On Thursday, November 26, we will celebrate Thanksgiving. All things considered, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the food, the football, and the four-day weekend. What I don’t like is the traffic. In my experience, regardless of which day and what time you travel, you can’t avoid the traffic snarls. You just have to hope (or pray) for the best. (I have found you can mitigate traffic delays by relying on a good GPS, such as Waze.)

Traditionally, TG is a time when extended families gather together to celebrate in large groups. People travel to spend the holiday with relatives that they only see a few times a year. They endure congestion on the roads and long lines and crowds at airports, bus terminals and train stations.

Travel and Leisure Magazine reports that the period from the Wednesday before TG to the following Sunday is typically the busiest travel period of the year, with Wednesday being the single busiest day. Most travelers usually return on Sunday or Monday. Similarly, AAA advises that normally Thursday, Friday or Saturday are the best days to drive. Of course, if you are hosting, you can avoid the traffic, but you have to buy the food, cook and clean up. Pick your poison. You can’t have everything.

According to USA Today over the past weekend (Friday-Sunday) in excess of 1 million persons per day passed through security checkpoints at US airports. Furthermore, Sunday’s total was the highest since the advent of the pandemic in March. Although this total is estimated to be only 42% of last year’s total, it is still cause for concern, particularly since the pandemic has been resurging. According to Johns Hopkins University this past Friday some 195,000 new cases were reported in the US.

AAA has projected that some 50 million Americans will still be travelling for the TG holiday, which, though considerably fewer than in prior years, is still cause for concern healthwise. Clearly, for many people, the desire to see family outweighs the health risks presented by COVID.

This year, due to the pandemic, Thanksgiving will be celebrated differently. Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 Incident Manager, issued a statement cautioning “against travel during the Thanksgiving period.” Most medical professionals have also cautioned Americans to limit their traditional travels plans, or, better yet, stay home. They have cited the risks of spreading COVID at crowded airports and on the airplanes, themselves, (although air carriers insist they have taken extra precautions to protect passengers). However, of bigger concern is the risk of family gatherings turning into super-spreaders. Many guests will be visiting from far flung locations without having quarantined, and there is no telling with whom they have been in contact beforehand. On the other hand, many people have developed “COVIT-fatigue” after having been cooped up in their homes for months. Simply put, they want to celebrate the holiday, and they feel they can do so safely despite what the “experts” are recommending.

The CDC has recommended additional safety tips with respect to TG holiday gatherings, for example:

  1. Limit the number of guests.
  2. Restrict guests to those within your “nuclear family” or “bubble.”
  3. Wear masks whenever possible.
  4. Social distance to the extent possible.
  5. If weather permits stay outside
  6. Encourage guests to bring their own food, beverages, and supplies such as utensils and cups.
  7. Use single-use packets for items such as condiments and salad dressings.
  8. Limit guests from entering the kitchen or other areas where food is prepared.
  9. Limit alcohol consumption.
  10. Restrict loud conversation or singing.

In the name of public safety many states have enacted rules, some of which are viewed by many as draconian, restricting the manner in which people may gather to celebrate. Some of us will adhere to these restrictions; others will not.

As we enjoy the holiday, few of us will stop to think of its origins and meaning. What are they? Why is it celebrated at this time of the year? Read on for the answers.

Thanksgiving is a national holiday originally celebrated to give thanks for the year’s harvest. It has strong religious and cultural roots. Most people are aware that Thanksgiving is celebrated in the US (4th Thursday in November) and Canada (2nd Monday in October), but few of us are aware that variations of it are observed in other countries as well. In these other countries the holiday has a different meaning and purpose.

For example, in Grenada it is celebrated on October 25, and it marks the date on which the US invaded the island in 1983 in response to the removal and execution of Grenada’s then Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop. Liberia celebrates the holiday on the first Thursday of November, a tradition that was originated by freed American slaves that were transported there. In the Netherlands a Thanksgiving Day service is held on the morning of the US holiday. Its purpose is to commemorate the traditions of the Pilgrims, who resided in the city of Leiden for several years prior to their emigration to the New World. Japan celebrates a “Labor Thanksgiving Day” on November 23 to commemorate labor and production. It has its roots in the period of American occupation after WWII.

Like many of our customs and traditions, Thanksgiving is rooted in English traditions. These date from the English Reformation in the 16th century and the reign of King Henry VIII. Apparently, the Protestant clergy had determined that events of misfortune or good fortune were attributable to God. Thus, unexpected disasters, such as droughts, floods or plagues, were followed by “Days of Fasting.” On the other hand, fortuitous events, such as a good harvest or the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, which actually was largely attributable to storms off the English coast, were to be celebrated by “giving thanks” to Him.

The origin of the Canadian holiday is uncertain, but it is most commonly attributed to the English explorer Martin Frobisher. He had been exploring Northern Canada seeking the infamous and elusive Northwest Passage to Asia. He wanted to give thanks for his party having survived the numerous storms and icebergs it had encountered on the long journey from England. Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated as a statutory holiday in most jurisdictions of Canada.

Most people trace the American Thanksgiving holiday to 1621 in present-day Massachusetts (although some claim that there were earlier celebrations by the Spaniards in present-day Florida circa 1565 and in the colony of Virginia circa 1610). The Pilgrims and Puritans living in MA had enjoyed a bountiful harvest that year and wanted to give thanks. Their harvest had been partly attributable to assistance from Native Americans, so they invited them to share in their celebration. Records indicate that there were 90 Native Americans and 25 colonists in attendance. The actual date is uncertain, but it is believed to have been between September 21 and November 11.

Prior to 1942, Thanksgiving was not celebrated as an official national holiday. Rather, it was celebrated periodically by proclamation. For example, during the Revolutionary War the Continental Congress established days of “prayer, humiliation and thanksgiving” each year. In 1777 George Washington proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving to celebrate the colonists’ victory at Saratoga. Following independence, various Presidents continued the practice of issuing proclamations periodically.

In 1863 President Lincoln proclaimed a national “Thanksgiving Day” to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November. Historians believe that his action was prompted by a series of editorials written by Sarah Josepha Hale, a writer and editor of some renown. (She wrote the popular nursery rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”).

The practice of annual Presidential Proclamations continued until 1939. That year, FDR broke the tradition. November had five Thursdays that year instead of the usual four. FDR figured that if the holiday were celebrated on the 4th Thursday it would provide a much-needed boost to the economy by enabling merchants to sell more goods before Christmas. (Even then, Thanksgiving was the unofficial start of the Christmas holiday shopping season.) Typically, this action precipitated a spat between the GOP and Dems in Congress. GOP congressmen viewed it as an insult to President Lincoln and continued to consider the last Thursday to be the holiday, so there were two Thanksgiving celebrations in 1939, 1940 and 1941, a “Democratic” one on the 4th Thursday and a “Republican” one on the last Thursday. The individual states split the dates (only in America!).

Finally, in 1941 everyone got in sync. On December 26, 1941 FDR signed a bill into law that decreed that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November, a practice that has continued to this day.

Beginning in 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey to the President. Over the years it has become customary for the President to grant a “pardon” to the turkey. This year, President Trump is expected to continue the tradition.


Many businesses are closed on Friday as well, which has had the effect of expanding the holiday into a four-day weekend. Similarly, many employees of companies that are open for business on that day take a vacation day or “floating holiday.”

The Friday after the holiday is known as “Black Friday.” It is one of the busiest shopping days of the year and signals the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Many retail stores open early and offer sales. Some even stay open on Thanksgiving. Many shoppers love this and camp out overnight (oblivious to the threats of precipitation or cold weather); others deride it as a “fool’s errand.”

Like everything else Black Friday 2020 will be different.

  1. Some stores will be closed or have limited hours. Best to call ahead or check on-line before you go.
  2. Those that are open will have COVID safety protocols in place, such as requiring masks, limiting the number of shoppers at one time and eliminating the traditional “stampedes.”
  3. Many businesses have encouraged Black Friday shoppers to shop on-line and have expanded BF to include the pre and post-Thanksgiving period. This has the added benefits of convenience and mitigating health risk.

Saturday is known as “Small Business Saturday,” which is an attempt to encourage patronage of small businesses. Some credit card companies have been offering cardholders “points” for patronizing certain small businesses. The Monday after the holiday is known as “Cyber Monday,” which encourages shopping on-line. The Tuesday after is called “Giving Tuesday” to encourage donations to the needy. The holiday is a prime time for charity. Many communities have food and clothing drives to collect items for distribution to the poor. Again, check within your local area to ascertain any modifications for 2020.

Many cities hold parades. The NYC “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” is a longstanding tradition. Many families have attended this event every year for generations. It features celebrities, high school marching bands, and floats with specific themes, such as Broadway shows and cartoon characters. The last float is traditionally one of Santa Claus, which symbolizes the beginning of the Christmas season. Other examples of cities that normally hold parades are Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Plymouth, MA, and Houston. Sometimes, bad weather, such as high winds, puts a damper on the festivities. As I write this the Macy’s 2020 parade is still scheduled, but expect modifications due to COVID.

Many of us watch football on TG. High schools and colleges play traditional games against their chief rivals. The NFL has staged a football game on Thanksgiving Day every year since 1934. At first, there was only one, which was hosted by the Detroit Lions. In recent years there have been three. In 2020 there are no college games scheduled to be played on TG, itself, but some are scheduled to be played over the weekend. In addition, many traditional high games have been cancelled or rescheduled.

So, now that you are “experts” on Thanksgiving, relax and enjoy the holiday. In particular, take a minute to give thanks that through a fortuitous twist of fate, you were born in this country.



As I write this, it has been more than two weeks since Election Day, and nearly half of the country remains convinced that Joe Biden did not win legitimately. The pro-Trumpers have been pursuing various remedies, which I will discuss below.

First, however, I would like to address the vituperative criticism that the Dems and their allies in the media have been heaping on Mr. Trump and his voters for daring to question/challenge the results in various states. I agree with one criticism that Mr. Trump should have given Biden access to whatever information a President-elect is entitled to receive. But, in my view, his denial to do so is not the primary post-election issue. The questionable manner in which many of the votes were tabulated in some of the swing states is far more serious.

According to the Constitution Mr. Trump has the absolute right to demand recounts and even redress in the courts. Moreover, in my opinion, he has an obligation to all those who voted for him to do so. One is free to disagree with Mr. Trump’s policies; one is free to hate him; one is free to support and vote for whomever. But, one is NOT free to deny him and his supporters their right to seek redress for what they perceive to have been unfair or illegal election tactics, nor to belittle, mock, or disparage them when they do so.

We all know that if the shoe had been on the other foot, so to speak, the Dems would be doing the same thing. Worse, the radical elements of the Party would have been rioting and looting in protest. Before the election, sore loser Hillary had urged Biden to “never concede,” so, anti-Trumpers, spare us the indignation, come off your “high horse,” and be patient while the legal process plays out. Don’t listen to the biased fake news “know-nothings” on CNN, MSNBC, and other media outlets or The Washington Post and the NY Times, among other print media outlets. Many of them know less and are less intelligent than the average voter anyway.

Remember, the anti-Trumpers are the ones who refused to acknowledge their defeat in 2016. They spent four years attributing their loss to various conspiracy theories, all of which turned out to be without merit. They are the ones who distracted the country with “trumped up” impeachment proceedings while the Coronavirus gained a foothold in the US. So, everyone stand down and let that pesky little document called the Constitution play out.

If you have been paying attention, you are aware of several voting anomalies, particularly with respect to mail-in ballots, in various states such as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that have been exposed and are being investigated, to wit:

  1. Voting by people who are dead, have moved out of the state, or have voted multiple times.
  2. Refusing GOP “checkers” access to enable them to monitor those counting the ballots as authorized pursuant to states’ voting laws.
  3. Lost or misplaced ballots, some of which have been found, others, perhaps, not.
  4. Batches of votes, numbering in the thousands, being delivered in the dead of night under mysterious circumstances when independent “checkers” were not present.
  5. Software anomalies that have cast doubt on the accuracy of the count.
  6. Hundreds of signed affidavits that describe voting anomalies and/or illegalities.
  7. Arbitrary and unilateral changes to the rules by Secretaries of State or judges in PA, GA, and others to validate mail-in ballots received late or containing disqualifying errors. Pursuant to the Constitution only the state legislatures have the authority to enact and modify that state’s voting rules and procedures.

It is not the purpose of this blog to delve into the weeds regarding these issues. Suffice to say that these claims are legitimate, and Trump’s legal team is within its legal rights to pursue them. Rather than criticize without knowledge of the facts we all need to step back and let the process play out in accordance with the Constitution.

Don’t be surprised if these matters are finally decided by the Supreme Court. After all, the Constitution did promulgate a system of checks and balances in which all three branches of government are of equal power and importance. Perhaps, it will turn out that any transgressions were minor. The point is we don’t know, and we must find out.


I have discussed the history of election recounts and challenges in previous blogs, and I see no need to repeat it all at this time. Suffice to say, historically, recounts and challenges have been fairly commonplace, but they have rarely been successful in actually overturning statewide or national elections. In fact, there have only been three such instances in the last 50 years. So, in this case, the likelihood is that even though anomalies, errors or even instances of fraud may be discovered they will probably not be substantial enough to overturn the election results.

Even so, the results of these investigations should help us to improve procedures for future elections. This was the first election to feature massive mail-in voting, but it will not be the last.

As I said, the point is that currently none of us knows for sure, and we must find out. The critical point is that regardless of who is ultimately declared the winner the public must be satisfied that the election was fair and the results are valid. We cannot have a situation where half the country has been bullied into submission. Only when the process has been completed will all voters accept the results. Only then will the winner be able to govern effectively. Otherwise, our system of government will break down, and we will be no better off than the typical third-world country.

JFK Assassination

Few people in history are so recognizable that with the mere mention of their initials one instantly knows about whom you are talking. Such is the case with John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States. He flashed across our lives like a comet, brilliant but brief. He was only president for 1,000 days before he was assassinated, yet, even today, people remember him and recognize his name.

Sunday, November 22, will mark the 57th anniversary of his assassination. Almost anyone over the age of 65 remembers vividly where they were and what they were doing when they first heard of it. For example, I, a freshman in college, was walking to a history class. (Yes, I did attend classes, even on a Friday afternoon.) I heard some other students talking about the President having been shot. I wasn’t sure I had heard correctly, but unfortunately, I had.

What was strange about the whole incident was the lack of reliable information. It wasn’t like today when news is known and disseminated instantaneously. It might be hard for you youngsters to believe, but there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no cell phones, no internet.

Communication between New York, where, at the time, all media communications were centered, and Dallas was sketchy. Even worse, Dealey Square, the site of the assassination, was not close to the addresses of the network news’ Dallas offices. Reporters on the scene had to communicate by public telephone, when they could find one. Often, competing reporters ended up sharing telephones. Information was incomplete and contradictory.

Eventually, however, we found out the horrible news. No one will ever forget the grim look on venerable CBS anchor Walter Cronkite’s face as he removed his glasses, stared into the camera, and told a shocked, confused and scared nation that the President was dead. When we heard it from “Uncle Walter,” we knew it was true.

The purpose of this blog is not to relate the details of the day’s events, nor do I wish to get bogged down in the various conspiracy theories, some of which persist to this day. Many books have been written on the subject, and I can’t possibly cover these topics in a short blog. Suffice to say, it was a surreal experience. Many emotions swirled through my head – disbelief, denial, fear and uncertainty. Who did it? Why? Was it a single gunman or a conspiracy? Was it part of a larger plot? Would we go to war? These and other questions came to mind.

Most everyone was glued to their television sets for days while events played out – Lyndon Johnson sworn in as the 36th President of the US on Airforce 1, Jackie Kennedy standing beside him still in shock and wearing the blood and brain-stained pink suit she had been wearing in the limo (which, she had refused to remove, declaring “I want them to see what they have done”), Lee Harvey Oswald arrested, Oswald shot live on national tv while under police escort (How in the world did Jack Ruby get access to that corridor, anyway?), JKF’s funeral procession, the “riderless” horse, young John Jr’s salute. The assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy followed soon after. It was a time of chaos and uncertainty, the end of innocence.

JFK had won the Presidency by the narrowest of margins over Vice President Richard Nixon. He had received 49.7% of the popular vote to Nixon’s 49.5% and won several states by the slimmest of margins. In that relatively primitive era of communications the end result was not known until the next morning. In the wee hours, the networks “called” CA for JFK which finally made him the winner. (Ironically, Nixon ended up winning CA after all the absentee ballots were counted.) Many people, including a 15 year-old girl in Berwick, Pa., caught up in the drama, stayed up all night to await the results.

JFK was young, handsome, bright, vibrant, dynamic, scion of a famous and wealthy family, and a war hero. He and his beautiful, glamorous wife, Jackie, seemed like American royalty to many Americans. He gave us hope and optimism. In the eyes of his supporters he was the one to transform America. During his inaugural address he uttered the famous line that symbolized the great hope that he would lead us to “A New Frontier,” as his campaign had promised (“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”). Those words still resonate today.

JFK got off to a rocky start with the Bay of Pigs fiasco. But, he seemed to make up for it when he faced down the Russians and Premier Nikita Khrushchev in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Most of us did not realize how close we had come to nuclear war, but in the end Kennedy won that round and showed he was learning on the job. His administration was dubbed “Camelot” after the description of the mythical King Arthur’s court.

Unfortunately, Kennedy made a lot of powerful enemies. Many Republicans thought he had “stolen” the election (shades of 2020). Indeed, there had been whispers about voting irregularities, notably in Chicago, but, in the end nothing came of that – no media exposes, no court challenges. Yes, times have certainly changed.

Many conservatives thought he was too soft on communism and too aggressive on civil rights issues. He had made powerful enemies among organized crime and at the FBI and CIA, among others. Fidel Castro hated him for the Bay of Pigs attack. On the other hand, many Cuban ex-Pats thought he had betrayed them by failing to intervene militarily to support the invasion when it fell apart. All in all, he had a plethora of powerful enemies with the motive, means, opportunity and funds to plan and execute a Presidential assassination and cover-up. In retrospect, one should not have been surprised.


A favorite speculation has been how American and world history would have been different had JFK not been assassinated. Would he have pulled us out of Viet Nam as has been speculated? If so, would there have been an antiwar movement in the 60’s with the attendant protests, turmoil and violence? Would MLK and RFK still have been assassinated? Would the civil rights movement have progressed differently, more peacefully? We will never know. There have been many books written about this topic, including one by Stephen King called “11/22/63” about a fictional time traveler who journeys back to 1963 to try to prevent the assassination, which makes fascinating “what if” reading.

Through it all, a cloud of conspiracy still hangs over the assassination 50+ years later. Books have been written and movies produced dealing with the conspiracy theories. Did Oswald act alone? Was he tied to the KGB or the CIA? How did Ruby get close enough to kill Oswald from point-blank range? Was there an accomplice on the grassy knoll? Why was Ruby killed in prison? What of the roles, if any, of mobsters, like Sam Giancana, Head of the Chicago mob, and Carlos Marcello, Head of the New Orleans mob, as well as the CIA, the FBI, the Russians, and/or Castro? Were the Warren Commission’s findings accurate or part of a cover-up?

At this time, as we mark the passage of another anniversary of JFK’s assassination, we are reminded that these issues, and others, have still not been resolved to many Americans’ satisfaction. As time passes, it seems they probably never will be.

For you readers of a certain age, what are your memories of the assassination and its aftermath? Where were you when you heard the awful news? I would like to know.


Do you hear it? Do you see it? Of course, I’m referring to post-election violence, rioting and destruction. No, you don’t, and neither do I.

As one political commentator said on election-eve if they lose the election the Dems will riot, pillage and destroy. It will be live on national tv for all to see, except maybe on the fake-news channels. On the other hand, if the GOP were to lose the people would just “wake up the next day and go to work.” Hyperbole? Perhaps, just a little, but we have been witnessing such actions by the radical left all year.

In the days prior to Election Day we saw the images of businesses locking up and putting up plywood over their windows in anticipation of post-election rioting. What do you suppose that was for? Redecorating? When it appeared as if the Dems had won, all the plywood came down immediately. Coincidence? I think not.

Legally, the Trump campaign was perfectly within its rights to seek recounts in certain states. It does not make President Trump a “sore loser.” It does not signal that he “will not accept the outcome of the election” or “defy the will” of the electorate. It does not mean he will “refuse to leave” office. Those are just more absurdities promulgated by know-nothing, biased media commentators.

How about some facts to set the record straight. My research has disclosed the following with respect to recounts:

  1. Recounts are rare. According to NBC in the last 50 years or so there have been few recounts, and they have rarely succeeded.
  2. For example, between 2000 and 2015, of the nearly 4,700 statewide elections there have been 27 recounts.
  3. Would you care to guess how many of them have actually succeeded in flipping the results of the original election? The answer is three. That’s all – three. The last one was the Senate race in MN in 2008 when Dem Al Franken prevailed over GOPer Norm Coleman.
  4. There are two kinds of recounts – automatic and requested. Currently, 27 states have statutory procedures for an automatic recount. They are triggered if an election is close enough to warrant one. How close? It depends on the individual state. 43 states have statutory provisions for requested recounts. Again, they vary according to the state. Only two states – MS and TN – do not have any statutory provisions for a recount.
  5. In any event one can always make a recount request or dispute the outcome of an election through the judicial system. Typically, such requests are made through the applicable state court first, then the federal courts. Theoretically, they can proceed all the way to the Supreme Court, although that is very rare.
  6. With respect to current disputes, so far the Trump campaign has not met with much success. On the plus side, it has managed to gather hundreds of affidavits from individuals who have alleged to have witnessed irregularities and possible fraud. These have included computer glitches, duplicate ballots, late-arriving ballots, dead people voting, non-residents voting, and incomplete/inaccurate ballots being counted. On the other hand, so far its efforts have been rejected by various courts.
  7. In PA the state Supreme Court ruled to accept late arriving ballots due to the “vast disruption” and “unprecedented challenges” presented by the COVID pandemic. The court also noted that the votes in question were not sufficient in number to make up Trump’s deficit.
  8. In MI a judge rejected claims that the City of Detroit had committed fraud in its processing of absentee ballots.
  9. In AZ the campaign’s own lawyers withdrew their petition for a manual inspection of votes in the Phoenix area as it had become apparent that the number of votes in question were not sufficient to flip the state.


As I said, the Trump campaign is acting within its rights. Its critics are so intent on criticizing and demonizing Mr. Trump that they are missing the larger point. The paramount issue is the perceived integrity of the election, itself. Free, fair, and legitimate elections are the cornerstone of our republic. Every legal vote, and only legal votes, should be counted. The country cannot function otherwise.

Right now, nearly one-half of the country has suspicions that the election was “stolen” from Mr. Trump. We either need to satisfy those voters that it was not, or, if the facts dictate, declare Mr. Trump the true winner. I maintain that we all need to sit back, shut up, be patient, and let the legal matters play out. Regardless of the outcome, we should analyze how this election was conducted and use it as a learning tool for future elections.

Massive mail-in voting will likely become the new normal, prospectively. It is vital that we correct the weaknesses of this election so that they are not repeated. Some states, such as FL, handled the process really well. We should study those states’ procedures and adopt them universally. It has nothing to do with Dem or GOP, just fairness.

At the end of the process, whoever ends up the winner should be recognized as such by all. This will actually be to his benefit. The ultimate winner, whomever it may be, cannot lead effectively as long as half the country thinks his presidency is illegitimate.


Most people knew him as the host of the popular game show, Jeopardy, but that barely scratched the surface of what he was. To identify him merely as a game show host was akin to labeling Michael Jordan as just a basketball player. Technically, it was true, but, as you will see, he was so much more.

George Alexander Trebek was born on July 22, 1940 in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. His father had emigrated from Ukraine as a child; his mother was a native-born French-Canadian. The family was bi-lingual, French and English. The original family name was Terebeychuk. Like many immigrant families the name was shortened at some point in order to facilitate their assimilation into their new home country. New country, new start, new name.

Alex was an industrious child. He began working at the age of 13. His first job was as a bellhop at a local hotel where his father was employed as a chef. After high school he attended the University of Ottawa from which he graduated in 1961 with a degree in philosophy. At that time his career goal was to work in broadcast news, a difficult field to break into. Actually, Alex began his career even before he earned his degree. In his words, “I went to school in the mornings, and worked at nights. I did everything … every possible job.” His first job in his chosen field was in 1963 on a Canadian music program called Music Hop.

In 1973 Alex emigrated to the US. (He became a naturalized citizen in 1996.) He secured a job with NBC as host of a new game show called The Wizard of Odds. That was soon followed by a bunch of other shows. For example, how many of these old and largely forgotten shows do you remember: High Rollers, Double Dare, the 128,000 Question, and Battlestars? Alex was very prolific. At one point, he was one of only two persons to be hosting shows in both the US and Canada, simultaneously. (The other was Jim Perry.) In 1991 he went one better, becoming the only person to host three game shows simultaneously.

Alex’s big break came in 1984. The game show, Jeopardy, was being revived as a daily syndicated show. The original daytime iteration of Jeopardy aired from 1964 to 1973. Art Fleming, the original host, had declined to emcee the show due to “creative differences.” Alex auditioned for the role and got it, and, as they say, the rest is history.

Alex remained the host until his death – 36 years. Contestants came and went. The show endured. The one constant was Alex. To many viewers, he was the show. Its popularity was astounding for a game show. Renowned author Linda Fairstein wrote it into each of her novels. Regardless of where they were, the main characters would make it a point to seek out a tv to watch the Final Jeopardy question. In the movie Rainman Dustin Hoffman’s character just had to watch it, and he drove Tom Cruise’s character crazy looking for a tv. In 2013 TV Guide published a list of the greatest American tv shows. Jeopardy ranked #45.

Like many other game show hosts Alex made a slew of guest appearances on other tv shows. But, Alex took it to another level. All told, he appeared on over thirty game shows and in over 50 movies and tv shows. There’s more. In 1996 he was honored as an Olympic torch bearer for part of the torch’s journey through FL In 2014 Guinness World Records recognized Alex as the record holder for hosting the most episodes of a game show – 6,829. Obviously, at the time of his death he had added to that record considerably. In 2018 he served as moderator in a debate between two candidates for the governorship of PA. He probably did a better job than some of the debate moderators we have suffered through this year.

Alex married twice. His first marriage ended in divorce. He had two children with his second wife, Jean. He owned a 700-acre ranch in CA on which he bred and trained thoroughbred racehorses.


As I said, Alex was much more than just one of the most successful game show hosts ever. He was a huge philanthropist and activist. For example, over his lifetime he donated some $10 million to his alma mater, the University of Ottawa, which honored him by naming its alumni hall in his honor. In addition, he donated $100,000 to Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter in LA. Furthermore, he was very active in other charities such as World Vision Canada and the US Service Organization for World Trade, which focus on the needs of people in developing nations, particularly children.

Alex was the recipient of numerous awards and honoraria. For example, he was honored with a star on both Canada’s and Hollywood’s Walks of Fame; he won seven Emmys for “Outstanding Game Show Host;” and he was the recipient of a Daily Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Alex bravely fought through various health problems. In 2007 he suffered a “minor” heart attack; in 2011 he injured his Achilles tendon while chasing a burglar who had broken into his hotel room; in 2017 he developed a subdural hematoma, which required him to undergo brain surgery to remove some blood lots from his brain; and in January 2019 came the big one, pancreatic cancer. The initial symptom had been fairly innocuous, a persistent stomach ache. Alex fought bravely and hard, undergoing chemotherapy and surgery, but to no avail. Eventually, the cancer won.

Alex passed away on November 8 after a nearly two-year battle with the dreaded disease. Rest in peace, Alex. You lived your life with class and dignity, right to the end. As I said at the outset, many of us knew you as a game show host, but you were much, much more than that, and you will be sorely missed.


Well the election is over and the people have spoken, sort of. I believe the above title is an apt metaphor for the result. More on that later.

 As I write this, in the minds of many voters the election results are still up in the air. President Trump has still not conceded, and President-elect Biden is forging ahead as if it’s a done deal. Moreover, the Trump campaign has filed lawsuits challenging the results in various states. These are still pending but the likelihood of the courts taking significant action is very unlikely. Die-hard Trump supporters will always be convinced the election was “stolen” by Dems’ shenanigans with a big assist from the mainstream media, and they may be right. There were some odd occurrences in some of the battleground states particularly in PA, NE, MI and AZ, but I don’t think the recounts and the legal challenges will result in a changed outcome.

So, who really won? Who benefitted?

1. Not those who work in the oil, gas, auto, and related industries many of whom will lose their livelihoods as the Green New Deal gets phased in.
2. Not the members of the vast unskilled labor pool who will face increased competition from illegals who will be permitted, if not encouraged, to pour across our southern border unfettered by laws, restrictions and physical barriers.
3. Not advocates of security.
4. Not the police who will be handcuffed by overly stringent rules of engagement and defunding at an increasing rate.
5. Not advocates of freedom of speech who will be subjected to accelerating restrictions and censorship.

6. Not advocates of the second amendment which will be chipped away at the edges until it will be severely weakened.
7. Not the advocates of right to life who will see abortions performed on viable fetuses right up to and perhaps past the moment of birth.

8. Not those who support Israel who will see an administration indifferent, if not hostile, to the plight of our only reliable ally in the volatile Middle East and Jews in general. I expect that one of Biden’s first acts will be to reinstitute the Iran Deal in some form.
9. And not the average citizen rich and poor, black and white, liberal moderate and conservative who will pay the higher taxes that will be needed to raise the money to pay for all these grandiose misguided policies of the radical left. 

So who won?  Not you and not me.

1. Those who drank the CNN and MSNBC Kool-aid and hated President Trump with such an irrational passion that they were willing, no eager, to cut off their nose to spite their face. Many of them were unaware of or ignored the issues.

2. The coastal elites who look down on the rest of us from their ivory towers and their gated communities with 24 X 7 security.
3.. The deep state, or swamp as some call it.

4. China, Iran, North Korea and other foreign actors who hate us and our way of life who now will be able to deal with Biden instead of Trump.   


I predict that the American way of life, the unique and beautiful system promulgated by our Forefathers some 250 years ago, that millions of Americans have fought and died for, has changed irrevocably, and not for the better. Change will likely be gradual. It might be delayed if the GOP can manage to win one or both of the run-off elections in Georgia and retain control of the Senate.

Most of us will probably not even realize it, but it will be inexorable and irreversible. In 10, 20 or 50 years people will look around and wonder how we got there. They will wonder, “what happened in 2020?” ” What were our grandparents thinking?”

Yes, you got what you wanted. The “demonic, orange Hitler,” the “crude, lewd meanie” is gone. But as they say, “be careful what you wish for.” You have gotten the government you deserve

Yes, Bye Bye Miss American pie. Bye Bye America as we know it. Hello Venezuela.

Postscript: By now, most of you have heard that today Pfizer announced that its COVID vaccine has been 90% successful in its latest trial. We are likely only months away from a viable, effective mass-produced vaccine. Hooray for us!

It appears that President Trump’s optimism with respect to a vaccine was right all along. It’s a shame he won’t get the credit.


“It ain’t over till its over.” So said the late Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame baseball player, famous philosopher, and king of the malaprops. Of course, he was speaking in a different context, a pennant race in 1973. But, it was true then, and it is true now. Trump supporters, take heart. The official voting may be over, but the postelection drama is just beginning.

When I went to bed on Election Night in the US, or more precisely, in the wee hours of ED+1, Trump was in a good position. He was narrowly ahead in various undecided states with a couple of clear paths to 270. When I woke up later that morning in Soviet Russia circa 1930 things had changed dramatically. Biden had surged ahead in MI and WI, had closed the gap dramatically in other states, such as G, NC and PA, and appeared to be on the clear path to victory. Trump seemed to be all but done.

How had this happened? What had caused such a dramatic shift in just a few hours? If you’re shocked, frustrated and confused over this dramatic turn of events you’re not alone. You have plenty of company, including yours truly. Voting anomalies, to be sure.

As I write this Biden is leading in electoral votes 264 – 214 with six states undecided – AZ, N, PA, G, AK, and NC. Biden is leading in the first two, Trump in the others. We can eliminate AK from this discussion as it only has three electoral votes and Trump is way ahead and clearly will win it. The others are too close to call (including AZ, which some news outlets called last night, perhaps, prematurely).

The situation is very fluid, but the salient points are as follows:

  1. The Trump campaign is protesting the results in those states, alleging “rampant corruption.” That may be a bit strong, but, in my mind, there have certainly been voting irregularities.
  2. There are reports the Trump campaign has or shortly will file lawsuits in PA, AZ and GA.
  3. These irregularities seem to be centered around mail-in ballots. In many states they were being used for the first time due to many voters’ fears of voting in person due to COVID. Many states were simply overwhelmed by the sheer volume as was the USPS.
  4. There have been allegations of irregularities in other states as well. For instance, Trump was leading in WI all evening. Somehow in the middle of the night a batch of more than 100,000 ballots was “discovered.” They just happened to be virtually all for Biden. They flipped the state.
  5. There have been alleged irregularities regarding mail-in ballots in PA and N. These ballots are supposed to be scrutinized to ascertain that the voter is eligible and registered, the signature is valid, the timestamp is timely and the form is filled out properly and completely.
  6. The Trump campaign has raised doubts about these verifications, particularly in cases in which their observers were locked out. One GOP poll watcher reported he was not allowed within “100 feet” of the ballots. Obviously, there was no way to “watch” from that distance. Since I was a child I have heard jokes about dead people voting and others voting more than once, but this year with this system it is no joke.
  7. The PA Supreme Court arbitrarily changed the rules on the eve of ED. It decided to legalize all ballots as long as they were postmarked by midnight on ED. It is not clear that they had the authority to extend the filing deadline in this manner. Normally, that is the purview of the state legislature.
  8. There have been various instances of the USPS “losing” ballots. For example, hundreds of thousands of ballots have been found on the floor and in garbage pails. How many have not been found?


Trump supporters should not get their hopes up, even if the transgressions may seem to be obvious and egregious. The lawsuits and recounts are a longshot, a “Hail Mary.” It will be very difficult to prove corruption, fraud or even irregularities. The courts may even decline to hear the lawsuits. Moreover, historically, recounts, though fairly commonplace have rarely changed the outcome of an election. Trump supporters will fight on, but the reality is it is a sad day for America and the American way of life.

Both candidates still have a path to 270. However, Biden only needs to win one of the remaining states to win the election. Trump has to run the table. You do the math. It appears that, for better or worse, Biden will end up as the 46th president of the US.

Already, the protesters/rioters and the “spin doctors” are out in full force.

  1. Regarding PA, lawyer Rudy Giuliani has asserted that “not a single Republican has been able to look at any of these mail-in ballots.” He said, somewhat facetiously, “we don’t know if these ballots are valid or not. [For all we know,] they could be from Mars or the DNC.” The clear implication is that there has been cheating.
  2. PA Governor Tom Wolfe (D) took umbrage at this charge. He replied that attempts to “subvert the democratic process are simply disgraceful.”
  3. Dem supporters are chanting “count every ballot.” The implication of this is clear.
  4. GOPers have a slightly different chant, “count every legal ballot.”

Some final thoughts and observations:

  1. As a group, the pollsters and pundits “blew it” badly. They were so far off it was downright embarrassing. As a group, their credibility is at a low ebb. Most of them had predicted a Biden landslide. Few, if any, thought Trump would win, and he almost did (maybe not almost). On election eve they had Trump losing by several points in many states he actually won, such as FL, Ohio, and NC. One poll had Biden winning Wisconsin by 17 points. They had Lindsay Graham, Mitch McConnell and Joni Ernst losing or in tough battles. They all won handily. You may recall that most polls were way off in 2016 as well. On November 4 the headline of the NY Post proclaimed “Polls, Pundits, Press – Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.” The much ballyhooed “Blue Wave” never materialized. Predictions from some, such as the Des Moines Register, were on point, but as a group, they need to reassess their methodology if they want to re-establish their credibility.
  2. Dems and the mainstream media will criticize Trump for not conceding graciously, but the fact of the matter is the Biden campaign would have done exactly the same thing had they lost. Heck, they still have not conceded the 2016 election. Furthermore, last week the bitter has-been, Hillary Clinton, advised Biden “never to concede.”
  3. In my view, many Biden voters, due to apathy and/or ignorance, do not have the foggiest conception of what they voted for, such as higher taxes, healthcare for all, the elimination of fossil fuels and fracking, the Green New Deal, the elimination of the border wall, hostile relations with Israel, and various “free” stuff.
  4. They will soon develop “buyer’s remorse.” “Free” stuff is not free. Someone, somehow, somewhere has to pay for it. Dems’ claims that it will fall exclusively on the wealthy is simply not true. There are not enough of them and the cost will be too high. Everyone will pay to some degree. When the time comes don’t complain. As the expression goes, “you get the government you deserve.”


Those famous words became the hallmark of one of the most famous characters in cinema history. James Bond was a likeable, charismatic, suave, elegant, brave, at times foolhardy, superspy with the moniker 007 and a “license to kill.” He was famous for carousing, chasing beautiful women, and, oh yes, saving England from vicious villains. Fans knew he always drank vodka martinis “shaken, not stirred.” The American Film Institute recognized the Bond character as the third greatest hero in cinema history. Can you guess numbers 1 and 2? See below.

The Bond franchise is one of the most famous, successful and enduring in cinema history. The first film was Dr. No in 1962 and the franchise is still active today. Seven actors have played James Bond in over 30 movies. Connery was the first and, to me, the best. How many of them can you name? (If you get all seven you are a true Bond savant, and I tip my cap to you.) See answer below.

Thomas Sean Connery was born on August 25, 1930 in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, Scotland. He came from very humble beginnings. His father was a factory worker and a lorry (truck) driver. His mother was a cleaning lady. Connery said he was known by his middle name as a child. When he became an actor he kept his middle name and dropped his first name. Thomas Sean Connery was thought to be too long to fit on a theatre marquee.

Prior to becoming an actor Connery worked at a succession of jobs. He took any work he could get, among them milkman, cement mixer, steel-bender, lorry driver, lifeguard, laborer, artist’s model and coffin polisher. As a youth he was undersized, but by the age of 18 he had grown to his full height of 6′ 2″. Along the way he acquired a new nickname, “Big Tam” and took up body building. In addition, he served in the Royal Navy.

In the 1950s he began helping out backstage in the theatre in order to supplement his income. In 1953 he entered a bodybuilding competition in London. One of his competitors advised him of an audition for a production of South Pacific. Connery was hired as one of the Seabees chorus boys. He remained with the troupe and eventually worked his way up to a featured speaking role.

As often happens in the entertainment business Connery’s big break, his selection as James Bond, was a combination of talent and fortune. Ian Fleming, the author of the series of Bond books, was not in favor of casting Connery in the role. According to Fleming, Connery was “not what I envisioned [as Bond].” He considered Connery to be “unrefined” and “an overgrown stuntman.” Without Fleming’s blessing Connery’s chances of landing the role were remote. However, both Dana Broccoli, producer Albert Broccoli’s wife, and Blanche Blackwell, Ian Fleming’s girlfriend, convinced the two men that Connery was the right man. Blackwell opined that Connery has the “requisite sexual charisma.” We all know how persuasive wives and girlfriends can be. So, Connery got the role, and the rest was history.

Dr. No (1962) was a huge success, and the studio eagerly produced a succession of sequels, which were also wildly successful. Fleming soon forgot about any reservations he had had about Connery and became a strong advocate. With each sequel the plots became more outrageous, the locales more exotic, the stunts more elaborate, and the women more sexy and beautiful Every aspiring actress wanted to be cast as a “Bond girl.” It was almost a rite of passage. The public couldn’t get enough of Bond and Connery. Soon the movies bore little resemblance to Fleming’s books, but nobody really cared.

In 1971, after having starred in six Bond films Connery was ready for a change. Despite critically-acclaimed performances in Marnie and The Hill he lamented that he wasn’t being taken seriously as an actor. He complained that the image of him the press had fostered did not do justice to his acting ability. So, at the age of 41 he walked away from the role of a lifetime.

The conventional wisdom of the Hollywood experts was that he had made a grave error. They thought no one would want to hire a “balding, middle-aged actor with a funny accent.” However, Connery got the last laugh. He was not a one-hit wonder as an actor. He went on to appear in many “hit” films, such Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the Untouchables, and The Hunt for Red October.


Connery’s personal life did not measure up to his acting career. It left a lot to be desired. His first marriage was marred by accusations of physical abuse, and it didn’t last long. Connery did not deny the charges. In fact, he defended his boorish behavior. In a 1965 interview he told Playboy that he did not see “anything particularly wrong” in striking a woman. To him, “an open-handed slap is justified.”

Connery was the recipient of numerous awards. For example, as an actor he won one Academy Award for his role in the Untouchables and three Golden Globes, among others. In 1989 People Magazine voted him the “Sexiest Man Alive; in 1999 People proclaimed him to be “The Greatest Man of the Century; in 2004 the Sunday Herald proclaimed him to be the “Greatest Living Scot;” and in 2000 Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed him to be a British knight.

Connery passed away on October 31 at the age of 90. According to his son he died “peacefully” in his sleep after having been “unwell for some time.” Among the mourners was Barbara Broccoli, Albert’s and Dana’s daughter, who was said to be “devastated” by the news. She told reporters that Connery’s “gritty, and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent” was primarily responsible for the success of the Bond franchise.

Quiz answers: (1) Atticus Finch and Indiana Jones. (2) Sean Connery, David Niven, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig