Bloodlines

  George Barone came into this world in the dying gasp of the 19th century, sired by the same father, James, as my maternal grandmother Rose. They had different mothers, technically making them half-siblings among the ten or so other children both camps totaled when all was...
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Stupid Covid

  Who here remembers “two weeks to flatten the curve”? Anybody? How about six feet of social distance to “stop the spread”? And let’s not forget this hoary chestnut: “Follow the science.” All of these were still in vogue—though the bodies stacked outside Elmhurst hospital,...
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Four Generations

  Merely a few feet from my bed stood Jack the Youngster, burbling in his Pack ’n Play portable rumpus cage/crib. His emission of growling noises—a favored locution of his and of mine, and an ongoing source of amusement for both of us—was wearing thin now that it was time to...
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A Prescient Take on Post-Modern Times

In an essay that appeared in this journal about a year ago titled “My Pilgrim’s Progress,” I explored how moral failure and cultural erosion have produced a nether state where the most affluent among us, the most privileged, are nevertheless a lost and unhappy lot. I also...
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The Core of the Gambler

“Gambling,” said Meyer Lansky—and the old racketeer knew a thing or two about the subject—“pulls at the core of a man.” If the explosion of legal online sports betting in New York State is any indicator, millions of men are being pulled at their core; millions of women, too. The...
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Memento Mori

In one of the many rules St. Benedict wrote for his 6th-century religious community, the father of Western monasticism directed his monks to “remember to keep death before your eyes daily.” A dour suggestion at first blush, Benedict was urging his followers to contemplate the...
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Notes on Woke

Sometimes it seems as if the institutions of our seasick culture have embraced the same way of thinking, that is, that every problem is a public-relations problem crying out for a public-relations solution. This obsession with creating appearances instead of addressing realities...
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Heritage and Culture

Following the natural order of things, my paternal great-grandfather died well before I was born. I bear the same name he did, except, of course, he was Pietro. A Calabrese who left his homeland for the confounding strangeness of this new world, he came over on the SS Virginia,...
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The Beast in the Living Room

I would be at a terrible loss if politics were the most important thing in my life. I’d be holding straw. Daffodils are immune to political spin. Dogs, too. Moby Dick defies political deconstruction. Love defies political deconstruction. And so does truth.
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HOT TOPIC: The Human Factor

While New York’s numbers have been stable for a while, the first weekend of October brought unsettling reports of a rising number of positive tests for coronavirus in certain New York City neighborhoods (and a couple of adjacent counties).
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