Monthly Archives December 2015

Onwards to 2016 With “Gratitude” for Oliver Sacks

Every passing year sees the passing of more people from our lives. Whether from death, ruptured or merely faded relationship, or the loss of the person we once knew because dementia has robbed him or her of that cherished personhood, we come to the final days of a year and amid our looks back, as joyous as some of them might be, we are also reminded of loss.

As an additional reminder, news programs highlight the more prominent people who have died, displaying a list of names and faces as the year’s final credits roll.

Among those names this year, and prominent indeed on my list: Oliver Sacks.

Author of startlingly original works such as Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Sacks was a neurologist, professor, writer, thinker, ruminator, and possessor of endless curiosity and a puckish humor...

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Third Annual Holiday Photo Gallery

In my earliest days as a journalist, words were the thing. If meddlesome editors and art directors wanted to attach photos to the small ink marks of the alphabet that I committed to paper, fine, that was their business, but frankly, I could not have cared less. Seas of gray were fine by me.

That was not the only matter I was young and dumb about back then. But I won’t spend any more words elaborating on that here—it’s time again for the Holiday Photo Gallery!

Lights! Cameras! So much beautiful, nuanced storytelling action, oh my!

Here’s just a brief baker’s dozen+1 sample from the World of Flickr and its legions of generous, talented photographers who have helped liven up this page over the past 52 weeks. Behold…

If red is a power color, you may as well start being powerful down at your feet…

Girl Power, Red Boots, by Rachel Sian

So much thunderous action down there in the world of the small…

Drop ...

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The “Memorial Flag” Art of Dave Cole

In his 2005 work, “Memorial Flag (Toy Soldiers),” Providence, Rhode Island-based Dave Cole (born 1975) gives expression to just the kind of moral conundrums all great political art points to. Sometimes, such art adopts a powerful point of view towards the conundrum (think of Picasso’s fiercely anti-war “Guernica”), while other times it rests with merely noting a deeply troubling question or perspective while allowing viewers to grapple with it as they will.

Cole’s “Memorial Flag” painting strikes this viewer as decidedly more the latter.

Cole created what he considers an actual flag rather than an artistic representation by melting together and then painting 18,000 toy soldiers armed with their guns, the soldiers of the type that most every American boy learned to play and fantasize with growing up in the 20th century...

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Running From Fear: Islamic Jihad and the Purported Doom of America

Watching the entirety of the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night and then reading the transcript the next morning, I felt compelled to check my passport and a calendar to make sure I’m not living in Poland in 1939, right after Hitler’s armies moved in with their tanks, robbing us of our sovereignty and destroying our way of life.

To hear the candidates tell it, we have never lived in more perilous times, nor has our country ever been in as sad-sack shape as we are now under the craven and cowardly leadership of President Obama.

Ben Carson: “We need to be on a war footing. We need to understand that our nation is in grave danger.”

Jeb Bush: “We need to restore the defense cuts of Barack Obama to rebuild our military, to destroy ISIS before it destroys us.”

Chris Christie: “We have people across this country who are scared to death…If a center for the developmentally disabled in San Bernardi...

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Happy Centennial, Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra turned 100 years old yesterday, and there was ballyhoo aplenty in the media and various entertainment circles taking note of the occasion.

Not that Frank was alive to hear the accolades, but as famously dismissive as he most always was of praise and the gushings of adoring fans, he surely would have been pleased that the scrawny Mama’s Boy From Hoboken that he was left a body of work behind that would be duly noted and celebrated 100 years after his birth.

And such an unscrawny body of work it was!

Just one of the notable aspects of Sirius Radio’s channel 71—aka “All Sinatra All the Time”—is that the 24/7 airing of Sinatra songs seems to repeat itself as little as it does. (A small percentage of the tunes are actually sung by “Sinatra era” compatriots such as Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis Jr...

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