Uncommon Sense

  • Remembering Our Obligation - Memorial Day 2014

    By Henry Bassman
    May 27, 2014

    Memorial Day is a wonderful day in Summit.  We hold an old-fashioned hometown parade to the Village Green.  In a beautiful ceremony, we honor Summit’s war dead and we remember all ...

  • The Last Newpaper Reader

    It has been a long time since I posted a column here.  I just ran out of things to say and time to say it.  Writing a column bears a certain level of responsibility to say something ...

  • Peggy Noonan and Political Hypocrisy in America

    I often find the hypocrisy of a certain class of Republican thought leaders amusing.  When they pretend to discover something that has been going on for decades, they don the cloak of outrage ...

  • Bring Them All Home

    The following is what I will say at the Summit, NJ Memorial Day event.  I learned of Sgt. Bergdahl only a few weeks ago.  As a soldier, I always feared being captured more than being ...

  • Local Cancer Victim to Be Remembered in Relay for Life

    Ben Zukoff will be remembered in the Rutgers University Relay for Life, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, this April 12 and 13.  Ben died tragically on January 28 of this year from a ...

  • Physical Therapy for Life

    Lying on my back with four pound weights on my ankles, I lifted my feet into the air.  Ten times with the left foot, ten times with the right until I did thirty repetitions with each ...

  • Is Newtown an Omen of National Suicide?

    The great historian Arnold J. Toynbee, who documented the rise and fall of civilizations in a 12-volume history said, "Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder".  That ...

  • He and His Shadow

    It is always nice to welcome a new addition to your family.  Today, I am officially announcing a new addition to our family.

    This little bundle of joy came into our lives five weeks ago.

  • Sandy Sweeps Summit

    A week after Hurricane Sandy and Summit, NJ is still struggling to get back to normal.  Immediately after the storm, 90 percent of our people were without power.  A week later, 40 ...

  • Election Overdose

    I am fed up to "here" with this election.  The campaign started during last year's baseball season and won't end until after this year's World Series.  In the ...

  • Football Magic

    I have a love-hate relationship with football.  On the love, side, I am an avid fan of high school football.  I think it is the last level at which you can see pure sport.  Most ...

  • Considering the Conventions

    The 2012 political conventions are over. Much of what was said has been forgotten. This is to remind us of what happened just a couple of weeks ago.

    In the final analysis I don't think ...

  • One Year Later

    Last August I embarked on a new adventure - writing a column under my own name. I have been a professional writer for the last 40 years, but most of my work has been attributed to someone else. I ...

  • Hypnotic Olympics

    I am not a sports fan but I have been mesmerized by the Olympics for the past week. The athletes do things with their bodies a mere mortal such as myself can only dream of. They are young, ...

  • Two-Cent Lemonade

    What the U.S. needs is a good two-cent glass of lemonade. In an attempt to be a good guy I learned once again that no good deed goes unpunished.

    As I drove down the street where I live, I saw ...

  • Why Not Me?

    Did you ever wonder "Why not me?" when you thought of people who did the same or similar stuff you did and they were hurt or killed but you weren't? Is it luck? Destiny? Good Genes? ...

  • Giants of My Youth III

    My Grandmother Rose, described herself as a tough old bird.  And she was!  But she always had a soft spot in her heart for me.  I not only loved her, I adored her, and I feared her ...

  • Thank a Teacher

    As the school year comes to a close, I think of Mabel Staats.  Though short in stature, she was the most intimidating English teacher I ever met.  I was never in her class, but she had a ...

  • Memorial Day 2012: Looking Back with Sadness and a Smile

    Monday, May 28, is Memorial Day. For most of us it marks the beginning of summer; it is an extra day off, a day to go shopping, to the shore or to lounge around the back yard with a can of beer, ...

  • Asking Wrong Questions

    Our public debate is too often focused on the wrong questions.  In an age of sophisticated public persuasion, it is more important than ever that we be vigilant consumers of information, ...

  • Spring Green

    As a boy, getting a new box of Crayola crayons was a big event.  Getting an eight-crayon box brought limited appreciation; it was usually part of the back-to-school supplies Mom bought for me ...

  • A Paean to Nurses

    Suddenly I am awake – surrounded by strangers, highly agitated, and frightened – Where am I? The smiling face of a thin Asian man is inches from mine and peering at me but I ...

  • My Aching Back

     

    I am now in bed waiting for surgery on my back. The same surgeon who repaired my back twenty years ago will perform the upcoming procedure and I expect an excellent outcome.

    I am ...

  • No Free Flights

    I thought I would take advantage of a "free trip" to Miami using frequent flier points.  I learned, once again, there is no such thing as a free lunch (or a free flight).

  • Welcome Back Winter

    It has finally snowed, two months later than it should have, and the forecasters are telling us to expect temps. in the 50s on Monday. 

    I am old enough to remember first New Jersey ...

  • Giants of My Youth II

    My maternal grandparents, Rose and Lew, were carnival people.  I learned from them that you can be both tough and loving; that you can make choices in life that are frowned upon by society, ...