Sunday, August 19, 2018


San Jose State University
Reaches For New Hypes

What’s In a Name?
Do any of you remember when San Jose State University was called Minns Evening Normal School, after George W. Minns founded it in San Francisco in 1857. George was an 1836 graduate of Harvard College, and we have a Harvard connection. In 1862, it became the California State Normal School and graduated fifty-four women from a three-year program. Your school was ahead of today’s times regarding women in higher education.

The school moved to San Jose in 1871, and in 1882, a southern branch of the now named California State Normal School opened in Los Angeles, and eventually became UCLA. So add to the school’s pedigree, that it helped to foster UCLA’s phenomenal basketball empire.

In 1921, the northern school changed its name to the State Teachers College at San Jose. In 1935, the name was changed once again to San Jose State College, and in keeping with the school’s need to change names as often as possible, in 1972 SJSC was granted university status, and was renamed California State University, San Jose. In 1974, the California legislature voted to change the school’s name to San Jose State University.

Change by Degrees
My Master of Science Degree granted in 1971 was granted by the Department of Mass Communications at San Jose State College, and would have come from San Jose State University a year later.  At one time it was the Department of Journalism and Advertising, and that morphed into the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (JMC).

Change by Decrees
For many years, JMC was part of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts (CASA), but that has recently changed and has now been prestigiously renamed as the College of Health and Human Sciences.  Journalism and Mass Communications have nothing to do with Health, although under the Trump reign, they may be needed to teach students on how to improve the nation’s mental health.

Football Is a Kick
During the 2017 football season, the SJSU football team played at CEFCU stadium that once was called Spartan Stadium. It was completed in 1933 with a seating capacity of 18,000, and n the 1980s capacity was increased to 30,456.

Not that many seats were needed last season as SJSU’s home attendance in 2017 averaged only 14,206 people per game, including 18,483 in attendance for the Spartans’ 27-10 home game loss to Fresno State. During most recent football and basketball seasons, attendance spiked whenever a caravan of Bulldog fans drove over and put more red-clad people in the stands than the Spartans were able to muster.

$old to the Highest Bidder
In August 2016, the aforementioned Spartan Stadium became CEFCU Stadium, after the Citizens Equity First Credit Union purchased the naming rights for $8.7 million over the next fifteen years. SJSU became the only university in the CSU system to sell the naming rights to its football stadium, for $580,000 per year.

With a 2 win and 11-loss season in 2017, and a total home attendance of 85.235 over six games, will it be worth it for CEFCU? Last September, SJSU absorbed a 56-0 loss in an away game against the University of Texas, in front of a crowd of 88,117 fans.

The Rest Is Yet to Come
With only an 14,206 average attendance last year, San Jose State was able to transfer their October 13, 2018 game against the U.S. Military Academy — Army — from CEFCU Stadium to Levi’s Stadium in nearby Santa Clara. Levi’s has a seating capacity of 68,000, however, it is expandable to 75,000 to host major events such as the Super Bowl and the World Cup.

Will SJSU vs. Army be such a major event? How many of USMA’s 4,389 undergraduate students will be willing to drive the 2,951 miles to Santa Clara, take more than forty-three hours to do so, and then pay $59 for a single ticket to attend? They won’t be filling up Levi’s for a match between San Jose State’s 2017 team with their 2-11 record. Army with a 10-3 record last year, will warm up in 2018 by playing, among others, Liberty, Hawaii and Buffalo before SJSU, and then Miami of Ohio, Eastern Michigan, Lafayette, and Colgate.

Spartan’s head football coach Brent Brennan was beside himself when he enthusiastically endorsed the venue change. "It's going to be an awesome experience for our team. Any chance you get to play in an NFL venue like that, be in an NFL locker room, play of an NFL surface, it will be an incredible experience for our fans and our football team." 

"Just knowing the Pac-12 Championship is played there every year and having the College Football Championship there, it doesn't get any bigger than that. I think it's a great lineup of college football in the stadium this season and we're excited to be a part of it."

Hope that the 2018 Spartans will be as thrilled with Levi’s NFL venue, NFL locker room, and playing on an NFL surface, as their coach is.

One advantage of this match-up is that the SJSU players will be able to look into the stands, and easily find and identify their family and friends occupying a few of the seats at Levi’s.

Saturday, August 18, 2018


Two Wayne State Grads
Gave Much to the World

If you went to Wayne University in the 1950s or 1960s, you may have been fortunate enough to meet either Eugene Applebaum, or Johnny Kline. Eugene passed on December 2017 at the age of eighty-one, and Johnny was eighty-six when he died in July of 2018.

Had In Common
They had a few things in common, including attending Wayne University, where Johnny played basketball, and joined the track and field team setting a school record in the triple jump. At that time, it was called the hop, step and jump event. They also were both connected with the world of drugs, in completely different ways.

Gave All He Could
Eugene was a ∑AMMY and the founder of Arbor Drugs, which grew to 208 stores before he sold out to CVS. He used his financial gains for many worthwhile, charitable endeavors through the years. Among his many such contributions was the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Science building that opened in 2002. Next time you stop by the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, check out the Applebaum-Driker Auditorium, that two Eugene’s “built,” in honor of their parents.

As for Johnny Kline, his athletic endeavors hurt his grades, making him academically ineligible to stay on the team. He joined that Harlem Globetrotters, tried out for the Pistons, but lost it all in the 1960’s, as he fought a drug addiction.

Tried His Very Best 
He conquered his addiction, became a drug abuse counselor, and resumed his education earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, and then a Ph.D. in education. In 1986, he was named the director of education and substance abuse for the City of Detroit’s health department.

Both Ended Well 
They both started out as Tartars, and left this world as Warriors. These two Wayne University men, each left a lasting impression on their particular worlds.

Monday, July 30, 2018



We just returned from ten days in Michigan, where I visited with family, having lost my dear brother-in-law Stanley Halprin. It was truly an emotional experience for all of us. 

Getting Together

I also attended the 65thanniversary of my high school graduation. Amazingly, some of my classmates from Central High School’s 1953 class were unrecognizable, for they had grown older, some were friendly, and some were not. One, who had subscribed to my Ho-Ho-Kus Cogitator, bitterly complained that he had not received an issue in some time, which was quite logical, since I hadn’t written one in some time. When I returned home, I found a check from another fellow graduate, who renewed a subscription that had not yet run out. It was a treat to talk with others whom I had missed at the 60thanniversary celebration. It was then agreed to have reunions more often, for our numbers were diminishing, but not the animosity felt for me by one disgruntled graduate, who wrote stinging responses to anything I wrote that didn’t toe the far right line on either our president or Israel’s.

In May, before the reunion, he sent me the following, brief email after reading something I wrote, “ I will have suicde(SIC) pills forU, or will gladly pay your way out of the country, if you cannot handle him!!! please do not bother talking to me at the reunion!!!!”

The Past Has Passed
That seemed to be as direct as possible invitation to avoid him, and although our eyes met at the celebration across a crowded room, we avoided any face-to-face exchange of words. Near the end of the gala, we were walking parallel to one another about ten feet apart in opposite directions, when he raised his arm, pointed at me, and uttered, “Harvey Gotliffe.” I, in turn, raised my arm pointed at him and said his name.

It felt good communicating with him in person one last time, since we had known each other for more than sixty-eight years, and who knows when we will meet again.

One Letter Off Truly 
Changes the Meaning
John James, GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate from Michigan, declares himself to be “A True Conservative Republican,” and one campaign mailing emphasized that, “John James and President Trump Are Committed to Securing Our Borders.”

In the last line, he strongly states, “We must protect our borders and DEFUND sanctuary cities.”

DEFUND is in bright red type because someone on John’s team, including the candidate himself, neglected to proofread the copy of his previous mailing. The following explanation appeared on the bottom of James’ second mailing. “A2Z Printing regrets a printing error on a previous piece of mail you received falsely saying John James will “Defend Sanctuary Cities.” This was a mistake by A2Z Printing and does not reflect John James’ true position to DEFUND Sanctuary Cities. We are responsible for this error and not the candidate.”

Perhaps the candidate is just following his party’s leader in saying something, changing his mind, and not meaning what he originally said.

Pence the Pontiff 
Don’t wish for Trump to leave office because he is bored, is tired of all the confrontations he initiates, wants to play more golf, or will be impeached. If so the next in line is Michael Pence, who is nearer to God than thee, followed by the astute Mitch McConnell, who mumbles in an incomprehensible twang.

Here’s a non-biased, honest, unprejudiced opinion piece from the GOP’s favorite print medium, the New York Times. Notice how Pence blends in with his co-religionists.

Newer Friendships
May Last Longer
 Back in 1963 or so, when I was driving an MG-TD, I was at an inner-city party at Cliff Frasier’s house in Detroit. There I met a Black man with the Jewish last name of Abrams, who was driving a Jaguar. We clicked together as auto buffs, jazz enthusiasts, and relatively simple human beings without any pretenses.

At one time, he and I lived a few blocks apart around Wayne State University. Later, when Tyrone lived in New York City in the 1960s, and my first wife Chellie, daughter Amy and I lived in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, we would visit him in his East Village pad on the weekend. My wife enjoyed sleeping late, and when I ventured across the George Washington Bridge by myself one early Sunday morning, I was greeted at his door by two naked white chicks. They welcomed me in while Tyrone was getting bagels for a trip we eventually all took to a reservoir for a swim in the exclusive, all-white, Westchester County suburb. Passersby gawked at us, infringing on their unoccupied waters.

When Tyrone would occasionally come to Ho-Ho-Kus when I was at work, my wife, daughter and Tyrone would shop at the small A & P down the block from our home. He’d carry my daughter on his shoulders as they strolled through the grocery store, and she would call him “Uncle Ty.” This so unnerved the locals, seeing a young white child atop the shoulders of a Black man, that they would give my wife a cold shoulder on any subsequent shopping trip.

Tyrone and I continued to stay in touch through the years, and he moved into his late Mother’s home in what was the Jewish section of Northwest Detroit. Whenever my current wife Carmen and I visited Detroit in recent years, we would get together at the Shangri-La Restaurant in the suburbs. This year, we shared a lunch at its locale around Wayne State’s campus, and although Dave Rambeau never showed, we enjoyed each other’s company once again.

When I told Tyrone that we wouldn’t be coming back to Detroit again, due to our aversion to flying, he poignantly said, “It’s been a good run.” It’s a shame that my finger pointing, reunion classmate couldn’t say the same thing. 

Friday, May 25, 2018



Trying to Write World History Now
While Rewriting His Family’s History
 An “immigrant,” who Donald J., the GOP, and “the base” denigrate as part of their daily ritual, and are encouraged to do so by Donald. His latest foray into promulgating extremely negative descriptions of immigrants, include, “These aren’t people, these are animals.”

When it comes to describing south of the border individuals, he unequivocally describes them as “rapists, drug dealers, who are bringing in crime.” He strongly qualifies his off-the-mark rhetoric, by adding, “Some, I assume, are good people.” 
If you look long enough and hard enough, you may be able to find a politician who could be considered “a good person.”

They Came from Europe
Germany, Not Sweden
Trump’s grandfather, Friedrich Trump (or Drumpf) came from Kallstadt, Palatinate, in 1885. It was then part of the Kingdom of Bavaria. He changed his name to Frederick in 1892 when he came to the U.S. at the age of sixteen, and started working as a barber. That’s when the Trump tradition of better hair for the masses, first began.

According to Wikipedia, Friedrich (below left) was approaching the age of military conscription in the Imperial German Army, and immigrated to the United States. Avoiding the draft seems to be another family tradition. Because of his wife Elizabeth’s homesickness, the family returned to Germany in 1904, and Bavarian authorities determined that he was a draft dodger, and should lose his German citizenship.

After an unsuccessful attempt to stay, he and his family returned to New York in June 1905, and their son Frederick C. Trump was born that October. As Donald’s father, Fred Trump (center below), told people that he was of Swedish ancestry, concealing the family’s German heritage.

A Family of Immigrants
Friedrich’s grandfather, Johann Trump, was born in the village of Bobenheim am Berg, where his grandson Friedrich was born in 1869, and was Donald’s grandfather.

Trump’s mother Mary Anne MacLeod, came from the Hebridean island of Lewis, off the west coast of Scotland.

Of his three wives, Donald’s first wife, Ivana Marie Zelnickova, (left below) was born in Zlin, Czechoslovakia, and his third wife, Melania (or Melanija) Knavs (center below), was born in Novo Mesto, Yugoslavia, the present-day Slovenia.

Barron William Trump is the youngest child of Donald and Melania, whom Donald recently referred to as Melanie.

Marla Ann Maples (far right below), Donald’s second wife was born in Dalton, Georgia, making her his only wife who was an American citizen at the time of their marriage
A Very Sensitive Man
Donald J., whose thoughts, opinions, and items he deems to consider as important, varies according to his mood. He recently cancelled his meeting with Kim Jong-Un, because of what Trump considered to be an insult to America’s great Vice-President. In a North Korean statement cited by Donald J., a top foreign Ministry official referred to Mike Pence as a “political dummy,” for his comments on the North.

Because of Donald’s warm and cozy relationship with Michael, he was offended by the truth of that description. If that benign remark infuriated him that much, neither he nor Pence are ready to deal with the reality of foreign affairs.

Who Shouldn’t Be Here, Donald?
Today, Donald suggested that those professional football players, who kneel during the playing of our National Anthem, shouldn’t be allowed to remain in the United States.

Bravo, draft evader Donald, who never served in the military.

Lest the country forget, oh patriot, that Donald J. attended the New York Military Academy — a high school. After he graduated from college in the spring of 1968, he was eligible to be drafted and sent to Vietnam. However, the brave, future leader of our great nation, managed to receive a coveted 1-Y medical deferment exempting him from ever wading through the swamps of Vietnam. That’s the medical deferred Trump in the middle of this photograph.

This deferment was one of five Trump received during Vietnam, and it was based on “the fact” that he had bone spurs in his heels. The other deferments were for education. Trump was quoted as saying, “I had a doctor that gave me a letter — a very strong letter on the heels.”

He never needed an operation for that devastating problem, but confessed in an interview with the New York Times. “Over a period of time, it healed up.”

“Time heals all wounds,” sayeth Chaucer in “Troilus and Criseyde,” although the exact olde English words were, “As tyme hem hurt, a tyme doth hem cure.”

Others prefer that in the case of Trump, Menander (342 BC – 291 BC) should be given credit with his Greek Version, “Time is the healer of all necessary evils.” More apropos to Donald and has actions, would be “Time wounds all heels,” and the sooner the better.

Sadly, many of Trump’s wounds seem to be more self-inflicted every day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


We are at a precarious time in history, with no one firmly ensconced at the top of the world power ladder, but with several individuals trying to flex their muscles.

Perhaps if we look at the Bible’s Book of Judges, we can see how Delilah deceived Samson, and had him finally reveal that his strength lay in his hair. She, in turn, let the Philistines know of his weakness, they shaved his locks, and he lost his strength.

If those on the ladder could have their lock shaven, perhaps they would each become more docile and less inclined to hold the ultimate of the power they now seek.

It sure would help make the world a better place.

Who are these hirsute hombres, each with their own inimitable coiffures, and if they were shorn, would they each be a better person?

Donald J. Trump

Bob Dylan and/or Peter, Paul and Mary, both expressed that “the answer is blowing in the wind.”  When that song was released in 1963, Donald and his hair was worlds away from that reality, and he is still quite consistent, being away from any reality today.

Vladimir Putin
Here is another leader searching for his place in history. “Putin on the Ritz” was written by Irving Berlin and first published in 1929.  Vlad is power hungry, looking for a way to recreate a dominant USSR, but that time is long gone. Watch Vlad here, as he rides to conquer the world:

Kim Jong-un

He currently serves as Supreme Leader of North Korea, and anyone who conflicts with him and his policies, may be dispatched relatively quickly. This 5’7” giant is quite inconsistent, except for his hair. He was born on January 8, 1982, or 1983, or 1984.

Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon is an American businessman involved with the Las Vegas gambling scene, and has a fortune of US40 billion. Much of that money goes to deciding which way to comb his hair. He is a devout Zionist and a right-leaning GOP, who donated heavily to Trump’ 2016 campaign.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Bibi, like many of these power players, is firm in his resolve to cover any frontal bald spots by combing his hair from left to right. It’s a very apropos gesture for Israel’s right-leaning Likud Party leader. He admires Trump and Trump’s hairdresser, and looks forward to a two-state solution — one state for Likud members, and another for settlers.


Sunday, April 8, 2018



Many have been receiving an unending collection of campaign muck and mire, emanating from those seeking to either support or get rid of Donald Joseph Trump and his semi-savvy savants.

Elected Republicans are wary of saying anything against Donald J’s twiddling tweets, fearing that he could reverse his course in a moment, and then attack the source of any anti-Trump message.

His political appointees, whether a member of his rotating cabinet or serving as a messenger, know that their position depends on his mood on any given early morning foray into his vacillating tweet land.

The Democrats, Progressives, and out-of office functionaries who are eager to replace those closely aligned with the Mar-A-Lago runaways, are also wary of what they say. If they attack too much, the response could bite them at the ballot box, when their vindictive opposition starts grinding out their own convoluted, anti-truth messages.

In 2016, Democratic strategists sent out the wrong messages to the wrong people, merely solidifying those who truly wanted to believe in something. It took them a while to discover that along with California and New York, there were needed electoral votes and voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, Kansas, Iowa, Texas and Arizona.

The four-page letter I received a few days ago from Bernie, spelled out all of the problems the country now faces. While much of the blame is laid upon Donald, blame also has to be given to those progressives who helped him to be elected through their political naivety and weak actions in the 2016 campaign. That includes Debbie, Donna, Hillary, and the DNC.

Democrats are going after the dollars of middle-class whites, and the votes of the unappreciated minorities of color and those with an English-language deficiency. Let’s hope that they have a more organized plan then the last one, trying to connect with citizens who will vote on November 6, 2018, and beyond.

There are young people who seem to be attempting to change the direction of our country. Along with Blacks and Latinos and Latinas, the Democrats had better pay attention to the neglected minority of middle-class, non-progressive whites, like the police officer in this photo. The Reverend Sharpton, not withstanding his ability to be on the scene everywhere at the same time, may not be able to deliver the votes needed in 2018 to change the course of the country’s ship of state.

Monday, March 26, 2018

THIS & THAT #33 1/2

This past Sunday, Villanova beat Duke 85 to 81 in Omaha, to become one of the final four universities remaining in the quest for the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s basketball championship game on April 2. Although the NCAA is a non-profit organization, its 2016 revenue for all sports under its dictatorial control, came to $995.6 million in 2016. The president of the NCAA will “earn” just under $2 million a year, the highest paid basketball coach Mike Krzyewski at Duke makes $8.89 million a year, while college basketball players earn whatever they can get under the table, and from unscrupulous agents.

Thirty-three years ago, Villanova’s 1985 two-point, 66-64 win over favored Georgetown took place in Lexington, Kentucky. Although I always root for the underdog, and wanted Villanova to win, the evening of that 1985 game, my time was divided between the television set turned to the game, and the gathering in the dining room of some professor’s house in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

I was a professor at Central Michigan University, and could have easily stayed home ensconced in front of my own set, except for the guest speaker on the campus that night, who was the center of attention at this home.

The Jewish Faculty Group had invited Bruno Bettelheim to speak at an afternoon forum on campus, followed by a formal dinner, and then a casual get together at the professor’s home. Bettleheim, who was born in Austria in 1903, and imprisoned in German concentration camps, was released in 1939 and immigrated to the United States.

As a psychologist, he taught at the University of Chicago, and wrote extensively on autistic children, and offered insight for dealing with children. His book Children of the Dream (1967) dealt with the communal rearing of children in Israeli kibbutzim. Since I had spent parts of two years in Israel researching my dissertation topic, I wanted to talk with him.

I wove my way back and forth between watching the basketball game, and wending my way to wherever Bruno was surrounded by other faculty. Twas heaven to have intellectual stimulation in one room, and viewing an NCAA basketball championship in another room.

On March 31st, Loyola will be playing Michigan, with one old-timer sitting on each bench, rooting for their teams.

On April 2nd, Villanova may be playing for another championship, and if I do watch it, it will be in the comfort of our home, with my wife Carmen by my side.


Shepard Was Shapiro
Until He Needed a Job
 Bernard Shepard was a nice Jewish boy from New York, but after graduating from Syracuse University with a degree in journalism and serving in WW2 as reporter for a military newspaper, he began looking for a full-time job.

Unfortunately, not too many media outlets were looking to hire a ”Shapiro,” so he changed his name to Shepard, and he did get job offers. Bernie eventually went back to college to get advanced degrees, and ended up teaching at Fresno State University, where I ended up from 1971 to 1973.

Bernie retired to Santa Cruz, and I would visit him and his wife June, who lived only five minutes away. Each time I stopped by, he was at his dining room table, which was filled with too many bottles of meds, accompanied by a plethora of medical bills.

When I commented on that as a fifty-four year old “youngster,” he would reply, “Your turn will come all too soon.”

It did, and Bernie died within a year or two.

The Medical Muddle
Has Become All Mine
 I am eighty-two, and although I don’t have as large accumulation of meds and bills as Bernie did, I continually have a load of medical problems, caused mainly by aging and dealing with doctors and insurance companies.

Let’s start at the top with the pre-cancerous and cancerous growths I need removed from my head, on a regular basis.

Twice a year, my regular doctor will spray the early growths with liquid nitrogen to kill them, and if the growths have found a dwelling on my head, he will either take to carving them out himself, or send me to a dermatologist trained in the MOHS method. The latter is more efficient, since the doctor keeps me in his office until all of the cancer is removed.

I go in, he does some carving, and then sends me to the waiting room while he can quickly measure whether or not his work has been successful. If not, I am brought back in for another slicing. He will continue to do this until I am cancer free.

My regular doctor, estimates where the growth is, slices that area, and I am sent home while the specimen is sent to the lab for an analysis. When I come back in a week, I get the verdict as to whether or not he caught the cancer.

After my March 12th operation, when I came back on March 19th to have the stitches removed, he told me that the lab’s biopsy revealed that there were still some areas to be worked on. That’s when he suggested that I go to the MOHS man.

My First Medical Concierge
 When I called the MOHS man’s main office, I was told that the earliest I could be seen would be on April 17th, which was too far in the future for me. I called again, asked specifically for the MOHS man, and left a message with Kathy, who was his “concierge.” I persuaded her to move the date up, and it’s now scheduled for tomorrow, March 27.

I called this morning asking what meds I should stop taking before the procedure,
and the receptionist called back immediately. Tomorrow is not a procedure day, the appointment is for the MOH’s man to look at you, evaluate you, and then schedule a date in the future for the procedure.

I carefully explained that my primary doctor had sent the MOH’s man the complete lab results of the first procedure, but the concierge said that I have to be examined in person before he would even think about cutting into me.

So tomorrow, I will go in for an hour, be examined, and that appointment is to determine what is to be eventually done and when.

An appointment for an appointment sounds like a way to add to the Medicare billing,
and cost me some more time in a waiting room.

My only hope for satisfaction tomorrow is if I get to meet a medical concierge for the first time ever.