Points of Color



Opening Quote

“If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.”

Abraham Maslow was one of the founders of humanistic psychology. His  early research was in primate dominance and sexuality, and he gained a mentor in Albert Adler, one of Freud’s early adherents. From 1937-1951, Maslow worked at the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College. There, he gained two additional mentors: anthropologist Ruth Benedict and Max Wertheimer, the father of Gestalt psychology. Slowly, Maslow began formulating his theories regarding the nexus between human potential and mental health. He created a hierarchy of human needs with those that address self-actualization at the top: the need to fulfill oneself and to grow into everything one was capable of becoming. Prior to Maslow’s hypothesis, psychology was concerned primarily with the abnormal; he explored how positive mental health meshed with one’s ongoing life. Maslow also served at Brandeis University from 1951-1969.


The Flint, Michigan lead-in-water scandal has some interesting side issues: such as the responsibility of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency to share critical findings with the public. EPA water expert, Miguel Del Toral first discovered the high-lead contamination of Flint’s water in February 2015, rechecked his findings in April and prepared an internal memo outlining the situation in June 2015. During this period, EPA kept the information secret and attempted to “prod” Michigan’s Department of Environment Quality to take action. EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman sought a legal opinion on whether it was acceptable to disclose the news, but that was not completed until November. It took until October 2015––eight months––for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to admit it had used the wrong Federal law to monitor the lead being ingested by Flint citizens. Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech scientist who discovered the lead contamination, believes that State and Federal employees had an immediate responsibility to alert the public, rather than downplaying its significance, as some critics have charged. This stonewalling style of Regional EPA’s Hedman fits in with Federal EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s decision to not responding to media requests for information on at least one occasion. Citizens had raised questions of whether artificial turf playing fields were safe for children. And the EPA and McCarthy would not respond to multiple requests for EPA guidance on the artificial turf from NBC—one request was on camera. A major question whether Hedman et al violated the Nuremburg guidelines by maintaining their silence as people of color were being poisoned by lead. It would seem they need a refresher course in “Black Lives Matter.” (Of course the state was silent also; but they were the ones whose incompetence in this project so endangered Flint, so their reticence to admit their mistake is more understandable, if also bogus.)
{NOTE: This piece is based on reporting by Jim Lynch of The Detroit News and an interview with Governor Rick Snyder and Ron Fournier in National Journal. Also NBC Nightly News in regard to artificial turf playing fields.} 
[NOTE 2:] Late on Thursday afternoon, January 21, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy accepted Susan Hedman’s resignation effective February 1st.


Most people are sure of at least a few things–such as death and taxes, and the fact that humans possess five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. However, in a 2015 book exploring dolphins, their extraordinary abilities, and their relationship with humans, author Susan Casey declares that men and women are using much more sensory data than previously known.
There are many types of dolphins, but all possess extraordinary qualities.

“…rather than the five senses you think you possess…humans have at least twenty-one means of perception. Our biological toolkit includes proprioception (the position of one’s body in space); chronoception (a sense of the passage of time); nociception (the awareness of pain); equilibrioception (if you’ve ever had vertigo, you know what it means to lose this); and themoception (a sense of hot and cold). There are internal sensors throughout our bodies–in our brains, hearts, blood, skin, cells–registering even the most ethereal cues.”

Among the astounding ideas this work passes on about dolphins is that they possess self-awareness and can identify themselves as the image in a mirror. “Presley and Tab [the two dolphin subjects of the experiment] became the first non-primates to do this, mugging in front of the mirror, craning their bodies around, and flipping upside down to examine their marks.” Anyone interested in the human-animal interface will enjoy and learn a great deal from Susan Casey’s extended love note, Voices in the Ocean: A Journey Into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins.


On Tuesday, January 19th, Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump. As if sane citizens needed a reason to flee the Donald, here’s the most embarassingly inept Vice Presidential candidate in the history of the republic to give you one. These two deserve each other.


Christopher Foyle was a policeman his whole life, but by the time he got to London, he was working for MI-5.
My nomination for the best television show of recent years is the British series, Foyle’s War. The show first focused on Christopher Foyle’s duties as a ranking police detective in Southern England during World War II. After a number of seasons, the show was cancelled, and then, because of popular outrage was brought back: the second iteration had Foyle working––and seeming rather lost––in Britain’s domestic intelligence service, MI-5, just after World War II has ended. After a hiatus of a number of years, Netflix is now streaming three new episodes of Foyle’s War created in 2015, in which Michael Kitchen, who plays Foyle, is again at MI-5–this time, during the Cold War. Here’s how Mary McNamara described her devotion to this show in the Los Angeles Times:

           “As a fan, I watch “Foyle’s War” repeatedly and            obsessively for            the same reason I reread Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Agatha                      Christie, Edna O’Brien, Jean Kerr, Margaret Atwood or “To Kill a                  Mockingbird” repeatedly and obsessively–because it transports,                  enthralls, enriches and comforts me.

           As a critic, I watch it because it is so unbelievably good at what it                    does, and I never tire of  trying to figure out why, exactly.”

In Hollywood Journal, a writer declares that “The show’s creator, Anthony Horowitz, has written one of the most complex characters ever created: brilliant, wry, and at times, almost cruel in his honesty.” Michael Kitchen, a British actor portrays Foyle with a “unique charm of character and performance-not only in Foyle himself, brought brilliantly to life by Michael Kitchen’s muted, charismatic acting style. Honeysuckle Weeks, too, as his impeccably mannered sidekick and driver, Sam Stewart, is another unobtrusive yet magnetic presence.” That rave is from The Telegraph, in the UK. My advice, if you haven’t yet discovered this magnificent show, is to go to Netflix as quickly as possible to remedy the situation.
My “Robot on the Beach,” can’t measure up to dolphins or supersmart cops. However,it might make you smile. To order prints of my artwork, go to my Etsy.com shop.


The Points of Color blog by Ken Handel appears occasionally. Please send comments/suggestions to WordsandAbstracts@gmail.com. To subscribe, please send the message, “Please send Points of Color to my e-mail [__Please Insert Your E-mail Here_________________________] whenever it is distributed.” Send to WordsandAbstracts@gmail.com.


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