World Savers


For some reason, I have always felt that when it comes time to look for a world-saver, hated minorities are the way to go. For some reason, it is the underdog, the excluded or little regarded that history tells us will save the day, time and time again. This may be just because God loves a good story with a twist ending, but there it is.

This truth first impacted itself upon me while watching an interview with actor Will Smith about the film Independence Day, in which he said “A Black and a Jew save the world, how cool is that?” Word. Add to the company of Blacks and Jews another hated minority…geeks. Beyond that, add an even smaller minority, hated especially even by other geeks….Microsoft executives.

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Barney Dissected


Through a strange series of curious coincidences, I found myself watching a two-hour festival of the Hebrew version of Barney (yes, there is a Hebrew version…same Barney, different kids – usually one Sephardi Israeli, one Russian, one Ethiopian and one Arab) with my 8 year old son this weekend (his last weekend before the iron hand of third grade falls upon his slender shoulder).

As he despised Barney even when it suited his cognitive level, we rapidly fell to one of our favorite pastimes, brutally mocking children’s television and creating our own dialog. In the course of plotting the episode (originally about the dangers of exclusion) to chronicle the fact that three of the children have been told by Barney that the fourth has a horrible disease, the same one that made Baby Bopp, and she must be stoned to death before they are all infected, yet alas they are all out of stones…we found ourselves stymied by a question. What exactly IS Barney.

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Another Flawed Prometheus


Charles Lindbergh has always been a curiosity to me. In so many ways he sums up what is good and bad in modern mad. A hero, an innovator, a man of sharp mind and great courage, while at the same time a  martinet overwhelmed by feelings of personal and racial superiority and a tendency to admire the most brutal sorts of fascism.

He was a man capable of so much greatness, hobbled by the smallness and pettiness of his spirit. To learn that he pursued both his greatness and flaws in the arena of science as well as aviation is not surprising, but adds another confusing dimension to one of the most frustratingly complex figures of the last century.

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