Thanksgiving, 2017

We have officially entered the “Holiday Season.” I started writing this post on Thanksgiving, which will be followed by Christmas and the start of the New Year. These are supposed to be joyous times. At this point, I have seen a lot of Thanksgivings come and go. For most of my life, it was easy to think of things for which I could truly feel grateful. This year, that’s not the case. Of course, there are things for which I am grateful, but my concerns about the state of our nation have put a damper on my gratitude. This is, . . . → Read More: Thanksgiving, 2017

Farther Down the Rabbit Hole

I haven’t been consistent with posting to my blog, primarily because I have been depressed about the current state of politics in the States. This morning it occurred to me that our current political situation is a little like going down the rabbit hole in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. We are currently expected to accept “alternative facts” as reality (and some actually do). Nothing is what it appears to be. As one who came of age in the 1960s, I well remember Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit:

The year was 1967. I was in the Army and, . . . → Read More: Farther Down the Rabbit Hole

The Fire This Time

With apologies to James Baldwin for appropriating his title: If people could actually “spin in their graves,” my guess is that he would be doing a very rapid rotation at this time, as would, I think, Abraham Lincoln and many others who have done their best to make the United States a better country than it has been in the past. We have taken at least one big step backwards with the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia. I am both angry and sad that “white nationalism” is on the march, and that the Ku Klux Klan is crawling out from . . . → Read More: The Fire This Time

Not with a Bang But a Whimper

T.S. Eliot ends his poem, . . . → Read More: Not with a Bang But a Whimper

What a Week

The impetus for this blog is the recent spate of race-based violence we have experienced following the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. The history of the US has, of course, a long record of race-based violence. How could it be otherwise when slavery was present from our earliest days. It is easy to forget, for example, that the White House was built by slave labor.

I am old enough to remember early TV news coverage of what were deemed “race riots” in the 1950s and ’60s. The principal minorities in the town where I grew up (Los . . . → Read More: What a Week

The Vaccine Wars

I am old enough that I had most of the childhood illnesses for which vaccines are now available. I had both kinds of measles, chicken pox, mumps, and (I believe) whooping cough. I did have a number of vaccinations as a child, including small pox, tetanus, and probably some others. In my early 20s, I was among those who took the first version of the vaccine for polio developed by Dr. Jonas Salk. When I was in the Army, all new recruits were vaccinated against everything for which vaccines were available, including plague, probably in anticipation of our being sent . . . → Read More: The Vaccine Wars

Social Media and Our Collective Well-being

A long time ago (1985) a New York University professor, Neil Postman, published Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. One of the principal ideas is that television is “entertainment,” even when the subject is serious. The “news” becomes just another “show.”

From time to time I have wondered what Professor Postman would have thought about social media. His principal complaint about television was that it turns “news” into “entertainment.” Rational discourse was replaced by video and sound “bites,” with the focus of attention increasingly fleeting and fragmented. I remember the history of television . . . → Read More: Social Media and Our Collective Well-being

Are We There Yet?

The question, “Are we there yet,” is a cliché of traveling with children. We expect adults, even those grown weary with traveling, to have a better understanding of how long it takes to get from Point A to Point B. This blog entry is about our collective journey from racism to a “postracial” culture. It was prompted by recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, following yet another police shooting of an unarmed black teenager. The policeman, as is usually the case, was white. One such shooting isn’t the real issue, of course. The problem is that this one was just one . . . → Read More: Are We There Yet?

New Directions

Those of you who have been regular readers of this blog know that we’ve recently been through a winter of discontent and spent some time south of the border. Now that spring has arrived in Michigan I thought it was time to give my blog a facelift with new header images, a new title, and new overarching theme: Embracing Reality. The theme is a result of my having been influenced by a saying from Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is, in which she says that When you argue with reality, you lose—but only 100 percent of the time. If you’ve . . . → Read More: New Directions