The doorbell rings and outside the door is a well-dressed young white man. How do you feel? Or, outside the door is a well-dressed young black man. Do you feel differently? Or, in either case, the young men are poorly dressed. How does that affect your feelings? Or, it’s a policeman dressed in uniform… Read the rest
I’m currently sharing the garden with a mated pair of California Towhees, which have taken up residence in one of my many hanging flower pots. Towhees are commonly found birds in coastal California; a nondescript brown color devoid of significant markings, these robin-sized birds happily … Read the rest
I’m a Jewish white boy who was raised in an upper middle class suburb outside of New York City where almost no black people lived. I say almost, because there was one black student by the name of Sam Houston in my class in grammar school.
The Houston family lived at the north edge of town on a road running… Read the rest
Our conceptions of joy, love, companionship, creativity, aesthetics and the like are the stuff of human culture, highly meaningful to people but of no particular consequence to nature. If we ruthlessly consider the fundamental role of animal life on earth, we quickly arrive at one inexorable conclusion:… Read the rest
Human impulse springs from two sources, one biological and the other cultural. Biological impulse includes eating due to hunger, emptying ones bladder and bowels due to internal pressures of digestion, sleeping when fatigued, sexual drives, and other such hard-wired behaviors. Developmentally,… Read the rest
In the midst of this pandemic I’ve been reviewing household expenses, including the various types of insurance we carry. Much of it is standard stuff such as homeowner insurance for fire, theft and liability, and auto coverage for our one car; also, some additional umbrella and personal property… Read the rest
Nature on this planet functions as a complex adaptive system, a self-regulating, self-propagating process responsive to changing conditions. It is a totalistic meta-system with no “off” switch and within which all the individual systems of each biological entity are enmeshed and… Read the rest
Should it be Joe & Amy 2020 or Joe and Gretchen? Biden-Warren is uncomfortable on the tongue, too hard to say and both names end with the same sound. Without doubt, the significant decision the democrats will have to make this year is how things look and sound on a lawn sign.
Lawn signs are natural for… Read the rest
The ideal of a stable society has preoccupied humankind for a long time, perhaps forever. In order to promulgate social stability, diverse methods have been attempted by various systems of governance and leadership ranging from autocratic to democratic, communal to sovereign, hard-fisted to liberal.… Read the rest
Just to make myself clear, this is a story about a story, one of 7.25 billion stories we human beings tell ourselves and each other at every waking moment. With that caveat, I shall proceed.
At pandemic moments like this it’s important to remind ourselves about stories; it’s all too easy … Read the rest
It’s deeply ironic that Joe Biden, who as Senator deflected and dismissed Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment by then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, now finds himself and his campaign for president distracted,… Read the rest
The coronavirus has reportedly killed over 60,000 people in America as of April 30th – probably far more – a large number but still a small percentage of our total population. It’s effects on life, on the other hand, have affected all 325 million of us. Jobs have been lost, family life… Read the rest
Most analyses of economic collapse focus on the effects of wealth inequality, financial malfeasance, and inadequate government regulation. Centuries of such analyses – by Hobbes, Locke, Marx, Polanyi, Friedman, Krugman, Graeber, Picketty and many more – have extensively examined… Read the rest
Communication between people is a mix of words, gestures, facial expressions and tonality; in many circumstances, how we communicate is what we communicate; it’s a matter of nuance. Words delivered with a sneer are received differently than those delivered with a smile. By observing the nuances… Read the rest
I’m currently sporting a hair style I call the Covid; in other periods it’s been called the Einstein, a wild style ill-suited to going out of the house.
Over my 72 years, I’ve had all sorts of hair styles. In my childhood, a crew-cut was forced upon me by my father, a man with little in … Read the rest
You’ve got to hand it to Madison Avenue; in response to the coronavirus pandemic American corporations have barely missed a beat in altering their commercial sales pitch, reassuring consumers that this unpleasant shopping hiatus will not last forever and that a return to fevered consumption… Read the rest
Living things occupy space and declare territory; this is true of plants and animals alike. To the extent possible, a matter of both genes and luck, each living thing extends its sphere of influence. In simple one-celled… Read the rest
We humans like to believe we represent the pinnacle of evolution, even going so far as to characterize ourselves as being in the image of God. It is true, insofar as we can tell, that human beings are the only animals on earth with self-consciousness and the ability to use written forms of communication… Read the rest
Among the many effects of the Corona virus pandemic, one of the most remarkable is the widespread use of facial masks. Initially such masks were medical in style, the antiseptic-type nurses and health workers wear in hospitals; but before long a cottage industry of mask-making blossomed across America… Read the rest