Who Was That Masked Man?…I Don’t Know But I Wanted To Thank Him.

 I guess the first masked man that most of us Boomers came upon was the Lone Ranger accompanied by his Native American (we called Indian) sidekick, Tonto. And his white stallion, Silver.

That was back in the ’50s.

Today, you can’t go too far without seeing many masked men and women.

Eileen and I traveled up to New York by plane, and despite both of us having been duly vaccinated and negatively tested, we wore N95 masks and face shields as we ventured in the friendly skies.

It wasn’t fun.

God Bless healthcare workers who wore these masks for twelve-hour shifts day after day as they tended to the sick. I can’t imagine any group of people who want to return to normal than these people.

I found the wearing of these N95 masks to be painful and an ordeal for the few hours of flying and waiting in the airport, and I only had to do it once going and then again coming home.

I will, however, do it again as the alternative is less appealing.

Wearing the typical surgical masks is nothing compared to wearing the N95 in terms of discomfort, and it is no big deal to wear one as I do my daily chores or go to our restaurant here in our development. 

We can, of course, remove our masks when our drinks come as well as our meals. Our wait staff continues to wear their masks, and we are happy they do.

Warren G Harding promised a Return To Normalcy in the 1920 election. It had nothing to do with the Spanish Flu that was ravaging America at that time. It was more a reflection of kicking Woodrow Wilson’s ass (and his wife’s) out of the White House.

There was no such word as “normalcy” at the time as the correct term was normality, but that didn’t stop old Warren, but neither did the Teapot Dome scandal or hiding floozies in the White House closets. Normalcy ended for Harding when he died of an apparent heart attack two years into his presidency.

Notwithstanding Harding’s poor choice of words and untimely death, the desire to return to a usual way of living is something we all can hope to achieve in the coming months.

COVID fatigue is real.

Politics aside, no one wants to stay shut up in their locked-down abode anymore. There are baseball games and barbecues to attend and family gatherings by the score that needs to be held, and grandfathers and grandmothers who need their families at their side.

It’s all coming soon, but, like Christmas, we can’t rush it, and we still have to wear the mask.

Stay well. Be safe.

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Hiatus

It’s been quite a while since I last bothered you with an entry to the Newell Post.

There are a few reasons for my absence, not the least of which is my grandson, EJ, with whom I have spent six weeks of my vacation from writing.

Other reasons include election and insurrection fatigue and just wanting to get on with life.

But now I am back in Florida with a new Mac. Another reason for my missing in in-action was that my eleven-year-old Mac decided it had had enough, and its replacement just arrived on my doorstep courtesy of the good people at Apple and UPS.

So, here goes.

I only wish there was Rustoleum for delinquent bloggers.

Having been twice vaccinated, it was nice to travel to New York to see my children. It was well over a year since we’ve had the pleasure of their company. Thank God for Zoom and FaceTime and, might I add, Science in general.

Well, I was up in the Bronx when the Yankees played their first game of spring training, so it was fitting that I would be back in Florida when the Yankees opened the season in the Bronx.

Timing was never my forte.

But, still, it’s been great to watch baseball once again.

Then there is The Jets.

There have been worse franchises in sports, and it’s hard to remember that we were deemed a competitive team a short eleven years ago. But a few coshes and general managers later, we are once again rebuilding.
It’s not easy being a Jet fan which is why being a Yankee fan is the requisite anti-body to Jet dystopia.

The Yankees don’t have to win a World Series every year, but they do come close and have been putting more wins in the column than losses for over 27 years. That’s enough to keep fans (regular fans) happy and eager to watch their games.

The Jets, on the other hand, have not had a winning season in five years.

I don’t ask for much, but more wins than losses would be nice.

The Rule of Thumb that I subscribe to marks a good season for the Jets as to whether we are in the playoff hunt at Thanksgiving.

Lately, we haven’t made it to Columbus Day.

I am rustier than I had imagined, or maybe I am just uninspired as yet, but I will get my writing mojo back.

Just be patient.

That’s funny. Suggesting patience after 2020?

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Hiatus

It’s been quite a while since I last bothered you with an entry to the Newell Post.


There are a few reasons for my absence, not the least of which is my grandson, EJ, with whom I have spent six weeks of my vacation from writing.


Other reasons include election and insurrection fatigue and just wanting to get on with life.


But now I am back in Florida with a new Mac. Another reason for my missing in in-action was that my eleven-year-old Mac decided it had had enough, and its replacement just arrived on my doorstep courtesy of the good people at Apple and UPS.


So, here goes.


I only wish there was Rustoleum for delinquent bloggers.


Having been twice vaccinated, it was nice to travel to New York to see my children. It was well over a year since we’ve had the pleasure of their company. Thank God for Zoom and FaceTime and, might I add, Science in general.

Well, I was up in the Bronx when the Yankees played their first game of spring training, so it was fitting that I would be back in Florida when the Yankees opened the season in the Bronx.

Timing was never my forte.

But, still, it’s been great to watch baseball once again.

Then there is The Jets.

There have been worse franchises in sports, and it’s hard to remember that we were deemed a competitive team a short eleven years ago. But a few coshes and general managers later, we are once again rebuilding.
It’s not easy being a Jet fan which is why being a Yankee fan is the requisite anti-body to Jet dystopia.

The Yankees don’t have to win a World Series every year, but they do come close and have been putting more wins in the column than losses for over 27 years. That’s enough to keep fans (regular fans) happy and eager to watch their games.


The Jets, on the other hand, have not had a winning season in five years.


I don’t ask for much, but more wins than losses would be nice.


The Rule of Thumb that I subscribe to marks a good season for the Jets as to whether we are in the playoff hunt at Thanksgiving.

Lately, we haven’t made it to Columbus Day.


I am rustier than I had imagined, or maybe I am just uninspired as yet, but I will get my writing mojo back.


Just be patient.


That’s funny. Suggesting patience after 2020?

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Snow Snow Snow Snow…

One of our favorite songs from White Christmas happens to be the title of today’s entry.

Snow.

Snow is something that I haven’t seen since January 16, 2017.

That was the day that we closed on the selling of our house in East Quogue.

Our Pod was picked up early that morning, and I had to go out to move the cars to allow the truck to access the Pod. It was nineteen degrees, and our driveway had a coating of ice and snow from a previous weather event.

It was winter’s last hurrah…for Eileen and me at least.

So, this morning when I got up, and the temperature in Bradenton was in the 50’s, and I was freezing and had to resort to jeans, sweatshirt, and socks in lieu of a tee-shirt, shorts, and sickles, I thought about what was heading to New York in the coming days.

Snow.

My reaction startled me.

For the last year of Covid, I have been in a geographical funk. I felt trapped in Florida because I was not able to go to London and Ireland. I was not able to come up to New York for my birthday. More importantly and more painful, we were not able to travel up to New York for our grandson’s first Christmas.

I regretted my decision to sell our house in East Quogue and to abandon my family on that last snowy day that we experienced in 2017.

But, watching the New York news channel provided by Spectrum and learning that NYC and Long Island might be getting over a foot of snow just a few days after single-digit temperatures….well, let’s just say Florida’s been looking pretty groovy to me after all.

Instead of looking for places to buy in New York, I started looking for classes my kids could move to down here.

Now, this is just a meteorological over-reaction on my part, but, nevertheless, there is something to be said for snowbirding.

I just re-posted a blog I wrote several years ago when I was still commuting on the Long Island Rail Road, and it reinforced the idea that our decision to move to Florida was a pretty good one after all.

Now, COVID has prevented us from coming up to see our kids. As soon as we are fully vaccinated, that, hopefully, will put an end to our self-imposed (state-imposed?) exile as mask in position, we will venture back to the friendly skies and the beautiful environs of The Bronx.

It will be something that we will no longer take for granted and our ability to see our little EJ in three dimensions will be a treasure we will protect and preserve.

If there is anything that we all have learned during this dark year, it’s that time together with our loved ones…family and friends in New York, as well as the dear friends and family we have down here in Florida, must be savored and enjoyed like a fine wine…a single malt whiskey…a hoppy craft beer.

Nothing says love like alcoholic similes.

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Future Perfect

One of the downsides of being a science fiction fan, both in video representations and literary, is that I was set up to believe that the future would be perfect. Perfect, at least, in the eyes of a child.

Whether it was traveling to the stars or living in a world free of strife, the future was laid out for us as Heaven on Earth. No Dystopian universe to depress us. We may have read Orwell and Huxley but were never persuaded to think that our future would-be authoritarian in nature. No, ultimate freedom and pleasure were what was in store for us.

If George Jetson worked not at all by our standards, and Jane Jetson had a robotic maid to do the housework, life would be grand indeed for us baby boomers of the ’60s.

All of our hopes and dreams for a glorious future were confirmed by the New York World’s Fair in 1964.

Whether it was in the General Electric Pavilion, Progressland, the General Motors Pavillion, Futurama, or The Ford Rotunda, the future was quite literally a Disneyland for all of us to desire.

What made this such a powerful statement of hope for a better life was that the Fair opened five months to the day after our President had been assassinated. If ever there were a time to lose hope for the future, this was one. Perhaps, it helped our nation renew its optimism for a glorious future despite the challenges we had faced and would continue to face?

When we thought about the future in the ’50s, and 60’s space flight was on the top of the list. How many times had we taken time away from math and English in order to watch a space launch? Our teachers back then realized these were historical events, and we frequently were allowed to witness them on a flickering black and white television screen.

We had heard our President declare that we would put a man (no thought of women going to space quite yet) by the end of the decade. So profound was our faith in the future that when our President was shot in 1963, we entertained no doubt that this goal would be achieved.

Indeed, we reached this goal in 1969 and remained seemingly able to launch another moon mission anytime we wanted. Then in 1968, Stanley Kubrick, along with Arthur C. Clarke, made us believe that by 2001 we would have a lunar base from which we could reach the outer planets.

Space shuttles would be the new airplane as Pan Am would expand beyond the Americas and provide space station service daily. Sadly, Kubick’s representation would prove a considerable gaff as the real Pan Am went out of business a full ten years before their so-called shuttle brought Dr. Heywood Floyd to the rotating space station on his way to the Moon.

Oh well.

Nevertheless, in 1968 when 2001 A Space Odyssey debuted, and a full year before Neil Armstrong took that first step, space stations, and lunar bases were still optimistically a certainty.

But the future we imagined as children of the ’50s and 60’s never seemed to come to fruition.

We have many frills of modernity that would have inspired awe in the teenagers of our youth, but few have made our lives that much better.

Sure, I can hear a song on my satellite radio and go to iTunes to instantly purchase it, but that is nothing like going to Camera Craft in Parckchester to get the first 45 copy of I Want To Hold Your Hand.

Finishing a book on my train ride home, it was nice and convenient to go to the Kindle Store and download a new book in a matter of seconds? But is this better than going to an out of the way book store and discovering an unknown author?

It’s not that we don’t have a choice in our music or books or movies, but there is no randomness about the process.

Smart Phones and Smart Televisions have their upside but so too are their downsides. Always being on the grid. Always being available. Always being calibrated by some logarithm.

Our phones and TVs may be smart but are we?

Nostalgia was something we never considered about the future. It would not even enter our mind that the future would present challenges the like of which we are now experiencing.

We read about Big Brother and the Brave New World, but they were never going to be our future, or so we dreamt.

Our dreams and whimsy’s privacy are no longer private as being on the grid is akin to standing naked in Macy’s window.

For many, work has become less laborious, but for too many, it has ceased to represent a means of changing one’s status.

Our lives are not that bad, and certainly I have no reason to bemoan my fate. It’s just that we have seemed to stagnate these last fifty years since we stopped going to the Moon.

Perhaps, successfully meeting our most significant challenge yet and eliminating the scourge of Covid-19 will help usher in those long lost dreams for a utopian future?

That indeed will be a miracle of science that will restore our faith.

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Promises Made Promises Kept

Trump has just delivered the promise of his red hat.

America IS Great Again!

Trump has left the White House.

God Bless America.

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The Deep Fake

Something occurred to me in the midst of my delicious Sunday morning breakfast prepared with excellent culinary skills by my wife, Eileen.

Let me start by stating that I am a devout Anglophile and love everything English. From music to literature, I love it all and consume as much as I can. I subscribe to two streaming services that provide a broad array of English television in both drama and comedy genres.

In many of these distinctly British presentations, the lead characters frequently sip from the omnipresent cup of tea.

I have yet to see any of my favorite characters imbibe in a crumpet and, I confess, which I wouldn’t be able to identify in the first place.

I never thought at all about this glaring omission and wouldn’t even think to raise it as an issue of concern or remorse. However, this morning, as I was finishing my breakfast (not a typical Brit Fryup but containing two of the basics, eggs and bacon), I hit upon a more serious concern than the missing English crumpet.

I was dabbing the last bit of Smuckers Strawberry onto my English Muffin when it occurred to me that not once in my forty years of watching British characters ranging from Monty Python to Sherlock Holmes have I ever seen a Brit as much as mention (not alone eat) an English Muffin!

What’s up with that?

Has a fraud been perpetrated against me? With all their alleged nooks and crannies, is there anything distinctively English about the so-called English Muffin?

For forty years, all I have seen my English cousins of the arts only enjoy two pieces of toast and jam to complement their tea.

I don’t even believe that what Americans buy as English Muffins actually originate in England!

Ok, so occasionally, I have seen the odd scone or two but never an English Muffin.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the English Muffins that I have been eating all my life with butter melting in the nooks and jam settling in the crannies, but I think I will have to refer to them by some other name.

It’s just going to take some time getting used to calling our beloved English Muffins, American Tea Breads.

Just another issue to deal with in 2021.

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The Day That Shook America

No, it wasn’t January 6, 2021.

In fact, it wasn’t even in this century.

The day that forever changed America, and from which we have never recovered, was November 22, 1963.

Back in college, I wrote an essay, Decade of Decadence, in which I noted that the Kennedy Assassination ushered in a ten year period of American political and social decay.

I was too short-sighted, as it turns out.

I was thirteen years old in 1963, so you might be correct in questioning the evaluation of memories from a teenager.

The fifties still lingered in Camelot. They may have, in fact, received a jolt of rejuvenation with the election of John Kennedy.

As he reminded us in his inauguration address, he was the first President born in the twentieth century. He saw America’s failures falling behind the Soviet Union in the space race and challenged the nation to send a man to the moon by the end of the decade.

The Civil Rights movement was growing and had the ear of a sensitive President.

We had only sent advisors to Viet Nam, and there is no telling what would have happened if Kennedy had lived, but there is reason to believe that he would not have escalated the conflict as had Lyndon Johnson.

But who knows?

Kennedy was killed by an American citizen and very few people, even today, accept the Warren Commission’s account, which had investigated the assassination. Many people believe that Oswald did not act alone.

This was when Americans were introduced to doubt.

This is when Americans legitimately questioned what their leaders were told them.

Years later, we learned they lied to us about Viet Nam.

Lying about the need to wage war was a bi-partisan disease, as our Gulf Wars’ long history has shown.

We have been lied to in all sorts of endeavors, not just politics.

Religious leaders have shown to be the biggest liars. Whether in the form of shielding pedophiles or merely conning donations from poor people so that megachurches can be built and their preachers live the life of a wealthy Pharisee.

We were even lied to regarding America’s pastime.

Baseball players were taking Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDS) for years, and team owners and sportswriters were (or should have been ) fully aware of this. But players who hit home runs filled ballparks and reaped substantial television deals, and sold newspapers.

Suddenly, they found religion and were appalled and aghast at players breaching the sanctity of their sport and shattering records set by men of character dedicated to truth, justice, and the American way.

So, when another leader tells Americans that the election was rigged and that he was victorious in a landslide, accepting yet another lie is a piece of cake.

We’ve grown so accustomed to being lied to that we wind up believing nothing or everything. Maybe we believe the last thing we hear.

Some believe that COVID-19 is a hoax, but they still want to get the vaccine.

Anti-vaxxers are tired of being lied to, so they don’t believe medical science promotes vaccines as safe and efficacious therapies for all sorts of treatable illnesses.

We hear of such terms as “alternative truth” and “alternative reality.”

So, back to Philosophy 101, we go:

What is truth?

What is real?

On that Friday afternoon in 1963, the only thing I doubted was whether the New York Giants were going to win that Sunday.

But that doubt was quickly replaced by others.

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It Started With Sports

In 1962 my brother Michael won a pair of tickets for the first Saturday game that the New York Metropolitans ever played.

Make no mistake about it; I was a Yankee fan.

Nevertheless, I nagged my father to take me to this game over in the Polo Grounds, which was not an easy do, public transportation wise, from our section of the Bronx.

A few years later, in 1965, my brother Michael bought a season ticket to the New York Jets.

Make no mistake about it; we were New York Giant fans.

But, neither one of us had ever been to a Giant game as this storied franchise never had a problem selling season tickets, which were routinely bequeathed to generations of Giant fans over the years, or so the legend goes.

We probably would have become Met fans and remained loyal Giant fans, but society (at least the society with which we interacted) would never let you be the fan of both New York baseball or football teams.

I am not sure why that was the case, but there it is. You couldn’t do it, and we didn’t.

But there were those who not only refused to root for the other New York team but got distinct pleasure from the other team’s failure. Some even went so far and rooted more against the other team than rooted for their own team.

There were other rivalries, of course, mostly within the group of teams the New York teams actually competed against.

Yankee -Red Sox (although I never remember the Red Sox being a rival when I was a kid.)

Jets- Oakland Raiders, especially in the early days of the American Football League.

That was the real cause of the rancor erupting in New York between Jet and Giant fans. It wasn’t so much that the Jets were another New York football team but that they dared to belong to the upstart (some would say inferior) American Football League, and that went against the traditional National Football League, which had been around for all our lives.

Now, no one should have any concern about rooting for the team of their choice or actually attend a game in which they are competing.

But it hasn’t always been that easy.

There have been fights and even deaths at sporting events because a fan wore the wrong colors to the game.

Sound familiar?

Many fans have a hard time accepting that there are other teams that Americans root for, and it has often gone beyond the point of arguing which team had the better players.

I had a season ticket to all Saturday Yankee games for over sixteen years before moving to Florida. During that time, I stopped going to Yankee-Met games and even Yankee-Red Sox games because often, things would happen that would ruin the experience of attending the game.

So, it is no wonder that we have devolved to the point of hating people who think differently than we.

This last week has been a bizarre period in a bizarre era.

That’s all I have to say about it because anything more would only illustrate the point more.

I am about to watch an NFL playoff game, and I am going to enjoy it thoroughly.

I don’t have a team in either of the three games played yesterday or the three games today.

I could care less who wins.

Naturally, what happened this week was an event in which we all had skin in the game.

But, unlike a World Series or Super Bowl, we all came out as losers.

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E Pluribus Unum

Assuming that most of you haven’t had three years of high school Latin and two years of college Latin:

e plu·ri·bus u·num/ˌē ˌplo͝orəbəs ˈ(y)o͞onəm/noun

  1. out of many, one (the motto of the US).

I’ve always had some difficulty understanding what our so-called motto meant?

Out of many one?

Did it refer to the various states and regions that comprise our country?

Dit it refer to the many types of people who live in our country?

Religion?

Nation of Origin?

Race?

Gender?

Out of many, one certainly didn’t apply to blacks and women when this slogan was adopted.

Eventually, however, E Pluribus Unum’s application did include blacks and women, but some continue to wish that it didn’t.

To assert that we are ONE of many is a ridiculous statement.

We weren’t one in 1776.

We weren’t one in 1860.

We weren’t one when the Doughboys came home after World War I.

We weren’t one when the GIs came home after World War II.

We are certainly not one today.

I was going to write a blog on my desire to reduce my social media footprint.

Facebook and Twitter (never a big user of Instagram) used to be a fun way to keep in touch with friends and family. It was especially nice to re-connect to friends with whom I hadn’t been in contact with for many years.

Now, however, social media has been weaponized into a vehicle of division.

Over a month ago, I got off Twitter due to the people I was following. It wasn’t a political leader or a pundit but rather a group of New York Jet fans. This group whined and whined about the Jets and what they should do.

I just got so sick of all their negativity.

Earlier, I stopped following a few Yankee fans who couldn’t write anything positive about any of the Yankees.

So, I stopped going to Twitter.

I am doing the same with Facebook.

This is a positive step for me to retain a positive outlook and perhaps lose some of my negativity to all that is going on in our country.

I realize that my blogs have irritated people who do not share my views, so I invite them to delete me as I have deleted those who annoy me.

It’s only fair.

After yesterday’s horror, we all need to strive to rid ourselves of the hatred that divides us. It was so sad to see those people storm the Capitol as if we were, as President Trump would say, A Shithole Country.

I was looking at some of these people, wondering what motivated them to act like that and, more importantly, question whether they had anything else in their life that would have been jeopardized by such action?

I wasn’t judging them, only wondering how they got to that point.

When President Obama was inaugurated in 2009, my three children played hooky from school and work to attend this momentous event. They weren’t protestors or demonstrators, merely witnesses to History.

I can’t help but feel that that inauguration in 2009 motivated the seditious act of treason perpetrated yesterday.

I can’t help but feel that the election of a black man to the Office of The Presidency has driven some people to the point of evoking the Dogma of Dixie, and they have been empowered by Trump to come out of the woodwork and proudly stand up for racism.

The only question that remains is, will E Pluribus Unum survive?

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