Tag archives: Brilliant Thoughts

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   September 26, 2023

One of Irving Berlin’s best-known songs begins with the words: “I’ll be loving you, always.” And it goes on to assure the “you” to whom it’s addressed, that this is really a very special pledge, with no terminal date. It’s “not for just an hour, not for just a day, not for just a year […]

Ode to What’s Owed
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   September 19, 2023

In Hamlet, Shakespeare gives to one of the play’s less exciting characters, whom he is about to kill off anyway, one of the most quoted passages in the entire drama. It is spoken by Polonius, as a father, giving advice to his son, Laertes, as the son is about to depart for school in another […]

Falling in Like
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   September 12, 2023

Yes, let’s leave Love out of it. The word is too loaded. Saying “Like” is, in most cases, much easier and safer, and probably more accurate. There are too many songs about Love, and too few about Like. But aren’t we really talking about Friendship? True, there aren’t many songs about that either. But it […]

Mental Health
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   September 5, 2023

What is Mind? No matter. What is Matter? Never mind. There’s nothing original about that. But I have been asked to write about “Mental Health,” and it was the first matter that came to my mind. Actually, mental health is harder to contemplate than mental illness. Psychiatrists and other specialists no doubt have their own […]

Home Groan
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   August 29, 2023

Despite all the sentimental claptrap about “Home,” still in circulation, there are many good reasons why that word is virtually meaningless, if not actually offensive, to many people, in various situations. I personally can remember a time (in the prosperous years after World War II, when the “American Empire” seemed to be about to replace […]

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   August 22, 2023

The play A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, was first performed in 1947, and has become a classic. But how many of the people who hear about it for the first time know what that title means? For one thing, streetcars (“trolleys”), which used to be the major urban provider of public transportation, are […]

Coming Back
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   August 15, 2023

There was a time in my life – not lately – when I used to enjoy re-visiting places where I had previously lived. There were quite a few of them – towns, neighborhoods, even countries, going back to my childhood. Nowadays, when people in general are much more mobile, it’s not unusual for your family […]

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   August 8, 2023

You may not remember Tom Lehrer, who performed his own satirical songs, very successfully, in the 1960s – but his offerings included a song satirizing the whole idea of National Brotherhood Week. The last stanza began:  “It’s fun to eulogize the people you despise.” The foil for this frivolity was a genuine decades-long effort to […]

Before I Wake
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   August 1, 2023

For many of us, this little prayer was the first – and possibly the only – one we ever learned: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. There were several lessons contained therein: […]

The Crowded Self
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   July 25, 2023

Have you ever asked yourself “Who Am I?” Probably not – or at least, not very often. Identity is one of the few things we are all pretty sure of. We may wonder WHAT we are, and WHY we are – but WHO we are is a question that hardly troubles us. After all, we […]

Start and Stop
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   July 18, 2023

Here is a riddle for you: Everybody knows that Albert Einstein was one of the world’s greatest physicists – but nobody knows his last words, even though they were clearly heard by somebody who was with him at the time. How can this be? (The other person present was an intelligent adult.)  Speaking of words […]

What Next?
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   July 11, 2023

Out of a party game called “Truth or Dare” (which is still being played), there somehow evolved, way back in the 1940s, a very popular radio program called Truth or Consequences. This weekly feature was heard nationwide. I myself – then a child – listened to it regularly. The program used various gimmicks to increase […]

Sure Enough
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   July 4, 2023

Assuming I understand it correctly – a very big assumption – if anything certain can be derived from the intellectual achievements of the past century, it is that nothing is certain. In fact, there is even a “Law of Uncertainty” – which sounds like a contradiction in terms, but which is apparently now accepted by […]

The Last Straw
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   June 27, 2023

We have all been informed that it was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. But that image troubles me. As a proverb and metaphor, of course, it is very powerful. Another one, “The Tipping Point,” conveys almost the same idea, but less negatively. The image now is of a balance, by which everything […]

Where You Live
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   June 20, 2023

In 1953, a woman named Polly Adler published a book which became a best seller and also gave new dimensions to two familiar words, “house” and “home.” Her book was called A House Is Not a Home, and, in this context, the “House” was a New York house of prostitution, which she had owned and […]

Something I Ate
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   June 13, 2023

You are a stranger on the road, passing within sight of a dwelling. The people who live there invite you to come and share their meal. It doesn’t sound that remarkable. It might almost be Biblical. And in a way, it was – because this happened in the Land of the Bible. But it was […]

Running Wild
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   June 6, 2023

To most of us, Civilization is where it’s at and – as a general rule – any alternative is less preferable. The alternatives can be categorized either favorably under the heading of “Nature,” or unfavorable ones beneath the label of “Wilderness” – or “Desert.” From childhood I have known that the ancient Hebrews, after escaping […]

My Business Career
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   May 30, 2023

Two women greatly affected my life in the world of business: my mother and my wife. From age five to seven, I lived in my mother’s hometown of Toronto, Canada. There, her father and several other of my relatives were in what was called the “second-hand” business. Their merchandise was mostly used goods. They had […]

Big Moves
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   May 23, 2023

Crossing oceans has been a feature of my family background. My mother’s parents, a poor English couple, started the trend by moving from London to Toronto, where my mother was born (one of five) and grew up as Amelia Adler (quite a good-looking girl, if the photos are any indication). Ocean travel was then still […]

Unfree Speech
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   May 16, 2023

Freedom of Speech – and of the Press – are in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But of course, they are not defined in detail. That has been a task for the following two centuries – and the debating goes on. A major complication has been the development of new media, which are […]