Statistics vs Stories?
By Robert Bernstein   |   October 13, 2020

As a teen in the ‘70s I had very little money to pursue my many passions. So I was grateful for various suppliers of surplus electronics that I used to build my creations. I was surprised one day that one of my favorite suppliers was having a going-out-of-business sale. I showed up at the event […]

Bored of Education
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   September 24, 2020

You may find this hard to believe, but it wasn’t until after I had gone all the way through the British school and college system, and emigrated to the U.S., with a bachelor of arts degree in history, that I became aware of the fact that “education” is a subject which can itself be studied […]

 

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Tea for You
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   September 17, 2020

Having been brought up English, I was a tea drinker from an early age. But I didn’t realize that I was actually an addict, until my doctor told me to cut out all caffeine from my diet. Only then did I learn what is meant by “withdrawal symptoms” – which in my case were very […]

How to Bring People Together?
By Robert Bernstein   |   September 10, 2020

It is a common perception today that our country is divided. Some even suggest we are on the verge of civil war. Is there a way that we can bring our country together? One common suggestion is to have leaders who are “moderate” to be in line with the views of the widest range of […]

Hear and Now
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   September 10, 2020

The 1964 Simon & Garfunkel song “The Sound of Silence” must seem redolent of an ancient era to many of my younger readers – but the haunting melody, combined with its poetically poignant words, resonates as powerfully today as when the song was born. To me, the part which has always been most meaningful proclaims […]

I Think Knot
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   September 3, 2020

As a child, I took great delight in string. My mother, who patiently taught me how to tie bows, used to tell people, “Give him a piece of string, and he’ll be happy.” True enough, I could spend hours just tying and untying knots. I was never a Boy Scout, and never “learned the ropes” […]

Name Dropping
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   August 27, 2020

The first question I am usually asked: “Is Ashleigh Brilliant your real name?” Yes, it is. My father was Victor Brilliant, and he came from a whole family of Brilliants. The origins are Russian and Jewish. Around the time of Napoleon, Jews were allowed to choose their own surnames. Many chose pleasant-sounding names, such as […]

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Grandchildren Keep Us Young. If We Survive.
By Ernie Witham   |   August 20, 2020

“Ernie?… Ernie?… Ernie?… Ernie?…” “Sorry, can’t play right now, Jack.” “Why?” “Because I have some writing to do.” “Why?” “It’s for my column?” “What’s a column?” “About 700 words.” I laughed. Jack didn’t. “My column for the Montecito Journal is due. I have an allotted space to fill.” “What’s a lotta space to fill?” “About […]

In All Fairness
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   August 6, 2020

“Fair Play,” as I understand it, means abiding by the rules. But what if the rules are unfair? That, in a sense, is the human predicament. No matter how honorable and decent you are, a tornado (which I like to think of as God’s air-raid) can wipe out everything you have, including your life – […]

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Royal Flesh
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   July 30, 2020

It seems odd that, after centuries of agitation forequality, so many countries still have social systems in which some “royal” person is considered to be at the top. The word “royal” derives from the French word for king – and, although France no longer has a monarch, many other advanced countries still do. In fact, […]

How to be a Villain
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   July 23, 2020

This story begins with a confession: I didn’t know how to be a villain – and never got over it. When I was eleven years old, my Hebrew school was bringing out a magazine, and needed contributions. I somehow volunteered to write on a topic someone had suggested – “How to Be a Villain.” No […]

An Apple Computer a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
By Ernie Witham   |   July 16, 2020

Per instructions, I moved my face really close to my computer monitor. “Look into my eyes,” the doctor said. Was she going to hypnotize me? Make me cluck like a chicken? “I just want to watch your eye movements to rule out a few things.” “I can roll them around in a circle. Watch.” “Ah, […]

I The Hero
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   July 16, 2020

People sometimes flatter me by saying that I am their hero – because I have managed to make a living by the unconventional means of marketing my own thoughts. There may be some merit in inventing – so to speak – a new profession. But, in general terms, I don’t consider myself a heroic character. […]

Seek and Ye Shall Find
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   July 9, 2020

One of the most famous lines of all poetry (originally written in Persian a millennium ago, but first translated into English in 1859) comes from a book called the Rubaiyat, and is about a “moving finger,” which “writes, and, having writ, moves on” – and nothing we can do can bring that finger back, to […]

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