Search This Blog


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams' Suicide

According to a report published in today's Morning Telegraph (UK) Robin Williams hung himself. He was evidently suffering from acute depression. The mad,incredibly inventive and totally original riffs on almost any subject, for which he was justly famous could have been stimulated by a bi-polar condition. I find it difficult to avoid associating Williams' death with that of Phillip Seymour Hoffman's heroin overdose. Both brilliant actors - both principals in their own tragedies. Only those who are completely engaged in life can experience the great highs and the terrible lows. 
Good night sweet prince, you will indeed be sorely missed.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Some Are Gone..." from My Life

Those aren't teardrops on my keyboard - it's just condensation. OK maybe not all condensation. A couple of tears shed for the friends who have gone ahead maybe. Someone recently remarked that he knew he was getting old when he saw frequent obituaries in the paper about his friends and contemporaries. I replied that "you know you're really old, a 'Super Elder" when you don't see many obituaries for friends and contemporaries anymore. When I stopped in Milan for a visit a few years ago, I made a few phone calls to friends I had made when I lived there for several years in the "sexy sixties" but after I got a few " No, sorry he died a couple of years ago" I stopped calling. The older I get the less likely I am to make friends -especially in a place so far from where I spent most of my life. The connections tend to be tenuous and rarely survive more than a few encounters. My tennis partners and opponents are fine- even great for tennis but not much else. Is it me? Probably but like Popeye used to say between gulps of spinach : "I yam what I yam"

Sunday, February 02, 2014

A Painful Experience

Yesterday was...August 14, 1968 My mother died in April. She was 54 and I hadn't heard anything from her since I arrived in Italy in '64. I was never very good about communicating with my mother- it was something I knew I should do but I was always puting it off and now it was too late. I struggled with her death and my guilt. Maybe if I had made more of an effort to keep in touch? I never knew she had been sick until I learned that she'd been in hospital for several months before she had a stroke. She was very high strung and perhaps bi-polar. A short, unhappy life marked by great disappointment and loneliness. My father left us - my mother and my two brothers when I was seven (On Pearl Harbor Day) and she never recovered or remarried until just a few years before she died. I fell from a cliff in the foothills of the Alps overlooking Lake Como. My first wife, Jacqueline and I had rented an apartment close to the Lake where we spent weekends. In the morning, before my fall, we had an argument and I left the house in a fit of anger and climbed the hill behind the house in worn tennis shoes. I remember reaching a point on the face of the hill which was almost vertical (I'd been there before) and I had to grab an overhanging rock to swing over to the trail. Evidently, I lost my grip or the rock came loose and the next thing I remember is lying on my back in a clearing and there was boy saying in Italian "Your Lili's father, I like Lili, she's funny" and I asked him to find help because I couldn't move and I hurt my back. The boy was known as "il cretino di villagio" ( "the village idiot" he and his brother collected and sold firewood that they collected in the forest. I lost consciousness and when I woke up I was in a hospital and a doctor was asking me how I felt and if I was in pain. I said I was and he told the nurse who was standing by the bed to fetch something for "Signor Smeeta" . The sister came back a few minutes later with a cp of tea . I then asked the doctor why he offered me a cup of tea when I was in great pain from the injuries I had sustained and he said "You Americans think that pain is some kind of an unnecessary problem that must be avoided but the truth is that pain is the only way we can diagnose your condition and help you to heal. We don't use the powerful pain killers here except in very unusual and extreme circumstances." So I learned to live with my pain and eventually walked out of the hospital on my own two legs without assistance (after I had been awarded 75% permanent disability) Now, almost 50 years later, my stupidity has caught up with me and I've been diagnosed with stenosis caused by the injuries to my spine so many years ago. So it is true that "You can run you cannot hide" from destiny.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

"What Are You Laughing At?"

One of several things that I learned rather late in life, is that a sense of humor is neither objective nor universal. Some people are completely devoid of any sense of humor and all of us will never agree on what's funny. Research in neuroscience of the brain indicates that there's a strong possibility that humor may have its origins in the frontal cortex,the most advanced or evolved part of the brain. This area is the last to develop, with full development occurring in the mid or later part of our twenties. So, it might be possible that a genuine sense of humor is probably only possible for mature adults. No wonder much of the 'humor" in popular movies and TV sit-coms seems "under my head".

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"Wages of Celibacy"

NY Times 02/28/'13

The new Pope must revise dogma on celibacy. It's probably OK for monastics but for the parish priests it can be the proverbial "Road to hell -paved with good intentions"

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Something's Rotten in Rome

It's the Vatican and Benedict has inadvertently exposed the mess. The Gay Cabal has been operating for centuries and the priests' abuse of children is nothing new either. omerta has been traditiom in Italy for centuries and has helped the Vatican Cardinals conceal the homosexual cabal for centuries. According to tradition, Omertà is a code of silence, according to one of the first Mafia researchers Antonio Cutrera, a former officer of public security, that seals lips of men even in their own defense and even when the accused is innocent of charged crimes. Cutrera quoted a native saying first uttered (so goes the legend) by a wounded man to his assailant: "If I live, I'll kill you. If I die, I forgive you." If you create an institution where men are the sole occupants of the executive positions and women are seen as only fit for menial tasks in the organization, where only the men are permitted to wear the silk and satin, is it surprising that many of the Princes of the Church are homosexual and that they band together in order to achieve power and protection? That some celibate priests would find sexual stimulation and satisfaction with their juvenile parishioners shouldn't surprise us as much as the deliberate shielding of the predators by their superiors does. Benedict was discovered to have been "negligent" with some priestly predators in Germany and his was obviously not the first or last cover-up in Church history. Rumors of priests and Bishops fathering children with female parishioners and nuns have been circulating for centuries. Even Popes have sired a few bastards- at least one with his own daughter. Now the hypocrisy has been exposed. What will follow? A renewed, chaste and pure institution? And flying pigs as well?