4 years, 6 months, and 20 days. Avoid fake stuff (including processed foods and false friends).




Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.

Probiotics are naturally found in your body. You can also find them in some foods and supplements.



[I]t is the microbial content that has got health types excited – because bacteria are big news these days. More specifically, the 39tn microbes, weighing about as much as your brain, that live happily in your gut, the makeup of which, some evidence suggests, may have a significant effect on everything from your long-term weight to your current mood.

Unfortunately, the typical modern western menu does little to nourish this “huge alien ecosystem”, as Dr Michael Moseley puts it, under siege as it is from antibiotics and a deluge of cleaning products designed to sterilise every part of our existence. However much we may like junk food and chemical additives, our gut bacteria does not – and our increasingly narrow diet has led to a similar lack of diversity in our gut. Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and the author of The Diet Myth, explains that if we “wipe out our gut microbes, then our immune system goes into autodrive and starts attacking us with autoimmune diseases and allergies”.


My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Remember the meals we used to have as a family?  I loved that you guys helped out in the kitchen — even when young — and made meal time a family affair.  That is what life is all about … time spent with loved ones, even tie spent doing the most mundane of activities.

These are the stuff good memories are made of.  No one remembers with fondness the hours in front of the TV eating microwaved food.  But, that was not your childhood with me.  We cooked together, ate together, and shared many good laughs.  I miss that. I miss it everyday.

Your mother was a lazy cook and was more prone to instant noodles than real meals made of fresh vegetables and proteins.  (For most of my marriage to your mother, either I or your grandmother cooked our meals — yes, I cooked more family meals than your mother despite my long work hours as a lawyer and consultant.)  Thus, because I’m no longer there, I want you to take charge of your eating habits and eat healthy.

Eat natural cheese, miso, pickled olives, yogurt, kimchi, and other food items that are rich in probiotics.  Avoid chips, instant noodles, canned food, frozen food, and other processed food items.  Too often, instant food are full of preservatives and chemicals — added to make the food last longer in the freezer, in the can, in the plastic bag, etc.  Eat fruits, vegetables, and other natural food.

Remember our many trips to the farmers’ markets?  Do that.  Drag your mom along if necessary.  Go outside.

Spend time outdoors.  I know your mom used to plant you guys in front of the TV and bought hand-held video games to babysit you.  But, now that you’re older, take charge of your lives.  Go outside.  Go with each other and watch out for one another.  Remember how we used to spend time at the neighborhood park almost every day with our friends and neighbors?  Do that.  It’s not only good for your health, but is also the stuff good memories are made of.

Finally, remember, all things will come to pass.  Even the successful and the great have no assurances that their futures will hold the same.  Let F. Lee Bailey’s story serve as a reminder of that. http://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/a10284185/f-lee-bailey-oj-lawyer-interview/.  Let the fates of the former president of South Korea, Mrs. Park, the former prime minister of Pakistan, Mr. Sharif — both forced from high office for corruption — serve to remind you that money and power are not the end all.  See, e.g., http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/17/asia/south-korea-park-indictment/index.html; https://www.ksl.com/?nid=235&sid=45193281&title=disqualified-by-court-pakistans-prime-minister-steps-down.

Wealth, power, fame, etc., are for naught if you are not true to who you are.  Be true to yourselves.  Be you, but be the best you. Avoid false friends, and those who don’t tell you the truth, but only tell you what they think you want to hear.  Beware of such “friends” for they are anything but that.

Until we reunite, I send you all of my love, always







4 years, 6 months, and 13 days. Worry about being your best self, not the opinion of others.


My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

In preschool at Goddard, Jaialai once mentioned that he watched the cartoon My Little Pony.  Some of the boys in his class tried to make fun of him for watching a “girl” show.  He wouldn’t have it.  He told them the show has cool male ponies that fought and did cool things.  Soon, all the boys in his class were watching My Little Pony.  That’s my Jaialai:  he doesn’t allow the opinions of others to dissuade him from something he likes.

Have you noticed that those who are constantly worried about what others think of them are often the most insecured people?  There are approximately 7.5 billion people on Earth; there is bound to be AT LEAST one person who doesn’t like you or think poorly of you.  Get over it.

Never suffer fools, nor worry about the opinion of fools.  Life is too short and there are too many people in the world with very diverse tastes.  To each his own.  Let them enjoy what they want (so long as they’re not hurting anyone): you just worry about being the best you.  If someone brings value to your life (e.g., with a smile, a kind word, company, etc.), then invest in that friendship.  If a person adds nothing to your life (or worse, is always negative, critical, or always in want of something from you), ditch them.  Life is too short to waste on people who only want to bring you down or take advantage of you.

Look for good people who contribute to the world.  Surround yourself with such people.

All my love, always,




4 years, 6 months, and 5 days. Work on writing clearly.


My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Critical thinking is for naught if you are unable to give voice to your inner thoughts.  But, beware, you communicate something about yourself by everything you do: your words, your writings, your actions, and your attire.  Here, let’s talk about written communication;  I fear it may be a dying art in this age of Twitter, texts, and emoticons.

You cannot afford to allow your writing skills to be under-developed or weak.  Good writing is critical to academic and professional success.  In my days, I always gave a writing test to narrow down the number of job applicants I would interview.  From the hundreds of applications, I chose the top 10 and tested their writing skills.  Based on the results of their writing test, I would interview the top 3 and offer the job to one.  Writing is that important.

In school, teachers often use your written responses to gauge (1) how much you understand the course material, (2) your ability to analyze and synthesize what you learned, and (3) your ability to effectively communicate your thoughts.  Thus, your writing is the vehicle through which your teacher gauges your comprehension and analysis.  If you cannot write well, that may obscure how well you understood or analyzed class material.

The good news is that writing is a skill.  You can master it with time and effort.  Practice the art.  Keep at it. You’ll get better with practice.

Read books like Strunk and White’s The Element of Style, and William Zinsser’s On Writing Well.  In fact, read voraciously.  Good writers are also voracious readers.  You can no more be a great chef without tasting fine food than be a great writer without sampling the fine writings of the masters.

All my love, always,





4 years, 5 months, and 22 days. Think critically.




Most of us are not what we could be. We are less. We have great capacity. But most of it is dormant; most is undeveloped. Improvement in thinking is like improvement in basketball, in ballet, or in playing the saxophone. It is unlikely to take place in the absence of a conscious commitment to learn. As long as we take our thinking for granted, we don’t do the work required for improvement.

Development in thinking requires a gradual process requiring plateaus of learning and just plain hard work. It is not possible to become an excellent thinker simply because one wills it. Changing one’s habits of thought is a long-range project, happening over years, not weeks or months. The essential traits of a critical thinker require an extended period of development.

How, then, can we develop as critical thinkers? How can we help ourselves and our students to practice better thinking in everyday life?

First, we must understand that there are stages required for development as a critical thinker:

Stage One: The Unreflective Thinker (we are unaware of significant problems in our thinking)
Stage Two: The Challenged Thinker (we become aware of problems in our thinking)
Stage Three: The Beginning Thinker (we try to improve but without regular practice)
Stage Four: The Practicing Thinker (we recognize the necessity of regular practice)
Stage Five: The Advanced Thinker (we advance in accordance with our practice)
Stage Six: The Master Thinker (skilled & insightful thinking become second nature to us)

We develop through these stages if we:

   1) accept the fact that there are serious problems in our thinking (accepting the challenge to our thinking) and
2) begin regular practice.

In this article, we will explain 9 strategies that any motivated person can use to develop as a thinker. As we explain the strategy, we will describe it as if we were talking directly to such a person. Further details to our descriptions may need to be added for those who know little about critical thinking. Here are the 9:

   1. Use “Wasted” Time.
2. A Problem A Day.
3. Internalize Intellectual Standards.
4. Keep An Intellectual Journal.
5. Reshape Your Character.
6. Deal with Your Ego.
7. Redefine the Way You See Things.
8. Get in touch with your emotions.
9. Analyze group influences on your life.


My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

If writing is clear thinking put to paper, then we must work on your ability to think clearly and critically.  As with most things in life, critical thinking is a skill … something that you can learn and over which you can gain expertise.

Shosh, you may not remember, but when you were a three or four, you scared my staff (Ms. T and Mr. D) because of how smart you were.  When they asked you questions, you’d answer clearly and methodically.  You’d scare them with statements like, “There are five reasons why I like ….  First, ….  Second, ….  Third, ….”

That’s critical thinking.  It is clear, rational, and driven by evidence.

I hope you boys have continued to practice what I have taught and modeled.  Be skeptical.  Question assumptions and conventional wisdom.  Based on what evidence does someone make an assertion?  What was omitted in the analysis?  Who said what?  Why would he/she say it?  What does he/she have to gain?

Be brutally honest in your analysis.  You may have to soften the analysis when you deliver it to others, but be objective and clear minded when you do the analysis.  When it comes to the delivery of the message, think critically about how best to deliver it to maximize the objective.

Good writing and critical thinking are not accidental.  Practice.  You, and others, will find value in those skills for the rest of your life.

Live well.  As Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

All my love, always,


4 years, 5 months, and 21 days. Strive to be good writers.




Writing is talking to someone else on paper.  Anyone who can think clearly can write clearly, about any subject at all.

On Writing Well, William Zinsser (2001).

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

“Time and tide wait for no man.”  Chaucer.  If only time were more kind and not so cruel, he would have made every day with you last an eternity, and every day without you a mere second.  Unfortunately, time flies regardless of your presence and I can but helplessly count the moments I’ve missed.

Live well, my sons.  Live a life for which you’d be proud to recount in your old age.

Keep a journal if you’ve not been doing so.  It memorializes the moments I’ve missed, but also helps you write better.  In addition, writing is therapeutic.  It is for me.

Writing is also critical to your future success.  Good writers excel in school and in life.  I used to require a writing test to narrow down the list of candidates I choose to interview.  Regardless of the strength of their resumes, if an applicant wrote poorly, I wouldn’t bother to even interview him or her.

Just write. At first, don’t worry whether you are writing well.  The trick is to edit and rewrite.  As John Irving once said, “More than a half, maybe as much as two-thirds of my life as a writer is rewriting.”  So, don’t give yourself excuses for not writing by trying to find the best ways to express yourself.  Just write.  Then, edit and rewrite until what you wrote expresses exactly what you wish.

All my love, always,