Monthly Archives: January 2024


I may have surprised my esteemed collaborator, Jordan Rich, when he opened this podcast with the question,” Where do you think mankind is headed?” I answered, “I think we are headed for the destruction of mankind.” That is a view I have held since the bomb was unleashed on Japan, a view that seems quite contrary to my optimistic and fun-loving persona, but there it is, now reinforced by the plethora of existential threats facing mankind. The latest of those, Artificial Intelligence, dubbed AI for short, may be the one that wipes us out because of its ability to control us, much as the infamous HAL almost succeeded in doing in Stanley Kubrick’s foretelling film, “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Several of these threats have arisen only lately, others have been around for thousands of years. Here is a partial list: climate change, global warming, nuclear war, pandemics, social media, artificial Intelligence, asteroid impact, alien invasion. As a nonagenarian who has lived through most of the 20th Century, and a significant part of the 21st Century, I have the distinct impression that life was simpler and more secure in the 20th. Ironically, all the discoveries in the past 100 years or so, have considerably reduced our comfort level, and have made life more uncomfortable, if not chaotic. Several are embedded in those threats listed above.

Will AI outrun our ability to control it? That is an open question, but just the question is enough to frighten any thinking person. For example, experts tell us AI can be programmed to do good things, but on its own can convert those directions to do evil things. Sure, those who see profit in AI are all for it. It must be regulated, but will it? Even if it is, it still might destroy us. Those same profit seeking forces are at work in the social media field, as well. “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Man has existed on earth for only a tiny fraction of the time earth has existed. As said, there is good reason to believe that an existential threat, or a combination of them, will destroy mankind, leaving the planet once again to the animal kingdom for the millions of years it will continue to exist.

Here is a saving grace. Despite the loss of decency and morality we see now and in recent history, one can still live for the good according to sound values. I say on this program, “I don’t have to change my life.” To make the point, Jordan astutely brought up my friendship with seventeen-year-old Elliot Stolyarov, an amazingly mature senior at Brookline High School who helps me with my work, and with whom a warm friendship has developed.  Can I learn from a teenager? Can he learn from me? Absolutely! Enough to fortify my hope that young people will soon replace many of the dim politicians of today, and use their newfound power and collaborative ideas to turn the atmosphere from noxious to clear.

Jordan referred to my remarks as Larry Intelligence (LI). Way over the top, but thanks Jordan. But I do believe that we have to face up to these threats with a minimum of self-interest and a maximum of self-respect to stay around for a while.

People always people.


There is no question that the really good movies hold a mirror up to ourselves, just as do good operas like Mozart’s astounding, “The Marriage of Figaro.” Early on movie production artists realized how big a role music, and all the arts, play in those fascinating movies. Cinema is a very important part of our culture. There is a reason actors become presidents, like Ronald Reagan, senators like Al Franken, and governors, like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Granted there are thousands of bad pics that make loads of money. Some good ones do too. Some good ones do not, so those can be watched in peace without people walking over you, talking, and throwing popcorn around. Jordan had the idea we should talk about the movies. Good idea! We both love movies. It turned out we both love many of the same movies. Either we have good taste or we are cheapskates or hermits. Whatever. What fun to talk about them!  So, as you listen, you will hear lots of names and titles, many going back to when the talkies arrived, to the time when the stars were stars. It is like baseball when the World Series gave us the Yankees vs. the Cardinals, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Mickey Mantle vs. Dizzy Dean, Stan the Man Musial, and Enos Slaughter, not the no names of 2023. I have a good plan for you to spice up your life. Write down all those names and titles, then see the stars and the pictures. I guaranty you will love it.


Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper, “Pride of the Yankees;” “Eight Men Out;” “Bull Durham,” “Field of Dreams,” Kevin Costner; “The Natural,” Robert Redford.

At this point I offered that baseball is still the national Game, football will go, too violent. Baseball a thinking man’s game. Its players become more famous, like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Shohei Ohtani; “Bang the Drum Slowly;” “A League of their Own.”

So why was there never a good film about Babe Ruth. Why? How can Babe Ruth be duplicated? No way! One of a kind. When he played himself playing cards with his teammates on the train in “Pride of the Yankees,” he was terrific!

“The Wizard of Oz;” “Cinema Paradiso;” Gene Tierney in “Laura;” Orson Wells in the creepy picture, “The Stranger,” playing a Nazi spy posing as an American professor, also featuring the gorgeous Loretta Young. Who saw it? Practically no one. Jordan did, I did. Terrific! How about “M;” a German silent starring scary Peter Lorre, or “Das Boot,” a German four-hour masterwork about brave German submariners in WWII, many of whom loved their country, but not Hitler. How about film noir from then to now in black and white; or in Ingmar Bergman’s classic masterpiece, “The Seventh Seal;” or WWII movies like “Mrs. Miniver with English beauty Greer Garson outsmarting downed German flier, Helmut Dantine, alone in her own house while husband Walter Pidgeon is away at Dunkirk rescuing English soldiers with their backs to the sea. Garson and Pidgeon made eight movies together, including “Madame Curie,” depicting their game changing discovery of the element radium.

The best actor among many of that golden time was Spencer Tracy, a judge for all seasons in “Judgment at Nuremberg,” a dangerous fast gun in black in the Western, “Bad Day at Black Rock,” or a Portuguese fisherman out of Gloucester working and bravely dying in his descent into the depths in “Captains Courageous.” Tracy could play anything. How about the ladies of that era, Barbara Stanwyck, Hedy LaMarr, Ingrid Bergman, and Greta Garbo. Lamarr won fame as an iconic movie star, and, incredibly, induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for technology leading to Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth. Some lady, huh! Bergman stunned millions in America when she began an affair with Italian director, Roberto Rossellini, while still married to her first husband; sharp tongued Stanwyck could get the best of any leading man; Greta Garbo famously said, “I want to be alone,” but did manage to bring her stunning and melancholic self and amazing acting talent out of hiding enough to make several great movies, including “Anna Christie,” ‘Grand Hotel,” and “Ninotchka.”

There you have it. A guide to endless hours of enjoyment at the movies, whether in a crowded theater, or at home in front of a big TV, a choice I’ve made in my latter years. Young or old, its all at your fingertips, courtesy of Jordan Rich and Larry Ruttman.

People, always people.