The Dig, Review of an Extraordinary, New Netflix Film

The Dig is a richly photographed, engaging film about a major archaeological find in England in the days leading up to WWII. Two academy award nominees are compelling in the film, Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes. She plays Edith Pretty, a widow with a passion to discover what lies beneath possible burial mounds on her extensive estate. Mrs. Pretty hires a self made archaeologist, Basil Brown, played by Ralph Fiennes, to lead the dig. Basil is a gentleman of great depth and character.

It is a fictionalized story based on true events that occured in Suffolk, England.The Dig is an ever gripping, ever touching tale that is well written and equally well portrayed. Don’t miss this brand new film, first available just yesterday on Netflix.


Solitude does not necessarily mean living apart from others; rather, it means never living apart from one’s self. It is not about the absence of other people-it is about being fully present to ourselves, whether or not we are with others. Community does not necessarily mean living face-to-face with others; rather, it means never losing the awareness that we are connected to each other. It is not about the presence of other people-it is about being fully open to the reality of relationship, whether or not we are alone.” Parker Palmer

Thank God for the truth in what Palmer proposes. We need that wholeness particularly under the rigors of COVID-19. The connectedness brought us the pandemic but it also brings us great joy. Just as the World Wide Web (www.) can enhance our lives or damage them.

Blogs, podcasts, Instagram Live and Zooming sure can be helpful, particularly when we Zoom in order to see each other’s smiles. Recognizing that need and the gift of community are blessings that deeply enrich our lives.

2021 So Far

So far I had the quietist New Year’s Eve since I was a nine year old sharing M&M’s with my seven year old brother. Pretty serene.

Secondly, while juggling three different COVID vaccination opportunities as they might one day come available, I was scheduled a fourth way. One of my specialist’s offices called me out of the blue.

Thirdly, I get to see a reading today from my niece of her freshly published book (pre-orders now), a cookbook called: Southern Ground: Reclaiming Flavor Through Stone Milled Flour. WOW. I knew her when she was the size of a loaf of bread.

If I have some remaining months of ’21 healthy and getting breaks like these, I will feel very blessed.

The Pale of Settlement and My Forebears

My paternal forebears, as late as the 1880s, lived in Russia’s Pale of Settlement. Per Wikipedia, “The Pale of Settlement included all of modern day BelarusLithuania and Moldova, much of Ukraine and Poland, and relatively small parts of Latvia and western Russian Federation,” I have read and heard my grandparents claimed Russia or Lithuania as their homeland. Though, as to my grandparent’s place of birth, my father’s death certificate says Russia.

They needed passports to move within the Pale. Many were tradesman or peddlers. They could not own land. They were the victim of pogroms. Their lives were typified in Fiddler on the Roof. Nonetheless, the rich families were given more freedom. Recall If I were a Rich Man by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick.

They had few marriage choices under the Pale restrictions and that’s why my paternal grandparents were cousins. The genetic pathology I bear, I suspect, is likely related to that lack of genetic diversity.

I appreciate how richly my family has been blessed with freedom here in the States. The oppression and Gulags of the Soviets have been avoided. On this, the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I also appreciate that my family has been spared. Thank God for HUGE favors.

Eric Fisher, KC Left Offensive Tackle, a Key Loss

The two highest paid players in the NFL are the quarterback (QB) and the left offensive tackle (OT), who, protects the blindside of the QB from the onrushing lineman.  Unfortunately for the great young QB of the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes, Jr., he lost his left OT, Eric Fisher to a torn Achilles tendon, yesterday. That will make Eric, an All-Pro, unavailable for the Super Bowl.

Having followed the Ohio State Buckeyes for about 65 years, two of the greatest OTs come to mind, Jim Parker and Orlando Pace. They protected, as pros, the blindside for John Unitas and Kurt Warner, respectively. Need I say more about their importance?

On that basis, and, in that Tom Brady the QB for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, should be well protected, I think you can give the Buccaneers an edge a week from Sunday as they face the Chiefs for the Lombardi Trophy. That edge will be reinforced by the excellent pass rush of the Buccaneers, buttressed by Shaquil Barrett, a Pro Bowl linebacker who truly excels at the art of the sack. He has demonstrated that well, despite the quality of the teams he’s faced in the playoffs.

Pat, prepare yourself for a challenging afternoon.

Tyreek Can Fly

Bullet Bob Hayes and Tyreek Hill are the two fastest NFL receivers I have ever seen. Bob, 50 years ago, was by virtue of the Olympic 100 meter dash, the world’s fastest human.

One year, Dandy Don Meredith his QB at Dallas, behind a great offensive line, threw Hayes multiple, unstoppable TD’s. No one could stay with Bullet Bob.

Now, The Kansas City Chiefs, Hill’s ballclub,  have a brilliant QB who goes wide to give his receivers more time. Hill takes full advantage of Patrick Mahomes going wide and makes pro athletes look like kids, when they  try to catch him.

He is, like Bullet Bob, a joy to watch.

Decency and the American 1960’s

I was a Green Bay Packer fan from 15 years of age through 22. There was something creative, disciplined and extraordinary about this team of the 60s. They had no visible weakness to my young eyes. They had speed, precision, power and fought their hearts out for every yard.

What I have learned of late is how saddened the Green Bay teammates have been by the recent loss of numerous Packers from that phenomenal team. Those teamates loved and respected each other.

This was an era of civil rights efforts, particularly by Martin Luther King, Jr., that were effective.  This diverse group of professionals, apparently, not only lacked prejudice but comforted and encouraged each other.

Maybe, just maybe,  something deep in my soul recognized a decency in that outstanding NFL power of the 60s. I sure hope so.

Larry King, Memories and an Obit

Larry King started at WAHR radio in Miami on 5/1/57, per Wikipedia. Not long after that, as a teenager, I listened to him as a disc jockey. His interviewing began later at Pumpernik’s restaurant in Miami Beach at WIOD radio (Wikipedia). For some reason his voice and his name stuck with me as I saw him become an internationally known interviewer with great appeal and longevity.

His life had its significant obstacles that included quintuple bypass surgery and eight marriages. In the end it was the dreaded COVID-19 which he couldn’t overcome at L.A.’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, despite the skilled effort of its staff.

Larry, you had wonderful curiosity about people, a consistent clarity in your questions and a gentleness unlike some of the predatory interviewers of your time. In some sense, your big smile, black rimmed glasses and signature suspenders will always be with us.

The Pandemic, Yours, Mine and Ours

I had lived almost 74 years without ever experiencing anything like a pandemic. I had read about them because I read a lot of history. If someone had told me in November of 2019 what the COVID crisis would bring to our world, I would have, like nearly everyone else, sat in utter disbelief.

In medical school and as a medical examiner I was exposed to contagious, potentially lethal disease. But those exposures were short lived. In essence, they only existed at work, not at the theater, the restaurant or at home with guests over dinner.

I am an introvert and love to read and study quietly. Like most guys I can comfortably, with an occasional chip and salsa, become embedded on a couch and spend hours watching grown men try to move a ball down the field to score and then dance. I can also become deeply involved in what I am doing here.

All these things soften the blows of the crisis, but nothing can change the 400,000 Americans we have lost to these different variants of this heinous virus. May God keep our scientists and our citizens ever one step ahead of this scourge. May God help us all in a continuing, international effort to keep each other safe.

Hank Aaron, an Obit and Some Memories

In July of 1971, I began my four year residency in pathology, two years of which I spent in Atlanta. I had some interesting adventures attending Braves games at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium.

It was a perfectly, circular outdoor arena. I once lost my car there for about an hour failing to pick up the numbers and/or letters of the area where I parked. It was a lesson I never forgot. Like many of you now I take identifying pictures before I leave a decked or large parking lot.

Those two years I made $7000 and $8000, respectively. It brought me to the cheap seats in the stadium for some sunshine and baseball on several Sundays. I will remember those visits to see that excellent club with a big smile on my face.

I had the privilege of seeing Atlanta Brave, Hank Aaron, play ball. His stride and his movements seemed effortless. He was full of grace and strength. Much of that strength at 6 ft. 180 lbs. was in his arms and wrists. He was the most consistent power hitter of his era exceeding significantly Babe Ruth’s career home run record. 

Hank died today. He will never be forgotten by any ardent Braves fan of his era, the 60s through the 70s. Thanks for the memories Hank.