Tag archives: word play

Blessings On You
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 20, 2024

The idea of blessing – that is, asking God to have some favorable influence on someone or something, is probably as old as religion itself. In some religions, only certain people are authorized to pronounce certain blessings – but in general, in our culture, anybody may, without any special permission, bless any other person, or […]

Crossing Over
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 13, 2024

The River Jordan is celebrated in many “spiritual” songs. Most of us have heard lines like: Jordan river blessed but cold – Chills the body, but not the soul.  “Crossing Jordan” has long been seen as a metaphor for going to Heaven. It all goes back to the Biblical account of that River having to be […]

Cut It Out
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 6, 2024

One of the most famous of all historical events was the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. The killers were a group of men whom Caesar had considered his friends and supporters. The leader of this conspiracy, whose name was Brutus, is said to have been the last to deliver the fatal blow. And […]

Women and War
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 30, 2024

Although I have officially been a Doctor of Philosophy in American History for many years, it was only recently that I got interested in reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This came about through reading another book, Winston Churchill’s History of the English Speaking People, which makes a big point about how important the Uncle Tom book […]

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 23, 2024

Although various religions teach that there is some kind of life after this one, a life in which there is more justice than prevails on Earth, we still like to feel that, even here, people tend to get what they deserve. In our legal codes, this is usually spelled out much less precisely in terms […]

Radio and Me
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 9, 2024

In all the history of Technology, I know of no more exciting story than that of Guglielmo Marconi, the young Italian who discovered how to send messages, not by sight or sound, and not through wires, but through empty air. At first – i.e. from about 1895, and for many years after – the messages […]

Ins and Outs
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 2, 2024

As a general rule, it is always better to be In than Out. Of course, there are many obvious exceptions – Trouble, for example. But in most games, and certainly in politics, one would certainly prefer the status of “in.” One of the best places to be in is the mind, heart, or at least […]

Water works
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 26, 2023

I have always been surprised by how many people are willing to pay for bottled water when perfectly drinkable water, certified by local inspectors, is available from their own home faucets (which of course they already pay for as a public utility). Somehow, a very good selling job has been done by the bottled water industry […]

Last Things First
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 19, 2023

One of the saddest songs I know is called “The Last Time I saw Paris.” It came out in 1940, after France had been defeated, and Paris occupied, by the Nazis. Paris had been a favorite haunt of Americans. But the war was still going on (although the U.S. had not yet entered it) and […]

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 12, 2023

There are many different kinds of duty, but one thing they all have in common is a sense of obligation, which often attaches to a particular role or job. It can also be an amount owed to a government, or to some other authority, especially as a form of tax, in connection with imports and […]

The Ignorance Industry
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 5, 2023

In the mental economics of our species, there is a slow but steady demand for Information – but the market for Ignorance has become increasingly busy. The plain fact is that most people do not want the Truth. Why? Because it’s too inaccessible, too incomprehensible, and too likely to be unpleasant. Of course, you and […]

Stressed or Blessed
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   November 28, 2023

It used to be called “worry” or “anxiety.” Now, I gather, the fashionable term is “stress” – and I seem to have lately been gathering plenty of it. But what is there really in life worth having such feelings about? It’s all in the mind, I think. That’s what keeps psychiatrists in business. Those professional […]

Machines Make the Scene
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   November 21, 2023

In this age of ever-advancing technology, we have become accustomed to non-human contrivances doing things which used to be done by humans (if they were done at all). Along with this, there has been the process of seeing everything in mechanical terms. Our bodies are machines; our homes (as Le Corbusier called them) are “machines […]

On the Job
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   November 14, 2023

For most of human history, the people who did the hardest physical work were at the bottom of the social scale. These were jobs that went to people called peasants, villeins, or slaves, working in the fields alongside horses and oxen. Women and their traditional roles of housekeeping and child-rearing were always in a class […]

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   November 7, 2023

One of the books that most influenced me when I was growing up was written by a man whose career had been based on helping people to sell things. His name was Dale Carnegie, and the book (a best-seller) was How to Win Friends and Influence People. One good thing about it was that its […]

Wetness for the Prosecution
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   October 31, 2023

Although I have done my share of things I regret, sometimes my misdeeds have brought their own penalty. Two of those occasions involved the theft of books, which, at the time, I justified to myself because, being a poor college student, I couldn’t always buy the books I wanted. One episode took place in the […]

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   October 24, 2023

One of the strangest sights I ever saw was something I discovered one day when bicycling in the English countryside. In what might otherwise have been open farmland, a new business had apparently opened up. It might just possibly have been a used-car lot – but no, this was a place where what they were […]

Wear and Tear
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   October 17, 2023

Over time, it seems that everything wears out, even – or especially – our own bodies and minds. But many things that once seemed irreparable or irreplaceable – can now indeed be repaired or replaced. With regard to ourselves, the whole concept is relatively recent – not counting the story that Eve was made from […]

Taking Place
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   October 10, 2023

In the normal functioning of our society, many situations arise in which one person has to take the place of another. The details, of course, can vary widely. It may be temporary, as when somebody has to “call in sick” and their part of a job must be done by somebody else. Or it may […]

The Way it Was
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   October 3, 2023

In the now-almost-forgotten days when many of us regularly watched an early evening network newscast, Walter Cronkite, who was then recognized as the Dean of American Newsmen (there were very few newswomen), used to sign off his report with the words, “And that’s the way it is…” To me, and perhaps to many other members […]