I’m Over Here

Where Are YOU?

Perspective, they say, is everything.  Where you are, physically and metaphorically, depends not just on where you THINK you are, but where others place you, where they think THEY are and where each of you has been before that moment.

Such thoughts are why there are no rich philosophers. Surely no one would pay for such hooey!

The problem of finding one another is, though, real, deep and important.

And, where you are depends even more on the means by which the answer is conveyed…  If the two people involved cannot see each other, answers may ricochet around creating even more confusion. 

It makes a world of difference if you can see each other. 

This is true for announcers on TV who speak into a void to an unseen and unseeing audience. It applies to writers who can only imagine most of their readers. And it is true of anyone who has ever sat in a meeting and tried to gauge whether their comment had an impact – and whether that impact would help or hinder their career.

It is, though, truest of all at home. “Honey, where are you?” isn’t usually a request for your GPS coordinates; it’s often a call for assistance, companionship or perhaps simply reassurance.

Here is wherever you ARE. THERE is wherever the other person is. 

The best form of communication is an open, two-way street in full daylight.

Even more important than where one is physically is where he/she is psychologically. Openness to hear the other person makes hearing much clearer and understandable. 

That is perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned in 70 years of marriage! 



Are Invisible in Light

Somewhere in between sound, dreamless sleep and being awake are dreams and hallucinations.

Episodically, I sort of wake and often see a miniature helicopter-like natural figure in movement—or perhaps it is more like an octopus swimming on my wall or ceiling. I have had every reason to believe that I am actually seeing these ‘things’ moving about, UNTIL I got the bright idea of having a flashlight at hand to see them better. But the light revealed there was nothing – only a bright white backdrop to my apparently active imagination!

These critters do not seem connected to any dreams that I can recall.

What are they?

Why are they?

A neurologist friend has told me these images are hallucinations and that they are quite common and essentially harmless –hence they have not been studied much and are a continuing curiosity.

Since my middle name is Curiosity, I wanted to know more.  I was able to find a fancy technical term for the phenomenon: hypnopompic hallucinations, defined as “visual or other sensory events that occur at the transition from sleep to wakefulness.” While they can be a symptom of narcolepsy, they are more often simply “bumps” in the smooth flow of a good night’s sleep. 

Still, I would like to know more.

Do any of you have these sorts of experiences?

What sort ‘things’ appear on your ’walls’?

What do you think prompts them to appear, they often appear first simply as black dirt on my hands that when rubbed off metamorphosize into the images that follow in my imagination?

Could there be another dimension in our world that we only see this way?

I promise NOT to reveal anything of a specific nature at all, but I hope to discover something about what other people may have experienced in similar ways or NOT?

There has never been anything threatening or even frightening.

But this leaves me very curious.

Imagination and Greed

Are the base of cryptocurrency delight!

The prefix “crypto” means hidden or secret. In the case of cryptocurrency, it also means “illusory.”

Gold has been a store of value and thus a form of currency for millennia, one originally based on its cost of extraction and purification.

Other than that, monetary values have been based in recent decades on what a dollar can buy, an ever-changing (but generally declining) assessment built on international financial systems and based in large part on the domestic economy.

It is not entirely clear what a cryptocurrency adds to human existence. As long as government stands behind the dollar in its usual fashion, and the dollar remains the gold standard (pun intended) for global finance, Bitcoin and the like are poseurs, mere pretenders to the throne of value.

If a run on the dollar occurred that the government did not address appropriately, then other forms of money and/or exchange such as gold would have to fill the gap.

Who guarantees cryptocurrency? Not a soul. Nor is it subject to government surveillance of money movements. And there is no mechanism to “reverse” an illegitimate transaction – the tales of Bitcoin holders losing millions to theft are legion. Even forgetting the password to your Bitcoin account is a fatal error – the currency offers no way to retrieve or reset one.

How, then, does such an ethereal concept – a self-minted currency accepted almost nowhere – climb to nearly $50,000 in value for each digital “coin” it produces?

Easy: by riding the same forces that propelled GameStop to ridiculous heights – fractional ownership of shares that opens the market to hordes of uneducated (financially-speaking) buyers eager to catch a wave; a feeding frenzy of greed likely egged on by “pump and dump” speculators able to get in early, and glamorized by endless, breathless and credulous coverage in the media.

Cryptocurrency in effect is creating something out of nothing, based on nothing more than the willingness of people to buy into the fantasy

That is a great achievement –if you can believe it—for as long as the participants believe it.

It seems obvious that something like that cannot go on forever.

We have yet to see how, exactly, it unwinds, but one suspects it will not be pretty.

We may know soon. The answer is cryptocurrency has zero underlying value. Even Tesla is better, despite its insane values, because at least some people have bought their cars.

The world we live in governs our lives.

Heaven and hell forbid.


There really are three parties in this country.

In 1800 there were no political parties. Soon the politicians saw merit in having two parties.

We have been struggling in various degrees ever since to make bi-partisanship work. In recent years, however, ‘party loyalty’ has become a lethal weapon against independent thinking.

The Liz Cheney contretemps notwithstanding, it is a weapon used by both parties, but seemingly more often and better by the Republicans.

When elections produce a closely divided Congress, the results become especially acute, which is where we are today.

If we had a third party today – drawn from the middle of both existing parties—it might (and rightfully so) be the largest party, though much of the time it probably would need extra votes from either or both the left and right to achieve majorities.

The dynamics of that political process likely would be dramatically different from today and be more likely to serve the interests of most Americans by avoiding long-standing stalemates.

To be sure, this idea is not new. But perhaps the extremism in both parties makes this moment propitious. Surely enough people are sufficiently disgusted by the current circumstances that it would be possible to fund and mount a widespread effort to recruit candidates and manage ballot access petition drives – a difficult but necessary first step to any third-party initiative.

Party names usually are irrelevant. This one seems simple. A Center Party that bypasses left and right and might just be the perfect answer.

Yes, both existing parties will fight this idea. No one likes to give up any control or money.

But we really should not let the existing parties love of their status quo get in the way of better running our cherished democracy!

The Party’s Over

Rethinking Our Elections

In 1800, there was no such thing as a political party.

Today, the two major parties are all-controlling, as Liz Cheney’s efforts to keep her leadership post (and even her seat in Congress) amply illustrate.

I recently wrote about ranked choice voting and its potential to push candidates toward the center and away from their party’s extreme edges.

I’ve also noted that candidates at every level should HAVE to be supported by an outright majority of those casting ballots, with run-offs if needed.

Each of these ideas are intended to ensure at least modestly broad support for those chosen to represent all of us, regardless of party affiliation.

There are other ways to accomplish the same goals, and no shortage of experiments by states eager to ensure the perpetuation of democracy. One of those states, it might surprise you to learn, is Alaska.  

Alaska – a state where unaffiliated voters (56%) handily outnumber Democrats and Republicans combined – has embraced two electoral reforms that will debut with the 2022 mid-term elections.

First up is a “jungle primary” – known more formally as a non-partisan blanket primary. Under this system (already in use in California and Washington states), all the candidates for a given race appear on the same ballot, regardless of party affiliation, and all primary voters choose from among them, with the top two advancing to the general election.

Alaska’s wrinkle is that the top four candidates will advance, with ranked-choice voting used to choose among them in the general election.

Louisiana, among the quirkiest of states – and I say that as a fan – does much the same thing, but forsakes the primary entirely, with all candidates vying in the general election. If no candidate receives an outright majority, the top-two finishers compete in a subsequent run-off.

But presidential politics remains a holdout, in part because primaries don’t directly select presidential candidates, conventions do. No state, to my knowledge, uses run-offs in general elections for President. Georgia, the only state to use run-offs in races for the U.S. Senate, recently gave Democrats control of that chamber when that party won both Georgia Senate seats in run-offs.

Whatever the particulars, blanket primaries ensure that in the general election there will always be two people to choose between — not based on their party affiliation but entirely on their popularity among the voting public.

However, they are structured, blanket primaries are another tool, alongside or in combination with ranked choice voting and run-offs to reclaim elections from the political parties and put the power of democracy back where it was always intended: with the voters themselves.

We need to pick the best candidates, not those who were best at kissing rich fat partisan fannies!

Short and Sweet

Make a Point, Get a Giggle, and Scram!

Loudon Wainwright, father of the famous musical descendants, was a great friend for many years.

He was a writer in a world of photographers at LIFE magazine, specializing in a short word piece he called ‘A View from Here’ for many years. His commentaries were reportedly the second most popular part of the magazine, after the famous cover.

Loudon died much too young in 1988. He had believed that as a proud writer he owed the world a book before he passed. He started at least three times to write different books but gave up each time after he lost interest in the subject. Finally, he wrote “The Great American Magazine,” a history of Life magazine from birth to death.

He told me at the time that if he thought he had ‘a view from here’ and could not make that view clear in 1, 000 or fewer words, he probably did not have a clear enough view himself and tried again.  His pieces – a subset of which are available in the controversial “Google Books” project — still resonate in my head. Although I did not realize it at the time, he was my inspiration for my own musings when I joined (many years after his death) the league of independent correspondents known as bloggers.

Loudon believed that most people do not really like, want, or need to read whole books, because it takes so much precious time. But they do enjoy getting the many various points of view efficiently, easily and quickly.

When I started my blogging about 10 years ago, I had completely forgotten Loudon’s influence.

I have always enjoyed the process of writing and my first blogs were simply for my own amusement. When I began to get consistent feedback comments, and even appreciation, from what I am told is a significant number of readers, I began to up the ante and quantity. It was then that I remembered Loudon’s advice.

That led me to a formula I’ve tried to follow –make a point, get a giggle and scram.

On my dreamy days, I imagine that I might be remembered like Grandma Moses without a paint brush– Granfa Frank, as I’m known to my children’s children.

I am all too aware that my anti-Trump stuff was too much and hard to take for some.

Still there was, is and always will be, plenty of stuff in our lives that warrant a view – or at least a giggle and a thought.

This piece is in response to a number of queries over the years, I have had, about how and why I bother to burden you with my random thoughts.

If you have had enough, do not hesitate to say so!

In the meanwhile, I will keep chugging along.

Oh, S%#t – I Never Tried Facebook

Have you ever wondered what might go on in your head when your time comes and your remaining hours and minutes are likely to be very short?

I assure you Facebook would NOT be on my mind. I have never been on it. I think it and most of social media have been ripping at the fabric of the world.

So, what WOULD be on my mind?

That game of tennis decades ago when I was about to win one lousy game against my friend Dick Savitt who was then the world’s best everything in tennis.

That momentary flirtation with Sophia Loren in a bar in the South of France. Oh, what that might have been like.

That feeling of adrenaline coursing through my veins as I outran a police car in my Lancia Spyder.

That moment at the last turn in the slalom ski race —when I almost lost control –but recovered—and lost the race by 1 second.

The landing of my first (and only) parachute jump, with my instructor in a two-man chute, from 4,200 feet high. I was told to take 3 steps like at the bottom of stairs when we hit the ground AND IT WORKED PERFECTLY!!!

The receipt on finishing law school of my record 85 in estate planning – when a straight A was normally 75.

The moment in the White House Oval Office when I was saying adieu to President Carter. He said, “I wish you could have stayed longer.” I thought, but did not say, “if you had said that earlier, we might not have ended it now.”

The time in my twenties I was riding in an open convertible with a close friend. He VERY nearly collided with a large truck. A few moments later he said, “I think I smell s%#t?” I replied, “No kidding – I am sitting in it. SLOW DOWN!”