Profit or the Greater Good

The questions that we have to ask and to answer about that procession during this moment of transition are so important that they may well change the lives of men and women forever. For we have to ask ourselves, here and now, do we wish to join that procession, or don’t we? On what terms shall we join that procession? Above all, where is it leading us, the procession of educated men? …Let us never cease from thinking—what is this “civilisation” in which we find ourselves? What are these ceremonies and why should we take part in them? What are these professions and why should we make money out of them? Where in short is it leading us, the procession of the sons of educated men?

Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas, 1938 Continue reading

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Snakes and Hawks, Part 1

Inevitably, in one form or another, a student in every class asks the question: “Miss, were you a hippie?” It’s a question that floats on their internalized images of the type, all flower-loving nonviolence, and the readings that hold sway in our content–readings by Michelle Alexander and Angela Davis detailing the human poisons of the privatized prison industry, articles about resource wars in Africa, about housing toxins and educational disparities. I sense their disappointment when I tell them that I came of adolescence after the hippie years under Jimmy Carter. Vietnam had passed; Jimmy Carter was kind. The hippies had a crisis of relevance. Continue reading

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Charity, 2018

It is December 31, 2017. I spent a little of this afternoon studying charities—their impact, alignment with my values, efficiency ratings, etc.—ultimately deciding on those that I would make part of my monthly giving for 2018. Continue reading

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ooT eM

Last week, the Internet exploded. It exploded with women’s (mostly) testimony and witness to sexual assault and harassment, a response to Harvey Weinstein and every sexual predator that ever took what was not his by force or coercion and without consent–verbal or emotional. Continue reading

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Reading the Tarot

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

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Gardening, Farming and Net Neutrality

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

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Magic Seeds

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

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