All posts by swurster

Thanksgiving Thoughts from Our Writers Guild

The prompt–in 50 words or less, share a Thanksgiving thought.  As always, our thoughts tend to cover quite a range…

Why I Don’t Cook Thanksgiving Dinner Anymore

by Donna Johns

Family was coming in three hours.

Turkey was going in to roast.

Oven door fell off.

Duct tape didn’t work.

Gave thanks for Ken’s Steak House

And prime rib for Thanksgiving.

 IN THE SOUP

by Betsey Ansin

Several friends know to save the turkey carcasses for me.  Bedded atop marrow bones, stock, veggies, and herbs to suit any culture, a soup is born.  Thanksgiving is frozen in time.  And, like memories, can be recalled as needed.

Turkey carcass proud
The family feast simmers
If a cook stirs.

from Marjorie Roemer

This mandated time of giving thanks.  Massachusetts vying with Virginia for its origin.  Presidents changing the date, claiming each for a different cause.  Still, it’s turkey, cranberries, and pumpkin pie that linger in the mind, the bounty of this American feast.  It’s families and plenty, having enough and sharing it.

ON THANKSGIVING

Two-Part Haiku by Dennis Greene

The walk to football,

With my neighbors and my friends,

Felt warm…I belonged.

 

I hope that our young

Can experience that warmth

On this Thanksgiving.

from Steve Goldfinger

In a memoir, Teddy White describes his older brother, a recent immigrant, at a school play reenacting Thanksgiving. Dressed as an Indian, the brother is handed food. His hilarious response: “Vos is dos traif?”

I wonder if recent immigrants like White’s brother are “traif” to some in America today.

Every Year,  They Make Me More Nervous

Thanksgiving Haiku by Sue Wurster

Hmm…this Thanksgiving

The wild turkeys in my yard

Are toting pitchforks…

THANKSGIVING MIRACLE

by Lydia Bogar

Bride’s First Thanksgiving

Her turkey roasts as snow falls–

The power stays on!

and from Larry Schwirian

I’m thankful to live in a country that is still perceived by many to be a beacon of hope in a state that values truth, justice, and the rule of law–and in a community that embraces racial, social, and religious diversity.

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S ON LARRY’S MIND? FEAR

FEAR

By Lawrence Schwirian

Fear is perhaps the most primal of all human instincts…we are, all of us, brought into this world pre-programed to react to perceived threats by fleeing or fighting. Our initial response to a perceived threat might mean the difference between success or failure or even life or death. Fortunately, in this modern-age, many threats are not so immediate that our health and well-being are in instant jeopardy. But that does not mean dangers that are more protracted or abstruse should be regarded as any less menacing. Fortunately or unfortunately, fear itself can be used by those who brandish power to bend the will of their followers for practical benefit or protracted harm.

Consider and contrast the presidencies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Donald J. Trump. In March of 1933, in his first inaugural address, President Roosevelt sought to assure the nation that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” This was at a time when the USA was experiencing an unemployment rate of roughly 25% during the heart of the Depression. Over the next seven years, with the help of the New Deal, the unemployment rate would continue to decline until the US entered World War II in December 1941 when unemployment became a non-issue. In contrast, Donald J. Trump, in a campaign event in Texas, recently sought to instill fear into his loyal base by lying to his constituency that there were many middle-easterners, terrorists, MS-13 gang members, drug dealers, and rapists in a migrant caravan now making its way from southern Mexico to the US border. This at a time when the unemployment rate in the United States is at a historic low and migrant workers are needed in many parts of the country.

Clearly, Mr. Trump’s comments were intended to energize his base and not meant to unify the country, by pacifying disparate raging political dialog.  The recent bombing attempts of Trump opponents by an ardent Trump supporter as well as the recent mass murders at a Jewish Temple in Pittsburgh are clear examples of how crude, baseless remarks meant to generate “fear and hatred” can result in real-life tragedy.  This current president is the antithesis of FDR; his methods and objectives are more in keeping with historical precedents set by unscrupulous demagogues like Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.

My greatest fear is that our democracy is slipping away…that those who believe in compromise that results in positive change will not be sufficient in number or have the force of will to rise up to confront those who fight to maintain the status quo and who believe that winning is everything…even if it stands for nothing.  I, for one, plan to fight and to keep fighting until I am too weak to fight any longer.

Frequent “BOLLI Matters” contributor Larry Schwirian

Architect Larry Schwirian  has been an active BOLLI member for nearly three years–taking a variety of classes, leading architecture courses with his wife Caroline, co-leading the Writers Guild, and serving on BOLLI’s Journal committee.  

 

NOVEMBER LINES FROM LYDIA: SAD NUMBERS…

SAD NUMBERS–NOT WRONG.  JUST SAD.

By Lydia Bogar

I am very proud that my hometown of Worcester is host to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Green Hill Park.

The Place of Flags, at the entrance to the Memorial, hosts the American flag, the flag of the Commonwealth, and, of course, the black and white Prisoner of War/Missing in Action flag that has become a universal symbol of the wounds and strife of the twenty years that our troops were in Southeast Asia.  1955 to 1975.

The Place of Names, in the deepest section of the Memorial,  is surrounded by a wall that can serve as seating for the young and old who come to this sacred place. The names of the dead and missing are first listed on “The Wall” in Washington before they are accepted onto these local granite guardians next to the flags and words.

The Place of Words is the most powerful on these four acres. Etched into these gray monoliths are letters written from thirteen service members to their mothers and fathers, girlfriends, and younger brothers. You must see these words yourself; I could never do justice to them in this small space.

One thousand five hundred forty-seven Americans.

One thousand five hundred forty-six men from Massachusetts who died in combat or later from their combat injuries.

One woman, Second Lt. Pamela Donovon, R.N. from Brighton MA.

Nor should we forget the two hundred thirty-five thousand service members from Massachusetts who came home from that conflict. Do they walk these paths? Do the parents and siblings come to this hallowed place, or does it continue to be too difficult to bear?

Construction cost: One point four million dollars.

Dedicated: June 9, 2002.

On September 18, 2011, the War Dog Monument was dedicated to the four thousand dogs–search dogs, guard dogs, tunnel dogs, bomb dogs–who served between 1965 and 1975.

“HE IS YOUR FRIEND, YOUR PARTNER, YOUR DEFENDER, YOUR DOG.  YOU ARE HIS LIFE, HIS LOVE, HIS LEADER.  HE WILL BE YOURS, FAITHFUL AND TRUE, TO THE LAST BEAT OF HIS HEART.
YOU OWE IT TO HIM TO BE WORTHY OF SUCH DEVOTION.”

These dogs were classified as equipment and were routinely euthanized or left behind when our troops came home. It is a conservative estimate that these canine warriors saved over ten thousand lives during their ten years of service. When federal law changed seventeen years ago, retired military dogs could be adopted by law enforcement agencies. The first civilian adoption took place in Massachusetts in 2002.

I’ve used numerals only for dates in this piece.  I have written out the numbers representing our fellow Americans, the casualties of that conflict, who should never be considered just numbers.

For more information or to provide a donation, go to  http://massvvm.org/

BOLLI Matters co-editor and feature writer Lydia Bogar

Our own “Renaissance Woman,” Lydia has done everything from teaching English to doing volunteer emergency service.  She says she “hails from Woosta– educated at BOLLI.”

WHAT’S ON DENNIS GREENE’S MIND? HUMILITY…

HUMILITY

by Dennis Greene

When things are going great and I feel smugly pleased with myself, I try to remember the famous words of Golda Meir:  Don’t be so humble–you are not that great.

And, because I save stuff, I have the documentary evidence to remind me just how not great I am.

In 1969, five years after compiling an abysmal academic record at Lafayette College, I decided to stop being a mediocre engineer and become a lawyer. I took the LSAT, did reasonably well, and applied to most of the best law schools in the country. Two of these schools, Harvard and Columbia, each required a recommendation from the applicant’s undergraduate institution. I had no contacts at Lafayette who might remember me favorably, but I nevertheless forwarded the forms to Dean Chase with a letter acknowledging that he might not remember me but nevertheless requesting that he complete and return the required recommendation forms. I had been one of only seven students in my class on the Dean’s List in our first semester, and I hoped that he would notice that and overlook that, later, I was on both academic and disciplinary probation. But nothing slipped by Dean Chase, and he replied as follows:

Contrary to the first paragraph in your letter, I do indeed remember you. In fact, I  remember writing to you a letter, perhaps it was prior to your sophomore year,  explaining why it was not wise for a student to have an automobile. I believe I  pointed out that academic difficulties often arose when this became the case.

In light of what happened to your academic record at Lafayette afterwards, I am  appalled at my success as a prophet. While I am sorry I was accurate in your case, I can only wish that my track record were as good with everybody else.

These somewhat garbled comments were followed by rejections from Harvard and Columbia. I also received rejection letters from Stanford, Penn, NYU, Berkeley, and  Michigan. The Stanford letter, received only weeks after my application had been submitted, was the most crushing.

I am aware that we have not yet received all the documents required to      complete your application…. however, the Admissions Committee… acts on  applications whenever in its judgement the information available is sufficient to  permit a decision to be made.

I had received an “early decision” rejection years before such actions became routine.

Happily (and luckily), I was admitted to BU Law School, but just barely. My application for financial aid was denied. When I met with the Dean of Admissions to discuss this decision, he informed me, with little warmth, that I should feel fortunate to have been admitted at all, as I had the lowest undergraduate GPA of any student who had applied that year.  He then repeated, with emphasis:  I don’t mean the lowest who was admitted, I mean the lowest of anyone who applied.

I asked if I could defer admission for a year so that I could  earn enough to pay tuition, and he coldly informed me that he would not recommend it.  I would be required to re-apply, and the way the BU applicant pool was improving, my board scores might not be enough to gain me admittance again.

I accepted admission in the class of 1973 and figured out how to make it work.  I finished the first year near the top of my class, worked hard,  got some breaks,  and have had a wonderful life, so far. But I might just as easily have ended up spending my life scraping the barnacles off the hulls of rich people’s sailboats.

I’m not that great.

Prolific “BOLLI Matters” writer Dennis Greene

Whether it’s pop culture, sci fi, memoir, or whatever is on his mind at the moment, Dennis provides us with his own blend of humble humor–which is, of course, great!

 

 

 

STORIES FROM STEVE: ON MIRACLES

On…

by Steve Goldfinger

“A miracle is a violation of nature,” wrote David Hume, the dour 18th century Scot philosopher.  He virtually demolished the possibility of a miracle ever happening by posing the following question double-edged question.  Which is more likely–that the event took place, or that the testimony describing it was fallacious?

It is easy to dismiss Jonah and the whale, but it may not be so easy to dismiss the Hanukah story of an oil lamp of burning for eight days rather than one.  But if archeologists could somehow recover a like oil, give it to scientists who could then identify an ingredient that increased burning longevity, would we still think of it as a miracle?  I don’t know.

Anyway, I began to think about Hume’s argument, asking whether his logic was too dismissive of those who believe in divine intervention, too oblivious of the realm of faith and hope in our lives.This was all occasioned by learning of a recent experience of a close friend.

Late in life, she struggled with advanced renal failure, the possibility of going on hemodialysis hinging on a blood test drawn each week. Then, completely unexpectably, a donor kidney became available, one that was extremely well-matched to her immune system.

Following its engraftment within her body, a couple of remarkable things happened. Her high blood pressure–which had required five drugs, around the clock, to obtain some semblance of control–settled into the normal range without any.  But the second remarkable thing, the one that defied belief, was this: her hair–which had long been colored by a beautician–began to grow out in its natural shade.  Yes, there it was–as auburn as when she was in her twenties!

No one could explain it.  Experts in developmental biology, immunology, dermatology and all other relevant fields were at a loss. Nor, I discovered,  had such a phenomenon ever been observed by others.

So, as banal as her hair story might be when compared to Jonah and the whale, was this a miracle?  Did my eyes deceive me when I sat across from her at dinner? Did she really sneak off to her colorist on the sly after she had her new kidney? Am I, in writing this, giving false testimony?  I know her well and cannot believe she would do such a thing.

When she and her husband describe the blessing that has enfolded for them during the past few months, they are not loathe to speak of a miracle in their lives.  No, not the hair.  The successful transplant, the avoidance of impending dialysis, the cure of her hypertension.

So where does this leave David Hume?

In the 18th century, in musty philosophy books, and in my own ruminations.

“BOLLI Matters” feature writer Steve Goldfinger

Since joining BOLLI two years ago, after a long career in medicine, Steve has been exploring his artistic side.  He has been active in both the Writers Guild and CAST (Creativity in Acting, Storytelling, and Theatre) as well as the Book Group.  

WALTHAM MATTERS SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP: Upcoming Event

Upcoming Plans for BOLLI Waltham Matters

by Sue Adams  (scadams@gmail.com)*

Special Exhibition: A Disability History of the United States at the Charles River Museum of Industry November 16 at 10:30 AM   

Stay tuned for a very special collaboration in November between the BOLLI Social Change Working Group and Waltham Matters.  On November 16 (third Friday), we will meet at the Charles River Museum for a guided tour of a special exhibit  put together by students at Gann Academy, a private high school in Waltham,  after extensive research.  Alex Green, former chair of the Waltham Historical Commission as well as a teacher at Gann,  will be our guide, and we hope we will also meet some of the students who were involved in devising this project.  Waltham Matters is very pleased to co-sponsor this presentation, and we extend thanks to Cindy Wentz, BOLLI’s  Equity, Inclusion and Disability Liaison, for her support.

Parking for the museum is ONLY at the Embassy movie theater parking lot at the foot of Cooper Street. Follow the signs and cross the river at the footbridge; bear right, and follow the road to the museum entrance. There is a small parking fee (free if you have purchased a parking pass at the Stanley Senior Center on Main Street). The museum charges a nominal $5 admission for Seniors..

Other News:

Waltham Matters planning team has put together a monthly lecture or walking tour on (usually) the fourth Fridays since April, working from suggestions offered by you, our BOLLI Waltham Matters participants. So far we have paid attention to local history and historic sites, as well as art and a walk along the Charles River led by the director of the Waltham Land Trust. We are a collaborative and participatory group with wide ranging interests. I encourage you to help expand our reach with suggestions and ideas and join in making interesting events happen. Future programs may include a look at theater in town, a talk by the director of Africano, a talk with local education leaders, a conversation with the director of the Senior Center/Council on Aging.  What would you like to see? Perhaps you’d like to launch a project to catalogue the outdoor art around campus?  Let me know!

Spread the word–and join us on November 16.

“Waltham Matters” special interest group chair Sue Adams

Long-time Waltham resident Sue is active in Chaplains on the Way, Connections for Healthy Aging, Neighbors Who Care, and the League of Women Voters.  Semi-retired from the Unitarian Universalist Funding Program and the Access Project, in her spare time, she–wait–there’s no spare time!  But she divvies up what there is among her husband Ron, kids, grandkids, and one great-grand.  Life is full and good.

POP CULTURE WITH DENNIS GREENE: IT’S TIME…

It’s Time They Were Recognized

By Dennis Greene

            I am guilty of putting up a variety of false fronts. I spend lots of time with my golf buddies talking Red Sox, Patriots, and Bruins. I know the scores and the stats, and after a round, I usually join them in a beer, even though I would prefer to go to J.P. Licks and have a chocolate ice cream soda with vanilla ice cream. I try to act like a guy’s guy.

Each week, I attend the New Yorker magazine discussion group. I read the chosen item carefully and attempt to make insightful comments. I try to appear as an erudite student of literature, but I know my unfamiliarity with authors like Alice Munro or Richard Ford gives me away. My literary false front isn’t very convincing.

This term, I am enrolled in a class about the incomprehensible workings of our universe. We are learning about Einstein’s General and Special Theories of Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and the relationship of time, space, mass, light, and energy. I try to act as if I am interested in understanding these mind stretching subjects, but it is another pose. I just want to understand what Sheldon Cooper is talking about on The Big Bang Theory.

I am a closet TV sit-com nerd, and after 10 years, I feel compelled to speak out. The “Me Too” movement focused my attention on our society’s treatment of women, and I have long been aware of yet another area where they are treated unjustly. For the past decade, I have noted the accolades heaped on Jim Parsons for his role of Sheldon Cooper, while Kaley Cuoco, who, as Penny, carried the show from the start, has received little professional recognition. Until two other female actors joined the cast, Penny was on screen almost full time with one or the other of the three male leads, and she carried them all. Sure, she earns lots of money but no individual Emmy nominations. To add insult to injury, since Mayim Bialik joined the cast, she has been nominated for the Emmy almost every year. Not to say Mayim doesn’t do an excellent job, but she joined an established hit and already had celebrity from her prior success as Blossom, while Kaley made The Big Bang Theory a hit. The lack of recognition received by extraordinary women actors in successful sit-coms (ok, Tina Fey, Julia Louis Dreyfus, and Chloris Leachman aside) is inexcusable.  And this trend seems to be continuing.

Recently, I saw an episode of Young Sheldon, a prequel showcasing Dr. Sheldon Cooper in his youth.  Ian Armitage, the young actor playing the nine -year-old Sheldon, is masterful in capturing Sheldon’s mannerisms, quirks, and idiosyncrasies and is already a frequent guest on TV talk shows and late night TV.  It is likely that he will be as celebrated as Jim Parsons was in the role. But, in this pop culture geek’s humble opinion, the best characters on the show are Sheldon’s Meemaw, played by Annie Potts, and Sheldon’s twin sister Missy.  Annie Potts dominates every scene she is in.  She did the same thing in the movie Ghost Busters 34 years ago. While Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, and Chevy Chase went on to become household names, Annie Potts–despite her success on Designing Women–remains relatively unknown. And I have noticed little fanfare for Raegan Revard, the spunky and talented young actor who, as Missy, is the perfect foil for young Sheldon.

As a recently motivated, male geek feminist, I would like to call for an end to this injustice to women in TV sit-coms by showing some love and an Emmy nomination groundswell for Young Sheldon’s Meemaw, Annie Potts.

BOLLI MATTERS Feature Writer Dennis Greene

Dennis spent five years as an engineer and then forty as a lawyer–and sixty as a pop culture geek and junkie.  He saw “The Day the Earth Stood Still” in 1951 when he was seven and has been hooked on speculative fiction ever since.  

LINES FROM LYDIA: SKYWARN SPOTTER Rob Macedo

SKYWARN SPOTTER ROB MACEDO

Rob Macedo at the National Weather Services Headquarters in Taunton

by Lydia Bogar

Red Sox, lobsta, Vineyard v. Nantucket, chowdah…and weather! Topics we New Englanders love to talk about—with the weather and its local propensity to change every ten minutes coming in at the top of the list.

This summer, we have seen a heat index of 106 degrees.  So, will we see a wind chill of 18 degrees below zero this winter?

On Monday October 22nd, we will hear from a self-professed weather geek, Rob Macedo, Amateur Radio Coordinator for the National Weather Service Boston/Norton SKYWARN program.

Rob has always had an interest in weather, a passion that peaked when his father gave him an Amateur Radio when he was 8 years old.  His uncle was an Amateur Radio Operator, and when Ron was in high school—with the support of both his dad and his uncle–he earned his Amateur Radio license. During his years at UMass Dartmouth, Rob wove a fabric of electronics, algorithms, graphs, and meteorology into a degree in electrical engineering technology. Since graduation, he has been employed at EMC/Dell.

Ron was SKYWARN trained in 1996. “It’s amazing to be trusted by the National Weather Service to teach SKYWARN to the general public,” he says.  “I feel that technology and weather can be very complementary.”  He goes on to say that “Collecting valuable weather and damage reports is a data science problem that can be solved through technology–and the work of good people. I would say, some weeks, my time commitment to SKYWARN is just a few hours, but in stormy periods, it can be up to 30 hours.” But, he reports, “The stormy times are always the most interesting!”

There are over 7000 SKYWARN Spotters in the NWS Boston/Norton coverage area. One-third are also Amateur Radio Operators.

Rob prefers not to comment on the veracity of the Farmer’s Almanac and continues to be amazed by the mechanics of the National Hurricane Center.

He would like to go storm chasing in the future, but for right now, he’s busy working with a global team on advanced data storage issues in the EMC division of Dell Technologies. In his not-so-spare time, in anticipation of upcoming snowfall totals, Rob collects damage reports and rainfall totals from across the state.

Check out the SKYWARN website at: https://www.weather.gov/box/skywarn

Seasoned sailor or ambitious golfer, the weather impacts our lives every day. Come to the BOLLI Gathering Space on Monday October 22nd to meet Rob Macedo of NWS Boston SKYWARN.

Frequent BOLLI blogger, Lydia Boga

Our own “Renaissance Woman,” Lydia has done everything from teaching English to doing volunteer emergency service.  She says she “hails from Woosta– educated at BOLLI.”

OCTOBER BOLLI AFTER DARK: IN PRAISE OF COMMUNITY THEATRE (AND HALLOWEEN)

                    In Praise of Community Theater                     (and Halloween)

by Donna Johns

BOLLI recently hosted Celia Couture for a noontime talk. Celia is an esteemed regional theater director, and she gave an interesting talk on the pleasures and risks of presenting edgy, thought-provoking plays to community theater audiences. That got me thinking about which local groups were tackling challenging material this fall. Here’s a short list of plays you might want to check out this fall.

Hovey Players in Waltham is presenting Ideation by Aaron Loeb. A group of consultants are pulled together for a top secret assignment. At first, it looks like just another day at the office. Ground rules like “no powerpoint” are scribbled on a white board. But as their instructions come in from the boss, it becomes obvious that they are being tasked with finding a way to dispose of a million or more dead bodies. Are they being sucked in to planning a holocaust? And do they care? Performances-November 23, 24, 30, December 1, 6, 7, 8 at 8PM and December 2 at 2pm  Click the Hovey link above for more information.

The Arlington Friends of the Drama takes an off kilter look at Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard is a Tony Award winning play described as an absurdist tale of fate and free will. The language is luscious as the audience is treated to a retelling of Hamlet from two minor characters’ points of view. This clip with Benedict Cumberbatch will give you a sense of Stoppard’s special brand of lunacy.  Performances November 30 – December 9, 2018. Click the Arlington Friends link above for ticket information.

Tcan Center for Arts in Natick tackles that age old question: what is my purpose in life? Princeton, a new college graduate, moves to Avenue Q and learns a lot about life from his neighbors. In case you didn’t know, this entire tale is told by puppets. Called “Sesame Street for adults,” Avenue Q is a Tony award winning musical which has a lot to think about. Check out this clip of “Everyone’s a Little Racist” for a taste of the fun. Performances are November 9,10,11,15,16,17,18 2018. Click on tcan above for more information.

For all you scientists out there…check out the Concord Players production of Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. Thomasina, a precocious thirteen year-old, asks her tutor why jam mixed into rice pudding can never be unstirred? The play unfolds from that not so simple question as Stoppard weaves tales past and present together with dollops of physics, mathematics, sex and romantic poetry.  Here’s a sampler from Yale Repertory Theater. Performances are November 2-17. Click on Concord Players above for more information.

And here’s the best part: all four of these fascinating plays can be seen for as little as $80. Before you order tickets, check out Goldstar.  They frequently offer community theater tickets at half price. For example, right now, the Arlington Friends of the Drama tickets for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are being offered for $10. Just type “community theater” in the Goldstar search box to see all the choices.

If theater is not your thing, Goldstar can be a great resource for fun Halloween activities. Among their offerings are discounted tickets for a HalloWeekend Pub Crawl at the Hard Rock Cafe, a Ghost Tour in Harvard Square, and a Haunted Speakeasy at Bull Mansion New American Bistro in Worcester.

Autumn is, indeed, a wonderful season for BOLLI After Dark!

BOLLI Matters feature writer Donna Johns

Donna Johns is a teacher/librarian, writer of unpublished romance novels, sometime director of community theater and new BOLLI member. She now has two fantastic faux knees…which set off the metal detectors at Fenway Park.

 

 

 

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, 1792-2018

Percy Bysshe Shelly (1792-2018)

by Eleanor Jaffe

I woke up with Shelley on my mind, which was very strange because I had not thought of Percy Bysshe Shelly (1792-1822) since I was an English major at Brooklyn College a long time ago.  All that had been on my mind were the Kavanaugh hearings at the Senate Judiciary Committee and Trump’s harangue to the United Nations about his triumphs since becoming President.  Nevertheless, my unconscious made these connections between Shelley and my perceptions of contemporary political life.

To me, this is how Shelley predicted our current Republican majority in the Senate Judiciary Committee (from “Queen Mab,” 1813):

Power, like a desolating pestilence,                                                Pollutes whate’er it touches; and obedience                                                     Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,                                                       Makes slaves of men, and, of the human frame,                                                    A mechanized automaton.

In his 1817 poem, “Ozymandias,” Shelley describes the decaying remains of a once supreme king. The traveler who discovers the remains describes:

Two vast and trunkless legs of stone,                                                                   Stand in the desert.  Near them, on the sand,                                                    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown                                               And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command                                                    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read.

 The once powerful king had boasted:                                                                    “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:                                                               Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”                                               Nothing beside remains.  Round the decay                                                            Of that colossal wreck…”

I no longer remember the political machinations of Shelley’s England that led him to make these poetic observations.  However, in my opinion, he provides poetic insight into our current political circus.  The majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee has shown itself to be slave-like in its obedience to Power.  And Trump’s boastfulness would make Ozymandias jealous!  What do you think?

BOLLI Matters feature writer Eleanor Jaffee\

Eleanor says that, since November of 2016, her activist nature has been reawakened.  In addition to writing for BOLLI Matters, she has teamed up with fellow member Elaine Dohan to form BOLLI’s new and vibrant “Make a Difference” special interest group.