The year was Fall of 1955. I headed from Gainesville, Georgia, to Madison, Wisconsin, to attend the University of Wisconsin. Why? I want to explore new territory. Like now. Everyone I knew was going to the University of Georgia. Not I. I was leaving the area.  Why? To expand my Universe.

I had never really left home before. Safe and secure in a somewhat loving family in a small town in Georgia where I knew people and had friends and a steady boyfriend who was also a good friend, I began my journey into the unknown. My family was well-known and had a good reputation. I felt secure in my base. So, the plan was for me to fly to Chicago, either by Eastern or Delta, from Atlanta – alone. Then switch planes to Northwestern to fly to Madison, Wisconsin.  I had never really travelled much before this.  No one was going with me. It was OK.  Each time, I made this trip back and forth, I would have layovers in the airport in Chicago. I liked the layovers.  I would “people-watch”. Sometimes this would last for over a couple hours, according to what time my next flight was leaving. That is when I became aware of being “inside” and looking out. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it.  Not for me. I had never thought about it before. I would try to write a story about someone I would observe. Creating their background and their reason for travelling that day. I often wondered how accurate I was, though I would never know. It was fun. I enjoyed it more than reading a book and TV was not that “in” at that point in time, at least not for me. I seldom talked to people, just watched them. 

It was not until I began taking acting classes at the University of Georgia that I began actively studying observation.  An actor must always be aware of her surroundings – details and colors and shapes and sizes. It was easy for me because I had studied and been aware of my surroundings most of my life, creating stories for the strangers I would see on the bus to Atlanta when I was working out at the Atlanta Athletic Club on my diving. I later found out that I was creating a “sub-text”. Guessing at what was really going on as opposed to what someone was saying or doing. I enjoyed it. As a result, I enjoyed acting because I could do the things that interested me while I was creating a character. It was wonderful if I got approval for my work. But, it was not necessary because the benefit for me came from the joy I had when becoming someone else.  Observing and saying one thing while thinking another.  You see, you don’t “act” the obvious. You act the sub-text while saying the lines. Strasberg was a master at teaching people how to do that. So was Jose Quintero. I studied with both. Thus was born my lifelong observation of being inside, looking out.

This particular post concerns being inside in a French hospital, looking out as I anticipated surgery.  I packed an overnight bag filled with towel, hand towel, washcloth, soap, 2 t-shirts for sleeping, a hair dryer, enough underwear for 5 nights, toothbrush and toothpaste, cotton housecoat, comb, brush, makeup, shampoo and conditioner; called Uber; and, headed for the hospital, not knowing what to expect. Right off, once I arrived and sat down in Admissions, it threw me for a loop.  NO ONE spoke English in Admissions. All of them say they speak “a little”, but they DON’T.  So, I began with my French, answering questions if I could understand what they wanted to know. There was a lot of guessing going on!! On both sides. After a long time of showing cards and materials that they wanted to see and giving them a deposit and signing a lot of paperwork that they did not want to give me time to read, I was taken to a double room on the 2nd floor.

In what seemed like a very small room, I was led to a bed where I was supposed to co-exist with an older woman in another bed. She was lying down and talking loudly in French on her cellphone with the television on. Yes, she had on headphones so I did not have to hear the television, but…..  YIKES!!  NO WAY!!  I immediately said in my best French that I needed a private room. The person accompanying me looked very annoyed. That meant she had to take me back to administration so that they could change all of my paperwork and get a larger deposit. I didn’t care. She could be annoyed. No way could I stand another person in the room with me when I was having surgery.  I didn’t care what it cost!!! Actually, I did, but I did it anyway because I was scared and had no idea most of the time what was going on.

Once I got to my private room, I relaxed and tried to breathe. That is when I discovered that French hospitals provide sheets, pillows, a bed, a chair, headphones for your TV, and 1 roll of toilet paper. No towels.  I was immediately sorry I did not bring a box of Kleenex and body lotion and better soap. All the windows were open.  Fresh air freaks and minimalists. I hoped the food was good. NOT. And my proverbial selfie.

I settled in for the night, had dinner (OK), and tried to sleep, knowing the surgery would not be until 4:30 p.m. the next day, and I could not eat anything after “breakfast”.  Ugh. Long time to wait. Plus, why so late in the afternoon?  I tried to watch TV, and it was all French everything. After channel surfing, I cut it off and decided I had to let my brain rest. I was up tight – to say the least – because no one seemed to understand much of anything, even the ones who said they spoke a English. They misunderstand everything. Then, they think if they talk louder, I will understand. Haha. 

So, I quit. I quit wanting anything. I quit trying to communicate on any level with anyone. My brain felt like scrambled eggs. I needed to get a grip. Plus, I was suffering high anxiety.  My blood pressure was going gang busters.  That was when I had an epiphany.  The secret to life under stress is to not want anything. Haha. Just let go of everything. Trust. Don’t care if it doesn’t happen. Haha. Now, I am not advising that as a philosophy of life. I just think it helps you get through a rock and a hard place in a French hospital when everyone is saying something you don’t understand, and life-altering surgery is happening the next day. 

As it turns out, I survived that night, the next day, and the day after that, my blood pressure, notwithstanding.   In fact, I am still alive and getting better every day. I had the surgery late Thursday afternoon, and on Saturday, they moved me by ambulance into a double room at La Serena. I freaked out about the double room and my blood pressure skyrocked – to no avail.  Well, I thought it was too soon to be moved but no one cared what I thought.  I was supposed to stay 5 nights in the hospital.  I still don’t know why they moved me so soon because I was still trying to figure out how to get to the bathroom by myself. I won’t gross you out with all the difficulties I had there. Nor will I tell you about the creepy orderly at the hospital who “bathed” me on the day I was being transported to La Serena. Ewww. And, I was “out of it” on pain pills.  Ewww. 

Once I got to La Serena, I got out of the double room as soon as I could (3 nights later) and currently, I am in a private room with a view, learning how to re-walk and trying to deal with pain.  It is worse at night than in the morning. I don’t know how long I will be here. I have to get permission from the in-house doctor. But, since I live alone, I would like to get a tad “more better” helping myself do things and my blood pressure is misbehaving. (Miss Turner just turned over in her grave. My GHS friends will know what I mean. Especially, Carole.  Clairise would appreciate it, too. And, Kay and Latrelle.  HAHA.  Wonderful High School English teacher). Plus, I like the view.

They may make me go home anyway because most of the people here are in worse shape than I am. And, I am going to be “like new” when this is all over. Right… However, I must address this blood pressure issue.  I have done so in the past, but most of the French medicines I have been allergic to. So, more to be researched there.

All right, if you have read this far, I thank you. It is nice to think I have company on this French “adventure”.  And, I got to share with you what it was like on the inside looking out as a terrified (not really) American expat.  It all comes down to trust. And, in the hospital, after surgery, you have no choice.  I think and cry often about Steve, lying in the hospital for a month with a tube down his throat. How scared he must have been, and I was unable to help him – other than talk to him and hope he heard me on some level.  Most of the time, he was unconscious. It is sad. I have spent more time in French hospitals than I planned on.  God just smiled.  I will try to be more upbeat next time. The WIFI here is terrible!  Difficult to get a lot done on my computer. Actually, I want to go home. Missy needs me.

Best, Jay



I read this today, shared by a friend of mine on Facebook, and I love it so I am re-posting it here.

“According to a 19th century legend, the Truth and the Lie meet one day. The Lie says to the Truth: “It’s a marvellous day today”! The Truth looks up to the skies and sighs, for the day was really beautiful. They spend a lot of time together, ultimately arriving beside a well. The Lie tells the Truth: “The water is very nice, let’s take a bath together!” The Truth, once again suspicious, tests the water and discovers that it indeed is very nice. They undress and start bathing.Suddenly, the Lie comes out of the water, puts on the clothes of the Truth and runs away. The furious Truth comes out of the well and runs everywhere to find the Lie and to get her clothes back. The World, seeing the Truth naked, turns its gaze away, with contempt and rage.  The poor Truth returns to the well and disappears forever, hiding therein, its shame. Since then, the Lie travels around the world, dressed as the Truth, satisfying the needs of society, because, the World, in any case, harbours no wish at all to meet the naked Truth.”

The world famous painting- “The Truth coming out of the well” Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1896.



Paul Pedulla is my cousin-in-law. This post honors Paul as an Artist. 


He and Steve were cousins and also good friends. As a result, we saw him when we were in Boston in 2008, and he and his partner Lawrence had dinner with us when they were in Los Angeles in 2013 (I think it was.)


So, I was hoping he would be around during my trip to Boston. Well, turns out that he and Lawrence were in Maine, but he planned to drive down for the weekend to Cambridge, where he lives most of the time (when he is not in South Beach or Maine). He planned to be at the Interment. He then invited me to come by his Studio to a big art event on Sunday, August 12, because there would be lots of activity that day that I would enjoy. A big outdoor market near his Studio building. Great! That sounded fun. “Second Sunday Open Studios” from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. in Boston on Harrison Avenue. Yes! I will be there!


As it turned out, it rained most of the day on Sunday. Therefore the outdoor part of the event was cancelled. But the building was still open and there were plenty of studios to visit plus the Vintage Market in the basement. I arrived at 12 noon by Uber at what I thought was the front door. (I found out later that the front door was on the side of the building, but I went in “the side door”, thinking it was the front.) NO ELEVATOR up to the Paul’s #314.  So I trudged – one by one – up three flights of stairs, looking at artwork on the walls as I climbed. Ugh!


When I got to the third floor, Paul’s Studio was still down a long corridor.  I knew I was there to stay until I left. No going up and down!! 


When I arrived at #314, Paul was there and AMAZED I had come in the “side door” and climbed all of those stairs. Why didn’t I use the elevator? Haha. Who knew. Whew! I was so glad.  I could wander around after all. This is what I saw.   Paul, originals (not framed), and three prints (the framed ones)


YES!! What fun.  This is a smattering of his work. I have my favorites.






He shares a small space of the Studio with another person, Marilyn Ranker, a sculptress. I really like her work, too. She was not there that day, and I had to explain to people I was not Marilyn. 


I visited a lot of studios and saw a lot of amazing artwork, bought a necklace I adore, and a gorgeous blue cashmere sweater (70% off ????), and had so much fun in Paul’s Studio with a Paul and all of the visitors that I forgot about the Vintage Market in the basement. Darn!  Next time.  


Paul’s art work in featured in homes all over the world. The blue’s captivate people and they spend a lot of time, just standing and looking. One couple had just purchased a beach home on Cape Cod and were discussing whether they wanted a big one or a little one. They will be back. Plus, Paul’s personality makes his guests feel right at home, and they all discuss his work together.  


At 4:00 p.m., Uber took us both back to Cambridge where we had homemade pizza made by Lawrence (who is studying for the LSAT exam in two weeks!!)  YUM!!


What a perfect ending to a wonderful trip!  My flight to Nice was leaving the next day.   Thank you, Paul and thank you, Lawrence, for ALL of it. What wonderful memories!!  I made a movie for Paul.  It will get its own post!!

Best, Jay




This shows live on my Post. If yours does not show live, then please cut and paste this link. Sorry. It was live when I published it. Don’t know what happened.

Pardon any frustrations you might have with this movie  I made regarding this experience. I am still on a “learning curve” as I take photographs, make a movie, select the music, post it on YouTube so that I can upload it on my blog. I like the movie, but it keeps defaulting to other YouTube things.  Ugh. If anyone has any tips regarding better ways to do this, please let me know. 

Meanwhile, this gives you an idea of what happened. I made one on the day of the Interment, but this is a new one that I like better, now that I am back home in Nice and can “think”.  

Best, Jay



Where do I begin? It is only August 18, and I feel like I have lived several lifetimes during this month. It started on Monday, July 31st. I had one of those “a-ha” moments in which I knew I had to get Steve’s ashes to Boston ASAP. What was the rush? I don’t know. All I knew is that I had to take action. So, I chose departure date (August 8) and return date (August 13, arriving Nice on the 14th), got online to Air France and booked flights, looking for the cheaper “red-eye” flights. Nothing going, but a “red-eye” return flight to Paris. Booked!! Then, I got on to find lodging in Malden MA, near Holy Cross Cemetery, Steve’s interment site. I found and booked a reasonable Bed n’ Breakfast named Albina House approximately a mile from the Cemetery. Then, I contacted Holy Cross Cemetery to arrange an approximate interment date and time. Then, I contacted Lutese International, the funeral home in Nice to see what paperwork I needed to get Steve “repatriated” in the U.S. to take his ashes out of France.  Everything clicked.

Once my trip was planned and all paperwork accounted for,  I contacted Steve’s family, mainly his sister Kris, and his cousins, Rose and Gloria and Carla and Paul, to notify them of the impending interment. Again, everything clicked. After that, I began notifying some of Steve’s close friends, and additional members of the family.  Everything clicked. Kris booked a priest, and the date and time were set (1:00 p.m. on August 9, at the Orlandella Family Plot).  I confirmed everything with the Cemetery. At that point, I started shaking inside and am still trying to get the shaking to stop.  I knew this would be an emotional time for me. 

The trip went as planned.  

First night there, dinner with Liz MacGillycuddy Lucas, compliments of Liz and Tori Lucus in Somerville at Legal on the Mystic. A delicious seafood restaurant.


On August 9, 2018, at 1:00 p.m., approximately 25 members of the family and several of Steve’s close friends gathered at the Orlandella burial plot. Since the Cemetery does not provide chairs, we stood while the Priest delivered the committal prayers. Then, Carla (Cataldo, Steve’s cousin) sang a capella a beautiful hymn. Kris said a few words. And, so did I. It was a wonderful moment in time for Steve!!  It was wonderful and sad, all at the same time. And, I could not stop shaking.  




I know that Steve would be so happy to know that his sister Kris (Jones) and her friend Tere (Carruba) and his favorite (only) niece Katelyn (Ralston-Gerhardt) had flown cross-country from Washington state to be with him; his close friends Phil and Anne (Horn) and had driven up from Pennsylvania, accompanied by Phil’s brother Paul; and his close friend Dave Shotland had driven up from NYC.  There were also other friends and aunts, and uncles and cousins from the Boston area in attendance. And, cousin and artist Paul Padulla had driven down from Maine.  Liz MacGillicuddy Lucas came from Cambridge  by Lyft with a broken leg.  And the Cataldo boys – Chris and Mark – came with Gloria (Cataldo) from Cape Cod, along with Mark’s children (Gloria’s grandchildren). How wonderful!! Steve loved all of them very much.

I was the messenger that day. My turn lasted two years with his ashes on the shelf at home in Nice. Now, it was their turn. I regretted that I had not given more notice.  Maybe then, Steve’s Aunt Rose and some of my children could have made plans to fly in from California. But, I didn’t. So, I take full responsibility for their absence. 


After the Interment, several of us remained to watch the Cemetery helper close the grave. I put a yellow rose (his favorite) in the grave with his urn, compliments of Anne and Phil Horn.

Then, Kris and Gloria invited all the guests for a delicious Italian lunch at Anthony’s of Malden so that people could visit. Gloria had made lovely centerpieces for all the tables.




It couldn’t have been better. After people started to leave, Chris Cataldo gave me a ride back to my room and helped me up the stairs with flowers and food for dinner from the gathering. My head was reeling. I could not seem to “get a grip”. So, I went into the back yard of Abina House, and contemplated the trees, flowers, clouds and a yellow cat.


I sat outside for a long time. A beautiful cat sat beside me, knowing that I was hurting. Some of the others went for additional time together, but I was glad to be back in my room. Some of the others went for pizza at Regina’s in downtown Boston – Steve’s favorite and toasted him. I wasn’t invited. But, no matter. I was in not state to go anywhere. And, it was a important time for all of them. I was happy to see them together. 


I stayed in the Boston area at Albina House until Monday before coming back to Nice.  On Friday, I got my fingerprints taken for the California Bar requirement, and then Phil, Anne, and Paul Horn took me to lunch on the Boston Harbor. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was such a fun time. Phil is a teaser and full of fun. Anne was supportive throughout EVERYTHING, helping me through difficult moments. And, I enjoyed meeting Phil’s brother, Paul. His wife couldn’t join us because she was working, but we had fun!! Laughed a lot.



And on Saturday, I went walking to downtown Malden (in the rain), got a pedicure, bought some things I like at CVS, went to a beauty supply store in (I think I was in ) Everett, MA, got shampoo that I like, ate lunch at Panera Bread, spent the rest of the day at Abina House, contemplating “what’s next”???  and enjoying the cool rain out my window.

Sunday with Paul Pedulla at his Art Studio in Boston, homemade pizza with Lawrence and Paul in Cambridge,  and my trip back home deserve posts all of their own. So, I will save them until another time, along with a post of movies I made during the trip.

This post honors STEVE ORLANDELLA and the celebration of his Interment alongside his mother, his father, his Orlandella grandparents, his step-father Ted, and other members of the Orlandella family  – the place where he wanted to be buried when he died. Now, it is done.

Best, Jay



This week, I was planning to write a blog about the month of August, but I will save that for when we get to August on the calendar. But, this August will be an important month for me. I will be travelling to Boston, Massachusetts, to take Steve home. Steve had a passion for Boston that was deep and profound. He loved everything about it and talked about it often. I knew little to nothing about Boston, being raised in the South, and often wondered why Steve did not live there because of his passion. I asked him several times, and he did not have what I thought were good reasons. I don’t even remember what they were. His family had brought him in California when he was a young child. He never really liked California. Or, at least, that is what he told me. He loved Boston! We went together once in the dead of winter, and he told me more history during that trip about the founding of America than I ever learned in American History class in school. We were definitely planning to go back at some point for a continuation of the dialogue. I recently edited and will be re-editing his novel “Marathon Murders” that takes place in Boston. He talks a lot about Boston in that novel. You can feel his passion in his words.


So, today, I plan to spend some time, pondering liberties – BUYER BEWARE!!  DON’T TAKE YOUR LIBERTIES FOR GRANTED, frequently using cartoons for commentary.   When I think of Boston, I think about my liberties. I don’t know if that is an accurate “thinking”, but there is not a lot “accurate” about my thinking. Who cares? That’s what I think! And, in the past few months, as I watch the international news on television, I have thought a lot about how fortunate I was to have been born in the United States of America. A fluke? (See previous post about “Flukes”).  I could have been born in Libya, or Mexico, or Thailand.  But, I wasn’t. I was born in a small town in Georgia, U.S.A.  And I lived a blessed life as a child. Fortunate, in many ways. I experienced the fear of war by a small-town community as America entered World War II, and Mother had to use rations at the grocery store. I experienced the exuberance of a community when the war was over. I can still robustly sing “Over There, Over There”, 

“Johnnie, get your gun
Get your gun, get your gun
Take it on the run
On the run, on the run
Hear them calling, you and me
Every son of liberty
Hurry right away
No delay, go today
Make your daddy glad
To have had such a lad
Tell your sweetheart not to pine
To be proud her boy’s in line
Over there, over there
Send the word, send the word over there
That the Yanks are coming
The Yanks are coming
The drums rum-tumming
So prepare, say a prayer
Send the word, send the word to beware
We’ll be over, we’re coming over
And we won’t come back till it’s over
Over there.”
I just received my mail-  “Inspiring Quote for July 30, 2018”, from THOUGHTFUL MIND. This is what today’s quote is, 
“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”       ― Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, USMC
So, to all of those who are complacent or approve or “buy” many of the things being done and actions taken by the U.S. government at the present time,  I can only say BUYER BEWARE!! DON’T TAKE YOUR LIBERTIES FOR GRANTED.  Here are several of the cartoons that speak to me. I share them with you because, by this point, you know my position with all of this.
I think I posted this one before, but I like it. If so, I apologize for the repetition. 
And, it is my duty to include a brief moment of Trump comments,
AND, last but not least!!
Best, Jay
Janet - the ACTRESS


Between you and me, I don’t think I have any comfort zones anymore. Steve and I had created a comfort zone together, and were very happy, writing, working, and eating “comfort food” – pasta, Steve’s gravy, and his special homemade meatballs along with olives, baguettes, salami, and fresh ground parmesan cheese or Romano. We did not socialize very much and both of us liked that. We just stayed home except when we ate out an early supper at a favorite place (The Lido, Sol y Luna, Emlio’s, Brent’s Deli) or had somewhere we wanted to go. But, most of the time, we stayed home and loved it. He watched a lot of Sports Center – like ALL the time. I worked on my cases. I loved my law and helping clients. I represented people I liked – whether they had a good case or not. So, working was fun. That is where I socialized. We seldom entertained, if ever. Maybe family every once and a while, but family had their own busy lives, so that was also seldom, if ever. Fine. We were OK with the life we had created together. Moved to Nice, France, on a whim to “do something else” and work on our health.  Then POW!! He got sick and died. At the age of 66. Two years ago, August 31, 2016. This August 11, he would have been 68. A young vibrant man.


So, now, I am struggling to find a comfort zone. So far.  NOT.  I have tried to “fit in” with expats. NOT.  I don’t want to socialize. Yet, I don’t think I should stay home so much. I miss pasta and homemade meat balls. But, not enough to order them or learn how to make them. (fattening) I don’t have the money to travel. I miss the law. I miss working and clients and helping people I like. I don’t want to go back to LA or the U.S. AND, Donald Trump DEFINITELY takes me out of my comfort zone. Yet, I am not sure I want to stay here in this apartment.  I like Nice, but I NEED to see the Sea. I love nature. Right now, I am surrounded by buildings, and can see the sky only IF I look up…. unless I go for a walk through the Port and along the Sea. Or to the Park by the Monastery de Cimiez. All of which is doable. And, moving is expensive. 


Daddy made me read Dale Carnegie’s “HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PROPLE” in order to go to summer camp when I was little. I definitely wanted to go to Camp Dixie with my sisters, so I “tried” to read that dreary book. Ugh. It told me what I had to do to get people to “like” me. Ugh. I didn’t care if they liked me or not. Mother did. And Daddy did. I needed to always have first and foremost in my mind “what would the neighbors think”!! Well, the neighbors were Juanese Martin and the First Baptist Church preacher. So, I knew what they thought about me!!  Ugh. I like to go barefooted and climb trees and get dirty. But, noooooo. I had to wear clean clothes, curl my hair, be sure my hem was just right, keep my shoes polished, do well in school. Behave.  Ugh.

1947 - Camp Dixie

Well, I read enough of the book to know that I did NOT want to meet Dale Carnegie any time soon. I wondered if he were able to do all of the things he was telling us to do.  All of it made me sick to my stomach. So, after that, I went through half of my life, trying to make people like me. But, they didn’t. Not even my kids. Most of the time, I didn’t like me. So, what was I to do.

That is when I decided to “withdraw”. Stop going to things. Stop trying to please. Stop “behaving”. And, when I met Steve, that was his thinking. He was active and involved in producing his ball games, but his thinking was as a “loner”. He liked his own company. So did I. I liked my own company and I like his company. He liked mine, too. We ‘spoke” the same language. Basically, we hated trying to please people. And, we did NOT try to please each other, ….at first. There were many times we told each other OFF. Stopped seeing each other. Until, we both realized we loved each other. I don’t think he could believe he was asking me to marry him. And, I wasn’t sure either one of us would go through the marriage ceremony without backing out. A hasty job in Las Vegas. Well, you know the rest of this story. If you don’t, go back and read more of these posts on this blog.   


Now, I have tried, I have really tried to snap out of it, get involved and meet people.  I am reaching the end of my third year in Nice.  I don’t like going to coffee, talking about who I am and how I got to Nice. My social skills are the pits. Ugh. I KNOW what to do; I just don’t want to do it.

So, once again, I plan to withdraw. Do my own thing. Write more. Maybe look for international law courses to take. I still enjoy my own company. Always busy with a “project” here and there. I still need to get my French Driving License. And, have my knee replacement surgery (September 27). Get better at speaking another language – French. I have “reactivated” my California law license and am currently trying to find somewhere in the South of France to get my “fingerprints” for the new requirement of the California Bar. Most things like that are in Paris. Find a way to stay involved in the law, from here. Maybe join an LA law firm to create an online “presence” from here.  Practice law from here. I know how to do all of that. Build a new foundation. Figure it out. A lot of it is already in place.

None of this feels “comfortable”. Maybe “comfort zones” don’t exist. Maybe that is just a useful expression to help me realized I am doing something I don’t want to do. Which is most things right now. More than you ever wanted to know about what is on my mind this morning, as we prepare to enter August 2018.

Best, Jay



As the old Chinese curse has it: “May you live in interesting times,” and the twentieth century is probably the most “interesting” period mankind has ever known. Now and then, I see an article on Facebook that I save because something about it is “interesting’ to me.  After I save it, I may or may not go back and re-read it or use it in some way.  Phi Beta Kappa often posts articles that I save. The one I am focusing on today was posted on Facebook by Phi Beta Kappa and written for the Washington Post by  a man named Vivek Wadhwa.  It could just as well be written by me. Because I agree with Mr. Wadhwa.  We need both the humanities and engineering, especially today at a time when the heart and creativity seem to have taken a back seat to political ideologies, rantings, and ravings. We must encourage the pursuit of the humanities today. We cannot let them get buried beneath chaos and a heartless pursuit of power fuelled by narcissism.

Who is Vivek Wadhwa?  Vivek Wadhwa is Distinguished Fellow and professor at Carnegie Mellon University Engineering at Silicon Valley and a director of research at Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke. His past appointments include Stanford Law School, the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard Law School, and Emory University. This article is titled “Why Liberal Arts and the Humanities are as Important as Engineering.” Mr. Wadhwa writes, 

“Earlier in my academic career, I used to advise students to focus on science and engineering, believing that they were a prerequisite for success in business. I had largely agreed with Bill Gates’s assertions that America needed to spend its limited education budgets on these disciplines, because they produced the most jobs, rather than the liberal arts and humanities.

This was in a different era of technology and well before I learned what makes the technology industry tick.

In 2008, my research teams at Duke and Harvard surveyed 652 U.S.-born chief executives and heads of product engineering at 502 technology companies. We found that they tended to be highly educated, 92 percent holding bachelor’s degrees and 47 percent holding higher degrees. Hardly 37 percent held degrees in engineering or computer technology, and 2 percent did in mathematics. The rest had degrees in fields as diverse as business, accounting, health care, and arts and the humanities.

We learned that, although a degree made a big difference in the success of an entrepreneur, the field it was in and the school that it was from were not significant factors. YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki, for instance, majored in history and literature; Slack founder Stewart Butterfield in English; Airbnb founder Brian Chesky in the fine arts. And, in China, Alibaba chief executive Jack Ma has a bachelor’s in English.

Steve Jobs touted the importance of liberal arts and humanities at the unveiling of the iPad 2: “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing, and nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices.” With this focus, he built the most valuable company in the world and set new standards for the technology industry.

Logitech chief executive Bracken Darrell, who majored in English, also emphasized this. I recently asked him how he turned his company around and caused its stock price to increase by an astonishing 450 percent over five years. He said that it was through relentlessly focusing on design in every product the company built; that engineering is important but what makes a technology product most successful is its design.

The key to good design is a combination of empathy and knowledge of the arts and humanities. Musicians and artists inherently have the greatest sense of creativity. You can teach artists how to use software and graphics tools; turning engineers into artists is hard.

And now, a technological shift is in progress that will change the rules of innovation. A broad range of technologies, such as computing, artificial intelligence, digital medicine, robotics and synthetic biology, are advancing exponentially and converging, making amazing things possible.

With the convergence of medicine, artificial intelligence and sensors, we can create digital doctors that monitor our health and help us prevent disease; with the advances in genomics and gene editing, we have the ability to create plants that are drought resistant and that feed the planet; with robots powered by artificial intelligence, we can build digital companions for the elderly. Nanomaterial advances are enabling a new generation of solar and storage technologies that will make energy affordable and available to all.

Creating solutions such as these requires a knowledge of fields such as biology, education, health sciences and human behavior. Tackling today’s biggest social and technological challenges requires the ability to think critically about their human context, which is something that humanities graduates happen to be best trained to do.

An engineering degree is very valuable, but the sense of empathy that comes from music, arts, literature and psychology provides a big advantage in design. A history major who has studied the Enlightenment or the rise and fall of the Roman Empire gains an insight into the human elements of technology and the importance of its usability. A psychologist is more likely to know how to motivate people and to understand what users want than is an engineer who has worked only in the technology trenches. A musician or artist is king in a world in which you can 3D-print anything that you can imagine.

When parents ask me now what careers their children should pursue and whether it is best to steer them into science, engineering and technology fields, I tell them that it is best to let them make their own choices. They shouldn’t, I tell them, do what our parents did, telling us what to study and causing us to treat education as a chore; instead, they should encourage their children to pursue their passions and to love learning.

To create the amazing future that technology is enabling, we need our musicians and artists working hand in hand with our engineers. It isn’t either one or the other; we need both the humanities and engineering.”

YES, the twentieth century is definitely “interesting”. I don’t know if it is the most “interesting” period mankind has ever known. I think there were probably other interesting times, but what do I know?  Just thinking out loud……

Best, Jay




This past week, on Thursday, July 5, the European Union Parliament (MEP) voted on an incredibly controversial bill, called “Copyright Directive”, and, if it had passed or if it passes in the future, the web as we know it will change considerably. The Directive was put forward for a full vote in June after it was approved by the EU’s legal Affairs Committee (JURI) The legislation seeks to change how copyright works on the Internet. Article 11 and Article 13 are the most contentious parts to it, even though that are a lot of parts to it. The wording to both is vague, but here goes a try by me to explain:

Article 11, as I understand it, requires stricter checks on links within articles so that if a website hyperlinks to another website in an article, it would require websites to pay for a license to do so.  So, in this blog, if I hyperlink a restaurant’s website to my article in my blog post on my website, I would have to pay for a license to do so. Or WordPress would be required to pay for a license, if its users use hyperlinks.  OUCH!!  That might be fine for large media companies, but for smaller ones, such a fee may be beyond their means. They just wouldn’t do it, so that would be the end to their/my ability to hyperlink possibly useful information. For those of you who are not familiar with the word “hyperlink”,  that is the word that describes when you can click on a word, and it automatically connects you to another website, like the Negresco Hotel.  Click on it to see what I mean. It should take to to the Negresco Hotel’s website. That is called a “hyperlink”. Not the greatest explanation, but hopefully you now know what a hyperlink is. 

AND, U.S. sites that operate in the EU would have to adhere to these rules.

Article 13 would make publishers responsible for all content that’s posted on their site, even in comments from users. So, if you were commenting on an article and posted a link to or picture of copyrighted material in your comment, the website would be liable. Thus, this Article would require all sites to monitor copyright on their sites themselves, including anything posted by users.  OUCH!

As you can see, this legislation, if passed, would change the future of the free and open INTERNET. It probably will change anyway; it is just a matter of when, especially with the US recently repealing its Net Neutrality laws. Say what???  What were the U.S. Net Neutrality laws? The net neutrality rules were approved by the FCC in 2015 amid an outpouring of online support. The intention was to keep the internet open and fair. Under the rules, internet service providers were required to treat all online content the same. They couldn’t deliberately speed up or slow down traffic from specific websites or apps, nor could they put their own content at an advantage over rivals. The repeal of Obama-era net neutrality protections officially took effect on Monday, June 11, 2018,  nearly six months after the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted to roll back the rules. In a press release Monday, the FCC said the repeal does away with “unnecessary, heavy-handed regulations” and replaces them with “common-sense regulations that will promote investment and broadband deployment.”

Problems Regarding the EU Copyright Directive:

1) Both Article 11 and Article 13 make demands on anyone operating a popular website to monitor copyrighted material and to pay fees when linking out to their articles;

2) Both articles are vague. Enforcing them would be difficult, if not impossible, transforming the Internet into a tool for surveillance and control of users (Big Brother!!);

3) The entire Directive covers people who talk to each other online. 

The good news is that this Directive was rejected (rejected by a margin of 318-278) on July 5, even though a slew of high-profile music stars had backed it – such as Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, Placido Domingo and David Guetta – arguing that users illegally uploaded their music. MEP decided the changes needed more debate; and sent the proposals back to the drawing board, to the Commission. The two sides will undoubtedly step up their campaigns in the meantime. I read somewhere that the next vote will be sometime in September 2018.

Which begs the question: Why it this happening at all? Because the EU Commission wants more modern copyright law that takes account of the features and potential uses of digital technology and widens the degree of European cross-border access to protected works online.  It wants a broad reform of EU copyright laws. And, not that I know, but when a legislative drive like this begins to manifest, it is only a matter of time before things change. So, enjoy the last few weeks or months of internet freedom. The Internet, just when I am beginning to know how to use it- like most things, is changing with the times.  The rules will stifle internet freedom and creativity. However, copyrighted works online DO need to be protected. SO…….

Those of you who don’t spend a lot of time on the Internet, this won’t matter anyway. To those of us who are interested in International Copyright law and look up caselaw online, and google just about everything from “sore throats”, good cat food, Thai Food Restaurants, to knee replacements, and orthopedic surgeons, etc., brace yourself!  It is not “IF”; it is “WHEN” and “HOW MUCH.”

More than you ever wanted to know, 

JAY, Esq.