Beauty of the Plague

For ten days in 1820 the English poet John Keats was forced to remain at sea in the bay of Naples. It couldn’t have been a nicer place to be quarantined from the typhus – the epidemic of the time – that was ravaging Italy. “One of the most sublime locations in the world,” writes Frances Mayes in the New York Times in an appreciation of the poet whose work was a culmination of the romantic era that  found beauty in almost everything.

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Prison with a View

Amid the soaring luxury high rises in sunny Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, stands a great hulk of a building that seems out of place. It definitely is. It’s the county jail with room for 1500 prisoners with very narrow windows to keep them from falling or jumping out. The exterior is concrete flat with nothing to catch the eye. In the pardonably outraged words of Sun Sentinel reporter Steve Bouquet, it’s “a soulless monstrosity incongruously plopped down there, of all places, with sleek yachts cruising by.”

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Canary’s Controversial Song

Amid the polarization of America today is a growing split in the Jewish community with many youngsters critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians while their elders say such protests are harmful to Israel. In response some have joined a “Canary Mission” that maintains profiles of especially troublesome critics and, like the bird song in the coal mine, warns of the danger ahead if present trends continue. A few have even donned a canary suit to make their point. Continue reading “Canary’s Controversial Song”

The Other America

While the nation’s capital seems bogged down in rancor, inaction, spying and war making, the rest of America presents a different picture. There democracy apparently thrives, local communities are on the rebound thanks to bipartisan practicality, and there’s an enlargement of hope in contrast to the bleak national outlook. Such are the findings of a book “Our Towns,” by James and Deborah Fallows (pictured below), who spent four years hopping from one locale to the next in a small, two-seat airplane undeterred by terrain or weather. Continue reading “The Other America”

The Real Man – John Wayne

Who’s the ideal man? How about John Wayne, hero of 83 Western films, who tamed the expanding West, stronger and taller than the next guy and faster on the draw, scourge of Indian and outlaw alike, winning or losing with a beguiling smile, protective of women and no womanizer. Who could ask for more? Continue reading “The Real Man – John Wayne”

Freedom for Dogs and Others

Glenn Greenwald usually writes about the encroachments of the deep state on American freedom. But he’s also concerned about freedom from pain and desertion for dogs. He and his partner David Miranda rescue strays from the streets of Rio de Janeiro, where they live. They have a couple of dozen of their own and put many others up for adoption, mainly in the U.S. Continue reading “Freedom for Dogs and Others”