Monday, July 13, 2020

The President, and COVID-19

For some time, it is clear, President Trump has been pretty much done with COVID.

On June 17th, he said that the coronavirus was "dying out."

Nine days before, on June 8th, he said: "We may have some embers or some ashes, or we may have some flames coming, but we'll put them out.  We'll stomp them out.  We understand this now. We'll stomp them out and we'll stomp them out very, very powerfully."

On July 2nd--his impersonal locution, I think, was interesting; it was suggestive, perhaps, of his own remove from the issue--he said: "The crisis is being handled." 
Two days later, during a July 4th address, he sought to minimize the virus's severity.  He said that "we have tested over 40 million people. By so doing, we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless."

My previous post was written June 22nd. At that time, more than 120,000 Americans had died as a result of the virus. 

As of today--three weeks later--there have been approximately 15,000 additional American deaths.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Our era

This has been a staggering, harrowing time.  

First, the cataclysm that is the pandemic.  Near the end of May, 100,000 Americans had died due to the virus.  Less than a month later, there have been more than 20,000 additional deaths.  By October, it is now estimated, more than 200,000 Americans will have died.

And then, on May 25th, there was the world-shifting death--hideous, chilling, and heartbreaking--of George Floyd. 

It is a time of enormous consequence--as regards the health catastrophe, and the issues of race, bigotry, inequity. Yet the President--a remarkably hollow man--has shown, routinely, that he is fully incapable of helping to heal the country.

Friday, June 19, 2020


Offering good wishes to everyone who is observing, and honoring, the Juneteenth holiday.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Barry Blitt illustration, The New Yorker

Barry Blitt is an outstanding artist/satirist/humorist. His work is featured regularly in The New Yorker; it appears often, notably, on the magazine's cover. This month, Mr. Blitt was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.

His cover for the magazine's latest issue, published on Monday, is titled "Natural Ability."

The title (as noted in a New Yorker story, below) comes from remarks President Trump made in early March, during his coronavirus-related visit to the CDC, in Atlanta.

Mr. Trump said to reporters, at the time: "People are really surprised I understand this stuff.  Every one of these doctors said, 'How do you know so much about this?'  Maybe I have a natural ability."

The new issue of The New Yorker was published, as it happens, the same day Mr. Trump announced that he has, for more than a week, been taking hydroxychloroquine, the drug he has promoted for some time. 

Here is a brief interview with Barry Blitt, conducted by Fran├žoise Mouly, the art editor of The New Yorker; the interview appeared yesterday, on the magazine's website:

Friday, May 8, 2020

A 1954 picture

This has always been one of my favorite photographs. It is from a Boston newspaper article, early 1954, and is of my mother holding my brother, Jed (the first of my parents' two children). At the time, he was seven months old. 

My mother died in 2001 (nineteen years ago today), at age 73.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

April, 1995

In the midst of the terrible pandemic, one remembers, with great sadness, the devastation of April 19, 1995 (twenty-five years ago today): the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, in Oklahoma City.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Albert Camus

(From The Plague, by Albert Camus, Modern Library edition, ©
1948; original French edition published in 1947)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

John King, and CNN's election-night maps

One of the recurring pleasures of election nights has, for some time, been John King's reports and analyses in front of CNN's touch screen electoral maps. The maps are referred to, during CNN's election broadcasts, as the "Magic Wall."

King is the network's Chief National Correspondent. His knowledge of electoral maps--of the histories, patterns, and intricacies of states, counties, Congressional districts, and other electoral corridors and regions within the states--is substantial, and his presentations are routinely impressive, and illuminating.

I'm looking forward to watching his reporting tonight, as returns come in from primaries in Michigan, Mississippi, and elsewhere.

(Above image: CNN reporter John King discussing early returns in the Arkansas Democratic primary, on Super Tuesday, March 3rd)

Friday, February 28, 2020

The S.S. United States, Philadelphia

This is a photograph taken in Philadelphia, at my request, by photographer/artist Jenny Lynn, a longtime friend. The picture was taken on Thursday, early evening, from inside the IKEA store, located on Philadelphia's Columbus Boulevard.

In the distance is the S.S. United States, the legendary passenger liner, which has been out of service since 1969, and has been docked on the Philadelphia waterfront since 1996.  The ship is, in person, a startling and remarkable sight.  At 990+ feet in length, it is more than 100 feet longer than the Titanic.

In 2011, the ship was purchased by the S.S. United States Conservancy, a group devoted to the ocean liner's preservation, and history. The Conservancy bought the ship from Norwegian Cruise Line, which had acquired it in 2003; the company had had plans--ultimately not realized--to make the ship seaworthy again.

The purchase of the ship, by the Conservancy, was made possible by a substantial donation to the group, from the noted Philadelphia philanthropist Gerry Lenfest.  Mr. Lenfest died in 2018, at age 88.

Here is the link to the Conservancy's website:

As noted previously in this space, the S.S. United States is written about in my book about early television.  The last telecast of NBC's Your Hit Parade, for the 1951-1952 season--which was, it turned out, my mother's last appearance on the program--took place on the ship.  Five days later, on July 3rd of 1952, the ship began its maiden voyage.  

(Photograph © Jenny Lynn)