Thursday, May 27, 2021





I keep reading that, in the wake of the recent pandemic, we are in the process of “returning to normal.” Obviously, all of us would like that to be true. And if it is, will the “normal” that awaits us look like our old normal, the one we knew before, or will it be some new and altered version of normal? How would you describe the normal that awaits us?

We see the signs daily, on the tube and in the newspaper. Some of our more daring neighbors are kicking back, living out what they hope is the returning normal. They are dining out at the local restaurant…..inside at a table, not the “take-out” window. They are having drinks with friends at the local bar, or gathering for public events. In those often-crowded settings, where each person’s vaccine status is anyone’s guess,  masks and social distancing sometimes seem to be last week’s news.

For some of us the returning normal will be about employment…..the opportunity to work again, or the return of a daily commute to the office. For others, “normal” will include sending the kids back to school, and hopefully finding reliable day-care.

To be sure, there are still unanswered questions about our “post-pandemic” normal….what it will look like, how it will feel? Heck, it seems as though “post-pandemic,” as in “after” the pandemic, may itself be a misnomer.

If enough of our fellow citizens continue to reject the available vaccines our “herd”  may never achieve the immunity we once assumed would be part of our new normal. Unless there is a drastic change in vaccine acceptance it is possible that COVID-19 will remain an operative part of our ongoing normal…..something to be guarded against for years to come.

True, the pandemic numbers… loads, hospitalizations, and deaths…..will continue to decline. But the virus, with its periodic surges and mutating variants, may be with us for a long time…..lying in wait for unsuspecting souls.


All of the above may well describe our society’s future….the normal we must learn to live with. For the moment, however, I prefer to view my own family’s “return to normal” through a different, very personal, even selfish lens.

You see, for the first time in seventeen months, since Christmas 2019, Roma, I, our four children, and their spouses gathered for a weekend at the coast… celebrate our youngest’s fiftieth birthday and the liberating reality that fully-vaccinated adults can take such liberties. Though we were too timid to do the crowds downtown, our beach house gathering fit us just fine.

Best of all, the “normal” we experienced together felt just like it always has. It was so……so normal. We visited, and caught up on news of the grand-children and great-grandchildren. We played cards and other silly games. There was ping-pong and foosball. We dined together, followed Phil’s attack on the PGA course, and watched my beloved Spurs choke again. Those who were so inclined walked on the beach, while some of us caught up on our napping. Best of all, hugs had become fashionable again.

We were together for just two short days, but are already making plans to gather again. No matter what our nation’s evolving definition of  “Return to Normal” may be, I heartily recommend that all of us make room for a personal sort of normal, the sort that includes family and dear friends.

That kind of normal was appropriate pre-pandemic, and will continue to be appropriate post-pandemic. So why not give it a try?

Monday, May 10, 2021



            May I invite you to look over my shoulder as I dispense a bit of elder-wisdom to our offspring. I’ll warn you that as you read this you may wonder why a grumpy old father would be offering such advice to his adult children. After all, they are in their fifties.

My grumpy old answer is simple enough. I have serious concerns about our nation’s future, not to mention the world’s. As I read the signs of the time my conclusions trouble me. The possibility of hard times ahead seems real to me, and I want the ones I care about the most to be as prepared as possible for that future.

With that in mind this is what I am telling my family.


So….what does your old man do with his time these days….once the veggies are watered, the day’s blog has been posted, and his Fantasy League strategy has gone wrong yet again?

Well, somedays he doesn’t do much of anything…..beyond keeping track of Dr Phil and Rachel Maddow, and dwelling on his particular obsession.

You may recall hearing that as a youngster I joined the Boy Scouts…..three times. They were the ones with a “Be Prepared” motto. Though my membership never did stick, the motto apparently did. In fact, that may have been the root of my “particular obsession.”

You, of course, have heard my “Be Prepared” rambles before. Chances are you have wondered about my logic. Truth is, my reasons are based not on certainty, but instead on possibilities.

What sort of possibilities am I talking about? To begin with, they are events that may never happen…..but realistically could. But more importantly, if any of them were to happen it might be hard, even impossible, to deal with the outcome in a satisfactory way if you were not prepared in advance.….i.e. - if you wait until the event occurs it might be too late to create an effective response.

Consider, for instance, today’s ‘post-modern’ world…..with its landscape of potential traps……like the ones noted here.

****The growing impact of drought, storms, and            climate change.

****Threats to our nation’s food production capability.

****Continuing price inflation on all products and services.

****Interruptions to our “just-in-time” food delivery system.

****Growing international resource competition, i.e. China 

****Ransomware cyber attacks on our national systems.

****Extreme political dysfunction - too conservative, too liberal.

****The threat of a continuing pandemic.

****Exploding national debt, and a declining dollar.

****The impact of a State government financial squeeze.

****Growing personal debt levels.

****The impact of rising interest rates

****And any others you would like to add.

It seems likely that any one (or more) of those outcomes could have a serious impact on how we feed and house our families, and most every other facet of our lives. If so, I repeat……by the time any of those events actually reach a tipping point, IT MAY BE TOO LATE TO PROTECT YOURSELF.

So what are the odds? The chances of having to deal with ALL those possibilities at once is very slim. But when I look ahead a year or two the chance that one or more of those “possibilities” could turn against us seems rather likely… least in my tired old eyes.

So the question is…..what does the future hold for you and yours, and how will you cope with whatever comes your way? How well prepared would you be if one or more of those “possibilities” actually occurred? And finally, what can you do now to help you and your family be more ready if something like that happens?

What “being prepared” means to you is for you to decide. In fact, as a parent and head-of-household that is your job, your obligation. Whether you consider the food you eat, the cleaning supplies you use daily, or the financial resources you rely on……no matter what the threat, I believe there is a powerful argument for BEING PREPARED.

Because if, and/or when, one of those possibilities arises… may already be too late to begin your preparation.