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Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Watching the news this morning about confirmation of an obviously unqualified Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education who bought her way to favor and the silencing of a courageous and out spoken Elizabeth Warren on the floor of the senate leads me to the statement: welcome to the 1920’s. When lynching was legal, Fascism and Nationalism were on the rise and we were heading toward WW II.

America is not a safer place this morning, and it is not a greater place this morning. My last post talked about a movement: #NoApocalypseInOurTime. There are people in power today willing the Apocalypse of the bible into existence. We must not let that happen.

We, The Human Beings among us, are capable of withstanding even the most brutal of natural disasters. This is how God works through us. I am not sure if that is how God created us, but I do believe that is how we have evolved. We are innovative, thoughtful, compassionate, and above all, generous. The Golden Rule is our guide. So we must thwart any attempt to generate a man-made apocalypse. That is the very root of evil: Hubris. The playing of God by men.

This is not one of my sardonic jokes. I am dead serious. I have always been attentive to politics, but mostly sat on the sidelines when it came to being active.

No more. I believe strongly with the election of Donald Trump we have let slip the dogs of war and there is only one logical end to the Bannon-led government, and that is a nuclear winter survivable only by those who are actively preparing for it. I am preparing for the alternative facts of human survival despite this blunder.

Do not confuse the Golden Rule with pie-in-the-sky naiveté . Treat others as you would have them treat you is not pacifism. If you slap me I will slap you back. Harder if possible so as to deter you from slapping me again. But I will not goad you into slapping me. I will not push you and dare you to slap me. I will ask you why do you want to slap me? What are the issues? How can we resolve this animosity?

Often times these questions reveal the true nature of a person. If theirs is a will for domination and supremacy, the mask of humanity slips revealing the ungainly monster beneath. The chimera at a dark soul's nadir. That is not the better angel of our nature.



Saturday, February 4, 2017

No Apocalypse In Our Time

I have always wanted to start a movement. Do something worthy of calling myself a human being. I am always being asked to join movements, and I have, in spirit and in body, joined many.

Now I think I have an idea and I would like my friends to weigh in on it.

There are those now holding very powerful seats in our government who firmly believe the world needs “cleansing,” and that this cleansing must be violent. I can’t disagree more. It is the lazy man’s way out of the myriad problems facing our planet.

If the apocalypse is to come, it must either come from nature, or from God. Men who have stacked the deck with well stocked fall-out bunkers are not the “meek” and they must not engineer catastrophe to end life as we know so as to re-shape the world in their image. These men are playing God. They are preying on circumstances and fear to start as many fires as they can. For some, that asteroid or super, colossal, destructive storm cannot come soon enough to prove their theories of creation. I am advocating that we make them wait for divine intervention and not take it upon themselves to rid the world of their perceived scourges.

This movement seems silly. “No Apocalypse In Our Time” sees like a thing beyond the control of most ordinary people.

But if we do not wise up to the long term end game of this government, there will be no tomorrow.

I have no doubt my alarm will be drowned out by a chorus of laughter and boos by the ignorant and unimaginative. I hope they are correct. I am ringing it anyway.

Signs of the Approaching Apocalypse:

1. A White Supremacist sits on the National Security Council of the most powerful country on Earth.

2. Laws regulating the sale of weapons to the mentally ill are reportedly being repealed.

3. Protections designed to keep people safe are threatened in many different areas. From the FDA to the EPA, to Education, there is a shift of balance from the masses, to the elites. The few are dictating the future to the many. That, to me, seems like the antithesis of democracy.

As Thomas Paine so aptly put it, and I may be paraphrasing here, the opposite of democracy is tyranny.

So my motto now is: No Apocalypse In Our Time.

It’s just Common Sense. Who is with me?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Without imagination, there can be no empathy. Without conscience, there can be no remorse.

To all my friends with whom I disagree: I look at you not as conservatives or liberals, Republicans or Democrats. I do not judge your motives by your ethnic background, nor your religious beliefs. I do not let what you say about me or how you may construe my statements on Face Book taint the fact that you are human beings. I look at you as Americans. Regardless of your views and opinions, you are people, citizens of the United States. The fine art of debate is being dragged through the mud. Let us drag it out, and clean it up so that we may have productive discussions. For too long we have just been shouting and not listening. If you are incapable of empathy, I do not hate you. I pity you. Which makes me more eager to hear and understand you.

My thoughts on the new president: No matter what the man does going forward, he will always be known as the candidate who pandered to our lowest evils and our most short sighted aspirations to win the presidency. He is the champion of misogynists, bigots, racists, and xenophobes. He ran on a platform built with planks of hatred, and closed mindedness. That is not going to be easily, if ever, forgotten.

Only generosity can combat greed. And Americans are the most generous people on Earth. The bottom line is power. And “We the People” just lost it. We gave it into the hands of few who have neither imagination, nor conscience.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sublime Theatre far from OFF Broadway.

A Play in Circles, A Circular Play by Gertrude Stein

A play ahead of its time, composed by the great impresario of ex-patriot 20th Century Europe, Gertrude Stein, this work remains a mystery, and seeing it staged in, of all places, Greenville, North Carolina, adds to its enigmatic quality.

This powerful piece directed by Dani Keil and acted by Kinston native Lauren Melton Lewis, and Ukrainian born Kate Ker, is an extraordinary commitment to performance. It’s a telltale sign of professionalism and trust that is imperative to make an opaque piece move forward in a cognitive manner. The lack of ego and hubris, the absence of pretension and artifice, draws the viewer into difficult situations where a search for meaning is futile and the force of experience is essential.

The core theme of the play is language. Who owns it? Who defines it? Who creates it? Is it man? Is it woman?

Kiel explores the use of speech through interpretive action. The casting of a non-English speaking actor is brilliant. Ker’s vocalizations challenge traditional tropes of our pedestrian language in a myriad of ways. You sit transfixed by her beauty and confounded by pronunciation. Once you deal with your own deficiency, you start to hear and see the play. Eventually, you relax into stories and interpretations of people, surrendering to their humanity. Two human experiences. In tandem, apart. Together. Not actors in a play, but beings in life. The native English speaker, Lewis, evokes story and theme with her body in motion and at rest, as well as with her melodious elocution. Ker is like Lewis's musical counterpart in moment after beautiful, poignant moment. Just gorgeous work of movement and rest.

I have seen Richard Foreman and the Wooster Group. I can honestly say this performance rivals the best of them. Kudos Dani Keil and Whirligig for having the stones to take on this text.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Why there is still Hope for YES, WE CAN.

This is a quote from blogger John Pavlovitz in a post today.

"Hillary supporters believe in a diverse America; one where religion or skin color or sexual orientation or place of birth aren’t liabilities or deficiencies or moral defects. Her campaign was one of inclusion and connection and inter-dependency. It was about building bridges and breaking ceilings. It was about going high.

Trump supporters believe in a very selective America; one that is largely white and straight and Christian, and the voting verified this. Donald Trump has never made any assertions otherwise. He ran a campaign of fear and exclusion and isolation—and that’s the vision of the world those who voted for him have endorsed."

These are facts except for one thing. The Democratic ticket won the popular vote. Which means more people believe in the Hillary vision than do Trump's vision (which his camp is now claiming was only a scheme to get him elected.) So we should be encouraged as a nation. We still have a lot of work to do. For every wall Trump builds we have to open a door, build a bridge, create a window. This is not the end. It's a beginning. Like Bruce Springsteen sings: "One step up and two steps back."

I think it is simplistic and just plain wrong to believe that people, all the people, who voted for Trump are xenophobic, racist, homophobic, war mongers. People are fed up with grid lock, with bickering, sniping, and insults. Those came from both sides. They are fed up our inability to move past our differences and get to that foreign place called "Compromise."

This was not a military coup or a hostile take over. This was cold, calculated, American style Democracy. Yes, Trump's base is...well...base.  And yes, now we have to fight against the Pandora's box he opened. Most of all, he is going to have to live with it.

Is he the next Hitler? Will there be death squads? Is this a zero sum game?


America was great, it is great and it will always be great as long as we hold these truths to be self evident...let us not lose sight of that. Peacefully protest. Petition the government. Take it to the Supreme court. Take it to the court of public opinion. But always fight the fight...the good fight.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Meaningful Dates of Remembrances –

Tomorrow we mark the 8th year since the passing of my father. Sunday will mark 15 years since terrorist suicide bombers destroyed the World Trade Center. Life altering moments.

This year, we will build a home. This year we will celebrate all the hard work we have done, the service rendered in an effort to heal the wounds of a city, the wounds of a man.

This year I want my 9/11 Post to find Samantha Fossella, a grade school girl on 9/11, her hand-made card graced my locker at 280 Broadway since we moved there in early 2003. As my mind emerged from the fog of war, I saw her flag as a symbol of hope for the future. I want to find Samantha Fossella and thank her from the bottom of my heart for the encouragement her work of art and craft gave me in my darkest hours. For many years, I felt I had no right to live while so many died. I truly struggled with what turns out is a very common condition called: Survivor’s Guilt. Why had I been spared? Why wasn’t I the one to die on September 11th, 2001?

Slowly and painstakingly, I forced the conversation away from what didn’t happen to me, and began to focus on what I could do to make the world a better place, what could heal New York City and contribute on a long term basis to its safety and security. I am truly grateful to the Department of Buildings in New York City and to the Inspector Training Academy of Buildings University for the opportunity to express my grief and sorrow in a positive, productive way. I have been fortunate to be entrusted with orienting aspiring inspectors in a world of law and code. The blueprint, if you will, we all use to challenge the real world of brick, concrete and steel, to Build Safe, and Live Safe.

A lot of folks think I drank the Kool Aid; that I am under some mind control influence. If I did, it happened long ago in classrooms not unlike the one in which Samantha Fossella took crayon to paper. I want to thank her teachers, and all my teachers some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice themselves, or some who had their own children die in wars defending the flag. I am, ironically, anti-war. Anti-violence is an ideal of mine, but when violence finds you, and you are attacked, one must defend one’s self. I prefer to fight violence with Peace and Love. I prefer to inspire others to do the same. Today I want to thank Samantha for fighting violence with a peaceful message to all the folks who went to the rescue. Her act rescued me.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Sunset In America?

"The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail."

William Faulkner

I consider myself an optimist. Not an intellectual. In fact, I am only now starting to formulate the questions which define my reality. Something most of you reading this did long ago. Hey, better late than never. I write this in the solitude of my rent stabilized Brooklyn apartment where fully half of my income is paid in rent. Yet, my landlords want more.

I write to you this day after a political convention dominates the news even as two more police officers were shot in California, one fatally. Yet, that story is relegated to page two of our collective national newspaper.

The questions I am beginning to ask are fundamental.

Must we be at war with ourselves everyday? Has life become so cheap and meaningless we would be willing to sacrifice our children at an unholy alter? What is "Holiness"? Do we put too much power in the hands of a few and call it democracy? Is it really all about what it looks like? Who puts the value on wealth and money? Where have all the true "Leaders"gone? Is POKEMON evil?

Hillary or Donald?


Is that all we got? Our American radical extremes made manifest in the persons of a hustler who is a cross between PT Barnum and Larry Flynt, (no disrespect to Larry Flynt), and a career politician uniquely positioned to make history by becoming a "first" woman President of the United States?
(No disrespect intended to either women or to the word United.)

My last question for this missive is this: How many more officers in blue, and the people whom they are sworn to protect and serve will die before November because day after day our eyes are on a sparkling piece of costume jewelry distracting us from the issues dragging our sun into a long, deep, dark night?