Category Archives: Commentary

Walt Whitman & James Bond At The Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair

The Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair 2019Customers at Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair 2019

While rare books abound at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair, you can spend as little as $10 for something very readable and collectable.

Or you can plunk down as much as $85,000 and walk away happy with your purchase. The Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair, going six years strong, is currently at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint, 72 Noble Street.

Greenpoint – Franklin Avenue

Greenpoint, if you haven’t been there recently, is worth the trip alone. It is hip and revitalized with many unique shops and trendy restaurants filled with customers. The pubs in the area lure you with sweet aromas of barley and hops with their Brooklyn craft beers. Flea markets are nearby and you have great views from the waterfront.

Getting back to the fair, I didn’t spend $85,000 which was the asking price of a magnificent first edition copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Continue reading

How Men And Women Think Differently As Seen In A 100-Year-Old Illustration

100+ Years Later-  What is the “Difference”?

A while ago, browsing through old news sources for verification of a story, I came across an illustration from Harper’s Weekly from the early 1900s.

If there is an artist’s signature, unfortunately I could not find it.

Harper's Weekly man and Woman illustration How each sex think's differently.The Illustration taking the entire page is titled “The Difference.” It might be construed by some people today as politically incorrect, totally sexist or completely accurate. Continue reading

A Klingon In The 1964 Topps Baseball Card Set & Other Strange Musings

Some Random Observations On 1964 Baseball Cards and Players

Joe Torre 1964 Topps looks angry

Take away the cap and Joe Torre is not a ballplayer. He looks like a tough Brooklyn badass who you wouldn’t want to mess with.

The 1964 Topps baseball card set could be known as the mug shot set. Boring head shots predominate with few players pictured in full body or action poses. Continue reading

Signs In French

Real Signs In France

The French have a different way of doing things. Especially with their signage.

Here are three signs that caught my attention.

baggage troubles french sign sillyThis one was on a train going from Paris to southern France. It says:

Forgot Your Luggage? Worries Guaranteed!

Now I’m not quite sure if they literally meant it. That if you lost or left your baggage on the train that you would be worried. Well of course you would! Or is this the French way of saying, “You are screwed if you lose your luggage. So don’t lose it!”

Something definitely got lost in translation. Maybe hire a proofreader who understands English when the next version of this sign is created.

The next one doesn’t need any words, even though it had them only in French. This was near the beach. Continue reading

Loyalty, Oaths, Patriotism & The Forgotten 1919 New York City High School, Anti-Bolshevik (& Everything Else Un-American) Pledge Of Allegiance

Would Having Graduating High School Students Take An Oath Of Allegiance Be Held Unconstitutional Today?

New York City schools in September 1902, "Saluting The Flag" photo: Florence Maynard

New York City school children in a display of patriotism, September 1902, “Saluting The Flag” photo: Florence Maynard

After World War I and the Bolshevik uprising in Russia, declaring your loyalty to America was not taken lightly. In 1919, President of the New York City Board of Education, Anning S. Prall, set a requirement that all graduating New York City High School children recite a pledge of allegiance to the United States before receiving their diplomas. This is quite different than the pledge most Americans know by heart.

Prall’s pledge:

“I will reverence my country’s flag and defend it against enemies at home and abroad.”

“I will respect and obey the President of the United States and the law of the land.”

“I will support, in school and out, American ideals of justice and fair play, including the right of unhampered opportunity under the law for all.”

“I will hold the ideal of rational patriotism above loyalty to any individual, political party, social class or previous national connection.”

“I will actively oppose all revolutionary movements, such as Bolshevism, anarchism, I. W. W.-ism, or any movement antagonistic to the laws of the United States or tending to subvert the Constitution of the United States.”

How long Prall’s allegiance pledge was retained is undocumented. But in 2019, can a student refuse to say a pledge of allegiance in school? Continue reading

A 21st Century Woman In The 19th Century – Maverick In Mauve

Book Review: Maverick In Mauve The Diary Of a Romantic Age

Maverick In Mauve book coverLifelong New Yorker, Florence Adele Sloane kept a diary from 1893 – 1896. That in itself is not unusual. What is out of the ordinary is that the diary covers Florence’s life from the age of 19 through 23 and her observations on life and her surroundings are written with astute wisdom beyond her years. Continue reading

Over The Last 20 Years Ebay Has Lost Its Original Customers

Why Ebay Lost Its Original Customers

I remember when I was first was told about eBay 23 years ago. Ebay was a great platform to bid and possibly win at auction interesting, older items. Many times rare purchases could be won for a bargain.  Books, ephemera and unusual items. At least that’s how it started for me.

Over the years eBay evolved from a relatively small community user-based auction site to a worldwide commercial behemoth store. And it’s not a very good one. Along the way they lost their original customer base.

Why? Continue reading

The Dangers of Celebrating & Embracing Diversity – Start Promoting Unity.

“Diversity & Multi-Culturism Will Destroy America”

No, Its Not A Donald Trump Proclamation

Former Democrat Governor Richard Lamm’s Famous 2003 Speech

Colorado Governor Richard Lamm

Colorado Governor Richard Lamm photo: Denver Post

On October 18, 2003 at a Washington DC luncheon former Governor Richard Lamm made a remarkable speech. The topic was “How To Destroy America.”

We usually don’t cover a speech from almost two decades ago. But Richard Lamm’s speech is important to look upon at this point in history. Continue reading

Why People Follow The Herd & Special Interest Group Lies Become Truths

Lies Becoming Truths

You can infer what you want about what is written here. I’m not naming names.

Certain groups and causes now overwhelm the media, and in turn our citizens with their lies. Their lies get repeated over and over. Their special cause, whatever it may be, works hard to get the truth obfuscated.

Lies get accepted into truth.

Henri AmielThe man who most eloquently summed up why this happens, was Swiss writer Henri Frédéric Amiel (1821 – 1881). From 1847 until his death, Amiel recorded his insights about humanity in his diary,  Journal intime. It is a brilliant self-introspective work.

This quote best reflects what we are experiencing today.

“Man defends himself as much as he can against truth, as a child does against a medicine, as the man of the Platonic cave does against the light. He does not willingly follow his path, for he has to be dragged along backward. ‘The natural liking for the false has several causes: the inheritance of prejudices, which produces an unconscious habit, a slavery; the predominance of the imagination over the reason, which affects the understanding; the predominance of the
passions over the conscience, which depraves the heart; the predominance of the will over the intelligence, which vitiates the character. A lively, disinterested, persistent liking for truth is extraordinarily rare. Action and faith enslave thought, both of them in order not to be troubled or inconvenienced by reflection, criticism and doubt.”

In 1869 Continue reading