As late as high school, my older son’s ambition was to be President of the United States. In fact, under the heading “Objective” on his high school resume for Starbucks, he wrote something like, “I’m going to be the first gay president of the United States, but in the meantime, I would consider it a great privilege to serve coffee in your establishment.” He got the job. Continue reading
This is a re-post of a piece I wrote in 2014. Given recent events, it is as relevant and concerning as it was then–maybe more so. Please consider taking action at the link in the 2017 Update.
Inevitably we look upon society, so kind to you, so harsh to us, as an ill-fitting form that distorts the truth; deforms the mind; fetters the will.
Three Guineas. Virginia Woolf, 1938.
This morning I rose with the dawn to spend a little time inspecting all the greens that emerged after the Mother’s Day snowstorm and several days of heavy rain. Surprises abound. Continue reading
If we live truly, we shall see truly. Ralph Waldo Emerson
I come often to this bar to read, to write, or to hang out with friends–often a combination of the three–and as many times as memory serves, I order the same drink, a Classic Manhattan, Makers… straight up. It is a mark of the up-and-coming-ness of this bar that resting on the side of my martini glass is a black plastic skewer impaling not the chemically colored, oddly rubbered maraschino cherry of my childhood, but a Luxardo maraschino named after the family that produced it, Italians growing their own Marasca varietal and stewing the fruit to syrupy perfection in naught but sugar and cherry juice. I could eat a whole jar. Continue reading
I was listening to NPR yesterday—an interview with Sir Tom Stoppard, screenwriter for the new Anna Karenina movie. When asked about the meaning of love he posed the question, “Are we born self-interested and we have to learn to be good? Or are we born selfless and merely corrupted by competition and institution?” I’m guessing there’s not any black or white answer to the question, though I was taught in my young religious days that we were born in total depravity with the need, of course, to be saved in an institution that just happens to make a lot of money off such doctrines—a truth that seems to belie the first argument in support of the second. Then there’s my own parenting that seems to betray the truths of corruption.
When my older son was five, he had a passion for Mary Poppins. He loved her magic, her command, her…
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I have a familiar ritual that follows the storms in my life. It goes something like this:
1. I cue up a song—one with mantra-like capabilities—and with a touch of a finger, instruct artist du jour to sing over and over and over again. For today, it’s Ingrid Michaelson:
Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size… That serves to explain in part the necessity that women so often are to men. And it serves to explain how restless they are under her criticism; how impossible it is for her to say to them this book is bad, this picture is feeble, or whatever it may be, without giving far more pain and rousing far more anger than a man would do who gave the same criticism. For if she begins to tell the truth, the figure in the looking-glass shrinks; his fitness for life is diminished. How is he to go on giving judgement, civilising natives, making laws, writing books, dressing up and speechifying at banquets, unless he can see himself at breakfast and at dinner at least twice the size he really is?
A Room of One’s Own Virginia Woolf, 1929 Continue reading