The Bigger Picture
Oddly specific. Universally applicable.

A popular deceptive tactic you should be aware of

Windsor Castle with motte in the center and baileys on both sides. (Image from

The motte and bailey as a form of argumentation is a rather recent phenomenon. It has been used to great effect by some people talking about today’s hottest topics. It’s important to learn how to identify it and understand how it works. Once you do, you’ll spot the tactic easily and in places where you might not have expected. For me, it was like a curtain had been lifted and I could see the truth much more easily, à la the Wizard of Oz.

The medieval structure

Drawing from The World of Castles

The origin of the term is that it is a type of castle developed in medieval Europe. It consists of (for our purposes) two features, the motte and the bailey. …

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(Photo by Malte Luk from Pexels)

The “grand experiment” that is American Democracy has now clocked 244 years on its odometer and is long overdue for a tune-up. An ordinary oil-change is not going to cut it. We’re talking the full 250-year maintenance service — limping in a couple of years early.

Thankfully, America’s Founding Fathers were clairvoyant enough to build into the Constitution a mechanism for course-correction to fix oversights and allow the document to adapt over time. Their design allowed for Amendments to the Constitution with 2/3 approval in both houses of Congress (the Senate and the House of Representatives) plus subsequent ratification by 3/4 of all states. …

It’s time to stand up to Trump and do your duty to uphold democracy

(Image by Jose M via Unsplash)

I should start by saying that I am not American.

Some might say this precludes me from having an opinion on the current political situation in the U.S., but I disagree.

What is happening there now will have consequences for all free democracies of the world. Because how it is handled — or should I say, how Trump is handled — will affect the future stability of democracy itself.

Trump’s reaction to the election results is not surprising. …

Still have questions? I’m not surprised

Gracie at 8 weeks, before she weighed more than your girlfriend. (Photo/Ryan Grant Little)

Since we’re stuck at home for a few months, let’s all get puppies! Never mind that they live 15 years and you’ll be back in the office tied to your desk pretty soon. Because, puppies! Take that, sourdough starter.

Here’s what you need to know about raising that little bundle of joy, you responsible young adult.

  1. You’ll want to socialize your puppy from a very early age, so she should be exposed to other people and dogs. Don’t ever socialize her with houseplants unless you want to kill her. …

How Modernism and Postmodernism shape our political discussions


Cognitive dissonance in modern politics

I think I’m a good person. At least I used to think so. I’m bombarded with messaging that if I don’t agree with a certain viewpoint I must be a monster. Taking the issues in isolation, I can understand how that would be the case. But here’s the thing: In order to care about the environment, inequality, racism, the pursuit of happiness, and individual freedoms, I have to believe a wide set of contradictions. They tend to play out like this:

  • Authoritarianism is bad but causes I believe in should be implemented top-down.
  • Depending on the current “Establishment,” activists challenging the status quo are either heroes or brainwashed threats to democracy. …

From boys on a playground to soldiers on the battlefield, these interactions serve a deeper purpose

(Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash)

My friend group enjoys playing cards. To raise the stakes, we usually impose a forfeit for the loser. Money quickly loses its appeal, so these forfeits almost always end up being something physical.

The other weekend, after a particularly long game of Black Ball, a loser was declared and the winner picked the punishment: each of the other 7 players would slap the loser on the ass. …

Photo by Anna Sullivan on Unsplash

Since losing the 2020 election, Donald Trump has claimed, again and again, that he only lost because of “wide spread [sic] voter fraud.”

There were dozens of reasons to raise an eyebrow at these claims:

  • Trump is only saying that there was fraud in the states that he lost — in fact, he’s insisting that there should be no recounts in the states he won
  • He keeps trying to throw out mail-in ballots that were counted after Election Day in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan, where Republican lawmakers prohibited those same ballots from being counted beforehand
  • He demands that mail-in ballots continue to be counted in states where he’s behind, but demands that they stop being counted in states where he held a…

What’s the problem? We are.

(Photo by Morvanic Lee on Unsplash)

I wanted a quiet walk with fresh air on this crisp, sunny, fall day. It’s one of the warmest days expected from now until post-COVID spring. Ahh, spring. When vaccines will be plentiful, the president sane, and the world returning to normal.

But it’s not normal yet. And I just wanted a walk in the park. To push aside worries and absorb nature’s beauty.

Judging from number of cars in the parking lot, there were maybe 100 people in the park, spread out over eight acres. …

Written thoughts during my first experience with Magic Mushrooms

It was just 2 years ago when I started hearing about Ayahuasca rituals. I was new to the “spiritual” world and clearly still had a lot to learn, but the common denominator people spoke of in regards to Ayahuasca ceremonies was the insane healing benefits.

I’d watch videos where people described how they were able to heal trauma that had weighed on them for years, all over the course of a few evenings. It sounded like the brink of enlightenment. I was fascinated, and as I did more research, I learned that Ayahausca wasn’t a magical spiritual potion crafted by Shamans. …

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