Category: Opinion

Come together. Please?

Part of the World Trade Center tower retrieved after 9/11

During this cocktail of misinformation and pandemic, I am stunned by how ill-informed so many people are. How can women who remind me so much of our neighbors when I was growing up, believe so many conspiracy theories?

That might be the easiest question to answer: the women of my childhood were well informed. The Internet and cable television did not exist then. We basically all read the same newspapers and listened to one of three news broadcasts on television. And no, the news was not propaganda. It was a competitive market, which actually raised the level of journalism.

The current women I see distrust the local news and newspapers, and instead, feed on ludicrous, unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. How do you debunk a negative when someone has been programmed to believe only that negative?

So let’s look back a few more years: specifically to September 11, 2000. Even now, I think most of us can agree that the terrorist attacks against the United States were horrendous.

Well planned and executed, they threw the country into–if not chaos–then what? Edginess? Fear? And then resolve.

Since two of the four airplanes took off from Logan Airport in Boston at the time, and since I lived a mere 18 miles from the airport, it all became personal to me. Those fall days following the attacks were wonderful New England Fall days. The beautiful weather belied the truth, and maybe we needed that.

I would go to bed at night and listen to the jets flying above my home. Logan Airport was closed to all commercial flights, so I knew these were military planes protecting the border. I’d like to say that I felt safer, but I remember one nightmare where I was outside on a beautiful day and caught unprepared for an approaching atomic bomb. In my dream, I dropped to my knees as the blast hit us. The flash was overwhelming. Was I dead?

No, but I was troubled, and relieved, to wake up and realize that this particular atrocity was a dream.

I know the current events are, however much they seem like a nightmare, not a dream. And I’m not at all sure how we return to reality.

Let’s give thanks

Photo credit:

Let’s see: Thanksgiving is over and Christmas looms ahead as the pandemic rages on. What are we giving thanks for?

We just have to be creative thinkers. Sometimes you have to be grateful for what you don’t have any more.

If you, like me, are watching a lot of television and are annoyed by the repetitive commercials — mostly by automobile and insurance companies — I do have a little good news: The Medicare enrollment period ends on December 7th!

That means the insurance companies can pack up their commercials for another year. This doesn’t exactly mean the peace comes to our valley, but it does mean that we don’t have to listen to all those pitches for a few months. Goodbye Joe Namath, United Healthgroup, Humana, Aetna, et al.

Phil Swift has never looked so good.


If there’s one type of person you don’t want to trust, it’s a grifter: someone who cheats others out of money. Grifters are also known as chiselers, defrauders, gougers, scammers, swindlers, and flim-flam men. Selling a bridge and starting a Ponzi scheme are things a grifter might do.” —

Meanwhile, back at my email in-box and a month after the election, the emails continue. Donate! Save America!


If you click a Donate button, a new window opens with a few legal disclaimers:

Trump Make America Great Again Committee (“TMAGAC”) is a joint fundraising committee composed of participating committees Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (“DJTP”), Save America, and the Republican National Committee (“RNC”)…

Contributions to TMAGAC made by an Individual/Federal Multicandidate Political Committee will be allocated according to the following formula:

75% of each contribution first to Save America, up to $5,000/$5,000, then to DJTP’s Recount Account, up to a maximum of $2,800/$5,000.

25% of each contribution to the RNC’s Operating account, up to a maximum of $35,500/$15,000.

Any additional funds will go to the RNC for deposit in the RNC’s Legal Proceedings account or Headquarters account, up to a maximum of $213,000/$90,000.

As of yesterday, he’s raised over $170 million, paid off his campaign debt, and has a nice nest egg for future fraud.

No, not a grifter. Something much, much worse.

Election Day

It’s November 3rd and we do not know when the results will be in.

Some of us know what despair feels like. Some of us stayed in bed after the last election and binge-watched episodes of The Gilmore Girls for two days.

What we do know is that descendants and admirers of President Benjamin Harrison are already celebrating this dubious achievement: his pending removal from the list of the 10 Worst U.S. Presidents.

As of this writing, the list is:

  • James Buchanan
  • Andrew Johnson
  • Franklin Pierce
  • Warren G. Harding
  • William Henry Harrison
  • Millard Fillmore (tie)
  • John Tyler (tie)
  • Herbert Hoover
  • Chester A. Arthur
  • Benjamin Harrison

Will the other nine just move down one place on the list so we can crown a new #1?

That would be my vote.

Welcome to Salem — Next Year

I’ve never been comfortable with the association of Salem, Massachusetts with witches. Somehow, a painfully tragic event in the 1600s has morphed into New England’s month-long version of Marti Gras that draws over 250,000 worldwide visitors to this city with a population of less than 44,000.

Given that the streets are narrow at best, never straight (“quirky” you might say), and seldom marked with street signs except at the beginning and end of the street, I just avoid everything as much as I can.

Halloween 2019

A few years ago, I was driving home from work and came through one corner of the town as I usually did. My big mistake was forgetting that it was October 1st. I ended up right in the Halloween parade, the official kick-off for the Halloween party. So, instead of four minutes to make a left turn at the light to get home, it took almost an hour.

They canceled the parade this year, and the fireworks. Also no food trucks, or street vendors. The portable message signs at the entrances to Salem do not tell visitors where to find overflow parking, they just say “All Events Canceled.”

And still they come to town.

You cannot walk into a store or restaurant without a reservation. The commuter rail from Boston will not make the usual stops at Salem Depot after 2:00 each afternoon.

And still they come to town.

I get it. You are bored. I’m a little bored myself, but might I suggest that you go home and then come visit Salem when this pandemic is over? You are just exacerbating the problem, oh ye without face masks.

Yes, despite the mandate, many are not wearing masks for Halloween. Go figure.

See you next year.

The antidote for hate

I once had an idea for a television reality show.

My program would find super-rich CEOs, software company presidents, members of the US Congress and Senate and:

  • Strip them of their resumes, IDs, plus all their cash, cellphones, contacts, and pawnable jewelry.
  • Give them $50 in cash, from which they had to purchase their one and only outfit from a local thrift store.
  • Turn them loose in a small town where they didn’t know a soul and see how long they could survive.

Hungry? Find the local soup kitchen. Need work? How are your dish washing skills? Welcome to minimum wage — and no health insurance.

I didn’t need to pitch this idea because it already existed in the wonderful television program called Schitt’s Creek. It stars two of my all-time favorite actors/comedians Catherine O’Hara and and Eugene Levy. I have the DVDs of the Canadian program SC-TV, and of course the improv movies: Best of Show, Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration…

But it’s Schitt’s Creek that swept the recent Emmy Awards for Comedy.

What started out as a story of a family completely out-of-touch with just about everyone turned in to a story of love and acceptance.

In these fraught times, let’s embrace that idea — and wear a mask, people. We have work to do.