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Or to be more accurate. I only sneeze twice in a row. You may sneeze more or less. You may also know why I/we sneeze more than once but I didn’t. The answer is that we sneeze more than once when the first sneeze didn’t expel all of the irritants from our nose. Call me the bloggers’ Quora.


On Christmas Eve, I went to the Whitney and saw An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections From the Whitney’s Collection: 1940-2017. There was art representing protest. But what struck me was the artefacts, for example, the Guerrilla Girls, protesting the Whitney for not showing African American and women artists. [You can find out more about the protests here.] As far as I can tell, the protest was justified.

This has been a year of insults and also a year of apologies and also a year of analyzing apologies. Did the Whitney include this material to apologize? Was it an act of self-criticism? Or was this also art?


By Richard Carlin

In addition to my vicarious fame, I’m feeling nachas at watching someone pursue musical and literary love to a productive end This book is also very good. It successfully straddles history and pop culture by providing detail and the back of your mind memory of the greatest hits advertisement you heard on Channel 11.  And it provided a question. Morris Levy was a Mafia associate. I haven’t heard of the Mafia in ages. What happened?


Tom Hanks wrote a book of short stories. This is the cover of the book.  The partial explanation for the title is that Tom Hanks collects manual typewriters .Last  Tuesday, he was interviewed in a Times Talk by Jennifer Senior. I got an autographed copy of the book  but I because I wanted to be in the same place at the same time with the real physical person who is Tom Hanks.

Tom Hanks was funny [which I expected], scathingly funny about film promotions  and smart[which I expected] but also remarkably self and other aware. His tag line for certain personal issues was the brush off “uptown problems.” He shushed the audience when they were about to break into applause for a Castaway mention when he wasn’t mentioning Castaway to get applause. He talked about how hard it was and how long it too to find the right balance/barrier between his celebrity life and his private life. His only complaint was being all-caps known as “the nicest guy in Hollywood” but he will take mensch.



Yesterday I attended a program at the Helix Center called “Fake Knowledge: Knowledge and the Illusion of Knowing.” The Helix Center is located on the Upper East Side. The room was packed. One thing I will always enjoy about New York City is that intellectual tastes are not considered to be shameful.

There were six participants who sat and conversed in a circle. The President of the New York Psychanalytic Society, site of the Helix Center. The participants included five professors, two of them Nobel Prize winners and a magician.

The general topic was the relationship between beliefs and truth. The subtopic because of the location was the current status of psychoanalytic theory once regarded as “revealed truth” and whether its value could be proven. And Trump of course.

Here are two of the good points that were made:

Our beliefs come first then our reasons.

The idea that truth is relative was a position popularized by the left as part of post modern thought and taught to people like Kellyanne Conway who saw its value in politics. Alternative facts anyone?

There were magic tricks.

My favorite part was the Q&A. A psychoanalyst told his favorite joke. A rabbi is in his house; his wife is making soup. Two men come and ask the rabbi to settle a dispute. The rabbi listens to the first man’s side of the story and says ”You’re right.” He then listens to the second man’s side of the story and says “You’re right.” The wife indignantly pouts down her spoon and says “How can both men be right.” The rabbi says “You’re right.”

The psychoanalyst then told a story about a patient who became much better after 10 years of psychoanalysis. He rhetorically pointed out that the reason for the improvement could have been the specific issues resolved or being listened to sympathetically [there were more that I’ve forgotten.” Daniel Kahneman said “Or it could have had nothing to do with you.” The psychoanalyst replied “You’re right.” Laughter and applause.

Does this scene sound familiar?
You walk into your office on Thursday. Five of the first seven people you encounter are wearing the same color [excluding black as an example]. You are not. When you point out the common color or fashion trend, someone says “Didn’t you get the memo?”
Except for a maybe on the JFK assassination, I am not a conspiracy theorist. However, I firmly believe that all Manhattan women receive a fashion memo in fall and in spring that tells them exactly and specifically what to wear. How else can you explain the coincidence that five out of seven professional women at an event I attended last week had variants of these boots popping out from nowhere like mushrooms:

You may be confused by this title. Let me be clear.
This post is not about the Game of Life. This post is about the Game of Life that dorky board game where you spun a wheel and drove around the board in a plastic car, got married, had children, bought a house and eventually retired. My Game of Life memories free-associated when I was riffing at work about the “Game of Work.” I could now go on to mock the assumptions built into the game; on the other hand, the “Game of Life” did show that the game of life is often a game of luck.