Category Archives: Philosophy

Sudden Changes

Sudden shifts in my plans are nothing, not when those shifts are launched in response to massive dislocations in others’ lives. My wife and I had spent a very restive night at the Best Western Premier in Bryan, Texas, thanks … Continue reading

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Ritual

When I awaken these days, I understand more clearly than in the not-so-distant past the solace in ritual. Ritual offers comfort. Carefully practiced ritual grants predictability and uniformity in times of chaos. Ritual provides at least a temporary protective shelter from one’s sense … Continue reading

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A Roundabout Tribute to Maggie Roche

I’m a fervent admirer of a handful of musicians. People who know me may understand the depth of my admiration for Leonard Cohen, whose deeply meaningful poetry set to music moves me beyond anyone else’s art. Yet, even in the … Continue reading

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Reflecting on What’s to Come

Let me preface my comments with these words: I absolutely despise Donald Trump; I believe he is a despicable human being whose rise to the Presidency cannot be explained entirely with logic. How a madman with the capacity to undermine … Continue reading

Posted in Communication, Compassion, Education, Empathy, Philosophy, Politics, Wisdom | 2 Comments

A Sad Day

Today is a sad day for the United States of America. After eight years of a President who is arguably the most poised, dignified, decent, and respectful person to have ever held the office, the position will be assumed by … Continue reading

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Control

I find it helpful, on occasion, to gently remind myself of the many things over which I have control. The results of that tender reminder are two-fold: 1) I expose my negativity as an obstacle to happiness; and 2) my outlook on the … Continue reading

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On Racism: I Will Miss the Obamas

A white person—especially a white man—in the United States today, try as he may, is unlikely to be capable of eliminating racism from his thought processes. Our history and the institutional racism upon which this country was built and on … Continue reading

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Taking Shortcuts to Mediocrity

Last night, I adapted a tried-and-true (if overly simple and insufficiently spicy) recipe for Shrimp Fra Diavolo. I adapted the recipe in several ways, the two most obvious deviations being the substitution of cod for shrimp and cauliflower for rice. … Continue reading

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Justification

We think the world owes us an explanation. It doesn’t. We owe it one. We owe the universe substantive  justification for why we should be allowed to remain here; an argument validating our existence. If there’s purpose, it is not some external “thing.” Purpose … Continue reading

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Minimal

For years, I’ve been drawn to the concept of a minimalist lifestyle.  Several years ago, I stumbled across an online video created by a young guy who designed and built tiny houses and who had created an online video series … Continue reading

Posted in Greed, Happiness, Materialism, Philosophy, Self-discipline | Leave a comment

Observations on Animal Instinct

Despite its many bungling attempts to protect us (e.g.,  the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommends an absolutely natural response if one confronts an active shooter or other such attack on one’s person (i.e., … Continue reading

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Prelude

We’ve reached it. The final day of 2016, the day on which we can put this year to rest and, for many of us for many good reasons, say “good riddance!” Yet, without this year, we would not have reached … Continue reading

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Assigning Worth

It seems to me that people who need help to escape poverty generally do not need, nor want, handouts. They need a break. They need a chance to demonstrate their worth in a world in which value is too often measured … Continue reading

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Beginners

Beginners are forgiven their mistakes, because they do not have sufficient experience to warrant adverse judgment of their ineptitude. Being a beginner opens up an entire world of possibilities; virtually every aspect of an experience is a fresh opportunity for involvement for … Continue reading

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The Propriety of Cash Gifts

Just over three years ago, I wrote an essay to explore the appropriateness of giving money as a gift. I waffled to the conclusion that the practice is, at best, questionable. The piece drew some interesting and thought-provoking responses from a couple … Continue reading

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BIG Ideas

The perception of technological advances allowing customers to check out their own groceries differs radically, depending on one’s perspective. From the viewpoint of the grocer, investing in such technology means an investment in profitability or, indeed, economic survival. But store … Continue reading

Posted in Compassion, Economics, Intellect, Philosophy, Politics, Secular morality | Leave a comment

Thinking When I Shouldn’t

I am an atheist. You must bear that in mind as you read the comments I am about to make. I do not claim there is no god, but I have found no reason to believe there is one. In … Continue reading

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Scars

I wrote a few days ago of trees marked for death. Only scars of the trees that blocked my view remain. Ground-level stumps serve as reminders of the massive trees that once tried to hide the house that now shouts … Continue reading

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Absolution

Regret arises as readily from actions not taken as from mistakes made. The life unlived, due to efforts unmade, takes as much of a toll on one’s psyche as choosing the path of least resistance with a vengeance. Regret becomes a … Continue reading

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Crossing My Own Borders

Just moments ago, I wrote an email to a friend that included a comment about tamales. I said “…my tamales do not compare to those made by little old Mexican grandmothers whose recipes for pork and jalapeño tamales involve lard … Continue reading

Posted in Food, Mexico, Philosophy, Writing | 2 Comments

Decency

“Find your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life.” It’s such a pithy, positive, hopeful statement! I’ve been searching for my passion for my entire life and I still haven’t found it. I’ve found interests. I’ve found intriguing … Continue reading

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Courage

Two dictionaries in my house define courage as follows: the attitude or response of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful, instead of withdrawing from it; the quality of being fearless or brave; valor; pluck the … Continue reading

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A Message in Need of Translation

Not infrequently, I read books or watch films in which main characters reveal, through their words or actions, self-loathing and deep, unrelenting pain based on who they believe they are. Every time, I wonder whether the writers responsible for those characters … Continue reading

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Fact or Fiction or Something in Between

I considered writing about the upcoming Trump presidency and its likely aftermath, but decided against it because my book would certainly be seen as a knock-off of one written by Sinclair Lewis and published in 1935. It Can’t Happen Here describes … Continue reading

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Starved for Beauty

The remnants of something once beautiful. The residue of time, evidence of its harsh treatment of apathy and impudence. We cannot realistically aspire to lofty ideals if we are unwilling to invest the hard work greatness requires. Changing the world … Continue reading

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