Month: August 2021
The “It” Factor
Clara Bow was an actress in the 1920s who was labeled “The It Girl.” She was the predecessor to Farrah Fawcett, Marilyn Monroe, Raquel Welch and a number of sex symbols who were on TV and movie screens as well as posters on many men’s collegiate dorm walls. Clark Gable, Paul Newman and Brad Pitt might be characterized as having “it” by women.
What is “it?” “It” is a mixture of attractiveness, charm, personality, sex appeal and confidence that radiates from the person. I don’t think that “it” is only a phenomenon or brand for just Hollywood actresses or celebrities. I think that all of us have “it”. “It” are the qualities that make us attractive and what attracts us to a potential spouse, partner and opposite sex. It may also be defined differently as to its constituent qualities.
“It” is not inexhaustible and some people are blessed with more of “It” than others. There are peaks and valleys of “It”. Some people run out of “It” faster than others. Some lucky people never lose it no matter how old they get.
Here is my unscientific, totally subjective and undocumented (no data) analysis of the peaks and valleys when most men and women exhibit IT. Apologies to George Clooney, Morgan Fairchild and Christie Brinkley in advance…
Women acquire “it” earlier than men as they mature more quickly. Women may also lose “it” at a faster rate than men from age range 40-70. The peak age range for both men and woman is from 20 to 30. Again these are generalizations. Depending on one’s heredity, health, financial status, plastic surgery and desire to maintain “It”, results can vary.
Book Review: Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency by Michael Wolff
There are so many tragedies described within this book. First, Donald Trump’s obsession with perceived fraud in the 2020 presidential election. It absolutely consumed him. Despite entreaties from some responsible Republicans, Trump continued to pursue crackpot theories and schemes that the election was stolen. His “legal team” filed hundreds of suits but no court, including the Supreme Court would listen to their case. Second, the complete fall of Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Once the hero of 9/11, he was described in this book as a drunk and a flatulent, senile old man, spinning wild conspiracy theories and urging Trump to just announce that he won the election. The third major tragedy was that approximately 74 million people voted for Donald Trump. And a significant majority of them also believed that Trump was the legitimate winner of the election.
The book describes the bizarre behaviors of Mike Lindell, Peter Navarro, Mike Flynn and Sidney Powell along with other Trump enablers to encourage Trump to protest the election.
Wolff also recounts the events of January 6, 2021 when at the urging of Donald Trump, his supporters invaded The Capitol. What will future generations think of us that such a horrific event could happen?
There are a number of unflattering portraits and descriptions of people within the Trump White House. Very few heroes exist as no one was able to curb the actions and plans of Donald Trump.
If you are not a supporter of President Trump, nothing in this book will surprise you. What may surprise you is how much worse things really were during his administration. Wolff also includes a chapter on his interview with Trump after the election. Unsurprisingly Trump is not apologetic or remorseful in what he put this nation through, especially in the last year of his Presidency.
Book Review: I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker
Anyone interested in reading this book should first understand that this is not a pro – Trump book. There are very few instances where Donald Trump is shown in a positive light or where he is shown competent in his job. This is not because of the prejudice of the authors but based on the actual reporting and eyewitness accounts during the last year of the Trump presidency. If you keep up with the news or have not been in a coma the past four years, there is not a lot in this book that will surprise you. If I gathered anything new it was that things were a lot worse than even I imagined.
This book primarily focuses on three major events/issues in Trump’s last year: handling (or mishandling) the coronavirus, the 2020 presidential election and post-election claims of fraud by Trump resulting in the January 6, 2021 invasion of The Capitol by his supporters.
What I was looking for were examples of competence and courage by people within the Trump administration. There were a few including General Mark Milley, who was very concerned about a possible coup and how Trump viewed the military as a weapon that he could use. Despite incredible abuse and intimidation by the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci continued to tell the truth about COVID-19. On occasion, even Attorney General Bill Barr showed some back bone when pressed by Trump to initiate some bogus investigations against Trump enemies.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was fired by Trump primarily due to his opposition to Trump’s plan to use the military against demonstrations from the George Floyd killing. Trump wanted to employ the Insurrection Act of 1807 as a means of curbing demonstrations.
Regrettably Trump had a lot of enablers. Rudy Giuliani, Mike Flynn, and Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff was a faithful soldier to until the end of his Presidency. Mike Pence does not read well in this book. He blindly supported Trump throughout the four years. And though Pence did the right thing in certifying the electoral vote, it seems that he was looking for a way to blocking it. Pence comes off as a toady.
The authors appeared to make every attempt to keep this story as authentic and factual as possible. They also conducted a several hour interview with Trump after he left office.
A very revealing book though there are about 74 million people in the U.S. who might disagree.
Ruminations (Angry Mood)
Senescence: Round 4
A shower of passing thoughts and thunderous ruminations…
With apologies to Rodney, five jobs where you don’t get any respect:
- Eagles football coach
- Governor of a largely populated state
- New host of Jeopardy
- 44th U.S. President
Summer is coming to a close. I won’t miss the heat, the humidity or the mosquitos. I will miss the early dawn sunrises and the late dusk sundowns.
On deeper reflection, I have lived through 70 summers, how many summers do I have left to enjoy?
The French showed more resistance in 1940 to the German invasion of their country than the anti-vaxxers have demonstrated to the invasion of covid in the United States.
Long running TV Talk Show in the 1960’s and 70’s that would not last 13 weeks today: Dick Cavett.(That’s no reflection on Cavett, it’s a reflection of our culture and the limited sophistication and education of today’s audiences).
RIP Markie Post. She was a beautiful distraction on one of my favorite comedies in the 1980s, Night Court.
Celebrity whose death affected me the most? John Lennon
Current Five Overrated Sports People and Events
- Pickleball ratings
- NBA Draft
- Dallas Cowboys
- The Process (not Embiid but the tanking by the 76ers)
- Sports Talk Shows (worst show is Undisputed with Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharp)
While I enjoyed the Gold medal victories of the U.S. Men and Women’s Basketball Teams in the Olympics, I became a fan of the 3 on 3 Women’s Basketball competition (also won by the U.S.)
Two late Summer 2021 Book Recommendations:
- The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis
- The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, A Temptation and The Longest Night of the Second World War by Malcolm Gladwell
Another 1970 high school classmate passed away recently. My class had 481 students. Based on what I know, approximately 10% of my class has passed away in the 50 years since graduation. Given our stage in life now, it’s possible that 50% of us will die within the next 10 years.
Health, opportunity and time. The older we are, the less certain and smaller window to take advantage of them.
With possible apologies to W.C. Fields, I’d rather be living in Philadelphia than anywhere in Florida.
New Jersey: The Good and The Bad
I have lived in New Jersey all my life. I have heard all the barbs and insults thrown at the State. Is it the best state in the United States to live? Probably not, but I bet it’s in the Top 10. Here is my very prejudiced evaluation of the best and worst of New Jersey.
A Self Interview about Books and Reading: NY Times Style
What books are on your night stand? Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe by Niall Ferguson, Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke, William James in the Maelstrom of American Modernism by Robert D. Richardson Jr., I Alone Can Fix It: Donald Trump’s Catastrophic Last Year by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker.
What’s the last great book you read? The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War—-A Tragedy in Three Acts (non-fiction); The End of October by Lawrence Wright (fiction)
Are there any classic novels that you recently read for the first time? Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis.
Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how). Reading from my recliner in my living room or outside on the porch are my favorite reading places. I read all day and from a variety of locations. I also read in bed before I fall asleep. I read in the tub while taking a bath.
What’s your favorite book no one else has heard of? Stoner by John Williams
Which writers working today do you admire most? John Feinstein (sports), Seth Godin (business and marketing), Anthony Horowitz (mysteries), Robert Harris (historical fiction), Kurt Andersen (history) and Maria Konnikova (psychology).
Do you count any books as guilty pleasures? Stone Barrington series by Stuart Woods, James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, John Gardner, Kingsley Amis, Anthony Horowitz and Spenser detective series by Robert Parker.
How do you organize your books? I get my books from three sources: my local library, Kindle and Barnes & Noble and in that order, if I can. I wish I had a study which could house thousands of books but I don’t. Normally as soon as I get a book, I read it. Books that I have purchased and that might be of interest to others, I pass on to friends.
What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books stick with you most? I was an avid reader. I was a huge fan of The Hardy Boys series, Tom Swift, Chip Hilton. Rick Brant and Bronc Burnett. I’d rush through my school work just so I could read those books.
How have your reading tastes changed over time? I prefer shorter books (less than 250 pages). I’m starting to read more fiction and I avoid books that offer advice or self-help.
What books are you ashamed not to have read yet? None. I have read what I was always interested in. I have never had the desire to read The Bible or War and Peace. I also don’t follow what is a “best seller.”
What do you plan to read next? Today’s New York Times.
These are the “Times” We Live In
Bits and pieces from the August 1, 2021 edition of The New York Times…
From Maureen Dowd’s Why Do Republicans Hate Cops
“He (Trump) turned Republicans upside down like a snow globe, and suddenly the party that loved to rah-rah for family, morals and religion was in the grip of a thrice-married, grabby, foul-mouthed Tartuffe. The party that prided itself on supporting those in uniform, the F.B.I. and C.I.A. had to go along with Trump’s crooked ways and Deep-State vilification of the F.B.I. and the intelligence community.
We’re still learning the extent to which President Trump tried to strong-arm the Justice Department into helping him purloin the election. As the Times’s Katie Benner reported Friday, as late as Dec. 27, Trump called officials at Justice and, according to their notes, told them: “Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me,” assuring them that his congressional allies would help.”
“This past week, amid the emotional testimony of police officers at the first hearing of a House select committee, Republicans completed their journey through the looking-glass, spinning a new counternarrative of that deadly day. No longer content to absolve Mr. Trump, they concocted a version of events in which those accused of rioting were patriotic political prisoners and Speaker Nancy Pelosi was to blame for the violence.
Their new claims, some voiced from the highest levels of House Republican leadership, amount to a disinformation campaign being promulgated from the steps of the Capitol, aimed at giving cover to their party and intensifying the threats to political accountability.”
“Bidding wars are frustrating buyers. Agents are struggling to navigate frantic competition. About half of small bankers in a recent industry survey said the current state of the housing market poses “a serious risk” to the United States economy. Lawmakers and economic policymakers alike are hoping things calm down — especially because frothy home prices could eventually spill into rent prices, worsening affordability for low-income families just as they face the end of pandemic-era eviction moratoriums and, in some cases, months of owed rent.
Industry experts say the current home price boom emerged from a cocktail of low interest rates, booming demand and supply bottlenecks. In short, it’s a situation that many are feeling acutely with no single policy to blame and no easy fix.”