Monday, August 10, 2009


The past couple of weeks have been filled with old friends, and new, long talks on the phone, or over lunch or dinner or walks.

Leslie in NYC for a visit from Paris, I missed her daughter Naomi but Leslie and me got to see each other once more, walking in the rain and dinner off Mott Street.

Ray and Nick in Ray’s pad over crabcakes and more, talking books (especially Ray’s latest, more on that in a future post) and the past and old and new friends and what’s going on in the present.

Talked to Peter for the first time since his heart bypass surgery almost a year ago. About not just our lives (and wives, past and present, and kids grown and growing) but our art (his songwriting and performing, my poetry and other writing) and what it means to continue to practice our arts at our age and in these times.

Dinner and a movie with my good friend Sue and then dinner again, both of us single in our “straight” and “gay” (in my world the word is “human”) dating worlds, almost every aspect of which holds little or no difference. Love is love, dating is dating, relationships are relationships. What matters is the people involved and how they deal with the inevitable problems that arise. Or not.

A good long talk on the phone with Karen just back from Paris and happy to be home in the Berkshires. Catching up. Making plans. Sharing life’s problems and rewards.

A catch up with Paul on the phone when getting together proved not feasible given our schedules, but a deep connection nonetheless.

And Terry in our weekly catch up talks, the reassuring acceptance and support for each others’ art and life choices. The love and understanding. Without which…

And so many more.

Friendships old and new are the antidote to all that’s so dismaying in the news lately.

As someone said, true wealth is counted not in dollars but in friends. I am eternally grateful for mine—which fortunately for me includes my children, grown and still at home.


harryn said...

so true michael - if my gratitude for friends and family were dollars i'd be able to pay down the deficit with money left over for books ...

tom said...

Well said, Michael. (Does Jim only show up on when you post something political?)

JIm said...

Hi Mike,

It would be interesting if we strolled around Cameron Field someday speaking of cabbages, kings and individualism vs. collectivism. I wonder if we could be civil. Our civility has been strained in print. I vaguely remember tension, on more than one occasion, as we vied for the attention of various schoolgirls. There were at least minor sparks when we discussed the comparative merits of Reagan and Carter via the phone lines. We knew each other in our pre political days. It seems that we have both developed into over the top political junkies. Who knew that boys raised with so much in common would turn out so diametrically opposed politically.

PS I couldn't resist jumping in after Tom's snippy remark.

Lally said...

Jim, I actually admired you when we were kids because I found you then to be not only pretty honest, but able to not take yourself so seriously. But when you characterize the various healthcare reform plans in Congress and what Obama has been seeking as "socialist," you lose all credibility. Socialist healthcare would be if the government owned the hospitals, the medical machines, the drug companies, hired and paid the doctors and rationed care based on need and availability. As for equating Obama with Hitler, that's not only lying, that's inciting, deliberately. And it may well work (obviously) with either uneducated or unaware folks who have been brainwashed for years by rightwing media and leaders (including in the military, especially under the last administration). I'm pretty sure I know as much about the Constitution as most visitors to this blog, including you, and in fact the Obama administration has been following the basic tenets of the founding fathers as well as their spirit much more rigorously than the last administration did. There has been no greater damage to the Constitution and the principles upon which this country was founded than what the past administration did and tried to do (with the exception of some of Nixon's tactics, another Republican president, but at least one with some intelligence, even if it was usually blunted by his paranoia).

JIm said...

Hi Mike,
Here is a definition from Encarta. I believe the takeover of major financial firms (under Bush/Obama), auto firms and now the proposed government run health care system fit the definition. Finding me “Pretty honest” is not what I would call a ringing endorsement. Hopefully I was and am better than that. I don’t think I equated Obama with Hitler, but I have said that his proposals of, funding a quasi military force to the same level as the military, reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine or a similar local program to limit free speech, Snitch Line etc. are reminiscent of programs that limited free expression under Mussolini, Wilson , FDR and yes 1930’s Nazi Germany.

From Encarta
Socialism, economic and social system under which essential industries and social services are publicly and cooperatively owned and democratically controlled with a view to equal opportunity and equal benefit for all. The term socialism also refers to the doctrine behind this system and the political movement inspired by it.
Socialism was originally based in the working class and has generally been opposed to capitalism, which is based on private ownership and a free-market economy. Socialists have advocated nationalization (government ownership and control) of natural resources, basic industries, banking and credit institutions, and public utilities. Although the ultimate aim of early socialists was a communist or classless society (see Communism), later socialists have increasingly concentrated on social reforms within capitalism.

JIm said...

You know Obama is trashing civil liberties, when even the ACLU is objecting.

Government Proposes Massive Shift In Online Privacy Policy (8/10/2009)

Changes Would Pose Serious Threat To Americans’ Personal Information, Says ACLU

CONTACT: (202) 675-2312;

WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union submitted comments today to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) opposing its recent proposal to reverse current federal policy and allow the use of web tracking technologies, like cookies, on federal government websites. Cookies can be used to track an Internet user’s every click and are often linked across multiple websites; they frequently identify particular people

JIm said...

Liberals, including Mike, have criticized opponents of Obama’s socialist policies for comparing those policies to 1930’s Nazi policies. In Andy McCarthy’s article below a former New York Times writer praised the Nazis for their socialist stimulus policy during the Depression. There is much in common with those policies and the current Obama policies. Lefties have felt very comfortable comparing George W. to Hitler but seem to take umbrage when the simularities between Obama's economic policies and Hitler's are revealed.

Nazis for Me, but Not for Thee
Why shouldn’t socialized medicine prompt comparisons to National Socialism?

By Andrew C. McCarthy
Nazi Germany is a useful historical example of socialism run amok. The genocide and terrorism ultimately practiced by the Nazis were horrible — that goes without saying. But National Socialism went on for a dozen years, it was the last stage in a progressive nationalization of German society, and there was a lot more to it than genocide and terrorism.
one New York Times writer seemed to find comparisons to National Socialism quite worthy when — at least in the telling — those comparisons worked in the Left’s favor. offered by David Leonhardt. Leonhardt wrote:

“More than any other country, Germany — Nazi Germany — then set out on a serious stimulus program. The government built up the military, expanded the autobahn, put up stadiums for the 1936 Berlin Olympics and built monuments to the Nazi Party across Munich and Berlin.

The economic benefits of this vast works program never flowed to most workers, because fascism doesn’t look kindly on collective bargaining. But Germany did escape the Great Depression faster than other countries. Corporate profits boomed, and unemployment sank (and not because of slave labor, which didn’t become widespread until later). Harold James, an economic historian, says that the young liberal economists studying under John Maynard Keynes in the 1930s began to debate whether Hitler had solved unemployment.”