Blog Archives

LAST YEAR, APRIL WAS THE CRUELEST MONTH, BUT THIS APRIL IS FULL OF PROMISE

The cruelness of last April would have delighted the T.S. Eliot of “The Waste Land.” We were in the middle of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. We knew very little about the disease except that it was spreading

THE DAY-TO-DAY GRIND OF BASEBALL REMINDS ME OF OUR PANDEMIC LIFE, BUT ALSO OF EASTERN PHILOSOPHY

Baseball season has started, a long grind of 162 games, just to reach the playoffs, one day very much like the day before and the one after for the ballplayers who spend most every day the same way: going from

21ST CENTURY AMERICA GIVES TOO MUCH TO THE WINNERS AND THINKS TOO LITTLE ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE

All societies sort themselves into winners and losers, but the fruits of winning differ, depending on the society. Compared to historical trends, the United States is giving more to the winners and less to everyone else than at any time

DESCRIBING EMOTIONS BY MAKING THEM OBJECTS

Capturing emotions in words sometimes reminds me of trying to catch a beam of light in the hand. I’ve tried lots of common rhetorical tricks with varying degrees of success: describing the physical characteristics of the emotion; using a description

A YEAR INTO THE PANDEMIC AND MISSING THE BEST OF TIMES:FAMILY GATHERINGS AT HOLIDAYS

A year into the plague, we’ve now missed two Passovers, one Rosh Hashanah and one Thanksgiving, the three holidays on which my wife and I generally gather with lots of family. We’ve also missed untold visits from friends and family

A POEM FOR PASSOVER THAT IS NOT ABOUT PASSOVER

Long before I read Mercea Eliade’s assertion that Yohanan ben Zakkai (and not Jesus Christ) was the most important religious figure in the first century of the common era, Zakkai was one of my heroes because he managed to escape

INSTEAD OF SAYING “NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM” AT SEDERS, WHY NOT “WHEREVER YOU WANT TO BE”

Here’s another poem for Passover. “Just Like Brian Wilson” starts as a critique of the concept of royalty, which I despise. It proposes that at the point in the Passover seder when people sing “Next Year in Jerusalem” (“L’Shana Haba’ah

DO WE HAVE A CORE SELF THAT PERSISTS THROUGH DECADES OF CHANGE?

The end of the pandemic represents an opportunity to find provisional answers to an eternal question: Do we have a core self that persists through decades of change? Or are we, like Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, but onions that have only

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO DIE TOMORROW?

Sometimes I wonder what I would do if I knew I had only one more day to live. A few years back I catalogued the possible activities for a hypothetical last day on Earth. Surprisingly, wild fantasies of exotic travel,

ANYONE MISS LONG BUSINESS MEETINGS IN ICE-COLD AIR CONDITIONING?

One thing I’m sure most people don’t miss during the pandemic are long staff meetings in ice-cold air conditioning with insipid sandwiches and donuts. At least on Zoom, you can dress comfortably, easily distract yourself on the sly with Facebook