Opinion

METRO photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

One day, you wake up and your kids who called noodles “noonies” are getting ready for college.

No, not exactly. It’s a long journey filled with skinned knees, ripped tee shirts — don’t ask — eye rolling and muttering between clenched teeth. Still, here we are, as our kids prepare to move on from the educational minor leagues. Along the way, we went through numerous milestones. Please find below a few of the phases in our journey.

— Deer in the headlights. I’ve seen deer in my headlights. The only difference between them and us when we first brought our children home is that the deer’s eyes are open much wider. We almost instantly became sleep-deprived. Other than that, we had that frozen not-sure-where-to-move feeling, knowing we had to do something, but not exactly sure what or in what order to take care of those needs.

— Hating everyone. People meant well back in the days when our children were young and cried. Numerous people, who didn’t live with or even know our needy infants, offered unsolicited advice about what this scream or that scream meant. Strangers would tell us how our daughter’s cry meant she had gas, was hungry, needed her diaper changed, or was hot or cold. Yes, thanks, those are the options. Thanks for the help!

— Cooking the plastics. Yup, back in the early days, I was so sleep deprived that I put plastic bottles in a pot of boiling water to sterilize them and fell asleep. It wasn’t until I smelled the burning plastic that I realized how long I’d been out.

— Carrying everything: We couldn’t go four blocks without a diaper bag filled with everything, including the special toy each of them needed, diapers, wipes, ointment, sunscreen, bug spray, rain jackets, boots, and extra clothing.

— Straining our backs: Picking the kids up and playing with them was fun when they were under 20 pounds. When they reached 50 and above, holding them the entire length of a ski slope became impossible.

— Crazy sports parents: This phase lasted much longer than it should have. It was only when the kids reached late middle school that I appreciated the fresh air, the sparkling sunlight and the excitement of the moment. Exercise and making friends are the goal. Everything else, including winning, is gravy.

— Giving them space (aka, it’s not about us). As they reached adolescence, our children needed to make their own decisions. Tempting as it was to jump in and redirect them or even to kiss them before they left the car for middle school, we bit our tongues as often as we could, leaving us feeling lonely and nostalgic in our cars as they joined their friends.

— Beautiful naps: Giving them space allowed us to do what we wanted. After years of living our lives while monitoring and helping theirs, we had a chance to do exactly what we wanted, which started with restorative naps.

— Sending them into space. We aren’t putting them in a Jeff Bezos rocket ship or sending them to the International Space Station, but we are preparing to give them an opportunity to explore the world outside our house.

— Looking at the calendar differently. With both of them on the way to their futures, we can choose places to visit that didn’t interest them. We can visit these places when school is in session, which should mean lower costs for us.

— Telling other people how to take care of their kids: With our free time, we see parents struggling with young children. We, of course, know better. Or maybe not.

METRO photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

At this time of renewed attention to COVID-19, I recommend escapism. I have managed it, and this is how I did it. I immersed myself in two books, one after the other. They weren’t great classics, just hand-me-downs from a person whose reading tastes I respect. He gave me both books, and like a magic carpet ride, they took me to a different time and place with interesting characters for travel companions.

I enjoy historical fiction, and interestingly enough, both books use the siege of Leningrad by the Nazis during World War II as a critical context for their plots. Although we are being laid siege today by a malevolent virus, that act of war almost exactly 80 years ago was far different. Hitler wanted to bomb the city into oblivion, believing that Eastern Europeans were worthless, and survivors were to be starved to death. The German army was under orders not to accept any truce offer that might be extended to them by the city leadership. The siege began on Sept. 8, 1941, and ended, after 872 days of torment, on Jan. 27, 1944. The pre-war population of about two and a half million was reduced at the end to about 800,000 by extreme famine, disease and artillery strikes, one of the most destructive blockades in history. To make matters even worse, that first winter saw temperatures plummet as low as – 40 degrees. The dead piled up in the streets. There were even instances of cannibalism. The survivors were marked forever.

This is a major catalyst of the first book, “Winter Garden,” by best-selling author, Kristin Hannah. It is the story of the relationship between a mother and her two daughters, and between the daughters themselves, that bears the aftereffects of what has been termed by historians as attempted genocide in Leningrad. Anya is a cold and disapproving mother to her children, and they feel cast out to survive emotionally, each in their own way as they grow up. The glue that holds the family together is the father, and when he becomes terminally ill, the dysfunction of the women is clearly revealed. The writing is dramatic and manages to sustain a heart-rending pathos as the plot builds. I tried to keep a dry eye as I read, but in vain. Each continuing episode tugged at my heart and my tears flowed anew with just about every chapter. The surprise ending is a stunner.

Having barely recovered from Hannah’s epic story, I plowed into “City of Thieves,” by David Benioff. Unlike “Winter Garden,” in which the siege of Leningrad is considered for its profound and intergenerational consequences half a century later, Benioff’s main characters deal with the horror as it is unfolding. Seventeen-year-old Lev and 20-year-old Kolya somehow manage to make this into a coming-of-age story, with some laugh-out-loud dialogue even as they are fighting to survive. But don’t be misled. This account of the tragedy of Leningrad is, if anything, more brutal for its contemporaneous setting. 

The two young men, through a bit of incredible yet somehow acceptable events, are sent off by a Soviet colonel amidst a starving city in search of a dozen eggs. It might as well be the holy grail for Arthurian medieval knights. In the course of the quest, they see and sometimes experience some of the individual terrors of the siege in what Benioff claims is historically accurate fashion. Benioff has delineated the plot according to specifics in Harrison Salisbury’s book, “The 900 Days,” and Curzio Malaparte’s “Kaputt.” 

The latter, a novel published in 1946 by an Italian war correspondent, is about the descent of European civilization on the Eastern Front during World War II, and the former, written in 1969, is by the respected American journalist detailing the definitive story of the prolonged battle. Benioff cites them as sources for his novel.

They were hardly light reading, these two books my friend gave me, but they certainly kept my attention. They also taught me a bit, as good books do.

File photo by Rhoma Abbas

Road conditions are a regular topic of conversation on Long Island. Many of us have experienced flat tires after hitting a pothole on local roads, but while we demand road repairs and have the right to them as taxpayers, sometimes we’re not as patient as we should be with the department of transportation workers who repair our roadways.

As soon as the warm weather arrives, crews begin to pepper the streets filling potholes and paving roads. While busy schedules have many rushing all over the Island at times, when a driver begins to see orange cones and, more importantly, a person holding a sign that says “slow” or “stop,” it’s imperative to follow directions.

According to the New York State website, in 2018 “there were 701 crashes in work zones on state roads and bridges, resulting in 13 motorist fatalities and 329 injuries to motorists, contractor employees and NYSDOT staff” in the state. The fatalities and injuries could have been avoided with some extra care while driving around road work zones.

A flagger’s directions by law hold the same authority as a sign. Imagine what many of the flaggers have to go through every day. For some standing on the edge of the work zone to slow down or stop traffic, not only puts their lives at risk but it also puts them in a situation where they can be harassed by drivers when all they are doing is their job to keep drivers and workers safe while navigating a disrupted roadway.

It’s pretty simple. When you see a work zone approaching, slow down and merge into the correct lane when it is safe to do so, and do not speed at the end of the closed lane to try to get into the other lane.

Speeding through a work zone also can mean a lighter wallet for a driver. New York State fines are doubled for speeding in these zones. A driver’s license can be suspended if a motorist receives repeat convictions of speeding violations in work zones.

With only a couple of months left until summer’s end, we’ll still see many workers on the road. Take care to slow down and keep more than the usual distance between you and the car in front of you to show respect for those who are putting their lives in our hands to keep our roads smooth.

For road maintenance workers, their livelihood should not mean risking their lives, because someone couldn’t be inconvenienced for a few minutes.

Ashley Langford. Photo from SBU

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

She hasn’t scored a point or dished out an assist in a college basketball game since 2009. That hasn’t stopped Ashley Langford, Stony Brook University’s first-year women’s basketball coach, from mixing it up with the players.

A point guard who graduated from Tulane University and who holds the school record for the most assists, scored over 1,000 points, and, despite being five feet, five inches tall, brought down 403 rebounds for 25th in school history, Langford plans to tap into her playing experience at Stony Brook.

“I’m a hands-on head coach,” said Langford, who most recently was associate head coach at James Madison University in Virginia. “I’m a demonstrator.”

Langford, who took over for Caroline McCombs this year when the former coach joined George Washington University, believes she can help a team that won back-to-back America East Championships by stepping onto the floor during practices and drills.

When she’s guarding them, she wants to “see them do a move,” she said. “At a certain point, they get too good” for her skills, which is when she pats herself on the back, especially after she sees her players exuding increased confidence.

Langford is pleased with the start of her time at Stony Brook, where she has felt welcomed and supported by Athletic Director Shawn Heilbron and President Maurie McInnis.

“This is a big reason why I chose to come here,” Langford said. “The administration is great and the president has been awesome.”

Langford appreciates how Heilbron knows the names of so many student-athletes, which is consistent with her approach to coaching.

Langford believes her players and the coach should have similar expectations.

“I need to be connected to my players, and I want them to be connected to me,” Langford said. “I want players to come into my office and talk. I want that relationship.”

Langford has been working within the limitations of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules during the summer. She hopes to use this time to build a rapport with her team and help them learn her terminology and the drills she runs.

“I want to give them a preview” about her and the program, Langford said.

In making the transition from playing to coaching, Langford said she has tried to improve and grow. She believes she and her team should constantly strive to improve.

Coaching is “less about basketball and more about how you connect with your players,” Langford said.

To be sure, that connection doesn’t mean she coddles the team. She strives to be honest without sugarcoating the message. 

“When they’re doing well, I’m going to tell them,” she said. “When we need to be better, I’m going to tell them that, too.”

Langford explained that basketball has changed considerably since her playing days, as players have more resources available to them. She sang the praises of Elizabeth Zanolli, assistant athletic director for Sports Medicine, who supports the basketball and other teams.

Players also have nutritionists, dietitians, and strength and conditioning support, which improve the overall health and endurance of the athletes.

On the court, the men’s and women’s games have increasingly emphasized the value of the three-point shot, which means that most of the points in a game come from in the paint close to the basket or outside the three-point line, where long-range shooters can rack up points quickly.

Langford doesn’t see much of a difference between the men’s and women’s games.

“I want players to pass, dribble and shoot,” she said. “It’s that simple.”

Pixabay photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Help. I have a strange problem and to this point can’t find the solution. The man who nicely takes care of our pool said that he removed 600 dead frogs last week. That’s more than the previous week, which yielded more than the week before. The problem is worsening as I write. My neighbor’s pool, according to his estimation, had 2,000 dead frogs, and so on at other houses in the area. I suppose there is some comfort in knowing that others are having the same intrusion, but actually not much. Even as I respect and enjoy nature, I would like to have the pool water for my family and not share it with dead amphibians.

The pool guy suggested I call an exterminator, which I did. I happen to know a competent one, who confessed to me after hearing my story that in his 35 years of being in business, he had never heard of such a predicament. “Call a pool guy,” he suggested. So we are right back to square one. He did kindly offer to call an expert entomologist he knew. I was grateful for the suggestion but I haven’t heard anything back from him as of this writing. 

I tried to think of someone else who might have dealt with this situation before and finally came up with the answer man (and woman) for any questions concerning our house: the good folks at the local hardware store. Ben at Ace Hardware tried hard to think of a method for dealing with hundreds of frogs and after much thought, gave me a mesh screen to tie to the side of the pool and hang into the water. The theory goes like this. The frogs are dying because they can’t get out. Maybe they hatched in the pool, maybe they just jumped in because it has been so hot. Either way, the smooth sides don’t permit them to escape. So if we give them a way to exit, they will leave. At least, that’s the hope. We’ll try that. I like it because it’s nontoxic. 

My son and daughter-in-law looked for a clue to this unprecedented dilemma on Google. They came up with a couple of answers that we will also try. One is to spray the bricks around the pool with white vinegar. Apparently, frogs don’t like vinegar on their feet. Or maybe they don’t like the smell. In any event, we have a gallon of white vinegar and a spray bottle, and we’re going to give it a go. Google also suggested giving the frogs a way out. It even suggested a froggy ladder, which they happened to sell, and we then dutifully bought. Worth a try. 

Other suggestions, with our responses:

Turn off the pool lights. Lights attract insects, which in turn attract frogs, who eat the insects.

We don’t use pool lights. We like the insect-eating part though.

Cover the pool.

We want to use it.

Install fence.

We have a fence with posts widely enough spaced for a squadron of frogs to march through. We could, however, put wooden boards or chicken wire at the base to keep them from hopping in.

Keep lawn mowed and free of weeds and debris.

Already do that. Neighbors will bear witness.

Make own DIY frog repellent.

If vinegar doesn’t work, will try a heavy concentration of saltwater. Or a mixture of bleach and water. Maybe all three.

Sprinkle coffee grounds around the pool. Acid in the coffee can also irritate their feet.

Yuk.

Keep pool water circulating. Frogs don’t like to lay eggs in moving water.

We could do that by keeping the filter going all day and night. It’s an expensive solution, however, because it would require a lot of electricity.

Keep the pool heated.

Ditto.

Keep pool sparkling clean.

We try.

When I was a kid, I dreamt of having a swimming pool. The frogs were not in my dream. It could be worse though. Australia is presently undergoing a plague of mice.

Any help for us?

METRO photo
Post-pandemic thoughts for parents, teachers and administrators

By Elizabeth Kahn Kaplan

Huge sighs of relief can be anticipated when local public schools reopen their doors this September — exclamations of relief not only from children and teenagers eager to resume in-person learning full time alongside their friends, not only from teachers exhausted from long hours shaping lessons onto distance-learning platforms, not only from parents, weary from assisting struggling students glued to laptops, iPads  or iPhones at home while juggling or, worse yet, resigning from paid jobs, and also from business owners glad to have their employees back.  

But will pre-pandemic and post-pandemic classroom learning be the same, and should it be? Should “distance learning,” supported by expanded technological resources, be granted a larger role within the classroom, with less teacher-led instruction? Which medium of delivery ensures a greater payoff of maximum learning for the resources invested?

Two Three Village residents, educators at the top of their profession — Jacqueline Grennon Brooks, professor emerita of Teaching, Learning and Technology, Hofstra University, and her spouse Martin Brooks, executive director of Tri-State Consortium, an association of over 40 school districts in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — agree that the key to whether or not learning takes place is not how information is delivered but if knowledge is constructed. Whether it is a teacher or a book or a computer that provides a formal lesson, the students must connect the lesson to what they already know or have experienced for true learning to occur.

“Content alone is insufficient as a motivator for student learning: It must be combined with purpose … seen as meaningful by learners. Students learn best when engaged in learning experiences rather than passively receiving information,” according to the authors.

That theory of learning, called “constructivism,” suggests that you cannot directly impart knowledge, but you can facilitate experiences in which students construct knowledge. Jacqueline and Martin Brooks agree that the job of the teacher is to create meaningful experiences that enable the learner to do just that.

“There are kids who struggle to learn if what is being taught is not offered in a way that is particularly relevant to them. In order to figure out ways for them to have ownership of their learning, skilled teachers, interacting in person with these students, focus not only on content but concentrate on approaches that lead to critical and creative thinking.” 

What many parents and children learned during the pandemic is that at-home distance learning in front of a laptop, iPad, or iPhone cannot replace in-person classroom experiences created by skillful teachers. Virtual classrooms also denied children the opportunity to develop social skills through interaction with their peers. When schools reopen in September, students, parents and teachers will welcome the opportunity for true learning to begin again. 

Further reading: “Schools Reimagined: Unifying the Science of Learning with the Art of Teaching,” by Jacqueline Grennon Brooks and Martin G. Brooks (Teachers College Press, 2021).

Elizabeth Kahn Kaplan is the former director of education at the Three Village Historical Society and an educator, writer and lecturer on art, artists and American history.

Pixabay photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a conversation I imagined having with an alien who I  envisioned landing in my backyard. Here’s how I figure a conversation between an alien who speaks the language of my dog and our beloved pet would go:

Alien: Tell me about those humans?

Dog: They talk to each other constantly.

Alien: Does the noise bother you?

Dog: It’s not particularly problematic, but it is hypocritical.

Alien: What do you mean?

Dog: When we’re in the backyard or out for a walk, they tell us to be quiet or something much meaner when we speak to other dogs. They don’t want us to bark with other dogs, and yet they talk nonstop like they have so much to say. 

Alien: What else is different about humans?

Dog: They never smell each other’s butts. By the way, do you mind if I hump your tentacle?

Alien: That’s fine. So, why is smelling each other’s butts important?

Dog: We get all kinds of information, about where the dog has been, what grass it’s eaten. Speaking of which, are you planning to feed me sometime soon? I’ve been making those cute eyes at you during our entire ride and you haven’t felt the need to toss me food.

Alien: So, what do humans do all day?

Dog: They seem to be slaves to some small object they hold. Every time it buzzes or beeps, they immediately look at it, as if they will get in trouble if they don’t. Sometimes, they say something, like “Oh my gosh, I forgot,” or “Oh no, you don’t,” and then they run somewhere. I think that object gives them directions.

Alien: Are they pleasant?

Dog: Sometimes. They seem incredibly happy when they scratch our bodies and we move our legs. Once in a while, I do it if I think one of them is having a tough day.

Alien: Do they seem intelligent?

Dog: Hard to say. They don’t understand the value of sleep. They spend hours each day with the things in their hands or staring at a flickering screen. At night, they look at another screen on the wall in their bedroom.

Alien: What’s your favorite game to play with them?

Dog: There’s a big difference between my favorite and their favorite game. They love to play something they call “fetch.” They can be pretty simple and easy to please. When they like something, they keep doing it.

Alien: And your favorite game?

Dog: I call it the “mud game.” When everyone is wearing something fancy, nice or white, I go into the backyard and find the darkest mud. I come in and jump on them or spread mud on the floor.

Alien: Any other observations?

Dog: Just as they start to bring compelling smells into a room, they spray or roll on the scent of flowers over their bodies. I tried to copy them by rolling in the flowers outside, but they didn’t like that.

Alien: What do they say to you?

Dog: They seem especially fond of the word “sit.” Whenever someone comes into the house and they don’t know what to say to the other person, they tell me to “sit” and the other person laughs and nods. 

Alien: Do you like humans?

Dog: Humans, in general, are fine. I am not all that fond of those people who make unhappy faces and say they are not a “dog person” but a “cat person.” Who could possibly find those hissing creatures more appealing than dogs?

Pixabay photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Vacations are wonderful. That’s stating the obvious. But vacationing now, in largely post-pandemic times, brings a special kind of joy. I felt it because I have just come back from vacation with a sense of happiness and peace that I wish I could bottle. And I just happened to read an article that speaks to this very subject, the “rush of a real vacation.” 

Now you might think it’s the result of breaking out after almost a year and a half of pandemic distancing, of masking and zooming and otherwise limiting and isolating ourselves. We did that, these last 10 days, driving up the New England coast slowly and spending quality time in Maine. We certainly enjoyed the freedom of the open road, stopping where we had a notion, taking back country routes on impulse, drinking in those picturesque harbor towns, eating lobster rolls, taking pictures of lighthouses. After relative confinement, that was exhilarating. 

But there was more to the experience than that. The article I read, “There’s a Specific Kind of Joy We’ve Been Missing,” by organizational psychologist Adam Grant in the July 10 issue of The New York Times, talks of collective effervescence. This is a concept introduced in the early 20th century by the sociologist Emile Durkheim describing “the sense of energy and harmony people feel when they come together in a group around a shared purpose.” 

So if you are participating in a brainstorming session with colleagues, enjoying a baseball game or a movie with new seatmates or even chatting with a stranger on a train, there is the joy of connection. That didn’t happen during the dark days of COVID-19, although there was some of that early in NYC when people were clapping and banging pots and pans with spoons at 7 p.m. every night to honor hospital workers. And it didn’t happen on Zoom, where the common response after several meetings was fatigue.

We stopped for dinner one night on the way up the seashore in Portland, where we met with an editor who had worked at The Village Times 30 years ago. She took the ferry over from one of the offshore islands and had a lobster roll with us in DiMillo’s restaurant. That eatery used to be the Martha Jefferson, a Mississippi River paddle cruiser for sightseeing and parties on Port Jefferson harbor more than 50 years ago. The present owners bought the old boat, tidied it up, anchored it permanently at the Portland docks and have over the years turned it into a seafood palace.

We spent three days in Camden, a charming fishing village with loads of tourist stores to wander in and out of, which we didn’t do but did enjoy a sailboat ride in a 36-foot schooner that we shared with a family from Alabama. There were a number of people visiting from the Deep South whom we met and chatted with, several owning summer homes in Maine. They drove the considerable distance, like us, enjoying the liberating journey. I want to salute an especially fine restaurant there, in Rockland, called Primo, started by a woman originally from Long Island, that serves farm-to-table food in delicious fashion. Diners can also tour her lush gardens in the rear. Ask for the Russian kale salad for an unusual treat. And if it’s your thing, enjoy the Farnsworth Art Museum, with its impressive collection of three generations of Wyeths.

We loved our time in Bar Harbor (or as they say, Bah Hahbba), and especially Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island. If you go, know that you will need a ticket in advance if you wish to see a famed sunrise or a sunset from the summit of Cadillac Mountain.

I have always enjoyed chatting with strangers while waiting in lines or riding in elevators, among other conducive situations. I learn all sorts of information, usually useless but not always, this way. Friends I have been with will bear witness to this voluble habit. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed those casual conversations until this trip. I certainly agree with the theory of collective effervescence put forth by Durkheim a century ago. And we awarded the title of best lobster roll, after many samplings, to McLoons Lobster Shack of South Thomaston, in the friendly state of Maine.

Media Origins captured the fireworks from the Village of Asharoken.

Fourth of July is a time meant to be spent with friends and family while barbecuing some of the best American meals.

It’s also the one holiday a year where lighting off fireworks from morning to night time is completely acceptable — even encouraged. 

This countrywide celebration of America may be enjoyable for most but for others, such as combat veterans and first responders suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder, it can be an extremely stressful day. And when fireworks are set off on other days, it can be even more unnerving for them and others. 

Is celebrating this national holiday at the cost of our own heroes? 

According to a National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study, 87% of veterans have been exposed to at least one potentially traumatic event and experience on average of 3.4 such events throughout their service. The National Institutes of Health also recorded that an estimate of 400,000 first responders in America have at least some symptoms of PTSD.

The degree of exposure varies from person to person, therefore affecting the magnitude of their illness.

The sounds of fireworks — loud, sudden and reminiscent of traumatic events — may trigger PTSD, making it difficult for some who experience symptoms to enjoy their holiday. Lighting off fireworks throughout the month or late at night could additionally put a veteran or first responder into a bad spot. 

Even weeks after the Fourth of July is over, sleeping troubles or nightmares may persist.  

Paws of War, located in Nesconset, rescues and trains shelter dogs to become service dogs for Long Island veterans and first responders. With the mental pressure of dealing with the holiday, a service dog can also serve as a calming aide to those coping through a PTSD episode.

One way to make sure a veteran doesn’t become triggered is to involve them in lighting the fireworks so the shock of hearing the fireworks won’t be unexpected. Many veterans choose to light fireworks for their family. 

There are many other ways to celebrate the Fourth of July and summer that don’t involve setting off fireworks. Fishing, boating, visiting historical parks, watching patriotic movies and barbecuing are just some of the alternate options that families can do together to celebrate. However, if you’re still itching for fireworks, sparklers are noise free and easy to bring anywhere you go.

So next Fourth of July, being sensitive to veterans and first responders could turn their nerve-racking holiday into a happy one. 

Pixabay photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

I recently spoke with several scientists about work they were doing for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA. In chatting with them, it became clear that researchers love acronyms the way my dog loves anyone willing to toss him a few morsels of food.

I was just thinking about how much time I’d save in my life if I could start my own set of acronyms, all designed to create word efficiency and to develop the equivalent of an insider’s club.

For starters, how about OKWAM? As in, this place is definitely OK without a mask because they don’t mind if you walk around with your face uncovered.Then, perhaps, there’s MAPH as in masks are preferred here. You don’t necessarily have to wear a mask, as you might on, say, a commercial airliner, but you would make the owners of the establishment happy and feel safer if you did.

In the world of politics, President Joe Biden (D) merits his own set of acronyms. If you think he’s bringing back civility, you might appreciate the chance to tell someone that you believe BMAC, for Biden makes America civil.

Now, of course, Biden, as with his predecessor, has numerous detractors. The New York Post is as eager to capture his daily verbal stumbles as the left-leaning papers and news organizations were to seize on former President Donald Trump’s (R) “covfefe” and other scrambled words. In that case, you might see Biden as a PINOE, as in a president in need of an editor, or a PINOC, as in a president in need of a compass.

Trump deserves his own set of acronyms. Borrowing from the redundant wording of the movie “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” (2004), supporters of the 45th president might say TIARA, as in Trump is always right, always.

Those who find the former president slightly off kilter, however, might believe he has a FANTS problem, as in facts are not Trump’s strength.

TOSID seems appropriate for both sides. That one stands for the other side is deceptive. That applies to Democrats and Republicans, each of whom sometimes reflexively suggest that the other side can’t possibly be honest because, if they were, the argument they’d like to make isn’t as powerful.

In the wonderful world of summer weather, how about HEFY, as in hot enough for you, or perhaps, CIRN, as in can’t it rain now?

Yankee fans are probably bracing for another mediocre, at best, half of the baseball year. Sure, we have talent, and we get periodic glimpses of adequacy, but we wind up looking like a fourth-place team. I have the feeling it’s NOY or not our year.

Parents have spent almost two years struggling with child care, education and their sanity amid a pandemic that has caused their children to become more like home-based barnacles than school-based students. To that end, and you can pronounce this one however you’d like, how about FCTKSIS, for fingers crossed to keep school in session?

Children, of course, couldn’t control whether their schools opened, which left them even more powerless to act out against the rules, tests or social pressures that follow them around like Pigpen’s dust storm from the Charlie Brown comics. They are now struggling with the need to EFTEW, or to emerge from the electronic world.

Many of us made normal hygiene habits optional. These days, we should consider recommending a SMIYL to our friends, as in a shower might improve your life.

While disconnecting during a phone call, turning off our video momentarily or covering our computer camera were options from home, we sometimes find ourselves stuck in conversations or interactions that aren’t working for us. We might need to beg someone to SAM or stop annoying me.