Tag Archives: Huffington Post

“The Math”.


Most of us can remember our first Math class in school. Mine, however, doesn’t stand out as worthy of any Save File. I think it’s because, for me, words always held ineffable depth. They were my perpetual fascination – right up there with picture, and flavor, and song.

But, math seemed like more of a force with which to be reckoned, some mysterious matrix within which one could easily be consumed. It seemed, with its persistent symmetry, its finality, to be at enmity with imagination and passion, with life force itself.

Sure enough, I struggled against the thing. I’d try to skim through the process, to make it go away faster; invariably, this tactic led to that common term, the “careless mistake” – the fleet error in computation that would always render my sums and quotients “wrong.”  Getting “wrong answers” unnerved me; effortlessly able to memorize, I and my natural lexicon made no room for them.

As school and, with it, life progressed, I would come to invoke math teachers as my nemesis; they didn’t seem to see into my soul and, if they ever did look in my direction, appeared lacking in any recognition. Rather, an expression of annoyance, restrained tolerance, would pass across their collective countenance; I was the stranger in their room.

In later years, as I developed and was trained to understand the human mind, I came to appreciate math from my own point of view, aspects of its discipline as they integrated themselves into my real time experience. I waited tables, and would add figures both quickly and accurately; my brothers would use formulae to build the beautiful homes with which their construction was entrusted. My mother’s dressmaking even depended upon the role of measurement. Sure enough, its devoted teachers were right about one thing; occasionally, we would use the maddening mathematics in our daily lives.

But, if I have to hear one more political pundit declare that Bernie Sanders can’t become President because “the math” isn’t in his favor, I think I might morph into a Texas Instrument Terminatrix.

Allow me to USE math to present my argument.

Statistics are known to cluster. Predictions are still at the mercy of the random life event, which cannot be measured. The mob effect is not without its power to alter the course of history. The human element must be f.a.c.t.o.r.e.d. IN.

And, the math pundits aren’t doing that. Moreover, when we see the crowd swell of human passion at every single Bernie rally, the collective captivation of human imagination, and ignore its unmeasurable power, we simply aren’t computing. After all, isn’t this how Donald Trump reached presumptive nominee?

It seems, rather, that the political math defenders are more about preserving the present system of gathering desired data, known as the electoral college, than any real concern for authentic democratic representation.

Bernie Sanders has a mathematically sound platform, by the way – possibly the only one any candidate can boast.

Best to lean in, and address that arithmetic, before saying another word.

Bernie Sanders for President 2016.

Thank you.




© Ruth Ann Scanzillo  5/12/16      Use freely, everywhere, with respectful acknowledgement of the author. Thank you, again.






The United States of Haiti.

How many of us are old enough to remember the first time anybody heard about the AIDS crisis?

It was Phil Donahue, hosting his pioneering talk show, who broke the story. I was waiting tables in the local Greek dinor, spelled with an “o”, and caught the episode hours before heading to work to serve the 3rd shift bar rush, already all too familiar with the population to whom this revelation would soon become paramount.

The year was, I think, 1981. My elder brother was assistant director at the local diagnostic laboratory. Though I urged him to take note of the Donahue show’s disclosure, he knew nothing, as yet – no official information had come through the “wire” – and, being a scientist, he wasn’t about to take seriously any press release that hadn’t been sanctioned by the hierarchy to which he was beholden.

However, eventually we all knew the truth. Behavior, in American society, would begin its slow, resistant slog through the paradigm shift which ensued. Condoms, so said my oldest male friend, felt like wet socks; this would take some time.

At first, the crisis seemed remote; we neither knew anybody, nor knew of anybody, stricken with AIDS. We wondered; we might have even suspected; but, none of us knew.

Gradually, the epidemic manifested. Sourcing its roots on another continent, we would soon realize that the infection was essentially world wide.

But, far less likely realized by the mainstream, one tiny country would be hardest hit: Haiti. And, what this illustrated would become far more revelatory in its implications than the disease itself.

Haiti was utterly infested with AIDS. And, the reasons were socio-economic; the island nation was a suppressed people, its vast majority of citizens living in abject poverty. And, the reason for this was, while simple, profound: the leadership of this country was among the most corrupt in the world.

Yes; during the 1980s, illiteracy in Haiti was a huge problem. French being the national language, the poor spoke Creole and efforts to coerce them away from their native dialect were allegedly unsuccessful. Communication, therefore, was impossible – but, so was advancement. Politically, this was enabling; pernicious corruption had led to a massive wealth monopoly amongst the power elite, from which nary a vapor would waft in the direction of the enormous, ignorant, remaining population.

Smell familiar?

There are those who call me prone to hyperbole. I’m guilty of seeing potential for the drastic in the most mundane. But, do we not see any writing on the wall?

The longer we allow the gulph to widen between the monopolizing 1% and the body of our own increasingly financially dependent population, the more infested we are likely to become – by despair, resentment, hostility. And, yes; even disease.  Only, now, many of us wonder just which puppeteers have the latest virus in their bag of tricks.

The sheer square mileage of our purple mountains and fruited plains could be dwarfed, compressed in a small amount of time by an infectious agent – or, worse – some alleged antidote marketed as a preventive. There are far too many of us still willing to remain impressionable, malleable, and subject, forgetting that there is still strength in numbers. Come. Let us reason, t.o.g.e.t.h.e.r. Instead of rallying behind a single voice promising to protect us from threat, only to hedge its own invested bets, shouldn’t we rather band together as a unified flank, and protect ourselves?





© Ruth Ann Scanzillo  2/20/16    All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Sharing permitted via Re-Blogging, exclusively. Thank you.