Monthly Archives: April 2014

Ukraine On The Brink

I have procrastinated in writing about this last part of Ukraine’s revolution because it is painful to contemplate its outcome and see only bad endings. It is hard to read about an uprising that began with such high hopes and was so sadly derailed.

Putin came wooing Ukraine with smiles and flowers. He and his flowers were sent back to Moscow and he is not a man to accept rejection.

When President Yanukovich lost to the protesters in Maidan Square and fled to Russia, a new provisional government was installed and it is still fragile, very tenuous…and Putin’s rage is ominous. Vladimir Putin is still a very Soviet man and does not take kindly to the toppling of Lenin statues. The first manifestation of his rage was the annexation of Crimea and the very ease with which it was accomplished only whetted his appetite for more. Continue reading

A Few Words About Apples

Can someone explain to me why Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden for eating an apple? Why grow apples in your Paradise if you are not supposed to eat them? And anyway, doesn’t an apple a day keep the doctor away?

Have you ever wondered why apples are so plentiful in our myths, legends and popular culture while pears, melons or peaches are rarely mentioned?

William Tell, to prove his prowess in archery, had to shoot an apple off his son’s head. Nowadays the child would probably be required to wear a helmet for protection.

Newton’s theory of gravity supposedly occurred to him when an apple fell on his head. No concussion but an idea instead.

One of Hercules’ labors was to pluck three golden apples from the tree of Hesperides (evening nymphs). It was guarded by a monster. Continue reading

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Church and State

Pope Francis recently celebrated his first year in office and the Conclave who selected him has every reason to rejoice in their choice. His affable manner, disarming smile and different voice instantly propelled him into rock star celebrity. He is humble and without ostentation while his predecessor Pope Benedict 16 was haughty and used all the pomp and circumstance at his service for the greater glory of the Church. Francis’ emphasis is on service not scholarship and in all of this he is the anti-Benedict.

Recently President Obama and the Pope met for the first time in what was described as a cordial visit. Barack Obama chose to emphasize their common concern over poverty and income inequality. Obama too came to power on a great wave of popularity. In 2008 his eloquence, his emphasis on hope and change had immense resonance. In his own sphere he was the anti-Bush. But he soon confronted the reality of entrenched power and obstructionism. Continue reading

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On Art and Artists

I recently read about an interesting ethical dilemma. In an article in the New York Times Magazine someone posed the following question: Should he boycott Woody Allen’s films, based on the allegation by Mia Farrow and her daughter Dylan, that Woody sexually abused the child.

A person is of course totally free to stop watching Manhattan or Hannah and her Sisters or any future films by Woody Allen if his distaste for the author’s conduct interferes with his enjoyment of the movies. Personally I would not react this way. Continue reading