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Thursday, August 19, 2010

An Ode to Fifty-Frustrated-Six

Notwithstanding the crack, snapple and pop from my joints when attempting to benchpress weights that were easily manageable in my youth, I really shouldn't complain. My business consultancy firm, serving a handful of select clients, is doing reasonably well during this near catastrophic recession, which has been particularly cruel to those like myself who are beginning to approach retirement age. In addition, I am flying less, the children seem reasonably settled, and Pancake the dog is aging well as he accompanies me on my perambulations in search of insight and inspiration. And yet . . .

I can't recall when I last went to a movie, and there isn't a single new film out there that I want to see. Wait, I do remember when I last went to a theater -- I took my youngest son to "Avatar" and promptly fell asleep in a plush velvet armchair after I grew bored with the 3-D effects.

I watch in astonishment as those around me "message" with their thumbs. Quite honestly, even if I were to acquire the necessary skill set to engage in such communication and I could manage it without reading glasses, I can't imagine maintaining this constant thread of chatter. Almost surely, I would quickly run out of things to say to my small circle of friends.

Today's music? Sure, I remember when my father turned his nose up at rock and roll, which I still enjoy, and which, combined with frequent proximity to artillery fire, has left me slightly deaf. But today's trance and hip hop music? I can't listen to it. David Hume once wrote an essay on aesthetics explaining that the quality of an artwork is reflected by the unique ability of connoisseurs to discern its excellence and by sustained appreciation of the work over the years by the general population (Hume failed to explain the disparity between these two criteria). I don't know if there are any connoisseurs extolling the virtues of trance and hip hop music. On the other hand, my customers routinely ask me to predict the future, and my guess is that trance and hip hop will be six feet under in another few years, never to be resurrected.

Politics and current events? In search of a panacea and ready to be suckered by a slick advertising campaign, Americans elected a spineless president, uniquely unprepared for the job, who is presiding over global economic slippage, the destruction of U.S. exceptionalism, and the rise of nuclear-armed tyrannies threatening the annihilation of the world.

And if all of the above is not enough, anti-Semitism has never been worse in my lifetime. Every day disturbing reports arrive from different corners of the globe concerning new outrages. Yesterday, Holland ( and Chile ( "featured" in the news.

Occasionally overwhelmed by this grim cloud of despair, I seek sanctuary in family, friends, books and garden. Also, I am blessed to be able to work as an outside consultant for two life sciences companies, Compugen (therapeutics and diagnostics) and Rainbow Medical (medical devices), whose brilliant staff and cutting edge science will, in my opinion, revolutionize the world of medicine. Yes, there is still a place somewhere in this faltering world for creativity, productivity and excellence aimed at universally bettering people's lives.

And then there is always Pancake . . .

[As noted in prior blog entries, I am a Compugen shareholder, this blog entry is not a recommendation to buy or sell Compugen shares, and in mid-September 2009 I began work as a part-time external consultant to Compugen. The opinions expressed herein are mine and are based on publicly available information. This blog entry has not been authorized or approved by Compugen or Rainbow Medical.]


  1. I hear ya' bro....Out of my good ear that is!

  2. 4 eggs
    1 cup flour
    1.25 cups milk
    pinch of salt
    beat the batter and leave in bowl (in fridge) for a few hours
    pour thin into hot oiled frying pan and flip then sugar and douse with generous capful of Cointreau,
    and serve....
    no, sorry, ignore this. These are crepes suzettes, not pancakes.