Living Will
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   May 21, 2024

No, it’s not an oxymoron – though it almost sounds like it. We tend to associate the making of a will with thoughts about what is to happen after we are no longer around – i.e. when we are not living. But the “living will” is apparently a new concept in jurisprudence and in medicine. […]

Wishy Washy
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   April 23, 2024

The ancient activity of laundering has woven itself into our culture in many ways. As an example, there was once a popular catchphrase “no tickee, no washee” which derived from the time when most of the laundry businesses in the U.S., were owned and operated by immigrants from China. Originally it meant that, in order […]


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Getting Settled
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   April 16, 2024

One piece of advice I’ve given myself (after some unhappy experiences) is this: “Try to avoid situations in which all you have is a good legal case.” Of course, it’s desirable to have the Law on your side – but it’s even better to be able to negotiate an “out of court settlement,” sometimes through […]

School Scars
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   April 9, 2024

From the ages 13 to 18, I went to school in Hendon, a London suburb. It was just after World War II, and in the field behind the school were several surface air-raid shelters; recent wartime relics which were now being used for storage. They were not locked. Once, when during a holiday I had […]

The Merry Middle
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   April 2, 2024

At a certain point between “Some Of” and “Too Much Of,” there comes a magic amount called “Just Enough.” You may remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. If any part of it has stayed in your mind, it’s probably where Goldilocks tastes the Bears’ porridge and finds the Papa Bear’s “too hot” […]

Going Back
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 26, 2024

Most of us have probably had the experience of re-visiting a place we once knew well, and finding it changed in such a way as to tell us we don’t belong there anymore. Thomas Wolfe said it in the title of one of his novels – You Can’t Go Home Again. There is a word […]

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 19, 2024

In size and extent, the British Empire (even without the American colonies which it lost in 1776) was the greatest the world has ever known. It was usually colored red on world maps, and you could easily see, by looking at a globe, the truth of the expression, “The sun never sets on the British […]

  • Please Attract Me
    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 12, 2024

    Much of this system called Nature is apparently based on attraction and repulsion. The repulsion serves to protect – and to keep at least certain members of a species intact – until they have time to reproduce. The attraction is also part of that reproduction process. Most plants can’t physically get together, so some have […]

    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 […]

    By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 16, 2024

    There is a wonderful expression you can use when you feel a friend is asking for an unwarranted amount of help from you: “WHAT DID YOUR LAST SERVANT DIE OF?” Unhappily, this humorous form of complaint was based on the true fact that at one time, a large portion of the population made their living […]

    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 […]