Sacrifice for a Better Future?
By Robert Bernstein   |   March 22, 2022

With Putin’s attack on Ukraine, many of us wrote to President Biden to ask him to cut off Russian oil imports, even if it meant a rise in prices and/or rationing. In my message I called on him to speak to the American people to sacrifice for a greater good. I talked of how my […]

Gorilla My Dreams
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 8, 2022

On November 25, 1864, in a famous speech at Oxford University, the British statesman Benjamin Disraeli addressed himself to a matter which had been convulsing intellectual society since the 1859 publication of Charles Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species. As Disraeli put it: “The question is this – is man an ape or an […]

 

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Have Arms, Will Hug
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   March 1, 2022

The activity called boxing may not have contributed much to the field of athletics, but it has certainly enriched our language. The fighting once took place outdoors, in a “ring” made by the encircling spectators. Indoors, that area became a roped square, which – however – is still called a “ring.” In many nations, it […]

Sad Beauty
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 22, 2022

Why do we like watching the sun set? Is it the beauty of changing colors and shapes? Or is it rather the emotional impact of experiencing the passage of time, the ending of another day of our lives? These two closely interwoven themes, the sad and the beautiful, permeate our culture. Three of my favorite […]

Why Follow the News?
By Robert Bernstein   |   February 15, 2022

I have friends who proudly say they shut out following the news. They find it depressing. I have another friend who is on top of everything in the news. Why should we follow the news? Democracy requires participation. And participation requires informed understanding. My friend who is on top of the news does not attend […]

Learning From the Young
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 15, 2022

A friend who was about to turn 50, knowing that I’m in my late 80s, asked me what advice I might have for a person reaching that milestone. I had to tell him that I thought all such “landmarks” artificial and insignificant, being based on our arbitrary counting in tens, which in turn derives from […]

Live Well. Laugh Often.
By Ernie Witham   |   February 15, 2022

I was staring blankly at a shelf in the garage. I’d been on a quest for something when I left the house some 15 steps earlier, but my mind stopped working at about step 12. I moved some boxes around for inspiration. That’s when I found the Monopoly game. It was an early edition. Still […]

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What’s in It?
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 8, 2022

Much of our folklore, including Greek mythology, has to do with explaining the origins of things. For example, why are there so many troubles in the world? Well, it seems they were once all contained in a certain neat, secure box. But some naughty female named Pandora, hardly realizing what she was doing, opened the […]

Cate School
By Stella Haffner   |   January 25, 2022

In October of 2021, universities around the United Kingdom started making headlines after the rise of a threatening new epidemic: injectable date-rape drugs. I remember the buzz at my own university as students called for stricter safety measures in bars and clubs. The fear of this new weapon for sexual assault and the lack of […]

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Purely Passionate
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 25, 2022

Congratulations! You have won a lifetime supply of Life! But what to do with that supply? For some people, what makes life worth living is something they are passionate about. “Passion” has many connotations – religious, sexual, psychological, even culinary. But the essence of it is very strong positive feeling and interest. (Despite our culture’s […]

Regrets
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 18, 2022

Life would be very empty, if we had nothing to regret. The most celebrated song of Edith Piaf, France’s most famous singer-songwriter, was “Non, je ne regrette rien” (“No, I regret nothing”). But sadly, she had plenty to regret, dying in 1963 aged only 47, after many years of alcohol and drug abuse. Does the […]

Of Space…
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 11, 2022

“Blasting off” is an expression which, only in recent years, has come to have a very special meaning. We are no longer talking about fireworks or even firearms, but about sending live human beings into what were once called “The Heavens” (as if there were more than one Heaven) but have now been relegated to […]

What’s Old?
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 4, 2022

One personal favorite of my epigrams says: “There’s nothing wrong with growing older – but where does it lead?” There are more answers to that than you might think. To my friends in the “antiques” trade, older usually means more valuable. “Antiques,” which used to require an age of at least a century, is now […]

What’s New?
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 28, 2021

We’ve all heard that “There’s nothing new under the sun.” But that was written (in the Old Testament Book of Ecclesiastes) long before cameras or computers, and any number of other modern marvels, which have already enabled man to reach the moon. Still, we hunger for novelty. Just think of all the geographical names, starting […]

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