No Stone Unturned
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   April 15, 2021

When you think of something permanent, what first probably comes to mind are the “everlasting hills,” or at least a piece of one, which we call a rock or a stone. That’s why we use stone to mark graves, which has the additional advantage that you can “inscribe” something on it. But of course, we […]

Smile!
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 18, 2021

In our culture, the act of smiling has not always had a very positive image. Among great paintings, I can think of only one that would qualify. It’s called “The Laughing Cavalier” by Frans Hals (1624), but he is only smiling, not laughing. By the time of World War I, however, it was a different […]

 

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Causes
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 11, 2021

One way to make life seem worth living is to find a cause you truly believe in, and devote yourself to it. It might be political – getting someone elected – or social – getting something banned or permitted – or religious – spreading your own belief, or disputing someone else’s. I myself have rarely […]

Labels
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 4, 2021

For many years, you couldn’t buy certain items, such as mattresses, in the U.S.A., unless they contained a federally required fabric label, or “tag.” I’m not sure exactly what information these labels provided, but what I do remember is that they also contained a very severe warning against removing them. Something like “DO NOT REMOVE, […]

Rejection
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 25, 2021

Being rejected is a basic human experience, for which most of us need to be better trained than we probably are.  If you ask Mr. Google about rejections, he’ll give you many lists of famous and successful people who failed over and over again, but went on, and, through sheer persistence, became the stars and […]

A Few of My Favorite Things
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 18, 2021

My tastes in most categories are very conventional, so most of my favorites probably will not surprise you. In poetry, for example, at the top of my personal list is the piece known as “Gray’s Elegy in a Country Churchyard” – not to be confused with Gray’s Allergy. [Only kidding.] One reason I like it […]

Originality
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 11, 2021

It’s getting easier to copy – but it’s still hard to be original. However, it’s also now much easier to tell if an idea is original – although, even if it’s not, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a copy. There is, after all, such a thing as “independent creation.”  For that reason, whenever I get […]

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Secrets
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 4, 2021

I suppose we nearly all have, or have had, secrets of some kind. Probably one of the most common kinds concerns some hidden object. Stores used to sell a little magnetic box called a “Hide-a-Key,” in which you could put your car keys, and attach it to some unseen part of your car. But thieves […]

Eggscuse Me
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 7, 2021

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that “you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” This, I suppose, is another way of stating the Machiavellian principle that “the end justifies the means” – i.e. to get a good outcome, you sometimes have to employ less-than-good methods. My problem is that I don’t like breaking eggs […]

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No Dumping
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 31, 2020

Like most of us, I can’t help noticing the signs and notices people put up, even if they don’t apply to me. One which inevitably catches my eye is on a white picket fence I pass every day, while walking to or from my office. It’s a probably store-bought sign, and says simply, “No Dumping.” […]

Declaration of Dependence
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 24, 2020

If life is a swimming pool, look for me at the shallow end. I’m not (by my own standards) a very adventurous person – and advancing years have not made me any braver. But what they have done is make me increasingly aware of how many different things I depend on, just to keep going […]

Power
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 17, 2020

One of my most popular epigrams (which is why I made it the title of one of my books) says: “All I want is a warm bed, and a kind word – and unlimited power.” I suppose we’d all like to be able to control things a little more than we can – starting with […]

Magic
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 10, 2020

We all know that there is no such thing as real “magic.” As performed by “magicians,” it’s all trickery and deception, the best of which fools us in ways we like to be fooled, and takes advantage of our own weaknesses and susceptibilities. But science and technology have become so clever and adept that it’s […]

Away From Home
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 3, 2020

As an experienced traveler (though not lately), I’ve always said that travel would be much more easy and pleasant, if only we didn’t have to eat and sleep. Others will, of course, argue that it is all the things relating to food and accommodation which make travel enjoyable. But to me, they are generally a […]

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