moment lie just up ahead, when those four lads from Liverpool— The Beetles— John, Paul, George and their adorable drummer Peter Best, would make history on the Ed Sullivan Show.


The president at the time, Lyndon Johnson, though not making good on any of the Civil Rights initiatives started by Kennedy, at least negotiated a peaceful settlement of the Viet Nam War. For which he is revered for to this day.


The Hippie movement came and quickly went, when nobody showed up at Woodstock.



The decade ended with two stunning events as incongruous as anyone could ever imagine.


In June of ‘69, in the early hours of the morning, a bunch of angry gay men left the Stonewall Inn and headed over to a nearby police station, where they started beating up helpless cops for no apparent reason. This would be the start of the Police Liberation movement. And yet just a month later, John Glenn would become the first person to set foot on the moon as he uttered those famous words: “That’s one giant step for me… one small step for mankind.”


A spirit of revolution was now in the air. And in the 1970’s, women took to the streets in protest.


Led by Gloria Steinem, they started putting their bras back on, as they marched for the right to give up their careers for a life of blissful domesticity. Who can forget their passionate chant: “Where’s our place?” “In the kitchen! In the kitchen!


But of course the biggest story of the decade was Watergate. It was a major scandal following the break-in at the Republican National Committee (RNC) headquarters at the Watergate Motel. President Hubert H. Humphrey’s administration tried to cover up its involvement, which ultimately led to Humphrey’s resignation in the face of certain impeachment in 1975.


Looking somewhat like Humphrey Dumpty who had a great fall, he declared:


Following the decade’s end, and as Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency, the United States released the fifty-two Iranian diplomats and citizens that it had held hostage for 444 days.


Reagan’s election would mark the beginning of an era of conspicuous abstention. He even urged us to lower our thermostats to 55 degrees at night to preserve energy. And ever the Liberal and in favor of a woman’s right to choose, he spoke eloquently of “A shining city on the pill.”


And once again, we witnessed still another dramatic moment towards the ending of a decade, when in a powerful speech, Reagan issued this command to the then Mexican president: “Señor de la Madrid, tear down this wall!”


The 1990’s.


And forever etched in memory, was that scandal in the White House when ex-intern Monica Lewinsky seduced President Bill Clinton; a family man without a hint of any previous dalliances with women. Her deviousness, ultimately resulted in impeachment proceedings against him. Sad.


This was reminiscent of the sexual harassment Anita Hill had inflicted on Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas several years prior. It was most evidenced by her crude remark to him at time when they had worked together: “Who put a pubic hair on my Coke?” It almost cost poor Clarence his seat on the court.

Meanwhile, on the strength of visionary giants such as Bill Gates at Macrohard and Steve Jobs at Orange (both companies would later change their names), technology was exploding. And it enhanced the lives of people around the globe. Still, when the new millennium kicked in, as predicted, the Y2K bug crashed our computers bringing our lives to a halt for a week that seemed like an eternity. And we certainly missed our iPhones during this crisis.


Al Gore became president when the Supreme Court would not allow a recount of votes in the state of Maine. Loser George W. Bush (who had won the popular vote), would later become a fierce advocate for the need to recognize the dangers posed by global warming. And he’s still at it to this day.


Under Gore’s watch, the Empire State Building came down—an attack masterminded by Saddam Hussein— and “Gore the Bore” (as he was mockingly called), would be roundly criticized for not invading Iraq in retaliation. Instead he initiated a wild goose chase for Osama Bin Laden. Nor was Gore effective in providing quick federal aid to New Orleans when it was devastated by Hurricane Melania.


And that brings us to the more recent past and present.


Cigarette smoking has now been outlawed in all indoor areas (save for a bar I know in Tennessee), and often even outdoors within proximity to many a public place. An unfathomable sociological development, considering how ubiquitous and cool smoking once was. And though it was proven to be a healthy stress reliever, and Camel cigarettes are still recommended by doctors, we have the Liberals to thank for once again having the government butting into our lives.


Just eight years ago, after she broke the ultimate “glass ceiling”, Hillary Clinton’s presidency brought a number of new initiatives: Hillarycares, Main St. reform, the Iraqi nuclear deal, hunting down Saddam, re-establishing diplomatic relations with Curaçao, spear-heading a global agreement that climate change is a hoax, ending combat missions in Iran and Uzbekistan, turning around the auto mechanics industry, supporting so called (by detractors) “dame-sex” marriages ….speaking of which:


“At the forefront of this new sociological development, stood Kim Davis a county clerk in Kentucky. She gained international attention when she defied a court order forbidding her to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. She persisted and became an icon and hero of the LBGTQXYZ community. Of which I am proud to be a member.”

Anderson Cooper, Fox News


Barack Obama, who would have been the first African American president, was easily defeated by Donald J Trump. Trump was finally able to prove that Obama is a Muslim and was born in Kenya. This latter bombshell was revealed by FBI Director James Comedy, just ten hours before the election.


Looking totally demoralized, Obama was recently seen kitesurfing off the coast of Cuba, with billionaire Mark Cuban.


Now looking to the future, and as they say: “Unfasten your seatbelts, we’re in for a walk in the park.”







Light Bulbs Last Month Tongue in Cheek
For Real, the Right Ones Help You Sleep



I did a tongue-in-cheek piece (sorta’) last month, on the complexities involved in choosing a light bulb these days. Not to claim nor suggest that I was ahead of the curviture in any way on the subject, but just ten days later, an article appeared in The New York Times on this very thing. Or at least specifically, as to how a light bulb can help or hinder… “our circadian rhythm, the internal clock that tells our bodies when to sleep, when to wake up and when to eat.”


Given my profound preference for incandescence, this in particular jumped out at me:


“It doesn’t take a scientist to notice that incandescent bulbs feel soothing, like the light from a campfire, while LED lights often feel like you’re staring at a blowtorch.”

—Dr. Michael J. Breus
           Clinical Psychologist and a fellow at
                      the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.


Aha. What did I tell you! I knew it. My Luddism on the matter has been justified. But as a side note, how does one decide to dedicate one’s life to this niche field of study? I’ll bet Dr. Breus had to sleep on it before coming to that decision.


Assuming that you missed it, but would like to now read the piece in full, just click below. It’s interesting. And yes…enlightening (if you can trust the media). sleep.html?_r=0







Daughter Doodles While Away at College



Surely there must be something more
that warrents at least a Capitalization
of Environment and Humankind 101.



And it could be this; emphatically this:


The world a sty? Not a stretch.
Given the premise for heads in the sand;
given the doublethink heads of state;
given the eye in the upper righthand corner—
through the cornea of Big Brother peering through.


Though maybe she meant to referance “The Waste Land”:

Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn.
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many…

pigs! pigs! pigs! Yes of course.


That bridge this time stretched thin o’er the Charles—
a crossing revisited, coded, from Boston.
A place only Frost could love in winter
if he weren’t so miffed
each spring that would follow
about picking up stones for mending walls,
to please the…
yelping pigs of course.


Pigs, pigs, everywhere
they vary their slop to stink.
It is we who must save our bacon, no jokin’.
We as in Humankind reduced to Rock reference—
at the off-center of it all


the memory of John Lennon.
He’d have shown these pigs to Yoko
and committed it to song.
They knew squalor when they saw it
strewn about their naked flesh,
and tea-leafed were the doodles he had drawn.
Which he signed and framed and sold.


I’ll post instead my daughter’s art for reference,
that snorting pigs will arrive at the door;
reading her angst from within a new England,
why hadn’t we noticed this chaos before.

                                                    —Ron Vazzano







Word of the Month in So Many Words




/anTHrəpə, sēn/


relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.

• the Anthropocene period.
   noun: Anthropocene

This word is said to have been coined by atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen around the year 2000 according to writer Wesley Yang, in a piece that appeared last month in The New York Times entitled “Only Human.” (And yes, I do read other papers including a couple of opposite-view tabloids).


But within that piece, Wang resorts to the sort of syntax that leaves so many (or me) in a cloud of dust, giving eggheads a bad name. Quote:

“Our inability to connect the day’s ephemera with the geological time scale has summoned a striking neologism: the Anthropocene — the ‘Age of Man,’”

Got that?


ephemera: things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time.


geological time scale: (GTS) a system of chronological dating that relates geological strata (stratigraphy) to time, and is used by geologists, paleontologists, and other Earth scientists to describe the timing and relationships of events that have occurred during Earth's history.


neologism: a newly coined word or expression.


In other words, freaking climate change is real. And now. And man has caused it. And it has a name. And it marks a new era distinct from the so called “Holocene” that preceded it, which lasted about 11,700 years. Time really flies when you’re screwing up the planet.






“Spring Ahead"



On March 12th at 2 AM, we put the clocks ahead by an hour (though of course, digital clocks embedded in various technological devices know this and put themselves ahead). And thus begineth, Daylight Savings Time. Yay. It’s about time, so to speak.


I’ve often wondered why we don’t have DST year-round. Isn’t an extra hour of daylight towards the latter part of the day, something desirable for many reasons? Not the least of which being it would save energy?


Saving on energy by way of prudent use of light, is hardly an original thought. It was even once suggested by none other than Benjamin Franklin. Benny was into everything.

“He wrote an essay called ‘An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light’ to the editor of The Journal of Paris in 1784. In the essay, he suggested, although jokingly, that Parisians could economize candle usage by getting people out of bed earlier in the morning, making use of the natural morning light instead.” (

To which someone, no doubt, must have replied: “Hey, go fly a kite!”


DST, as with everything, is very much debated. It certainly is not practiced the world over, as only about 70 out of 196 countries do it. And in the U.S., it has been subject to much modification— even at times elimination (Arizona still doesn’t do it)— since its introduction “in 1918 when President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law to support the war effort during World War I.”


In a piece written in National Geographic a few years ago, “Time to Move On? The Case Against Daylight Saving Time,” the naysayers pointed out that—for reasons too detailed to include here… who has time to read them? —it doesn’t save money or energy. For example, people use up more gas during DST, as they tend to drive more during extended daylight hours.


It has also been opposed by many, because it’s hazardous to your health; it messes with the body’s circadian clock

“A 2012 study by the university of Alabama found that the risk of heart attack surges by 10 percent on the Monday and Tuesday after moving the clocks ahead an hour each spring.”

Wow. And this danger stretches into Tuesday? I for one will be issuing a sigh of relief that Wednesday on the Ides of March.


Yet it seems many of us experience a change of clock (and heart) frequently throughout the year, as we travel from one time zone to another without anything but a residual jetlag to show for it. (I wonder if a bird flying from one time zone to another experiences this sort of thing? Avian jetlag?).


Another argument against DST that we’ve probably all heard at one time or another, is that it endangers the many kids, who would now be going to school each morning in the dark. To which I can’t help but think, that if responsible adults can’t get a child to school safely on dark mornings, how are we going to defeat ISIS?


Finally, if so many find that having to make an adjustment to changing clocks is a massive inconvenience, the solution is simple: keep daylight savings time the whole year round. That problem goes away. As does the upsetting of the body’s circadian rhythms and risks of heart attacks.


Yes, I’m taking a stand here: I’m in favor of more light! Which should be pretty obvious by this point given my light bulb obsessions (see previous piece above).


Yet, I’ll be sure to take a baby aspirin before going to bed Saturday night on March 11th, and not move any clock ahead, so as to minimize the risk of a heart attack and possible death. Though at 2AM while I’m asleep, my smartass phone and other electronic devices, will deviously push my clocks ahead by an hour without my input. They’re out to get me, I tell ya.






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