Giving Us a Lift in February

It’s definitely not just another ho-hum weekend, because the amazing discovery of the Trappist-1 cluster — a bunch of new planets circling a kind of sun, out there just a hop, skip and a jump away from us– means we are now on alert for possible news of life elsewhere in the universe. This is big, possibly mind-blowing. Depending on how the story unfolds, we could have some major adjusting to do about our human identity, our various belief systems, … Read More

Shameless Shout Out For My Valentine

Since I don’t happen to work for any local, state or national government but am just a lowly blogger, do you think I’ll be in hot water with any official ethics organization if I choose to use this space to promote a family member’s creative work? And it’s pretty far from being a line of clothing, too. Since Valentine’s Day is all about expressing our love, and I’m due to make a new post, it makes pretty good sense for … Read More

On Super Bowl Sunday, Mind Your Soup

On Super Bowl Sunday, or on any other day for that matter, do you prefer to keep politics, religion and sports separate — like food items not touching on a plate—or do you like the mélange of tastes that comes when they’re all swirling around together? Seems to me that there are really good kinds of soups, the broth-based ones with wholesome ingredients that bring comfort on cold days; and then the other kind that could, with the right ingredients … Read More

Just the Facts Please, Hold the Bravado

“Alternative beliefs” I can buy, but “alternative facts” ? The landscape is shifting, for sure, and my panorama is not what it used to be. Now, Truth has to go into battle with Falsehood on a daily basis. Contrasts and juxtapositions may be my bread and butter here, but I didn’t count on the kind that threaten to pull the rug right out from under us. Essentially, I was pretty content trying to deepen my understanding of the different ways … Read More

A New Year and an Old Hymn

Isn’t it wonderful how some of us can listen, or view, something and pronounce it a triumph and then others of us can have the exact same sensory experience and call it a travesty? Don’t worry, I am not taking the impending Inauguration as my subject. That would be a room-clearer for sure. Lo and behold, after the Christmas Hymns and Carols have been put away, and we’ve sung as much of “Auld Lang Syne” as we could remember (a … Read More

In the Event of Advent

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This is a perfect time of year both to give unto others and to level with yourself. What will you choose to do, and what will you choose not to do? Sure, Advent is about anticipation and preparation, but not necessarily decoration and trepidation. (I know, those two words do not often keep company together, but they definitely can.) For me, and I suspect for many of us, the trick is to enjoy wholeheartedly much of what is swirling all … Read More

‘Tis the Conflict of Interest Season

President-elect Trump is certain that “the president can’t have conflict of interest.” Oh really? Not much mentioned during the campaign, this controversy now has reached a boiling point. Never before has someone presided over a world-wide multi-million dollar business at the same time as presiding over a country. It sounds like some kind of magic show: now you see it, now you don’t. Maybe he could be called Hoodwinker-in-Chief. Don’t worry—in this post-Thanksgiving blog, politics will be only a “side.” … Read More

Stick-to-itiveness, Rocky style

The closer the election gets, the more I love my dog. And once it’s over, I’ll love him even more. Recently my Rocky has gotten me thinking about a certain quality, one he demonstrates every time we’re out on the non-campaign trails (= daily). In humans, it’s just about always considered a good thing. In dogs, maybe not quite so much. What is it? Stick-to-it-iveness. By that I mean, in canine terms at least, something like “the compulsion to find … Read More

Trading One Kind of Tumult for Another: The Beatles as Antidote

As the World Series gets underway, it’s as good a time as any to celebrate the idea of fervor, in a variety of forms. I propose to start with baseball, move gingerly through politics to rock & roll, and end up at religion. Are you with me? Defined as “an intense and passionate feeling,” the word can definitely go either way—that is, there can be a kind you like and another kind you can’t stand. The fervor that Chicago fans … Read More

October Devotion

It’s October, the Red Sox are in the playoffs, Big Papi is heading out in a blaze of glory. What better time to reflect on the amazing and occasionally incongruous proximity, at least some of the time, between sports and religion? Any thinking person knows that one realm—the one containing huge stadiums, celebrity players, non-stop action, winners and losers, fans who go crazy for their teams, huge sums of money— is completely different from the other, sacred one. And yet, … Read More

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