Archive for August, 2013

A week in Michigan

Monday, August 26th, 2013


When my sister and I were very young, I was 10 and she was 7, we used to go on vacation to a small village on the lake in Michigan. It is named Grand Beach. It’s a delightful place across the lake from Chicago. Shortly after the war, we began to spend more time there in the summer. I vaguely remember the first time but the month we spent there in 1948 is one of my fondest memories of childhood. My parents, along with another family, the Coyles, rented a good sized house for the month of August through Labor Day weekend. The house is still there although no longer rented by the owners.

Thirty years ago, my wife Jill and I, plus our three year old daughter Claire, spent a week at Grand Beach with my sister’s family. My sister, Patty, and her husband rented the same cottage last year and this year I joined them for the week. The weather was delightful and we all had a nice time. It gave me a chance to know my nephew Jimmy’s children and my niece, Caroline, joined us for a few days. Jimmy’ wife, Holly, was there and had her hands full with the small kids. The women were also on vacation so we ate most of our meals out. When we were there 30 years ago, Claire hid under a bed with Patty’s dog. Jill was frantic looking for her until someone heard scuffling under the bed. We didn’t have any crises like that, at least.

The village is entered from a frontage road that runs along the railroad tracks. The gate is a large white painted arch that pierces a white fence along the road. In 1948, there was less foliage and I used to help the village policeman, who drove an ancient Model A Ford, retrieve the mail when the train passed and the mail pouch was tossed from the mail car. This was usually about dusk. There was a hook by the side of the tracks which was supposed to catch the mail pouch but they usually missed and I had a good time searching for the pouch along the tracks.

grand beach road

The entry road passes the golf course where I first played golf at age 9 and then the playground, seen here. The entire road is lined with white painted cement pillars that were there in 1948. They may have been there in the 1930s.


I have movies of the kids, Caroline and Claire, at this playground when they were small. I have to find them for Patty.

The history of the place is here.

Caroline and Patty

The front of the cottage, no doubt built in the 1930s or earlier has been changed with the addition of new siding. The bushes are larger than they were 30 years ago. Here are Patty and Caroline.


Caroline took some photos of Jimmy’s kids, Jimmy Jr, Aubrey and Nathan. Here are her photos of my sister and me

two family copy.

And here are the two children of my sister, Jim Jr and Caroline between us.

four family copy

Cottage front

Cottage front

More views of the cottage.


Here is a view of the street and the walk to the lake which is just across from the cottage. At one time in the 80s the lake level was much higher and some of the homes along the bluff were undermined and in danger of falling into the lake. It is back to normal and the walk ends in a staircase down to the beach. The location of the cottage is almost perfect and the owners have upgraded it inside, including another bath.

When I was here in 1948, a classmate of mine had an older brother with a motor scooter. He would whiz through the village along this road and the village cop would chase him in the Model A. I don’t think he ever got caught. The poor Model A was on its last legs.


One of the places most people visit for lunch or dinner is Redamak’s in New Buffalo. It does an enormous business from May to October, then closes for the winter. This year, they had expanded into a back room that is almost the size of the rest of the restaurant. The menu is basic sandwiches and beer.

Stray dog

Stray dog

When we wanted a slightly more formal place, we went to the Stray Dog, also in New Buffalo near the harbor. It burned down last year and has been rebuilt. The entry is lined with dog pictures.



Caroline took lots of photos. She arrived on Thursday evening and went home with us Sunday. The last time I was there, she was about 5 and Claire was three. Times flies. Both are now married and thinking about babies.

The cottage

The cottage

More pics of the cottage. The owners have added a new rear deck and the deck is a nice place to sit in the sun or in the evening. I saw very few mosquitoes and it was cool for a few days.



In New Buffalo, we went to this place for lunch. It reminds me of Dartmouth in its decore. It had apparently been closed for a few months and was trying to rebuild its clientele. It is a very nice place with excellent service. I wish them well.

After dinner, everybody goes to Oink’s for ice cream. I weakened the first night and ordered a double scoop cone. It was size of a 16 inch softball, like the ones I used to play with in school. After that night and the reflux that followed, I abstained.


There are now some multimillion dollar new homes there but I like the old cottages. There is something that says “Midwestern” about them and they have been well cared for.

The War on Drugs

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

My sentiments on the whole drug question have been influenced by some experience with the medical aspect of the problem. Drugs are slipping out of any control due to developments in synthetic variations of older substances that stimulate brain chemistry, sometimes in unknown ways. The traditional drugs, if we can use that term, are also slipping out of control with Mexican drug wars replacing the Columbian cartels even more violent than their predecessors.

What about marijuana ? It is widely used by the younger generation and, while I do think there are some harmful consequences, especially in potential schizophrenics, the fact is that the laws are widely ignored and do little good and much harm. First, what about the link to psychosis ?

Epidemiological studies suggest that Cannabis use during adolescence confers an increased risk for developing psychotic symptoms later in life. However, despite their interest, the epidemiological data are not conclusive, due to their heterogeneity; thus modeling the adolescent phase in animals is useful for investigating the impact of Cannabis use on deviations of adolescent brain development that might confer a vulnerability to later psychotic disorders. Although scant, preclinical data seem to support the presence of impaired social behaviors, cognitive and sensorimotor gating deficits as well as psychotic-like signs in adult rodents after adolescent cannabinoid exposure, clearly suggesting that this exposure may trigger a complex behavioral phenotype closely resembling a schizophrenia-like disorder. Similar treatments performed at adulthood were not able to produce such phenotype, thus pointing to a vulnerability of the adolescent brain towards cannabinoid exposure.

This suggests that adult use may be less harmful.


Watergate revisited; again.

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

I have previously expressed my opinion that the Watergate matter was a coup d ‘etat against Nixon conducted by Mark Felt, the acting head of the FBI at the time. More information has recently come to light about the nature of the coup.

The piece is written by Geoff Shephard, a member of the Nixon legal team at the time who has come upon old records sealed for 40 years.

The new documents suggest that defendants in the Watergate cover-up trial, held before Judge John Sirica, received anything but a fair trial. Indeed, they suggest prosecutorial and judicial misconduct so serious –- secret meetings, secret documents, secret collusion — that their disclosure at the time either would have prevented Sirica from presiding over the trial or would have resulted in the reversal of the convictions and the cases being remanded for new trials.

Of course, among the aggressive young Democrat partisans in the prosecuting team was a young Hillary Clinton who was eventually fired from the committee staff for violations of ethical standards, such as they were.

Jerry Zeifman, a lifelong Democrat, supervised the work of 27-year-old Hillary Rodham on the committee. Hillary got a job working on the investigation at the behest of her former law professor, Burke Marshall, who was also Sen. Ted Kennedy’s chief counsel in the Chappaquiddick affair. When the investigation was over, Zeifman fired Hillary from the committee staff and refused to give her a letter of recommendation – one of only three people who earned that dubious distinction in Zeifman’s 17-year career.


“Because she was a liar,” Zeifman said in an interview last week. “She was an unethical, dishonest lawyer. She conspired to violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the committee and the rules of confidentiality.”

None of this is a surprise but the new information is interesting.