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The Bigger Picture
Oddly specific. Universally applicable.
Photo by Peri Stojnic on Unsplash

(All links in this piece lead to online articles supporting the piece’s premise.)

Back in March, I had an encounter with an imperfect stranger. I wrote about it in “Why Do Strangers Care If I Wear a Mask?”

A barefaced man ridiculed me because of the mask I wore. I was entering a condo building as he was going out of it. This happened before we, the vaccinated, were given the all clear to go without masks.

“I guess you believe there’s still a pandemic going on?” he said.

“Yes, because I believe in science,” I replied.

“No, you don’t.”

Freedom, not Freedumb

Photo by tom coe on Unsplash, with additions by the author.

No right is absolute. It’s not a matter of black and white options, it’s a question of lines and where we draw them.

Resolved: everyone should be a libertarian…for a while.

It’s healthy for young people to discover Ayn Rand or Robert Heinlein or Rush and be interested in the merits of this philosophy. They should talk about freedom and limited government. They should have animated discussions with other young people about it.

And then they should grow out of it. Discussing Ayn Rand over beers is cool, but by the time you can do so legally it’s getting on time to stop. …

(Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash)

When Cheryl and I got married, I knew that she might have potted a plant or two in her time but I never guessed that she was a serious gardener. From the moment of the spring equinox, she is engaged full time in planning her garden, buying plants and seeds and arranging and rearranging them about our front, back and side yards.

I, on the other hand, am quite content with our property just the way it is. All I need is a lawn and a couple of trees and I’m good to go. Anything else is horticultural overkill.


three skeletons in the hear no evil say no evil see no evil positions
(Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay)

Lack of imagination

“We couldn’t imagine.”

Listening to the 9/11 remembrance coverage over the last weeks, I’ve been struck by the repetition of this phrase.

That dreadful day 20 years ago, I was woken up by a phone call from my husband whose flight from Minneapolis to New York was grounded in Chicago.

“Some pilot is going to be in trouble,” I mumbled in ignorant response, while rubbing the sleep out of my eyes.

A failure of imagination—I couldn't imagine a scenario in which human beings would hijack planes and fly them into the World Trade Center towers on purpose.

I couldn’t imagine…

(Photo by Dušan veverkolog on Unsplash)

My dad moved in with me in February, 7 months ago. The Covid-19 pandemic led to a ‘choice’ for him to downsize.

I had the extra space.

I was so touched when dad mentioned possibly coming to stay with me for a while that I started crying on the phone to him.

And we aren’t one of those crying on the phone to each other kind of families.

But for 10 years I’d lived in South Australia, away from dad, who had always lived in Sydney — where I grew up.

And I had felt for a long time, even…

Universal basic income, UBI, as collective inheritance for American stakeholders.
Purple mountain majesties and amber waves of grain. Photo by Marc Wieland on Unsplash

When I saw the September 7, 2021, New York Times headline: “From Cradle to Grave, Democrats Move to Expand Social Safety Net,” my heart sank. I am some sort of libertarian-liberal, pragmatic-progressive Democrat and I do think we owe each other as fellow citizens and human beings a much better safety net. A better way to co-exist, distribute and re-circulate resources, create an environment that optimizes everyone’s chance to thrive.

But a “$3.5 trillion social policy bill that…would touch virtually every American, at every point in life, from conception to old age”? No thanks. I groan at the same old…

(Image Derek Thompson via Unsplash)

Cancer sucks.

If you don’t know someone who’s had cancer, you will soon enough. That sounds like a thinly-veiled threat, but it’s just an unfortunate reality.

Figures from Cancer Research UK show 50% of men will be diagnosed with cancer during their lives, and 45% of women. You can avoid 5G towers and consume all the kale smoothies you want, but you’re long odds to outrun those odds.

Here’s the problem though — cancer is common, but conversations about cancer are rare. No one wants to chat about the ‘Big C’ because it’s uncomfortable. …

(Photo by Frances Gunn on Unsplash)

It was early September and the crispness of an early fall filled the air. What was a feverish summer quickly simmered, and the leaves on the old oaks were eager to flaunt their new colours.

On the college side of town, students unloaded their boxes and reunited with familiar faces. For some, this was their new home, filled with excitement, anxiousness and a tint of the homesick blues. For others, it was a familiar home away from home, with old pals who greeted them with tight hugs and warm smiles.

And it was the start of a new adventure for…

A hiking path and its beach at the end. (Image/Author)

I’ve spent the last two years living on a tropical island. It’s been quite an adventure. One that is very different from the city life that I’ve previously been accustomed to. It has been wonderfully refreshing.

I feel like living here, on St. Barth, has allowed me to go “back to basics”. I’ve found time and space to tune in with what I really need and desire to create my life by my own design, versus what I mindlessly do, consume and create when everything is widely available.

While I don’t think I want to stay on the island long-term…

A photograph of an anonymous photograph of Tribute of Lights the author keeps in his office.

The phone rang. “We heard a plane went down,” my father said, calling from his home in Indiana. “Are you okay?” I put down the receiver, turned on the TV and saw Flight 175 slam into the south tower of the World Trade Center only nine miles away from my apartment on Claremont Avenue next to Riverside Church. When I moved to New York, I would use the towers to situate myself when I came out of the subway, the 1/9 being the line I used the most. It was my lifeline to the city, taking me to and from…

The Bigger Picture

Oddly specific. Universally applicable.

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