R • A • C • I • S • M and The Flag

Did you know that racism was not a recognized word until the early part of the 20th century?  Of course, you didn’t.  But, in fact, the word ”racism” was derived from the word “racialism,” which first appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1907. The fact of racism, depending upon the degree to which you subscribe to the literalism of the Bible, first arises in the time of Noah when one of his three sons, Ham, “was cursed by being black.” Further, the offspring of Ham, of which there were many, were likewise considered, in addition to their blackness, to be both sinful and degenerate due to their blackness.   Hmmm.  Is it possible to be...

The Commencement Address

Public speaking is everyone’s nightmare, but giving a commencement address whether at Harvard or your granddaughter’s pre-k, is a special form of torture.  Yes, I know it’s an honor and all that, but you know, in your heart of hearts, it’s a no win situation.  First of all, no one is really interested in what you might choose to say.  And if you come up with something really clever, I can assure you, it’s already been done.   The best you can do is to make them laugh a couple of times and stay in their seats until it’s over. For some obscure reason, those of us who are asked to risk this form of public humiliation take our...

Thoughts on My Passing

Preamble:   This may seem an odd subject that’s out of character for my typical blog posting, but, as I may have mentioned, I’m sifting through my past blogs with a view toward publishing them in book form.  While reviewing old files, I came across this piece which, upon reading today, might seem a little ghoulish, yet still accurately reflects my views on life and death…at least to date. Although this was originally slotted for after my “graduation”, I decided to include it here to get some completeness, more or less.  Reading it side by side with my piece “On Turning Seventy”, one might think that I’m...

Panama: The Middlings

I told you in Panama: The Beginnings that I would come back to the subject of the Canal for the bottom line.  Ok, here it is.  The bottom line that is.  Wow!  I saw it by being on it in a passenger ship transiting the system of locks.  I saw it from a small outboard as we looked for monkeys and birds, and I saw it from the air as we flew back and forth to the highlands.  It defines Panama more than the pyramids defines Egypt.  It defines Panama more than the Great Wall defines China, and the Leaning Tower in Pisa and the Colosseum are mere dots on the culture of Italy compared to what the Canal is to Panama.  There is no other country that is defined so much...

A Letter to Sarah

Ok, I’ll say it out loud.  I’m a Democrat who used to be a Republican.  I’ve played ball with both teams, so to speak.  So when I heard that John McCain had selected Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska to be his vice-presidential running mate my first thought was….”huh?”.  There is no question that she changed the character of the 2008 campaign… there still is, however, a big question on whether it was for the better or for the worse.  You decide.  Her speech on September 3, 2008 at the GOP convention was widely lauded, even by that left leaning rag, The New York Times, as a good, even great, piece of rhetoric.  For those...