8.31.2020 – put on habits and

put on habits and
habiliments of age, or stay
invincibly young

As Brendan Gill of the New Yorker wrote in the forward to his book, Late Bloomers (Artisan, New York NY, 1996) . . .

The moment in time at which we discover, whether through an event dictated by forces outside ourselves or by seemingly spontaneous personal inside, some worthy means of fulfilling ourselves.

The age at which we make this discover is an irrelevance.

The process of growing up, like the process of growing old, is various and unpredictable.

Some people in their forties have already put on the habits and habiliments of age, other people in their eighties are invincibly young

They are people who at whatever and under whatever circumstance have succeeded in finding themselves.

As someone who people have waited lifetimes to see grow up, I have gotten older, my drivers license says so, but I would still rather eat the dessert first just to be sure I had room left over before I started eating dinner.

Various and unpredictable would describe my process of growing up.

I am getting old in the regular way at least.

But in my heart …

Invincibly young sounds okay to me.

Have I found myself?

Stick around and I will let you know.

8.30.2020 – we talked like old guys

we talked like old guys
men who had died long time
before they were dead

At some point in my life it seems like my conversation and my thoughts turned from tomorrow to yesterday.

Makes sense I guess.

Fewer tomorrows.

More and more yesterdays.

When will stop thinking of tomorrow completely?

When does the enthusiasm for tomorrow disappear?

Dead before you die.

Big Bill wrote’s Macbeth put it this way.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.

— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5)

8.29.2020 – sunset evening star

sunset evening star
tide as moving seems asleep
I turns again, home

Adapted from:

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

Crossing the Bar By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

8.28.2020 – I first lied when I

I first lied when I
smiled – lie was in the smile
truth behind the mask

Are you gonna see me when light gets dark? 

The sun goes down over Gramercy Park 

And it’s become easy to hide pieces away 

Making up someone in the hope that you’ll stay 

‘Cause I’ve been trying to be everything I think you want me to be 

I’ve been doing all the things that I think you wanna see 

I’ve been trying to fulfill you with your every need 

Now you’re falling for a person that’s not even me 

Said you’re falling for a person that’s not even me 

Alicia Keys – Gramercy Park

8.27.2020 – easy shots to take

easy shots to take
at who rose to prominence
different era

Not sure where I am going with any of this but I was thinking of Dorothy Parker.

I don’t often spend any time thinking about Dorothy Parker.

And aside from the wonderful, “What fresh hell is this?’ line that she was noted for saying when the phone rang, I am not sure I know much of her work.

On the other hand, if I was known for being the author of the line, “What fresh hell is this?” when the phone rang I would die a happy man.

But I digress.

Ms. Parker has always been there as someone someone should read.

She wrote criticism and commentary for any number of magazines and newspapers.

She co-wrote the screen play for the movie A Star is Born starring Lady Gaga which was a remake of the movie starring Barbara Streisand, which was a remake of the movie starring Judy Garland, which was a remake of the movie starring Janet Gaynor.

It was for the original version with Janet Gaynor that earned Ms. Parker an Oscar Nomination in 1937 for Best Adaptation.

I recently watched a bio-pic about her titled, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle.

The Vicious Circle being the group of writers and critics who gathered at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City to sit at their famous round table in the hotel’s restaurant.

It was a who’s who of the wits and writers of American in the 1930’s.

It might have been as if the best of the best of the casts and writers of Saturday Night Live met for lunch each day/

I put Ms. Parker into the GOOGLE and came across an article titled, VEIL OF LAUGHTER, a review of the movie, by Randy Sue Coburn.

In this article which seemed to be more of a defense of Ms. Parker than a review, and maybe it was as it was written by one of the movies co-writers.

Ms. Coburn included this paragraph.

From that point onward, Parker’s output dwindled, but she remained an icon for young women who dreamt of breaking into journalism and dazzling all the men around them. Several years after John Keats’s less-than-empathetic biography of Parker appeared in 1970, however, one such woman, Nora Ephron, devoted her column in Esquire to denouncing Parker as a role model, promoting the comforts of sisterhood over the dubious distinction of being the only woman at the table. As much as I probably agreed with Ephron then, this now seems an easy sort of shot to take at someone who rose to prominence in an entirely different era.

The writer then goes on to point out that, “In Parker’s heyday, few starkly personal literary novels were being written by her “sisters.” One of these was Zelda Fitzgerald, and we all know what happened to her.”

But I was struck by the line, “this now seems an easy sort of shot to take at someone who rose to prominence in an entirely different era.

When I was in college I had wonderful professor who constantly banged on three themes.

Clarity, Compassion and ‘avoid present-mindedness’.

More than once papers written for this guy came back with bright spirals in thick red magic marker all over a page with the text, “I AM COMPLETELY LOST” written on it.

He would yell at us, “YOU ARE THE EXPERT HERE. so take YOUR READER by the HAND!”

He invoked compassion.

We as students of history were ready to blow George III, George Brinton McClellan or George Bush out of the water with all the sanctimonious self righteousness that college students seem to have great supplies of.

“YOU KNOW THIS ABOUT THEM, but WHAT DON’T YOU KNOW ABOUT THEM that might change your point of view?”, the professor would challenge.

He was very proud of me when I pointed out that General William Howe might have been reluctant to wipe out George Washington at the Battle of Long Island after witnessing the slaughter at the Battle of Bunker Hill along with the fact that that the General’s older brother, George Howe, had been killed in the French and Indian War leading an attack on Fort Ticonderoga.

And he warned and warned against a sense of what he called, “Present Minded-Ness.”

All the things we take for granted today, even something as simple as clean fresh water, was not the norm 200 years ago.

He cautioned us to not make judgments or hold folks to a standard of today that didn’t apply back in history.

So looking back in time, where to start.

I have no problems with taking down Confederate monuments that aren’t part of historical battlefield parks.

But what then.

As Ms. Coburn writes, there are a seems to be a lot of an easy sort of shot to take at someone who rose to prominence in an entirely different era.

I remember the last time I was in Cooperstown, which was a long time ago, and there was a sign outside the Hall of Fame that stated something along the lines that the information in the plaques honoring the members of the Baseball Hall of Fame was correct at the time of the members induction.

I think this mostly had to due with naming Babe Ruth the all leader in Home Runs and Ty Cobb the all time leader in stolen bases and such like.

Maybe we just need signs all around the United States that some things are there and the way they are because it was correct at the time.

I can’t say that is a good idea.

I do agree there are some things that need to come down.

There are some people who don’t need to be remembered.

At the same time, the signs at the Concentration Camps say ‘Never Again’ and ‘Never Forget.’

Sad to say it seems we NEED those reminders.

In the Old Chapel at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY there are granite shields for all 14 of George Washington’s Generals.

One shield is blank.

No names and no dates.

It is a plaque for General Benedict Arnold.

A reminder for a story and a man that all you need to hear is his name to know why it is blank.

So there you are.

Back to Ms. Dorothy Parker.

They say she felt that if only she could write like a man.

Here is her poem, “Inventory:”.

Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.

Four be the things I’d been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.

Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.

Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.

I guess she does okay as who she was.

When Ms. Parker died in 1967 she left her estate to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, with the note that if anything happened to Dr, King, her estate would go to the NAACP.

Ms. Parker’s ashes were buried on the grounds of the NAACP Nation Headquarters in Baltimore, MD under a circle of bricks in memory of the Algonquin Round Table.

Royalties on her writings are still paid to the NAACP.

I am not sure I am aware of better way to go out of this life.

She was known for her wit and comments are the current passing scene.

Today she would be on a panel on CNN.

And what might she say?

This fits.

“You can’t teach an old dogma new tricks”

8.26.2020 – when coffee not work

when coffee not work
thank goodness for back up plan
those smoothies at dawn

Some mornings I don’t drink coffee so much as I pour into my stomach and wait for the caffine to kick in.

No thought for the taste, aroma or the smooth liquid brown warmth that starts my day.

Its the kick.

The kick in the head.

The kick in the head that starts me up and off past all other complaints and concerns and gets me in a place to start my day.

Some days it isn’t there in the cup.

Then what?

The back up plan.

I get up and go to work on the kitchen counter.

I work there as the coffee usually goes to work.

And on the days that I go to work and the coffee doesn’t?

Well …

On those days,

I have Ellington.

Ellington is my son who is also stuck at home and working his way through his senior year in high school.

He is starting is day.

His day starts with a fruit smoothie.

A concoction that requires about about 10 kinds of fruit, fresh or frozen, that he puts into his smoothie maker.

A smoothie maker might have been called a blender but for one slight diffference.

I am not awake.

Not fully awake anyway.

And the mornings I need a real kick to get going are not my best mornings.



Thick headed.


Then Ellington turns on the smoothie maker.

It doesn’t turn on as much as it goes off.

It goes off like a bomb.

Like a bomb three feet from my ears.

Like a shrieking siren.

Like a shrieking siren three feet from my ears.

I have never stood next to an F-16 fighter jet when it takes off.

But I would be surprised if its louder and produces a higher pitched squeal than that smoothie maker,

It wakes me up.

It wakes up the people in the next apartment I am sure.

Maybe the whole building.

It gets me going for a lot of reasons.

In the short story, Something to Say, James Thurber writes of Elliot Vereker, “Vereker always liked to have an electric fan going while he talked and he would stick a folded newspaper into the fan so that the revolving blades scuttered against it, making,a noise like the rattle of machine gun fire. This exhilarated him and exhilarated me, too, but I suppose that it exhilarated him more than it did me.”

I know just the point Thurber was after when Ellington hits the on switch on that smoothie maker.

Except that I am sure if the sound exhilarated Ellington and exhilarated me, too, I suppose that it exhilarated ME more than it did him.

My backup plan.

It’s good to have a plan.

It gets me back up.

8.25.2020 – to write funny things

to write funny things
about the conventions
just write what happened

Will Rogers wrote, “I started going to conventions because editors were willing to pay me to write funny things about convention goings‐on. That’s funny. All a fellow has to do to write something funny about a convention is just write what happened.

The Poet Lariat of America also said, “In the Five times I have appeared before President Wilson I have used dozens of these same jokes, about him.

And he has the best sense of humor and is the best audience I ever played too.

Which bears out the theory I work on, that you can always joke about a big Man that is really big.

But don’t ever kid about the little fellow that thinks he is something, cause he will get sore.

That’s why he’s little.

Well, folks, all I know is what I read in the papers.

8.24.2020 – Congress shall provide

Congress shall provide
for the general welfare
of the United States

Section 8 or Article 1 of the Constitution of the United States of America (Remember, that document that starts “We the People” or “Ee’d Plebnista” as Captain Kirk heard them), reads “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.

The Congress.


Shall have the POWER …



The online dictionary defines welfare as, “the health, happiness, and fortunes of a person or group.”

Sometime …

Well, ALL THE TIME, I wish our elected representatives in Congress would read the Constitution of the United States of America.

Not just the Bill of Rights, but the entire Constitution of the United States of America.

Provide for the general Welfare of the United States.

How about that!

Section 8 also calls upon Congress “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.”

Maybe we need someone to read and explain this to Congress.

It just calls to mind that old joke, if CON is the opposite of PRO, what is the opposite of PROGRESS?

8.23.2020 – band between rainbows

band between rainbows
known as Alexander’s band
who first described it

What is a double rainbow?
A double rainbow is a wonderful sight where you get two spectacular natural displays for the price of one.

Surprisingly, this phenomenon is actually relatively common, especially at times when the sun is low in the sky such as in the early morning or late afternoon. The second rainbow is fainter and more ‘pastel’ in tone than the primary rainbow because more light escapes from two reflections compared to one.

The secondary rainbow is also dispersed over a wider area of the sky. It is nearly twice as wide as the primary bow.

A key feature of double rainbows is that the colour sequence in the second rainbow is reversed, so instead of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet (ROYGBIV), the colours appear in VIBGYOR order.

The dark band between the two rainbows is known as Alexander’s band, after Alexander of Aphrodisias who first described it in 200AD.

Who knew they were common, cool, reversed and it took until 200AD to see one.

8.22.2020 – least interested

least interested
in politics segment that
actually decide

“The segment of the population which is least interested in politics actually decides the outcome of most elections.”

So wrote political consultant, Stephen Shadegg back in 1964 in his book, How to win an election; the art of political victory (New York, Taplinger Pub. Co, 1964).

Mr. Shadegg republished the book in 1972, as The New How to Win an Election.

Of which Jeff Greenfield said it was, “staggeringly unreadable.”

And so what that in 1964 Mr. Shadegg was taking part in the overwhelming unsuccessful 1964 Presidential Campaign of Barry Goldwater when he wrote that.

I don’t have much to say about Senator Goldwater at this time except that he must have had something going for him as my parents named my little brother Peter Barry Hoffman.

For most of time together in highschool, he was a year younger, kids were always coming up to me and asking, “What does the B. stand for in Peter B. Hoffman?”

I refused to tell.

One of few times I had Pete’s back in High School.

Not that he needed me.

Senior Class President.

After school job at the corner drug store.

Married the head cheerleader.

Lived in Bailey Park.

Ran a savings and loan.

Okay I added the last two.

But I digress.

So to repeat, the segment of the population which is least interested in politics actually decides the outcome of most elections.

How do we apply that today?

I know who I am going to vote for this fall.

Most of the people I know, know who they are going to vote for this fall.

Not much in the way of a what happens in a political campaign will change our minds.

Me and the people in my world are NOT part of the segment of the population which is least interested in politics actually decides the outcome of most elections.

BUT ….

But we KNOW people who are part of that segment.

So my 2020 campaign is called PLUS ONE.

If all of us find one person, just one person, who IS part of the segment of the population which is least interested in politics actually decides the outcome of most elections and we make it our personal goal for 2020 that we make sure this person votes (and I would say votes the right way but …) we can change this election’s outcome.

We can take charge of this election.

We can prove that what we always say about the power of the vote, the power of free elections is true.

So I ask you, “Who is your PLUS ONE for Tuesday, November 3, 2020?”

And I ask you to ask other people who you know who are also not part of segment of the population which is least interested in politics actually decides the outcome of most elections, “who is your plus one?”

One last quote from Mr. Shadegg.

“There is no prize for second place in a political contest.”