Two of our grandchildren, ages four and two, stayed over last night in happy anticipation of Thanksgiving’s festivities. The mayhem they always bring to our household has been kicked up to eleven since puppy Sunny’s arrival a little over three weeks ago. Our now 21-pound bundle of energy can’t restrain her eagerness to jump on, lick and chew the small humans, so I have to restrain her with a leash when the kids are around. Our grandchildren react to her with a kinetic mixture of interest, excitement and fear. A happy scene, with much joy and some wariness on the part of all.

This morning I awakened at 3:15, thinking about something that happened nearly fifty years ago and about what happened yesterday.

The older memory was of a mildly embarrassing moment...

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Legal Fraud?

When the dust settles, the American public will come to see both that many kinds of fraud were employed to ensure that Donald Trump would be defeated and that the most consequential of these were perfectly legal.

To begin, I don’t believe for a second that there was a vast conspiracy to steal the election in any kind of legal sense. Such a conspiracy would have to have been enormous in scope to have had any chance of success – and any conspiracy involving (presumably) tens or hundreds of people in each of, say, a half dozen states, all of whom would know that they were involved in an enormous federal crime – would be impossible to put into effect, let alone keep secret. I just don’t buy it.

(As a matter of interest, though, it seems that the betting markets (https://www...

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Update on Sundae

We’ve had our adopted child for sixteen days now. She is a delightful young lady, friendly to all. She will sit on command and, except for occasional, uncontrolled excited-to-meet-somebody-new peeing, has learned good bathroom habits. And – drumroll, please – she is even sleeping through the night.

In the time since Sunny joined our family, she has gained 6 1/2 lbs, or slightly more than 50% of her body weight upon arrival. She’s going to be a big girl.

What fun!

M.H. Johnston

P.s., My younger daughter is a much better photographer than I am.

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Some Illustrative Speculation

What would happen if, by presenting rock-solid evidence that electoral fraud was committed on a massive scale, Trump were to prevail in his efforts to overturn Biden’s apparent victory? Setting aside, for a moment, both the likelihood and the longer-term implications of such a change in outcomes, I believe that the immediate effect would be twofold: a sharply lower stock market and massive riots in the streets. Let’s think for a bit about these potential ramifications of a change in expected outcomes.

As you may have noticed, the stock market has been on a tear in recent days. The Wall Street Journal attributes this sudden optimism about future corporate profits to both the prospect of a vaccine for Covid-19 and Biden’s widely-announced, but as yet unofficial, victory...

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Irrespective of the extent to which Trump’s signature policies – the wall, lower taxes, less regulation and extreme wariness regarding Iran and China – are overturned, he has fundamentally changed – and, to an extent, embodied the change in – America’s political landscape.

When I was young, the heart of the Republican Party was the WASP Establishment; the Democratic Party represented blue collar workers, classic liberals (a.k.a., ‘limousine liberals’ – who were also often WASPs) and freedom-loving hippies...

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Looking Forward

I’m an absurdly lucky man.

Who knew that yesterday would be the day that I would really need the delivery of a new, sustaining delight?

Back in the lockdown-darkened days of June, like many others I decided that a puppy would be just the thing. We had had and loved dogs when our children were growing up, but with the passing of Tolo had gone into mourning and entered seven dogless years.

Because of some allergies in the family, a new canine friend would have to be acquired from a breeder so we did some research and applied to buy the right sort of puppy. We were told that because of the pandemic such dogs were particularly hard to come by, and that we might have to wait a long time.

Sundae, pictured below checking out some fallen leaves this morning, arrived yesterday...

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Under a Steel-Gray Sky

Two days ago I slipped in some mud while carrying my kayak up a hill. I caught myself, but in doing so I seem to have hurt something deep in my right shoulder. Since then the right side of my torso has ached.

This morning, at the suggestion of my Beloved Spouse, I went outside to sit in the hot tub by our pool. I am not really a hot tub guy – I have probably used it a dozen times in as many years – but she thought the heat and bubble jets might help lessen my shoulder pain.

So I sat in the steaming water under a steel-gray sky; to my surprise, my thoughts turned to an old friend.


Doug and I went to boarding school together. We got to know each other through rowing; he was a big, athletic guy – a gentle giant. Though we were two years apart, we became fast friends.

For we were nur...

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