Category: Community

In favor of non-holidays

| December 1, 2014 | Reply

I had a wonderful visit with a friend yesterday. She and I have been friends ever since we attended law school together in the late 1970’s. We had an engaging conversation in her living room. I couldn’t imagine a more enjoyable visit. We traded numerous stories and observations, sharing more than a few laughs. As I was traveling back home, it occurred to me that we accomplished this without any of the following:

Handing each other gifts;
Dressing up in fancy clothing;
Blinking lights, ornaments or decorations;
A television turned on;
Singing or listening to ritualistic songs;
Eating special food or drinks;
Making unsupportable claims about events that happened 2,000 years ago.

Instead, we celebrated a friendship and took an active interest in each other’s lives. This is an activity that can be enjoyed simultaneously by small or larger groups of good-hearted thoughtful people. In fact, some of my favorite moments this year have involved

Recently, another friend of mine mentioned that her favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because it is the holiday most devoid of commercialism and religiosity and jingoism. I mostly agree, but even Thanksgiving has been clouded with commercialism, obsessions with spectator sports, and the perceived need to display ourselves through decorations, special clothing and special food. To be fair, I do enjoy the spread of food one encounters at Thanksgiving, but it is a secondary consideration to the occasion. What would be more meaningful as a Thanksgiving celebration: A big feast without anyone to share it with, or a room full of special people without special food?

I would like to nominate Non-Holiday Spontaneous Visiting as my favorite “holiday,” because it is this “holiday” that gets even closest to the core of the most important part of what makes us humans at our best.

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On Being Primed For Worse

| November 25, 2014 | 1 Reply
On Being Primed For Worse

Haven’t we been gearing up for some kind of O.K. Corral showdown pretty much since the announcement that there would be a grand jury? Haven’t we been gearing up for some kind of O.K. Corral showdown pretty much since the announcement that there would be a grand jury? Sure looked like we expected what we got. [More . . . ]

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Early Racism

| October 21, 2014 | Reply
Early Racism

They were marched into the classroom, single file, and lined up along the blackboard to face the roomful of white faces. It would be sheerest invention to say I remember everything about that day. The only things I recall had to do with questions about how my own situation was about to change.

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Myths of Authority in Practice

| August 22, 2014 | 2 Replies
Myths of Authority in Practice

I’ve been trying to come to terms with Ferguson since it began. The shooting of Michael Browne sparked a response that surprised many people and the counter responses have been equally surprising among certain people, not so much among certain others. Every time I start to write something I find what I intended to say had already been said better elsewhere. [More . . . ]

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Just Talkin’ Here

| August 4, 2014 | 1 Reply
Just Talkin’ Here

One of the more congenial things about FaceBook is that while flaming (and trolling and all such related hate-baiting tactics) still happens, users aren’t locked into the thread where it occurs. With multiple conversations going on all the time among many different arrangements of “friends” it is not a problem requiring something like a nuclear option to deal with. 

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The story about small Kentucky towns and gays

| August 15, 2013 | Reply

Excellent work by Stephen Colbert:

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Sunset drumming

| July 23, 2013 | Reply

Last night I road my bike across town to the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park in St. Louis to take some photos. I didn’t know what I’d find–I assumed I’d be shooting a sunset. It’s a spectacular overlook at one of the many edges of one of the largest city parks in the U.S. I did find a compelling sunset, but what was equally compelling was a group of first rate drummers that go by the name of “Soularo,” including Nafi Rafat and Marcus Jones. They gave me permission to photograph part of their session.

IMG_4237 drummers Soularo-3

IMG_4202 drummers Soularo

IMG_4185 drummers Soularo

As Jones noted hours later, drumming is like heartbeat. That is true, and it is also a powerful elixir, capable of erasing one’s woes and filling one with thirst for good-hearted life. That’s what seemed clear from watching the dozens of people who were drawn to this spontaneous gathering.

IMG_4225 drummers Soularo

IMG_4191 drummers Soularo

Only a few weeks ago, I spent time at this same location honoring the life of Sonny Glassberg, who recently passed away (she was the mother of a friend of mine). She gave substantial financial support to allow the renovation of this extraordinary venue.

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The critical importance of complete freedom of the press (in additional to free speech)

| July 15, 2013 | Reply
The critical importance of complete freedom of the press (in additional to free speech)

The Death and Life of American Journalism (2010), by Robert McChesney and John Nichols, is an extraordinary book detailing A) the historical and jurisprudential foundation for freedom of the press (specifically granted in the First Amendment, separate and distinct from free speech), and B) the need to declare journalism as a public good and substantially […]

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Twelve modern day patriots

| July 4, 2013 | Reply

Alternet provides a list of twelve modern-day patriots, many of them with criminal records earned out of conscience.

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