Rest in Peace, Sid (1934-2013)

Fond of telling students, “the ungrammatical life is not worth living,” Dr. Sidney Gendin, Professor of Philosophy at Eastern Michigan University for 35 years, passed away unexpectedly in his home in Ann Arbor,  Mich., on August 21, 2013.   Born January 3, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York, he refused to abandon his Brooklyn accent. Sid graduated from Brooklyn College with a B.A. in 1955 and New...

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Pure Hatred

I hate bugs. I hate them purely and honestly, unadulterated by reasons. I care not the slightest whit whether they be bad or beneficial. However small and faceless they may be, they fill me with loathing. I have no irrational fear of them; they give me no nightmares. I simply wish a very painful death on each and everyone of them. I would catch them and torture them if they were worthy of my time. As it is, I take an inordinate pleasure in...

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Strictly For New York Yids

The legendary comic Mickey Katz is the father of Joel Grey and grandfather of Jennifer Grey. Apart from siring these celebrities he was quite something in his own right. The following songs are Katz classics. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z66tF_UiQc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwczIc4FNV0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxsNF5yeosA ************************************* I confess to an undue interest in Mickey because of a debate that has...

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The $38,000 Handbag And Ms. Oprah Winfrey

The whole world knows about the incident by now. But on the freaky chance you don”t, here is what happened. Oprah Winfrey was in a department store somewhere in Switzerland and asked a clerk to take down a certain handbag from a high shelf for her examination. The clerk refused, telling her she couldn’t afford it because it cost $38,000. To no avail, Ms. Winfrey protested but did not identify herself. Later, using the power of...

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Gone But Never To Be Forgotten

Once again I turn to the subject of Ronald Dworkin, my own favorite great thinker of the the 20th century. Ronald wrote the following in a NY Review of Brooks article: “In my own view, someone who leads a boring, conventional life without close friendships or challenges or achievements, marking time to his grave, has not had a good life, even if he thinks he has and even if he has thoroughly enjoyed the life he has had. If you agree, we...

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A Fairly Evil Man

My wife is a somewhat prominent America historian and so it is with some trepidation that I disagree with her about FDR. It seems to me that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a nasty person who ranks among the ten worst presidents in our history. JoEllen doesn’t think he is in the top ten Terribles but does not supply her ranking. She agrees that at his worst, few compare with him for evil. His worst moment was his acquiescence in the...

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Johnson’s Life Of Boswell

It sometimes happens that a man of no particular merit or demerit finds a cause and makes it his ticket to everlasting fame. Thus it was with James Boswell whose magnum opus was the massive 800 page biography he produced of one of England’s literary giants, Samuel Johnson. Johnson had a great gift for words and gab, and Boswell dogged his footsteps, jotting down everything Johnson had to say. In consequence, the biography alternates...

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Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off

In one of their great dance movies, Fred and Ginger take a rest after some ice skating and start to sing a swell song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ3fjQa5Hls They quarrel in the usual friendly manner over potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto, pajamas, pahjahmas, etc. What interested me most was the mini-debate over “neether/nyether” It’s the grammar, not the pronunciation that interests me. For what it’s worth,...

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