Finding Great Medical Care

In recent years, the medical system in the country has come under enormous pressure. I was fortunate to be a beneficiary of a shining moment that resulted in great medical care. When very talented doctors work in highly sophisticated hospitals on complicated ailments and diseases, the outcome is usually very beneficial for patients. In my situation, a surgeon listened to me carefully and was courageous in making his own diagnosis, even while others disagreed.

Several weeks ago, I experienced significant pain affiliated with my Achilles tendon. The pain persisted, and I went to see an orthopedic surgeon who treated my family on several other occasions. After perusing an MRI of my tendon, he said that I did not need surgery.

Note: the Achilles tendon is the thickest tendon in our bodies. When the tendon rips apart, surgery is the recommended treatment. When the tendon is partially ripped, it is possible to avoid surgery with intense rehab. The tendon does grow back. 

While away on vacation, I was casually walking indoors and heard a popping noise that emanated from my ankle. This was followed by significant pain for just a moment. I reported the situation to my doctor, who asked me to take another MRI. It showed the tear in my Achilles tendon worsened.

I began to take rehab and spoke with two foot specialists about the situation. One of them emphatically told me that the injury was serious and should be surgically repaired.

I asked the orthopedic surgeon to reconsider my situation, and he tentatively decided to repair the Achilles tendon with surgery.

I scheduled surgery and prepared myself to deal with an extraordinarily difficult rehab regimen. While doing so I noticed that my tendon was feeling a little better. I reported this to my doctor who said that before he did the surgery, he would take one more look at my injury.

On Tuesday, I checked in to get the surgery done with the assurance that the surgeon would consider my treatment one more time. I entered the surgical preparation room, disrobed, had my leg shaved and was hooked up to an IV. Suddenly, the doctor appeared.

He reexamined the area in question and definitively decided to not do surgery. He did not want to subject me to an extended rehab regime and wanted to avoid the perils of an invasive treatment. I was unhooked from the IV and walked out the door with gratitude. Before I left, the doctor said that he was not equivocating when he said, I should not do the surgery. It gave me great comfort that it was the right decision. I am extremely thankful that the surgeon made a tough call.

With confident, talented and experienced doctors, common sense and a strong desire to get well, we can all make better health care decisions and ensure our health. We only hear about situations where doctors and patients have erred and rarely hear about the great moments.

Thank you to my doctors, my wife, the rehab specialist, and all the others that participated in my final decision to not do surgery. 

Farewell 885, We Will Miss You

After 30 years, my wife and I moved from our long-term residence. It was a tearful goodbye to our wonderful and comforting home with all its memories. We purchased it a few months before our twins were born in 1993, and it served us well for many years.

It’s interesting how we get set in our ways when we live in a place for a long time. I had all the comforts of home as a stay-at-home dad when our children were young, and during later years when I worked from my man cave. I only emerged from my hideaway lair to eat, workout and sleep.

Most people were envious of my man cave because it was so different from the rest of the apartment, and all mine. Most of the rooms were minimally bright, given the fact that Upper Eastside apartments are shaded by their close proximity to near-by buildings. However, my office has paneling that is dark brown. When we decorated the apartment, several years after moving in, I decided I wanted to have dark wood and an old and distinguished feel. My wife hated it. The room was an ideal environment to do my writing without disturbances, and I was very productive during most of the years in the apartment. Guests needed a special invitation to enter my room.

After the twins were born, which was about two or three months after we purchased the apartment, we were happy that we had so much space because the apartment was always crowded with family and friends.

During the years, we had numerous get togethers for business and parties for family. Probably the most memorable were the Seder meals that we hosted. We had a long foyer in which we set up a table that could hold 30 or 35 people. The area was perfect for big meals. It was always great getting together with my wife’s family and guests of all faiths.

One year, my two brothers-in-law who led our Seders were unavailable. On the day of the Seder, my wife said I needed to lead the group. I said, what? I’m Catholic. I accepted this honor because I had been to enough Passovers over the years. There was no formal training at Notre Dame for such a contingency. I studied my Haggadah all afternoon and received good marks from the attendees. Elijah even showed up.

Our home was a safe place for our friends our children’s friends. One of the sad memories was welcoming those who were dislocated during 9/11. We collected kids from both of our children’s schools, and they spent the afternoon watching Nickelodeon, while the adults followed the horrific events of that day on news TV. We were joined by some of my wife’s colleagues from work who were unable to get home until much later in the evening. It was really a sad time, but we felt safe in our home.

While living at our old apartment, I worked out twice each day. I spent many satisfying hours in the gym on aerobic equipment and using weights. The gym became a social place for me where I got to know some of the other residents quite well during chat sessions while we were working out. In fact, I was selected to buy new equipment for the gym. I actually conducted a poll to ensure that everybody was heard in terms of their preferences for the equipment we installed.

One inconvenient thing that happened during our time at the old place was our gas was shut down for 18 months because a leak was found. We had to buy a hot plate like college because our stove was gas-operated. At that time, we were empty nesters so we could always order in or make sandwiches for dinner. What our neighbors that had children did was a challenge. Not having access to a stove in your apartment for a year and a half was a real struggle. This was one important reason we opted for a newer structure.

The question is why did we move after so many years? Answer: After COVID my wife wanted to have outdoor space.

She promised me that we would do a limited amount of construction and try to use some of our furniture from our old apartment. Let’s put it this way, none of this came to fruition. Working with architects and construction people, we completely gutted the entire apartment, and we bought all new furniture. Happy wife, happy life.

I’m ecstatic to be in a new apartment and my new man cave, which is secluded from the rest of the house. People that visit our new home, especially the men, are really envious of my private space. My wife and I are extremely happy with our new digs. My happy life has only become happier since we moved in. I realize that family makes our house a home, not its address. Hoping for many more years of love, family and good times. 

Biden No, Trump No

America is on a collision course domestically and with the rest of the world because of unwise decisions or inaction by the current president. In spite of this, Democrats are ready to support Joe Biden as he runs for a second term.

Similarly, Donald Trump, despite his inability to effectively lead the country, is the frontrunner even while he battles the authorities over a plethora of crimes and untoward illegal behavior.

The collective reasons why neither Biden or Trump should be in politics is overwhelming. And the people that support these two bozos should consider their choices before the situation worsens.

Repeatedly, this blog has viciously attacked these likely candidates. Cries from learned individuals and savvy pols are falling on deaf ears. Both men will endanger our democracy and our way of life. Their actions as presidents have proven so. Today, more than any other time in history, we need leaders who are willing and able to negotiate effectively, who will not back down from the dangers that impact our country and our way of life and be transparent. What Americans don’t need are leaders who are self-absorbed, intellectually deficient and have total disregard for our laws.

How do Biden and Trump compare to past wartime presidents? George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Teddy Roosevelt are the standards our leaders must live up to; we do not need bungling old fools who eschew traditional morality.

I’m sick of hearing why Biden and Trump are good candidates. Joe Biden has not lived up to any of the promises he made during his last campaign. He promised to be a leader who would bring Americans together; the opposite has occurred. In every situation, Biden has bowed to the most radical, liberal individuals in his party. In the meantime, he has ignored important issues that dramatically affect our country and the way we live. Most important is the immigration catastrophe on our southern border, which is hurting border states greatly from a financial perspective and causing gigantic refugee problems. Also, Biden has supported costly and ill-conceived woke efforts including defunding of police departments, decreased bail for dangerous felons and inappropriate actions by teachers. He has backed ridiculous proposals to pay off school loans and fund ill-conceived new entitlements.

As a world leader, Joe Biden has fallen short in every challenge. He stood by and allowed China to make great gains in terms of world leadership at the expense of the United States. Only after being forced to do so, Joe Biden help the Ukrainians in their fight for freedom. Many say that the Democrats are in power because they accede to the needs of the downtrodden without any consideration towards the financial security of our country. Biden has taken this ideology to new heights.

I’m stunned that some Americans continue to be very supportive of a Trump campaign for president. How in heaven’s name can anyone support this man when he is such a horrible person, a dishonest and disgraceful businessman, a narcissist and after he has convincingly proven that he has no ability to manage the country. To make matters worse, he’s the subject of numerous criminal and civil proceedings ranging from rape to concealment of top secret documents to election crimes and sedition, involving the storming of the capital.

What is further disconcerting is that there is a man who’s considering running for president and challenging Donald Trump. In order for Ron DeSantis to have a realistic chance to defeat Trump in the primaries, he must stipulate that many of Trump’s ideas and accomplishments we’re good for the country. The problem is not Trump’s overall perspective of our country, but rather his destructive personality and his inability to govern in an organized fashion.

It may seem obnoxious that I’m being so critical of the two men who are leading the polls for the presidency. Biden is avoiding all contact with the press and building a wall around himself because of his inability to put two coherent sentences together. His own people don’t trust him to give speeches and field ad hoc questions.

Trump is continuing to act the way he did during the first round of his political career. He’s attacking every Republican and Democrat who disagrees or challenges him in an insulting way.

As one voter, I am sickened that there is a possibility that these two men will square off and the winner will be president again. I’m ashamed that the United States does not have more qualified and attractive people to be president. We are at a crossroads politically in the United States and internationally so that we must have the best possible people leading us. There are more problems now than ever in the history of the country and the ability of the leaders that we are electing to office has eroded materially. It’s a sad moment for the US.

Skiing In The Torture Chamber

Skiing has been a passion of mine for the last 30 years. My wife introduced me to the sport shortly before we were married. On our first trip, we traveled to Beaver Creek in Colorado for a week’s worth of lessons.

As we drove up to the resort, I saw some of the trails from the roadway. I told my wife there was no f—–g way that I was going to ski down those steep runs. She told me that I would be before long.

The trip was a great success because I was immediately smitten by the feelings that I felt. It was a miracle that I was on 2 strips of wood with two poles, and I was able to negotiate all sorts of challenges on the snow. My instructor was a retired businessman who had the patience of Job as I struggled to ski over tiny bumps trying not to lose my balance. I should point out that I played many sports and was determined to become a good skier in a relatively short period of time.

To make a long story short, I began to ski regularly before our children were born with my older son and daughter. Every year, we were in Vail for the holidays in December and March. I was always trying to ski on terrain that was beyond my current level of ability and was subjected to a fair number of injuries. I broke my nose on a bump run (I looked like a raccoon). I broke my ribs on another bump run when I fell on my ski pole. And I tore my rotator cuff, which required surgery, on a business ski trip with my wife. Notwithstanding all these injuries, I continued to push forward and ignored the potential risks of further injuries.

Making my experiences that much more fun were the outstanding skiers who instructed me over the years. Unlike golf, where I took very few lessons over the years and never improved over a life time, I was always with ski instructors every time I hit the slopes. In the beginning, they gave me many lessons on various techniques about how to ski bumps and powder and other conditions that arise during a day on the hill. Later, we were skiing without too much teaching going on and mostly having fun.

I have become very good friends with the men and women who taught us how to ski and improve over the years. Oftentimes we misbehaved but never risking ourselves with improper behavior. Improper being defined as dangerous; it does not include crazy stunts and sophomoric antics.

One of the most outrageous moments took place with all the ski instructors who were teaching my family, which totaled four on this given day. Everybody else in my family decided to call it a day after lunch. My guys and I went out for some fast tracking all around the mountain. For some reason one of the instructors coronated me the King of Sweden. Several other instructors joined the club, and we flew down the trails leaving all other skiers in a cloud of snow dust. While negotiating the hill, they were stopping traffic all along to make way for the King of Sweden, me. I admit I only have been to Sweden once, and it wasn’t in any royal capacity.

One of my ski instructors was a true daredevil who would do the most outrageous things during the course of the day. We ate lunch daily in a restaurant that was on the hill in Vail. During that time, we fed up to 15 people for lunch. Everybody was trying to outdo each other with funny stories and humorous moments on the hill. One day I was looking for my instructor. His name was Mike Janelle.  I wanted to get back on the slopes after lunch, so I went outside of the restaurant and asked where Mike was. Somebody pointed to the roof of the building. Mike was on top of it preparing to ski off the eave and do so without being caught by the restaurant staff. Everyone was dumbfounded watching Mike do his thing. He did do the stunt without injuring himself. It was one of the great moments of our skiing times together.

Over the years, my ski instructors (James, Pete, Jeff and of course Mike) would come up with challenges during the ski day (our other instructors were Kim and Kristen). For instance, we would try to see how many black and double black diamond runs we could ski in one day. Usually this is done with no stopping for hot chocolate or to blow your nose. The only rest was the ski lift, lunch and if nature called. Occasionally, other people would join us for a very hard day on the hill. I began to have T-shirts made with Torture Chamber caricatures logoed on them. These would be given to those that could withstand a full day of balls to the wall skiing. To this day, some of my kids have been clamoring for me to reinstitute the chamber and have some new shirts made to comemorate the event. Mike Janelle and I once skied 24 black runs in one day.

In order to be a good skier you have to be on the slope often. With our twins and my older daughter and my older son, we were in Vail many times during the past 30 years. This enabled my family to really improve and to be safe. I must admit that schlepping all the equipment and all the kids was a daunting task. In the long run, it was worth all the effort because my family members have all become excellent skiers.

It is possible, very possible, that you might enjoy yourself skiing at a well run resort such as Vail (there is territory to ski for everyone). The resort is constantly reminding people that there are dangers because some of the trails are not groomed, and you must be aware of all the skiers around you who unfortunately could put you in jeopardy. As I mentioned before, I was hurt a number of times, but it was all worth it as I look back.

One of the weirdest injuries that happened to me was a hematoma on my upper thigh from a fall on some rocks. The black and blue mark stretched from my buttocks down to my foot. I decided to go to the doctor because I was afraid of blood clots or other kinds of issues. When I pulled my trousers down for the doctor to see the wound, he was taken aback. That made me really creepy. Nevertheless, he said it was harmless and not to worry about it. I spent most of the vacation showing off my hematoma every chance I got.

The other issue is cost. By the time you pay for your lodging, travel, instructors, passes, lunches and dinners, the tab for such a trip is enormous. I decided that everybody should have their own ski instructor which dramatically increased the cost of our trips. My rationale was that everyone’s safety was paramount and it was worth the money.

Unfortunately, my skiing days have ended. As a septuagenarian, I have to be aware of injuring myself and the longer period of time it takes to heal from such injuries. Additionally, I take medication which makes injuries more dangerous. For this reason, I decided to stop hitting the slopes and just accompany my family when they wanted to ski.

All of the good times, the fun dinners, the fun lunches, the holiday memories and the stunts that we pulled off over the years give me great pleasure when I think about them. I’m so happy that my family enjoys skiing and we’ve cemented this tradition by buying a beautiful place in Vail which we use as our home base during the winter season.

There was one very sad moment during the past few years, the passing of Mike Janelle who I mentioned earlier in this essay. Mike was a daredevil. He was one of the best skiers I’ve ever come into contact with. He was a professional off-road bike racer. He was among the funniest people I ever met in my life. I missed him terribly over the last years that I was skiing. It would have been great for him to enjoy watching how I improved since he started working with me. We all miss you, Mike.

Skiing became a very important part of my life and it increased the amount of time I spent with my family, especially during holiday seasons. I recommend the sport to anyone who has a sense of adventure and any amount of athletic ability.

He’s a Pariah and Not Worthy of Your Vote

I’ve been tracking the anticipated indictment of Donald Trump. It’s incredible that the alleged crime and the attendant machinations by a rogue NY District Attorney involve a payment of hush money to a call girl.

Are we really holding up the nation’s business to deal with a Trump dalliance and setting aside existential issues that include the war in Ukraine, a growing partnership between China and Russia, a banking crisis, growing crime in our cities and a drug epidemic? I would rather our leaders and lawmakers focus on these problems rather than “hooker-gate.” 

Having said that, aren’t we all exhausted trying to live with Donald Trump. He is a never-ending annoyance. He’s a pain in the ass. He’s also being investigated for much more serious alleged crimes like sedition. Why aren’t Donald Trump lovers giving up and supporting the likes of Ron DeSantis, who is very much akin to Donald Trump politically without all of the drama, cheating, lying, self aggrandizement, anti-social behavior, and bad karma?

Republicans are going to have a chance to completely control the US government. If a meaningful number of conservative voters support, Donald Trump, we will lose the election to Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren or some other woke radical. If you want continued chaos in our government and country, all do you have to do is give the key to the White House to our liberal adversaries. 

Please, conservatives, moderates and independents, don’t allow Donald Trump to trash our country again. He’s a pariah and not worthy of your vote.

Jews Must Continue To Be Diligent

It’s useful to periodically reflect on the most important moments in history. By chance, I selected a movie entitled “Operation Fatale” to watch on a rainy depressing afternoon.

I knew I would not be in a happy state of mind after viewing yet another story about the worst atrocity perpetrated by man. Basically, Ben Kingsley portrayed the infamous Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Final Solution during the Holocaust. Eichmann was personally responsible for killing thousands of Jews during that period of time. He emigrated to Argentina after the war and took another name hoping to avoid prosecution.

The story line has a group of Israeli operatives planning to kidnap Eichmann from his adopted home in the early 60s. Assassination was not the preferred way to deal with Eichmann. The Israeli government wanted to charge the German murderer in court with all the world watching. The story is made more dramatic as each member of the group shares their war time experiences. They all lost family and friends during the Nazi regime.

The relationship between one operative and Eichmann was the crux of the story. Eichmann played a sympathetic character until his true colors manifested themselves. He was truly a despicable bigot.

Eichmann was captured and transported to Israel where he was adjudicated, convicted and hanged for crimes against humanity. The trial was witnessed by millions around the world.

The movie was excellent even knowing the ultimate outcome beforehand. But, as it is with all movies about the Holocaust, the cruelty, inhumanity and horror of the events leading to Eichmann’s demise are the real story. Unfortunately, the producers of the movie only showed a few of actual scenes from the liberation of Jewish prisoners and the equipment used to kill so many of them. A picture is worth 1,000 words, or six million words in this case.

Looking back, I feel for the Jewish people. Most of my family is Jewish, so I have a vested interest in the discrimination and racism that has tormented this group of people throughout history.

Anti-Semites have always chosen to blame their problems on the Jewish people. Whenever a country has political problems, Jews are often served up as the perpetrators.

Some say the world is jealous of the success of Jewish entrepreneurs. This is a bogus perspective. Yet, anti-Semitism is around us every day. Jews must still look back over their shoulders to protect themselves against cruelty and injustice.

I wish that discrimination directed towards Jews and every other minority group no longer plagued mankind. But, it does. Movies like the aforementioned put everything in perspective for me.

What Voters Should Consider In 2024

American voters are being inundated with a flood of priorities from the competing political parties. It would be wise if voters considered the various options they have before entering the voting booth. I am suggesting an educational process that will make voter choices more insightful.

Following is a list of major issues that all Americans should be aware of. The selection of candidates could materially impact what our government will do in the near term.

Americans are entitled to be safe from both foreign and domestic threats. I include the horror of a nuclear war with Russia and China, as well as the peril of an overabundance of handguns and automatic weapons in the possession of Americans.

The war in Ukraine has reached a desperate moment for Russia, the Ukrainian people, the US and Europe. Russia and Ukraine forces have already devastated the country, and of course, thousands of deaths and destruction have ensued. The Russians are incurring a great number of casualties. Most people around the world have labelled Putin a war criminal. If the Russian tyrant loses face, he may very well consider the use of tactical nuclear weapons, transforming the hostilities to an existential threat to all of mankind. US leaders must try to temper the actions of Russia before the situation worsens. Providing more advanced weaponry to Ukraine is the most logical path for the US and Europe to follow. The emasculation of Russia should be a high priority.

Americas must consider which party is better equipped to navigate through the Ukraine quagmire.

The US must deal with the scourge of illegal handguns and automatic weapons. It is common knowledge that Americans own more guns by far than any other country per capita. The mere availability of such weaponry is creating a dire threat to our country. Sensible controls, to avoid the weekly tragedies across the country, are critical. We can no longer look past the next slaughter on a campus or at a place of worship, and not say the proliferation of arms isn’t playing a huge role in the destruction of families. Gun ownership is guaranteed by the Constitution. Criminals and mentally ill individuals should not have access to illegal weapons under any circumstances.

Our leaders must have a close eye on the global economic situation. Our way of life and future financial security is based upon effective management of the money supply by the Federal Reserve and indirectly by Congress. Inflation has been caused by over-spending and frivolous entitlements. Congress must rein in new programs that are unaffordable and cancel those that are no longer helpful to the needy. It will be a tough fight in Congress, and we must have a president who is qualified and brave enough to make changes.

Income inequality is tearing our country apart. The affluent are gaining even more ground on the needy. Current and new aid packages need to be evaluated to ensure that poor individuals can eat and find shelter. We should consider decreasing foreign aid and using the funds to decrease poverty and homelessness in America.

Our right of free speech is being threatened every day by censorship, aggressive corporations as part of social media, lobbying groups, radical political forces in Congress and at local levels of our country, teachers, universities, etc. Free speech is not existent unless every American can say what’s on his or her mind, so long as their rhetoric does not result in violence. People’s feelings will be hurt, but our country will be more productive and informed.

Nuclear weapons can end the human race. One demented leader can authorize an attack and the world will be changed for the worst in a heartbeat.

Our leaders must stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The tedious short-term process of preventing the spread of weapons that can kill millions is worth the price. It is outrageous to think that Iran, North Korea and some radical Middle Eastern countries have or will have nuclear capability in the near future.

It’s high time that women have the right to decide about childbirth without interference. Despite efforts to make abortion more difficult in recent months, our country should negotiate a reasonable, fair and morally acceptable compromise that abortion is legal nationwide within a certain period of time after conception. This is the only reasonable way to finally end the efforts of those who want to make choices for other people.

In the same vein, women, all LGBTQ+ individuals, people of color and those impaired physically should be protected against all types of discrimination. There is no logic or reason to prevent any group the right to enjoy liberty and happiness.

It seems to me that our leaders are lying, exaggerating and concealing information that should be made available to all citizens. If a government official is doing something illegal, he or she should be exposed and punished. The past two presidents have lied on numerous occasions. It’s time for truth in government and transparency.

The current administration has continually turned a blind eye towards the thousands of people entering our country illegally. The burden these interlopers have put on our country is massive. We cannot allow anyone to wade across the Rio Grande River and use our resources. It is a plan that will leave our country further in debt. Resources are being used on foreigners instead of needy Americans. Leaders must come up with a comprehensive immigration plan.

My list is long, but I will not be satisfied until all these issues are addressed our government.

Biden, Putin and Xi

We are at a scary moment in history. The three most powerful leaders in the world appear to have lost their minds in response to domestic and international problems. The current predicament could very well lead to hostilities between the parties.

Let’s begin with Joe Biden. The State of the Union address was a farce that was chock full of lies and exaggerations. From his perch in front of all the leaders and legislators in our country, Biden lied about his accomplishments and avoided some of the most important issues that are affecting the US.

One of the most outrageous statements he made was that Republicans are planning to decrease benefits afforded by Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Speaker McCarthy has said numerous times that the aforementioned entitlements were off limits. Biden lied to the American people, and Republican lawmakers interrupted his speech. It was like a moment in British parliament when the members speak out after an untoward comment.

Biden then brushed over several of the most pressing issues facing the nation. They included the fact that we are coming closer to direct confrontation with Russia and China. The US is sending advanced weapons to the Ukraine to repel the Russian advance. At some point this will come to a head and the US will face Russian forces directly. The president should have been more forceful in his support of Ukraine and transparent about the risks of this occurring.

Xi is instructing his military to become more hostile towards the US. Taiwan’s independence is a growing irritant. China is intimidating Taiwan and the US with harsh and threatening rhetoric along with aggressive military activity. The firing of missiles over Taiwan’s airspace is one example.

Biden spent an enormous amount of his time talking about spending more money to pay for college loans, raises for teachers and a plethora of other expenditures that have no chance of passage in the House of Representatives.

The president intentionally ignored the exploding national debt that he exacerbated with inane and ultra progressive expenditures. He clearly drew a line in the sand regarding the US debt limit by saying he would not negotiate with conservatives about unnecessary expenditures. These items are negatively impacting our economy and creating more inflation.

Biden said the US was making progress on our borders. Every negative metric affiliated with illegal immigration is at historical levels. We are being invaded by scores of countries, and assuming responsibility for illegal interlopers. Every state is now a border state that must use precious resources for non-citizens, while homelessness and hunger are increasing in the US.

Biden has completely botched the Police Department controversy. Eliminating and even defunding police in our country is an idiotic objective. Those supporting defunding are in effect backing violence on our streets that includes rampant gun activity, murder, assaults, destruction of property and drug use. We should be increasing training of our brave policemen and women and not damning the whole system when an officer breaks the rules of engagement. The people who have died in illegal attacks by police officers should be remembered in an effort to train those that protect us. Undue force is unacceptable.

Drug use deserves special consideration. The deaths affiliated with illicit drug use are an epidemic. We must secure our borders from illegal entrants and stop the inflow of illegal drugs.

Biden’s performance was pathetic on Tuesday night. He did nothing to allay concerns about his age, his incompetence and inability to lead. It’s sad to say but he lies and is corrupt (along with his antisocial son). More importantly even his own party has been critical of his tenure and most Democrats don’t want him to run for president in 2024.

We are on the verge of war with Russia. The megalomaniac that leads the country is still focused on bringing back the glory days of the Soviet Union. He has made critical errors of judgment regarding the fighting spirit of the Ukraine people. With the assistance of the US and Europe, the Russian army is being challenged and could actually lose the war. How will the hawks in the Russian government and the oligarchs feel about this possibility? Putin will be castigated for not being able to defeat a poor and virtually defenseless country. Putin’s dreams will be dashed.

The major problem is that Russia has threatened to use tactical and strategic nuclear weapons. Does he have the power to unleash these weapons in a fit of desperation? As mentioned earlier, confrontation between the US and Russia is growing every day. Biden should have spent a moment discussing this contingency.

Xi and China are well on the way towards military action against the US. Xi also is losing credibility at home because of the mishandling of COVID. His aggressive actions against demonstrators and stemming free speech is obeginning to rub the Chinese people the wrong way. China has overextended its influence in Asia and Africa. It will not be able to sustain such a global strategy. Some experts are already predicting a confrontation between the US and China. We should all hope and pray that Xi’s desperation does not cause him to respond militarily. The spy balloon is yet another slap in the face of the US.

The state of the union is not great, another lie from Biden. He along with his whacky vice president are embarrassing all Americans. The three superpowers have made poor choices that could exacerbate peacekeeping efforts around the world.

Seventy-Four and Still Counting

Seventy-four years ago, Sylvester and Marie Bommarito gave life to me. I’m grateful for all the love and affection I received while growing up and for my wonderful family today. For my birthday, I have taken the opportunity to reminisce about my terrific life.

During my latter years, I changed my perspectives and priorities. It used to be career success and compensation. Today, I’m focused on my spiritual strength, the well-being of my family, my health and more cerebral literary activities.

I retired in the early 1990s after spending about 25 years in financial services. During my working career, I paid a great amount of attention to “getting ahead.” Unfortunately, I neglected my family to an extent during that process. I had two children with my first wife who didn’t receive the attention they deserved. Tragically, the older one passed away a few years ago. I’m happy to say that my older daughter has built a successful career teaching and caring for children.

When my twins were born 30 years ago, I retired to care for them enabling my second wife to focus on her future. It was a God-given arrangement. I strived to be a better father, while my wife devoted her efforts into becoming a prolific investment banker. Our relationship enabled both of us to achieve our destinies.

Upon retirement and after becoming a stay-at-home dad, everything changed. No longer would I measure my life in dollars and cents. My success was to raise our children and to hone my writing skills.

This pivot caused me to write sixty published letters to the NY Times, author 10 novels and publish about 1,000 essays with Softball Politics. Current events and political drama became my new interests. I measured my success by the responses of my readers to my blog.

My efforts to care for my own physical fitness began a long time ago when I was a young person. I was always interested in sports and played football and baseball in high school. I even earned a letter on the bowling team, believe it or not.

I wanted to play football in college, but instead chose to attend Notre Dame. I didn’t have the physical qualifications to play Division One athletics, so I took up rugby.

I never heard of rugby. But the sport was made for me. It is violent and very much like American football in certain regards. After college, I managed to work out for two hours each day, in spite of many commitments, grad school, the National Guard and commuting to New York from Long Island. I started to do more running and eventually ran seven marathons including five New York marathons, one Big Sur and one LA.

For many years, I’ve worked out multiple times each day. I’ve supplemented walking and aerobic equipment with yoga and meditation. It saved my life when I had a bout with some medical issues and COVID. I have written about the benefits of yoga and meditation in earlier blogs.

One of the greatest activities that my family engaged in was world and domestic travel. It has been an important aspect of our lives. When our twins were 7 or 8, we created a travel itinerary for the next 10 years.

Our trips included every major city in Europe, Japan, Bhutan, the Chinese Olympics, Russia, Turkey, Spain, Germany, Israel, Australia, Hawaii and Alaska. My wife and I worked hard to give our children a cultural cornucopia that enabled us to see the whole world and meet others who live differently than we do.

We also visited many of the great museums in the world bolstering the cultural objectives of our trips. We have been to the Louvre (Mona), the Orsay (Monet), the Rijksmuseum (The Night Watch),the Prodo (Velazquez) and the St. Petersburg Hermitage (La Danse). My daughter was inspired to take Art History in college.

It has been a great ride during my first seventy-four years. Our children are older and young adults. They are building their careers and living away from home. My life has been a dream come true with my wife at my side.

The Wacky House Of Representatives

Several of my readers have been asking me why I have not commented on the whacky events in Washington DC. The craziness involves the election of a new Speaker of the House and the zeal with which Republicans are attacking Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, for a number of crimes.

I was stunned by how narrow of a margin Republicans won the majority in the House of Representatives. It was a nip and tuck election and the new party in power has a razor thin advantage over Democrats. Why weren’t moderate conservatives and hardline conservatives reveling in this victory?

The House operates for the most part with a simple majority. So, if Republicans stood together, they would have control over all legislative activity, and could effectively block legislation proposed by Biden, the Senate or any Representative.

Unfortunately, Mad Dog conservatives [my portrayal of uncooperative Republicans] decided to assert themselves in an attempt to stymie Kevin McCarthy from being elected the new Speaker. Twenty or so Mad Dogs said he is too moderate for the job. Why weren’t all member Republicans overwhelmed with joy being in a position to grind Washington to a halt?

Simply put, the new Speaker and his supporters had to agree to a number of rule changes to get McCarthy elected. Essentially, the Speaker’s position is diluted to a certain extent. Any individual representative can demand a change in the Speaker, one of the rule changes.

Upon some reflection, and while the House was voting numerous times for the Speaker, I thought the Mad Dogs were idiots for not supporting McCarthy and the 91 or so percent of Republicans that supported him. The Mad Dogs were stirring the pot and making all Republicans look bad.

But I changed my mind. The House Mad Dogs versus regular Republicans was in line with our democracy. It was a fair vote. So let it play out. I never thought the rebellion was good for Republicans politically, however.

Then, McCarthy agreed to virtually all of the Mad Dog demands, and still some Mad Dogs didn’t vote for him in the Speaker election. What the hell did the Mad Dogs want? Promises written in blood? So, I reverted to my initial feelings that some Republican Mad Dogs were idiots.

As far as Joe Biden and Hunter Biden are concerned, Congress is in a twitter about several things, some more important than others. Joe neglected to return classified information to the proper authorities according to law. Actually there are two tranches of secret documents in two separate places, so far. Moreover, the documents were discovered days before the midterm elections. The administration wanted to wait until after the elections to disclose the situation. [I wonder.]

Trump also had secret documents and is now being investigated for not securing the documents in his possession. Democrats are talking down Biden’s missteps but screaming for prosecution of Trump. Seems to me both situations need to be investigated with an equal amount of enthusiasm.

Hunter Biden is a wreck. He’s an addict, an alcoholic and he has used his father’s position to get favors from foreign sources. It is illegal to use elected individuals to gain favors for private citizens. If convicted of this corruption, and other crimes such as not filing tax returns and lying to federal investigators, Biden could face jail time.  The story has been downplayed by the Biden Justice Department Department, but Republicans are going to blast through political roadblocks to investigate crimes by the first family. Keep in mind, Trump and Biden could both be running for president in less than two years. Maybe we would be better served to nominate qualified individuals who are not under investigation for felonies.

Since Washington will be in gridlock politically, Republicans are going to keep busy investigating the forementioned items and other bone-head moves by Democrats during the last two years.