Nearly 30 years ago, I taught for a while in prison. The article below, which recently appeared at The Epoch Times, has a bit to say about that experience, and about our prison system. Please click and past.
A poem for a gray Monday night in Virginia when all is in flux and spin:
God is less God when men must mercy beg;
What father wants his children on their knees,
Hands mendicant in supplication, pegged
With nails of shame, souls dark as troubled seas?
What God wants piteous wails? Does God want eyes
Like anguished auditors of pain or tongue
That do in terror twist the air with cries
From maddened hearts heaped high with ash and dung?
What good father would manufacture doom
To bring his children to such mean estate?
Did God not seed with love our hearts to bloom,
Graft faith to hope to bear our worldly weights?
By our own lights do we diminish God.
He points to stars; we shrinking cling to sod.
Below are two articles on the coronavirus, both from Intellectual Takeout, one by me and one by a doctor. The article by the physician should quell some fear about this virus, the one by me reflects once again my ignorance, my confusion, and a view of death.
The older man with the Van Dyke beard often visits the coffee shop. Eventually, a mutual friend introduced us.
After my friend left, the older man, who had once taught philosophy and had served as president of a small Catholic college, began talking to me of Heidegger and Hegel, of various philosophical movements in the nineteenth century, and of capitalism and socialism. It was more a classroom lecture than a conversation, with me nodding my head and asking an occasional question. When he had finished, I told him in all seriousness that he should write down what he’d just said, that some magazine would surely be interested in publishing his thoughts. He just laughed and went on his way.
I retained little of the professor’s lecture, not because he wasn’t lucid but because of the sheer amount of information he delivered in those 25 minutes. On the subject of philosophy, he is an intellectual giant, while I am a pygmy.
The article below appeared at The Epoch Times on February 15, 2020. Please cut and scroll to paste if clicking on the article doesn't work.
In this piece, I look at the deaths of those we love, poetry, and the ways the dead live on in us.
No picture this time.
I hope against hope the female in the YouTube video posted below is wrong on all counts regarding coronavirus. But she is the expert. If she is right, we're facing a huge problem.
Here are some of her tips from the beginning of the video as to how to resist any virus. Many of her suggestions will be familiar.
1) Do NOT share towels. Have each member of your family use a different hand towel. Better yet, use paper towels.
2) Door knobs are the campgrounds of viruses. Try to avoid touching them with your hands.
3)Cough into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hand.
4) After contact with a suspected viral infection, wash your hands in hot water for as long as it takes you to sing "Happy Birthday" two times.
5) Face mask do little to prevent viral infections.
For weeks, the idea that the coronavirus originated in a lab has been debunked by both the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and by many in the Western media. Today Britain's Daily Mail reports that the South China University of Technology concludes that "the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan." Please see the site below.
Whether the report is true or not, what we do know is that the CCP has been less than forthcoming about the origin and the effect of the disease. Why? As I say at Intellectual Takeout--you'll need to cut and paste the article--in events such as these, we are all on the same team, human beings versus a virus. Shame on the Chinese government.
Valentine’s Day: The holiday that men fear and women adore.
Recently, I was speaking with my brother about Valentine’s Day. He recounted that several years ago he suggested to his wife of 40 years that they ignore Valentine’s Day, telling her that the day “was for the young and they were old.”
I will leave to your imagination how these comments went down with his wife. Doug was explaining her reaction, but I was laughing too hard to hear most of what he said.
Why is it that we guys, or at least many of us, dislike Valentine’s Day? And why do so many women find the Feast of Love so special?
George Washington's birthday, which we now celebrate as Presidents Day, is February 22.
In his day, Washington was a wealthy man, the equivalent of Donald Trump or a Michael Bloomberg, but with a different sense of himself and his duties.
His mother may have helped inculcate him those virtues that after his death brought the honorific from Richard Henry Lee "First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen."
The article below appeared recently in The Epoch Times.
The article below appeared in The Epoch Times on January 29, 2020.
A good many years ago, in the monthly meeting of our book club in Waynesville, North Carolina, the subject of prayer came up during a discussion of Anne Tyler’s “Saint Maybe.” A doctor, an intelligent and well-spoken man with a wry sense of humor, asked of us, “What exactly is prayer? I mean, what do you do when you pray?”
His question was sincere. He had grown up in a non-religious household, and as it turned out, had never prayed in his life.
Several people tried to answer him, but when we said our goodnights my friend looked as puzzled as when he had popped the question.
So what is prayer?