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It’s time for your righteous raconteur’s journey into meaningless rants and revelations that may light up your life, give you a little laughter, or your parakeet cage a tabloid bed.

I was thinking lucid thoughts last month until I invested in stock by that name. Now I am thinking I had a lot more fun and fewer worries playing penny-ante poker as a kid than the stock market as an adult.

1. The truth is I would rather be playing flag football with my ZBT college fraternity team at Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island, New York. When, 50 years later, you are sitting inside a medical complex looking out at a quiet lake in Plantation, Florida, waiting for doses of chemotherapy to populate your veins, you think about that. Nice lake, though, here at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Care Center. Not Sheepshead Bay, but I wonder if I can go fishing?

2.  If I succumb to this journey with cancer, please don’t say or write that I “lost” my battle with cancer. I would hate that. As others before me have said, when you die, it does not mean that you “lose” to cancer. There is a ninth-inning to all our lives. It may come with a slow certainty or sudden catastrophe. All of us, not just the athletes you hear about on ESPN, are “day to day.”

3.  There is no sense in rehearsing for tragedy. Even in the face of your worst adversity, you can stare back at it as your greatest challenge. As others before me have said, you beat cancer by the way you live. I am guessing more broccoli and less chocolate pudding might help though.

4.  One of my favorite lines is I want to learn patience, and I want to learn it now. Episodes of “road rage” nightly on the news are so disturbing. We have all got to just chill. Slow your roll. Take a deep breath. Time does not speed up the more you check the clock. Just because the speedometer says your car can go 95 mph does not mean you have to. That is supposed to be the name of the highway, not your speed.

5.  Speaking of road rage, and all the years I was a traffic judge, everyone expected I would be lenient, because I was “liberal.” No. Traffic laws do not change because you are late for work, your husband is in the hospital, or you are 20 minutes away from a movie that starts in 15. Red and green lights exist because everybody has got to get a chance to stop and go. We are mandating mutual respect so we can all survive. Dogs need leashes. People need rules. But maybe I’m being unfair to dogs.

6.  Did I miss something here? We all grew up learning about “Typhoid Mary” being a contagious carrier of a horrible disease, infecting others because she was sick with salmonella poisoning. She was forced into quarantine in 1886. But here it is 2022, and there are still people questioning that science? The next thing you know the Supreme Court will roll back Roe v. Wade, 50 years old this year. That’s older than Chris Caputo.

7.  The toughest part about being a boss is that if you keep on making exceptions to the rules is that the exceptions become the rules.

8.  Pleasure? You will find more of it in moderation than hedonism. When you leave something wanting a little more, there is always a reason and urge to go back. Drain something dry and it becomes a useless throwaway.

9.  This one is dedicated to my friends at SAGE, who were kind enough to make a generous year-end donation to SFGN. Although we did not mention it, last week, on Jan. 25, SFGN celebrated its 13th anniversary. Thank you for helping keep the journey alive. And remember what Billy Crystal used to say on Saturday Night Live: “It’s not how you feel. It’s how you look… and you guys look mahvelous!”

10. The meanest thing you can do to yourself is to hate someone else. Hate consumes the hater, not the person you hate. It’s like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Someone tell the Proud Boys that. They have nothing to be proud of.

Nazis in Orlando?

Last week was National Holocaust Remembrance Day, and it’s hard to believe sometimes that it really is the year 2022.

Here is an anecdote I first read in 1967 by a remarkable author, the late Jewish humorist Sam Levinson. He was responding to anti-Semitism, and this, below, is arguably the most accurate version, verified by a Tulane University medical student researcher in 1981.

“It’s a free world. You don't have to like Jews if you don’t want to, but if you are going to be an anti-Semite you should be consistent and turn your back on the medical advances that Jews made possible.

I am talking about the vaccine for hepatitis discovered by Baruch Blumberg, the Wasserman test for syphilis developed by August von Wassermann, and the first effective drug to fight syphilis developed by Paul Ehrlich. Bela Schick developed the diagnostic skin test for diphtheria, and Dr. Selman Abraham Waksman one for streptomycin.

Insulin would not have been discovered if Dr. Oskar Minkowski had not demonstrated the link between diabetes and the pancreas. It was Dr. Burrill Crohn who identified the disease that bears his name. Alfred Hess discovered that vitamin C could cure scurvy. Casimir Funk was the first to use vitamin B to treat beriberi. Dr. Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine. Later, Dr. Albert Sabin developed the oral version."

“Humanitarianism,” Levinson continues, “requires that we offer these gifts to all people of the world, regardless of race, color or creed. So, the anti-Semites and fanatics who don’t want to accept these gifts can go ahead and turn them down, but I’m warning you, you aren’t going to feel so good.''

To all of you in this time of the COVID, stay safe, stay healthy, stay well.


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