RIO: Rhode Island Oddities

Rhode Island is more a state of mind than a state of the union. When I stop to allow another car to cross in front of me, across traffic, the driver hesitates. Okay, perhaps that’s prudent. So, I blink my lights. The driver still hesitates, as if skeptical. Then, I wave in an exaggerated manner. The other driver then looks carefully, as if it’s a trap, and then finally proceeds. (About half of the drivers wave in thanks and the …


R•E•S•P•E•C•T

The tradition of removing one’s hat to show respect originated with the knights of old who would remove their armored helmets to show they had no intention of doing battle. (They also began the tradition of a handshake to show their hands were empty of weapons.) We remove our hats today (or at least some people do) as symbolic respect in a house of worship, or at a funeral, or when the National Anthem is played, and so on. Men …


Photo Op

Allegations have arisen around the Dartmouth psychology department and three distinguished professors concerning possible sexual harassment. What do you want to bet that there are scores of universities holding emergency, closed-door meetings today with department heads and chairs? The heavy guns have swung around to academia. When my son was a teaching assistant at the University of Florida during his studies for his MFA, he was told to immediately reveal any student who sent any kind of inducement for improved …


ROI

Ignore the experts about the stock market’s continual ascent. The point is this: There is nowhere else to put your money. Bank deposits and CDs are paying very low interest (in Europe they charge YOU to hold your money). Real estate is iffy and totally illiquid. The only place in the world to invest money with a reasonable expectation of decent returns is in the US stock market. There will be setbacks and corrections along the way, but that fact …



Presentism

Here we are on Columbus Day, which ultra-liberal universities such as Brown will call “Indigenous Peoples Day” while themselves being named after the most heinous slave-trading family in history, which funded the university. And people are castigating the late Hugh Hefner for objectifying and demeaning women when, in the 1950s, he enabled people to talk about sexual activity and other “taboos” and had writers such as John Updike, Jean Shepherd, and Philip Roth on his pages. This phenomenon is known …


The Donuts and the Dregs

A woman who once worked for me had a clever expression when she saw another woman dressed and groomed very well: “She’s done up like a donut.” Last evening, in a very trendy Palm Beach restaurant (four Bentleys in casual sight in the parking lot where our limo dropped us), we sat with an unobstructed view of the entrance. During the course of our dinner we saw scores of well dressed, well coiffed women. A half-dozen of so were with …


Where Is Edward R. Murrow When You Need Him?

If you want to appreciate the shallowness of our society and celebrity trumping talent, just watch Megan Kelly. Her Sunday show was embarrassing and now gone, and her morning hour of the Today Show is boring and banal. She’s received kibillions from NBC, and her claim to fame seems to be arguing with the candidate at a presidential debate she was moderating, citing sexual harassment long after it occurred, and wearing inappropriate clothes.


My Insurance Exam

Everything I’m reporting below is true, with no embellishment. I was asked to take a physical exam to renew my major life insurance coverage. I showed up at a place in Warwick, RI. A very nice woman was assigned to work with me. She had very long nails (How would she do the blood test?) and quite a bit of makeup. She spoke English and Spanish fluently. She told me there were a lot of questions, and proceeded to read …


Houston

I hope you’re all considering sending whatever donation you can for relief services in Houston, primarily for people, but also for animals. Unfortunately, we’re about to see the tragedy worsen as people learn how totally inadequate flood insurance is in the US, in terms of acquisition, claims approval, and amounts paid. It’s an inadequate program, poorly run, and nowhere on Congress’s radar.