Monday, August 22, 2011

A Look at the Last Year: A Writer’s Life (2011)

Perry J Greenbaum: At age 53. "We must not allow cynicism to define us. It’s not always easy, I get tired much too often, yet I still retain hope in humanity. I make a conscious choice to seek it wherever  and whenever it could be found."
Photo Credit: © Sheldon Levy, 2011

It has been a year since I started this blog; and 368 articles (or posts) later, 205 in 2011 alone, I would like to share, again, some of things that I wrote about. It's not so much a retrospective but, rather, a look at the varied yet consistent views of this blog centred on ideas that shape us as humans struggling to live a life of dignity.

Early on, I wrote the following:
On Courtesy: One of the orphans of a electronic communications age is courtesy. This is particular striking, given the various ways and modes of communication we have at our disposal today.
Finding Humility: We have been witnessing an erosion of the virtue of humility in the last 50 years, the loss becoming more evident in the last few years in the Age of Celebrity.

The War on Poverty: It's Worth Fighting: In an earlier post, I wrote about consensus building among leading intellectuals, world leaders and creative people that  The War on Drugs has been a failure. Granted, there has been another forgotten war, "The War on Poverty," that in the Gilded Age of Today garners little public attention.
Having Fun:  Dr. Seuss (Ted Geisel) wrote Cat in the Hat in response to an article by John Hershey in Life magazine that children weren't reading, because they found books boring.
Then I wrote about the importance of science and medicine, notably on how vaccines save and better our lives:
The Scientific Method: Often lost in the business and media-led hype about technology is how basic science informs technological innovation. And when we discuss modern science we do so in light of the Scientific Method.
On Vaccines: A Matter of Life: Some of you might have noticed that I have been publishing a series of articles on the discovery of many of the vaccines that we now take for granted, including polio, hepatitis, and measles mumps and rubella (MMR).

Informed Parents: Making Good Choices: In Deadly Choices, Paul Offit pushes back against the threats, allegations and fear-mongering of the anti-vaccine movement.
The visual arts are an important ingredient in giving us an insight into beauty, imagination and the human condition:
Pablo Picasso: Making Waves: Pablo Picasso is famous for co-founding, along with George Braque, a new art form called Cubism with his painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, in 1907.
Marc Chagall: The Jewish Modernist: Marc Chagall has been described two ways, as a major artist of the 20th century, the last of the modernists; and equally as a painter of Jewish themes that depict, in highly poetic and haunting, if not unreal images, life in the Russian city of Vitebsk at the turn of the twentieth century.
Alfred Stieglitz: The Patient Photographer: Alfred Stieglitz didn't consider his photography as works of art, but his photos of everyday life evoked as much emotion as any expressionist artist of the last century.
A life without music is empty and meaningless. Music brings us much joy and pleasure.
Vladimir Horowitz: Last of the Romantics: Vladimir Horowitz, ranked among the greatest pianists of the 20th century, is best known for his performances of the Romantic piano repertoire, evoking a personal interpretation and expression of a piece of music.
Irving Berlin: Made in America: There are a number of things that can be said about Irving Berlin. But the two that come to mind are that Berlin was a Made in America success story and an old-fashioned patriot.
Arthur Rubinstein: Playing From the Heart: When you see Arthur Rubinstein play you view not only a great technical performance, but perhaps more important, a man whose interpretation of the music makes it so much more personal and enjoyable.
Then there’s community. I would also like to include a few of the wonderful guest posts that have been part of this blog and helped make it a success:
Sheldon Levy: The Many Faces of Humanity: I can tell you a lot of stories. Everybody has at least a few. I can tell you who and what and where. I could say that it was a bitter cold  when I met this man in Nashville or that woman in New York.

George Jochnowitz: A Discordant Century: A few years ago, my wife and I subscribed to a chamber music series. No matter who was performing, the program followed the same canonical form: a quartet by Haydn, a modern work, the intermission, and a concluding piece of the romantic period.

Jacob Greenbaum: A Tale of Whoa!: She stood in the doorway and confronted him with the setting sun highlighting her hair. The sun was streaming through a big bay window that looked onto a large backyard, now littered with patches of greyish-white snow, partly torn green garbage bags, and a swing set that still functioned, provided some elbow grease was applied in generous measure.
I enjoy writing, and I hope that much is apparent. When I make a choice on what to include in my blog, whether I write it or a Guest Voice does, I keep in mind what the ultimate purpose is: “A life of compassion, understanding, intellectual honesty, imagination & dignity.” If I could ask for anything, it would be that more readers comment on what is posted. Writers often have fragile egos and need encouragement. So, if you feel so inclined to share a thought, a comment, a criticism on anything posted, I welcome and encourage you to do so.


  1. Among the insightful things you have written and posted, perhaps the most important is the one on the scientific method. Democracy--debate, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, openness to change--is the political realization of the scientific method.


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