Vive La France, Believe For Beirut


Art by Jean Jullien

There is not enough space in this paper to write about the sorrow, anger and grief that people are feeling after the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris, France, that killed at least 132 people and injured more than 300. The day before, a double suicide bomb attack killed 43 people in Beirut.

A perfectly executed timing of mass destruction shook the grounds of the France’s capital when a bomb went off during a soccer match at the Stade de France, a concert at Bataclan and several restaurants and cafés in the 10th and 11th arrondissement.

The news was all too familiar for New Yorkers, who were instantly transported back the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Islamic State proudly took responsibility for both country’s massacres, as the rest of the world began to execute safety measures and plot a course of revenge.

For those in Paris, Facebook launched a check-in feature for users in the city, allowing them to notify friends and family that they were safe. The site also allowed users to filter their profile pictures with the French flag, but did nothing for those in Beirut, who felt overshadowed and forgotten.

But it is not enough to post #prayforparis or send empty condolences in the form of 140 characters. During this time of thanks and giving, those who truly want to help should consider donating more of themselves.

For those near Europe, blood donations are needed for the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, who are coordinating relief efforts in France and Beruit. French Popular Relief is accepting clothing, money and material assistance for those in France as Mercy Corps is accepting money and material assistance to provide to Lebanese victims.

The City of Lights was dimmed for a little while, but now shines brighter than ever. Pray for Paris and believe for Beirut.

It All Adds Up

A recent study by two Princeton University professors, one a Nobel laureate, has revealed that death rates for middle-age white males nationwide has climbed significantly in the past two decades. The study dovetails with Long Island’s heroin problem. Such numbers also included a spike in white male suicide rates. Sympathetic pundits have cited the dominance of corporate power in America, which they blame for the continued loss of blue collar jobs overseas and the four-decades-long decrease in real wages. But wage deflation effects all Americans. Certainly the permissive culture that prevailed in the ’60s and ’70s has plenty to do with the increase in the death rate. Why did the white male suicide rate take such a jump?

There is a matter of economics. It can be humiliating for a man who is unable to support a wife and children on a single paycheck, as was once the norm. When a good, manufacturing job goes overseas, then that worker just lost the best job he will ever have. The culture wars of the past three decades haven’t helped either. Fewer and fewer white males attend college, the track to better-paying jobs. This is due to tuition fees, but also, maybe, to demonization. Who wants to spend enormous amounts of money just to sit in a classroom and hear how wicked one’s heritage is? None of this in itself may cause such an ultimate act, still demonization is creating a lost generation of American youths.

So what is it? Cultural and demographic displacement? Jobs leaving America? Jobs for which the pay can’t keep pace with inflation? And how did that happen? Free trade? Greedy unions—or greedy capitalists? No one, including us, knows the causes for increased white male suicide. Let’s just say that it all adds up.

Food for Thought

As Vegetarian Awareness Month was coming to a close in October, the World Health Organization reported on the dangers of eating red and processed meats. Days later, Anonymous for Animal Rights released the disturbing YouTube video Through Their Eyes, highlighting an undercover investigation from a baby chick’s perspective.
Meat production is projected to double by 2020, according to Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and it’s impacting our planet.

To meet the rising demand, livestock production has grown increasingly more industrialized and accounts for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, according to the Livestock, Environment and Development (LEAD) Initiative.

The average Westerner consumes 176 pounds of meat annually and more than two-thirds of all agricultural land is devoted to growing feed, while only 8 percent is used to grow food for human consumption, LEAD reported. Researchers also found that the livestock industry uses dwindling water supplies, destroys forests and grasslands, and pollution as well as fertilizer and animal-waste runoff create dead zones in coastal areas. Since livestock accounts for 50 percent of antibiotic use globally, there’s also concern over increased antibiotic resistance.

To put this in perspective:

• Approximately three times more chickens roam the earth than humans.
• 5,000 gallons of water are required to produce one pound of beef.
• Each cow produces 100 gallons of the greenhouse gas methane every day, which is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide and comparable to the pollution of a car.
• Eliminating two pounds of beef conserves enough water for a five-minute shower every day for an entire year.

Many advocates believe that any move toward a plant-based diet results in healthier humans and a healthier planet.

If we are what we eat, instead of selecting foods out of habit, we should think about the impact of our choices. We can shift the focus from meat as the main ingredient to incorporating it as a complement to any meal—and substitute the many healthy, cholesterol-free and delicious alternatives. With Thanksgiving around the corner and a turkey shortage looming, Tofurky anyone?

The Naked Truth

I was a pretty awkward teenager in high school so there’s no shortage of cringe-worthy photos of me from my younger years. Every now and again, those pictures will show up again on my Facebook feed or at a friend’s house, and I roll my eyes, wondering why I thought those clothes were cool or that not brushing my hair was an acceptable life choice.

But for many of today’s teenagers, the pictures that are resurfacing are a bit less lighthearted. According to, in 2014, 22 percent of teen girls and 18 percent of teen boys reported sending nude or semi-nude photos of themselves. And a recent CNN study revealed that 15 percent of 13-year-olds had received photos of a sexual nature. Sexting has become the new normal, the modern day equivalent of passing folded-up love notes in class.

Many teens might fall under the delusion that these pictures will stay private, but they rarely (if ever) do. They get sent around, shared, and in the worst cases, used for revenge. And if you think Long Island’s immune, you’re wrong. Last week, reports stated that school districts across the island were informing parents about a website where teens were anonymously uploading naked or scantily dressed pictures of themselves and others. The site is cataloged by state and high school, and according to ABC7, the districts on the list include Hicksville, Massapequa, Syosset, Farmingdale, Levittown and Manhasset, among others.

In today’s world of selfies and social media, it takes seconds to send a picture to the masses and not think twice about it. But lest we forget that those pictures last forever. Life is hard enough without having to worry if your naked picture is going to show up on the Internet one day. So teenagers, keep your clothes on and do normal things like hang out with your friends instead of trying to find acceptance online. And parents, don’t be naive to what’s going on in your kids’ lives. After all, you saw them naked first.

It’s A Dog’s Life

When Rosie passed away in June after a full life of 16 years, my wife Susan wasn’t terribly anxious to get a new dog. But after three dogs covering 46 years of living here in Plainview, the house felt awfully empty without Rosie, so we would up adopting a “rescue dog” in July.

Kirby is about 1 year-old, fully trained, with about as pleasant a disposition as you can imagine. Yeah, he gets a bit wild at times, flying up and down the stairs between our living room and the den below, but all in all he has been a great addition to our family. It’s hard to imagine why he was simply abandoned on the streets by whoever previously owned him. Our gain.

We found Kirby through Ruff House Rescue in Freeport, where some very dedicated animal lovers are doing an amazing job of finding homes for unwanted dogs. They did a background check on us, as they do with all prospective adopters, and we took our new buddy back to his new Plainview home.

Kirby has since made lots of new friends as we walked him up and down Sylvia Lane and Warren Place, and he has spent some quality time chilling out at my office at the Greater Long Island Running Club and, of course at Petco in Syosset (where he had an interesting introduction to a ferret). He also participated with my wife at the Dog Walk at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration in August, and of course, has visited with my daughter and our grandkids in Old Bethpage.

You may be beginning to wonder where this is going, and I’m not sure that it was originally intended to “go” anywhere. But I guess it’s a plug for getting a dog as a companion and, if you do so, to think about a “rescue dog.” Bambi, OJ, Rosie and now Kirby have been an important part of our lives for 46 years. A dog will give you unquestioning loyalty, unbridled affection and a few good laughs every now and then. Your children, on the other hand…
—Mike Polansky

Lay Off Trump, People Are Afraid And Fed Up

Those of us who are supporting businessman Donald Trump for president are supporting him for many reasons. We are fed up with politicians who speak, make promises and when elected, do nothing. We are fed up with Congress, Washington, local politicians, state leaders and corruption. We also are fed up with political correctness, because we have a real fear of what can come. North Korea has a maniac as a leader with a nuke ready to launch. The leaders of Iran are not joking about ending America and Israel. We have drugs, illegal guns, human trafficking, gang members and terrorist cells crossing into our country. The young highly-intelligent Muslim child who built that clock knew exactly what he was doing bringing that device to school and knew the reaction he would receive. The media sided with the child. I grew up in the ’60s fearing what Russia might do; today I fear a more radical regime that is hell bent on destroying everyone who doesn’t believe in their crusade. I am sure there were peaceful Germans when Hitler was trying to take over the world. I’m sure there were peaceful Japanese who stood by as Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Shouldn’t we reflect on history and learn from the past so as not to recreate an even larger catastrophic event? Freedom of speech shouldn’t be stopped or correct, those people are only speaking out of a real fear. Doesn’t the media share some of the responsibility for our fears? The media can’t have it both ways, it’s either the problems are real or made up. We can’t stand for or elect another weak politician who has been bought by lobbyists.

—Patrick Nicolosi

The Beginning Of Autumn

Sweet summer is finally over. It’s out with the coconut and in with the pumpkin. While many of you are still sobbing into your beach blankets, it’s tiOpEd_Autumn_093015Ame to admit that another summer has come and gone and will—as always—come again. Let’s face it, there’s only four months until January when flip flops and shorts adorn mannequins again, so for now let’s just accept with open arms, another Long Island autumn.

Believe it or not, there are the select few out there—myself included—who enjoy the rain, chilly weather and layers upon layers of clothes. We are the ones who leap out of bed on the first day of September and are eager to get in line for a pumpkin spice coffee, break out the autumnal decorations and spend half of our paycheck at the craft store. We don’t care if it’s 90 degrees outside. We ignore the summer lovers who hang onto the fatal day of Sept. 21, as the official last day of summer and focus on how many apple cinnamon candles we need to stock up on. Earth tone colors, boots, cozy scarves and sweaters. What’s not to like?

Soon enough apples will be ready for picking and pumpkins will be ready for carving. Halloween will be here before we know it, followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas and all of the wonderful, familiar things about the holiday season.

So make a list of books to read inside on rainy days, break out the fall baking recipes, ready your stash of tea and curl up with Fido, because autumn is here and it’s ready for you.

So long, summer.

No Excuse Not To Vote

The media focus is on the 2016 presidential election year, but it is 2015 and we must not forget that the Nassau County legislature is up for election. The people who represent us in the legislature have a greater impact on our day-to-day life than those in DC. The rapid increase in our property taxes is directly tied to the legislature, not congress, or President Obama.

However, many people my age won’t be voting in the 2015 election, not because they don’t want to, but because they will be away at school. Well, there is a solution to this dilemma. Vote via absentee ballot.

It is simple and easy to do. To apply for an absentee ballot application, simply go to and click on the absentee ballot application link. Print out the form, fill it out, and mail it to 240 Old County Rd., Mineola NY, 11501. The Board of Elections will mail a ballot to you, and all you have to do is vote and mail it in. Simple and easy, don’t let being away at school deprive you of democracy.

Nov 3. is Election Day. There is no excuse not to vote.
—Vidhi Patel

Never Forget

Please take a moment today and say a prayer for those lives lost on September 11, 2001.




Seventy Years Ago, Wine Barrels Lined The Sidewalks

By Salvatore J. LaGuminaWineBarrels_082615A

The aged wooden barrels freshly brought up from the cool cellars where they had been stored for a year or longer were prominently set on the sidewalks, emitting the unforgettable pungent aroma of the wine produced by the dark grapes grown in California’s soft and mild soil. Sitting next to the old barrels were the proud, older Italian American winemakers, offering a glass of the nectar to any passerby, be it a friend or stranger. It was the sunny, sultry morning of Aug. 15, 1945—V-J Day in the lexicon of the times when acronyms became the more common way of identifying historic events like the cessation of fighting that ended the most destructive war in recorded history. The formal termination of the war with Japan was still two weeks away, but America was ready to celebrate—my Brooklyn neighborhood, indeed every neighborhood in all of New York City was in the most festive spirit in memory. [Read more…]