Friday, December 31, 2010

Mastering the Art of Divorce:

Wow... We are here at the threshold of a new decade and what a decade the prior one has been-- counting up from 2001 to 2010!

Here is an excerpt of the Sixth transformative event. The other ten will follow shortly

I am mastering the Art of the Divorce: Doing it Right--Creating a Win-Win situation for all.

Realizing that my fourth marriage was on the rocks and draining me of precious energy, I moved out of state and left my ex on sound footing. During the course of our relationship of 10 years, I realized that the reason for our union was so that we could adopt a 12 year old daughter from China.

.....After a year of dealing with severe anger management issues, with Pam residing in a rehab center, my moving out temporarily, Pam re-adopted by a loving family who had 7 other adoptees (including one Mandarin speaking child of similar age), my then taking more permanent digs across the Hudson and East Rivers, my moving back for an attempted reconciliation, my ex sustaining a hip fracture, her getting permanent disability insurance as well as a hefty state retirement pension.....I moved far enough away to make it clear that the romance was over.

Soon, I learned that Sam had turned 18 and chose to live with her first adoptive mom, who now provided her with her own wheels and a college education. Sam does call me from time to time to tell me how her life is progressing.

I am happy to have given her a new life here in America after a most unhappy one at the orphanage in China.

Forthcoming is a self-published guide on how to preserve friendly relations with exes after the divorce and start your new life on the path to happiness (for all) and success.

Apple Customer Support Achieves New Highs: Celebrating Five Years with my Trusty iBook G4

Apple iBook G4


My trusty iBook G4 has given me 5 years of uninterrupted service. And hopefully will continue to perform up to its highly touted standard.

Thanks to Apple Support systems global teams...

I say 'teams' because from the Philippines support associate who set up my appointment to the two sales associates who helped me at the Stamford Town Center Mall--I must say I am most delighted with their help in getting my Apple up and running again with minimum hassle.

Originally purchased at the Apple Store at the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack, NY (the closest Apple Retail store to my location in Fairfield County at the time), this little workhorse has taken trips with me to California (where iPhoto came in handy), to New Hampshire and to my teaching positions in New York and Connecticut. Always there, always reliable and upgraded with twice the original ram.

Many of the blogs I have researched and written were completely effortlessly and seamlessly with the aid of my trusty G4.

The only flaw that it has is the design in the power cord, replaced twice in the last year. (Apple has since created a magnetized power connection cord for the portable Macs which does eliminate the problem.)

My service assistant at the Stamford store diagnosed my repeated power failure immediately and was gracious enough--to not only admit the flaw--but replaced the cord gratis. (the first time it was out of pocket to the tune of $84 with tax). He said there was no problem with the logic board-- music to my ears.

Thank you Apple and to the 20 valiant red-shirted Apple assistants, who seemed to outnumber the customers.

Happy New Year to All!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Stamford and Environs Hit Hard with Fast Moving Storm

The latest Storm to hit Stamford Dumped over 2 Feet in Some Locations

No one wants to know where this latest storm came from.

She just blew in as predicted.

We know that it had its origins in the southern Atlantic states.
For indeed the Carolinas were hit with about 6 inches of powder as this southeaster worked its way up the coast.

And we are also told that it had its origins in the Sierra Nevadas, some parts of which have received up to 190 inches--that's nearly 18 feet of snow-- in recent weeks.

In any case, our southern New England storm hit us with a vengeance dumping about 2 feet of snow in Stamford between noon on Sunday and Monday morning.

A visit to our local Grade A Market at Newfield Commons early Sunday revealed a jungle of last minute, pre-storm shoppers stocking up on necessities and the lines at the checkout counters were 20 people deep.

A friend of mine popped in, saw me twelfth on line and did a 180 degree turn telling me there's no way I'm shopping here.

We Stamfordites are a tough lot. Walking back to my home after moving the car around the corner-- so the that the snow removing crew could clean up our driveway-- I encountered Mr. Dixon; he's an 85 year-old retired teacher who lives at the top of the block. To my surprise, there he was out shoveling snow.

He celebrates sixty-two years of marriage in mid-January!

His son Ken, the legislative writer for the Advocate, urged him to stay indoors for he was on his way over to visit and clear the way for pop to access his car. But, no way, Dixon senior just had to get out and show his New England independent spirit.

Luckily, nobody in our neighborhood lost power this time around. Thousands were stranded without heat and power for days back in mid-March this year as a severe storm tore through lower Fairfield County. (see my blog on the Heroes of the March Storm. )

Monday, December 27, 2010

Parting Shots from US Open 2010: Day 9: Wawrinka versus Querry



The day started off at about 80 degrees and the temperature climbed to the high 80's by noon.

Sam Querry (20) delighted the crowd with a near victory over Stan Wawrinka(23)of Switzerland. With the score tied at 2-2 in the fifth set, the crowd began shouting "Sam, Sam- Go Sam, Go Sam" after every winner he scored. For a moment, we all thought he would pull it out, but Wawrinka played tough aggressive tennis to the end finally taking the fifth at 6-4.

This is the second year (in a row) that not a single US player reached the quarters in the 43 year run of the modern era US Open. The US has had at least one player in the quarter-finals for the first 41 years of the Open.

The photos depict a diverse crowd of tennis fans, some texting, some milling about, some eating and most of us engrossed. That's Jusin Gimmelstob at the Tennis Channel booth interviewing the players.

And in case you are wondering who is the player who has his arms raised to form a diagonal--that's Stanislaus Wawrinka celebrating his win-- and the time is 5:52 PM. The match lasted nearly 5 hours.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Great News for Stamford Residents and Motorists: DEP Just Doing Its Work


Great news for Stamford residents and motorists!

No- We are not seeing rolled back gasoline prices to the 1950's at 29 cents per gallon.

That would be great, but those good times are over.

What is good news is that under the direction of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) many of our gas stations are replacing their old leaking storage tanks with newer eco-friendly ones.

You may have seen a number of stations closing (then reopening) along High Ridge Road, Summer Street and Glenbrook Road. The stations are required to comply with DEP directives which effectively shuts them down for about 3-4 months while they make the necessary steps.

This is done to protect our drinking water from pollution.

University of Connecticut Basketball Team Shatters the Record at 89 Straight Wins


In what has to be the greatest day of his life, Coach Gene Auriemma of the UConn ladies basketball team has taken his team to Hoop Heaven with his team's 93-62 romp over Florida State last night at X-L Center in Hartford.

In an earlier blog this year, I confessed my admiration for winning coaches and winning numbers (comparing Auriemma's current record to Mike Ditka's run in the 80's and Buff Donelli's in the 50's and 60's).

Auriemma has just surpassed the previous record held by Coach John Wooden at UCLA who led his bruin hoopsters to 88 consecutive wins between the years of 1971-1974.

The team plays Stanford on December 30; the Cardinals are the last team to beat UConn back in 2008.

Here is Auriemma's resume to date-- by the numbers: 7 national titles, 11 Final Fours, 89 consecutive wins, 746-122 Won-Loss record, .859 win percentage.

By comparison, Wooden teams have 10 National Titles (with 7 in a row) and the coach had an .808 win percentage.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Apple/ Macintosh Magazines Rule the Roost at Borders in Stamford


I just made a quick trip for a strong dose of java at the Borders store on High Ridge in Stamford adjacent to The Chase Bank and the High Ridge Shopping Center off exit 35 on the Merritt.

Borders is my cafe of choice in the North Stamford area for many reasons. (It's not my intention to bore you with what makes the j experience at Borders so enjoyable) In short they have a bold strong brew of Seattle's Best and it's the natural buzz from the j --and not lots of people milling about-- that gives me my mid-morning high.

What made my short stay so enjoyable --10 minutes in all- was a brief visit to the huge seven panel magazine display.

Though my interest has been running lately to Harpers, Atlantic Monthly and New Yorker magazines, today what caught my eye was the computer section. And here one finds a panoply of the magazines that are touting apps and software; taking all this in overwhelmed me. There were perhaps 35-50 in all.

What I discovered is that Apple- centered publications rule the roost.

I counted no less than 13 different publications that focus on Apple products. Here are just a few of them that dominate the wall closest to the cafe: iPhone Handbook (a MacLife presentation), MacWorld (the Ultimate Mac Buyers Guide), MacWorld, MacBook Volume 6, Mac for Beginners (icreatemagazine.com), Apps Magazine (New for iPhone, iPad and iPod), iPhone and iPad, The Essentials Volume 2 and MacLife No. 48.

I did, however spot two android app magazines--so Steve Jobs and Company have some developing competition....







Thursday, December 16, 2010

Interactivity for Adults and Kids Comes to the Oakland Museum of California


A visit to the Oakland Museum of California turned out to be a very rewarding experience for me and for young children as I soon found out.

Ostensibly, I was drawn to see the Pixar exhibit because so many online respondents gave it rave reviews.

My visit to Pixar was limited to not even five minutes.

You may ask why?

The permanent exhibit stole my attention. And I wound up spending the bulk of my two hours here.

This is because I am drawn to California history having lived up in Paradise California one of the centers of the California gold rush which began in 1849 at Sutter's Creek. The museum has a marvelous collection of gold rush paintings and daguerreotypes that will keep you busy for an hour.

I soon became fixated on two interactive exhibits.

The first centered around Sunset at Yosemite by Albert Bierstadt, a member of the Hudson River School who went out west in the 1870's and 1880's. This particular painting intrigued me because of the lighting-- a sort of miraculous glow emanating from behind two mountains of rock with a stream flowing down the valley. (Click here to see the painting!)

I just happened to pick up a set of earphones next to a sofa facing the painting and was I amazed by the experience that followed. The narrator turned my attention to various foci in the painting-- e.g. the sunset, the blue sky, the pointed peak on the left side, the central grouping of trees, the river, etc, and for next 10-15 minutes elevated my awareness of art and myself -- via an hypnotic voice guiding me through visual sequences that seemed to unlock my unconscious; my experience of this magnificent painting was heightened to such a degree I wanted to repeat the experience.

I kept thinking, if art can uplift our spirits to such a degree, what are the possibilities of exciting a young child's imagination through interactivity?

It didn't take too long to find out. I wandered over to a kids computer installation and witnessed how easy it is for them to discover their innate love of creating images seemingly from nothing and then admiring their products which are then prominently displayed.

As the above two minute video illustrates, the kids can choose their favorite colors from a palette of choices and then hand paint their images below. In minutes they can complete their images and then click finished. In minutes their portraits join thousand of other peers who have preceded them. The audio indicates how excited they are.

What a fabulous way for tweaking both kids and adults appreciation of art!

Bringing Great Works of Art from World Class Museums to Regional Ones in the United States

El Greco's "Pentecost" is the
first work to be on loan to The Meadows Museum in Dallas

Back in early June this year, a short article in the Inside Art section of the Friday New York Times caught my eye entitled Prado has U.S. Alliance.

This art brief announces that the Prado Museum of Madrid has formed a three year partnership with the Meadows Museum of Art at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. In effect, SMU will be bearing all costs for bringing -on loan, of course- one major art piece per year to complement its permanent collection of Spanish art dating from the 10th century to the present.

Back in 2004, The Louvre struck a three year deal with High Museum of Atlanta to sponsor 7 exhibitions of its works.

Its great news to hear that these major art venues are forging relationships with American Museums. To share the art works will make the American public more appreciative of art and specific artists in general. The partnership will also make the art-loving public aware that there exists great museums of art outside the United States and hopefully will foster more understanding and cooperations between regional U.S. musuems and lesser known international ones.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Kudos to 96.7 FM, the Coast on their Early Sunday AM Talk Show

This past Sunday, I was delighted to hear a fascinating interview at about 6:45AM with both Sherry and Kim from the Stepping Stones Museum, Fairfield County's gem in Norwalk.

What I gathered in at this early hour was the enthusiasm of the two ladies for their recently reopened museum (shut down for 2.5 months) to prepare a new traveling show "Conservation Quest" that is now opening. They spoke about a functioning wind turbine in front of the building and many interactive activities that draw in young people to understand the basics of alternative green energy technologies.

The interview was short and I was hoping to find a podcast on the 96.7 website. Unfortunately, I could not find one. I thus urge the radio station to make these interviews available in archive form.

Nevertheless, my commendations are in order for the exciting interview I was fortunate to catch.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Milton Appreciation Week: Satan's Encounter with the Fires of Hell: Paradise Lost, Book I

Satan/Lucifer, another of Gustave Doré's illustrations
for Paradise Lost by John Milton

Here is our first glimpse of the landscape surrounding the fallen and angels and their leader. What powerful images Milton creates for us.

Satan and his rebellious crew of fallen angels have been "hurl'd headlong flaming from th' Ethereal Sky with hideous ruin and combustion down to bottomless perdition." (Paradise Lost, I: 45-47).

A few lines later the poet writes:

...for now the thought
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain
Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes
That witnessed huge affliction and dismay
mixt with obdurate pride and steadfast hate:
At once as far as Angels ken he views
The dismal situation waste and wild,
A dungeon horrible on all sides round
As one great furnace flam'd, yet those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible,
Serv'd only to discover sights of woe (italics mine)
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end
Still urges and a fiery Deluge, fed
With ever-burning Sulphur, unconsum'd:
Such place Eternal Justice had prepar'd
For those rebellious, here thir Prison ordained
In utter darkness and thir portion set
As from God and light of Heav'n
As from the Center thrice to th' utmost Pole.
(Book I, Verses 54-74)

Just as I focused-in my recent blog- on the woe ( "Nature from her seat Sighing through all Words gave signs of woe Book IX, Verse 84) that Eve abruptly ushered into our universe by her eating the apple from the forbidden tree, so too here, Milton gives us a vivid picture of the sights and pains of woe that Satan first experiences as he plummets from heaven to the burning seas of hell.

Milton draws upon Dante's inscription on the Gates of Hell in the Inferno: "Abandon hope all ye who enter here." Milton writes: "And rest can never dwell, hope never comes That comes to all.... but torture without end."

Satan's 'baleful eyes' survey the scene; the dictionary meaning of baleful is malignant or evil in intent. What he takes in is an expanse that covers long distances, miles and miles; he is enveloped in a 'dungeon' a vast prison from which he cannot seemingly escape. Sulphurous flames envelop him and his entourage of fallen angels.

Milton uses a powerful metaphor--'darkness visible' to describe the scene. The phrase is an oxymoron, for, indeed, how can darkness be visible. I think what Milton is hinting at is the inner state of mind, the dark evil, the inner blackness that permeates Satan and his crew. The persistent flames of hell burn bright and eternal to reveal the depravity of its denizens that will never be concealed.

In other words, light exposes evil.

Milton describes their 'Prison ordained in utter darkness.' This is a reference, I believe, to Satan being 'ordained' or self-crowned) the Prince of Darkness--at the opposite pole to God, who is embellished by the 'light of heaven.'

In my next blog, I will discuss the powerful physical description of Satan found later in the Book One.

Stay tuned.





Friday, December 10, 2010

Milton Appreciation Week: Paradise Lost, Book IX The Golden Apple Consumed

William Blake, The Temptation and Fall of Eve (1898)
Illustration of Milton's Paradise Lost

What I will be doing is arbitrarily picking scenes and passages from Milton's poems to show my readers how delightful and hence readable Milton's poetry is.

However much Milton has been vilified over the centuries, his messages are timeless.

To read Milton is to show just how relevant he is

The scene is Eden...

Eve and her husband have been warned not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, for in that day they well experience death.

In this passage Eve is giving in to her curiosity and is now tempted by Satan in the guise of a snake to become like the divine in knowledge and wisdom. She has just rationalized that the serpent himself has eaten the forbidden fruit and yet lives.

......, her rash hand in evil hour
Forth reaching to the Fruit , she pluck'd, she did eat;
Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat
Sighing through all Worlds gave signs of woe,
That all was lost. Back to the Thicket slunk
The guilty Serpent and well might, for Eve
Intent on now wholly on her taste, naught else
Regarded, such delight till then, as seem'd,
In fruit she never tasted, whether true
Or fancied so, through expectation high
Of knowledge, nor God-head from her thought
(Paradise Lost, Book IX, Verses 780-790)

Forty-five years have passed since I first read Paradise Lost for my graduate seminar in 17th Century Prose and Poetry.

I was deeply impressed by this passage then and am even more moved now. I have become more and more fascinated with how Milton perceives evil in the Bible, in history and during his time.

A few years ago, a brilliant student of mine, in a summer cram course on Western Literature from Gilgamesh to Milton, wrote a brilliant research paper on what recent Milton scholarship has to say about good and evil. (this paper, hopefully, will be the subject of a future blog)

Milton is fascinated with the mother of man. She is living in perfect bliss and harmony with nature, flora and fauna as well as her husband. She is living in a garden of earthly delights. She, no doubt, has no idea of how blissful her state is compared to what she will have to experience after she eats.

From a state of harmony ( Nature is after all attuned to the peace of Paradise), Nature is now thrown out of whack. (italics mine) Renaissance thinkers believed in an ordered state of the stars and universe and this harmony of the spheres is abruptly interrupted.

Milton creates a graphic resonant image of the suffering that will embrace mankind. "Earth felt the wound and Nature from her seat Sighing through all her works gave signs of woe."

I envision Nature as a Supreme Conductor who has until now presided over a universe that runs smoothely like a swiss watch; Nature can also be seen as an orchestrator of a way of life that is predictably serene and orderly.

What a powerful image this is-- and rightly so-- for with one act, mankind is now doomed to pain, suffering and woe.

Woe is only a three letter word. But what a catalog of horrors it entails: Jealousy, hatred, envy, gluttony, incurable disease as HIV, war, stealing, bullying, oppression both mental and physical....

The list goes on and on. In Milton's day, there was bitter rivalry between the High Church represented by the Episcopal Bishops and the reform minded Presbyters; there was a rivalry between Royalty and the rebellious Roundheads led by Oliver Cromwell which resulted in a regicide.

Doesn't this sound a little like the bitter rivalry in our present day America between a beseiged Democratic President and the Republican majority in Congress hell-bent on defeating all the programs that our leader is advancing, from health care reform to extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich as well as the poor.

Milton says it so well. "...all was lost" Paradise was lost. But not forever

Our challenge, today as in Milton's times, is to make the most of our 'fallen state.' to take all the tests of life thrown in our path and overcome our personal battles.

All is not woe for us. As the famous bard once said, "Nothing is but thinking makes it so."


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Today is the Birthday of John Milton, Englishman


What better way to celebrate John Milton's birthday (November 9, 1608- November 8, 1674) than to admire one of his best known sonnets, number 19.

When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent, which is death to hide,
Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account lest he returning chide;
"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied,"
I fondly ask; But patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his yoke, they serve him best ; his state
Is Kingly. Thousand at his bidding speed
And post o'er Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

Enjoy this poem! Reread it out loud dozens of times....Incorporate its message into your psyche....

Its message of humility and patience along the path of achievement--of finding, groping and struggling to fulfill the vision that God establishes and expects of each and everyone of us--has been an inspiration to me at every key stage and juncture on this trek we call life.

What truly underlies the message of this poem?

The theme, I believe, is Milton's profound sense of appreciation of and praise for his Maker. Note, the poet 'fondly' asks 'doth God exact day labor light denied?' We may be lost which path to take to define and give expression to the divine within us; we may have one setback after another as we blindly grope to discover our path(s), our passions that best 'serve' God's purpose for us.

And sometimes, after a major struggle to see the light-- to extract meaning of our daily endeavors-- we might just as well take five, take a time out to cultivate the relationship with the Supreme Creator and, above all, our loved ones!

Perhaps, its time for a weekend retreat, a month vacation from the rat race or even a sabbatical (year) to smell the roses and reconnect with self. How often have we heard: find your burning desire, your major purpose in life and pursue it....

Milton is indeed way ahead of his time....He could not bear being idle. He had to have a constant mission to do, to serve his fellow Englishmen by writing profound literature; he also had to serve the republic as a public servant.

Sonnet 19 was once High School required reading material; and indeed this poem was one my mother loved to quote.

Milton became blind in 1655 and wrote this poem to express his reverence for the supreme being who has given the gifted poet a test, just another test, in order to learn patience to serve 'his master' as best as he could.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reporting at its Best: "What Good is Wall Street ?" Who is Regulating the Regulators?

Kudos to an informative, provocative article in the November 29th issue of the New Yorker written by John Cassidy.

This article raises many intriguing questions only one of which I will touch on today. (tune in for a further discussion covering issues that Cassidy hints at....)

We might ask: what exactly did the Dodd-Frank Bill do to curb the excesses of a profit-driven excesses of Wall Street in the wake of the global economic tsunami involving marketing bundled mortgages that are the toxic detritus and one sign of an industry run amok, a world economy that is virtually stifled and millions of people thrown out of their once-stable jobs.

Here is a telling illustration of the bull run wild while the rest of the country can only stare sheepishly at the mania.

A credit default swap is a type of derivative used exclusively for speculation. "When an investor or financial institution buys this kind of swap, its doesn't buy a bond itself; it just places a bet on whether the bond will default At the height of the boom, for every dollar banks issued in bonds, they might issue twenty dollars in swaps.'If they did a hundred million dollar bond issue, two billion dollars of swaps would be created and traded.'" {Cassidy quoting Ralph Schlosstein, the C.E.O. of Evercore; the latter has a most impressive resume serving the Treasury Dept under President Carter and Wall Street see page 53}

Cassidy's continues with the folly of this particular derivative: "From the banks' perspective, creating this huge market in side bets (italics mine) was very profitable insanity. By late 2007, the notional value of outstanding credit-default was about SIXTY TRILLION DOLLARS-MORE THAN FOUR TIMES THE SIZE OF THE U.S. GROSS DOMESTIC." (emphasis mine).

Of course, the incentive for selling 60 trillion dollars in these swaps is the huge amount of commissions the financial institution charges its customers.

We might ask what has happened to the traditional function of investment banks, such as Citibank (given a government bailout of $45 Billion in 2008), to raise capital for existing and emerging companies? Cassidy succinctly answers that within the first 9 months of this year "within the investment bank (Citi) about eighty cents of every dollar in revenues came from buying and selling securites, while just fourteen cents of every dollar came from raising capital for companies and advising them on deals."

I urge everyone in the securities business or anyone affected by Wall Street-aren't WE ALL??-- to read this timely article and seriously ask themselves the same question: What Good is Wall Street Doing?

I will return to the issues raised by this timely and penetrating analysis by Mr. Cassidy.


The Westword Student Newspaper at Westhill High School in Stamford Shines with Excellence-

The November issue of the Westword proudly illustrates its front page motto: "The test of good journalism is the measure of its public service"

Three main topics cast their spot light on three subjects that illuminate the value of public service in education: the impact of the Principal's imminent departure for another position, the 3 new Board of Education members plan for reform and lastly the pros and cons of rewarding teachers monetarily for students performance.

In the interests of time and space, I will focus on the main issue: finding a successor to the current Principal.

The lead subject is the impending retirement of Ms. Figluizzi, the Principal at West Hill for the last 12 years, to assume a position downtown as Director of Magnet Schools, a new position created by Superintendent Joshua Starr.

No less than 6 articles--showering encomiums galore -- are devoted to the leadership skills that Ms. Figliuzzi embodies: Read these buy lines to get a sense of the warmth and compassion she has generated and the obvious sense of loss that journalists feel speaking for the student body:
  • The end of an era
  • Hail to the Chief
  • Tribute to Ms. Figliuzzi: Reflecting on the past...Preparing for the future {2 articles}
  • 'My time here had made me very proud' (from an interview conducted by Sam Lagasse)

On page 2, the Editor in Chief Jackie Schechter and Associate Editor Annie Cohen thank their principal for "always budgeting vital funds that help us print" and for allowing editorial independence "not subject to prior review by the administration. Both this and past staffs are immeasurably grateful for and honored by your trust. Your willingness to let us tackle school issues that may often be unpleasant shows your true desire to help improve the Westhill community and to maintain an honest and informed atmosphere among students, faculty and parents."

The Editorial on page 12 reads: 'Figliuzzi should finish out the year.' This is a common sense approach because changing leadership in mid-year tends to be very disruptive to the student body as well as the faculty. To place an interim principal is not an answer because impermanentleadership is at best a stop-gap measure that too often causes confusion and insecurity as a result of a lack of vision. It is best, the editors claim for the Board of Education to methodically and carefully vet candidates to assess who would best fill the role.

Kudos to Sam Legasse for his interview. When he asked her what she has done to establish the ideal that students be given the environment to see that no limits be placed on what they can achieve not only in school , but in the outside world, here is how she responded: "I think my contribution has been in putting wonderful teachers in place to instill a vision in all of the students."

Finding such an administrator with this sense of vision is one more reason the Board should delay bringing in a new Principal until the fall of 2011.

I wish to commend the entire staff of the Westword on an excellent issue.