Monday, November 12, 2018

Alice Robb: Science of Dreaming

Even in dreams, we know who we are.

Alice Robb is the author of the forthcoming book “Why We Dream,” from which this essay is adapted.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Sleep and Anxiety

A sleepless night can leave the brain spinning with anxiety the next day.

People with anxiety disorders often have trouble sleeping. The new results uncover the reverse effect — that poor sleep can induce anxiety.

The study shows that “this is a two-way interaction,” said Clifford Saper, a sleep researcher at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston who wasn’t involved in the study. “The sleep loss makes the anxiety worse, which in turn makes it harder to sleep.”


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Swimming and Counting

For decades I told myself I would never count swim laps but then I discovered it was a great tool if I used it gently. The first trick was to tell myself, "Do one lap and you are free to go home." Just showing up was winning!

But I discovered that when I am counting I am not thinking about other things. This was an unexpected gift. The numbers served as a mantra. I also gave myself small goals: "Do one more!" or "Do three more!" This gave me small victories. Most important was to be kind to myself so I would come back again. Remember, just one lap, and I am free to go home.


I dreamed Nagla showed me a kitchen she built for me to teach cooking in her house. It was in the basement. The kitchen had red Formica counters and a long table for everyone to eat together. Then Nagla was bicycling with me on the handlebars. We were headed to a rural estate full of trees. She needed a cooking ingredient in the tree roots. I was up high grabbing onto trees. I woke up.

Ram Dass

Releasing Dependence on Spiritual Methods

Charlie Chaplin

“As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.

As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.

As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!”
― Charlie Chaplin


“Life is a beautiful magnificent thing, even to a jellyfish.”
― Charlie Chaplin

Ram Dass

The Dance Between Form and Formlessness

Charlie Chaplin

“You need Power,
only when you want
to do something harmful
Love is enough to get everything done.”
― Charlie Chaplin

Friday, November 09, 2018


I skipped yesterday so I needed an extra push to get to the pool today. As soon as I hit the water I knew I had made the right decision.
Then three teenage girls showed up and took the lane next to me. One of them was wearing a yellow suit. She sat on the edge while the other two began swimming laps.
"You're a good swimmer," the seated girl said to me.
"Thank you, I love the water. I swim often because it helps me with my winter depression."
"I have depression and anxiety too," she said.
"This will help," I said pointing to the water. "Do you know how to swim?"
"I used to swim for the special Olympics. Everyone tells me to exercise for my depression," she said.
"Try swimming to the other side, experiment on yourself and see if it helps how you feel. Just do one lap and you win!"
"That's a good idea," she said. I continued to swim.
When I returned I said to her "Depression and anxiety are energy. If you bring them into the pool you can swim like a motor boat." She liked that.
When I swam back she was standing in the water. "How about if I go with you and we can both swim to the other side?"
"Okay," she said. I swam in my lane using a pull buoy to duplicate her speed. I kept checking on her. "You're doing great!" I said. When she made it to the end of the lane I hooted and hollered. "That was fabulous!" I said and continued swimming. She began doing the back stroke. When she completed another length she was grinning.
"You did great, and you're smiling," I said. And we both continued swimming.

Jennifer Rubin

Nice democracy you’ve got there

Dogs Detecting Disease

Dog noses are 10,000 to 100,000 times as sensitive as human noses. Scientists are not sure exactly what dogs are smelling, but it is known that malaria parasites produce volatile aldehydes like those found in perfumes.

Triona and Maighread Ni Dhomhnaill

Recent documentary aired on Irish TV. look for the subtitles as program mostly in Irish.

Sisters in perfect harmony

Triona and Maighread Ni Dhomhnaill are best friends and are steeped in their family's musical heritage

Paul Krugman

Real America Versus Senate America

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Adopt a Donkey and an Emu

Love Knows No Species: Emu And Donkey Have Fallen For Each Other, Caretakers Say

Exercise and Mood


Lewis Lapham

Make the mistake of thinking that you can decide to become a writer and you've already lost the bet. Writers happen by accident, not by design. They have as little choice in the matter as lemmings toppling over cliffs.
-Lewis Lapham

Pink Noise

Indeed, studies have shown the benefit of "pink noise," that which has enough variables in frequency to engage the subconscious but not enough to distract or disturb. Rain, wind, and other storm noises are like this. Playing pink noise in a lab setting has been shown to have a positive effect on sleep and memory.

The totality and power of the elements also has a way of showing us our troubles are relatively small. "Stormy weather reminds people that the world is made up of forces bigger than they are, which makes their woes pale in comparison," says Laurel Steinberg, also a New York City-based psychotherapist and a professor at Columbia University.

Article about Weather and Anxiety

Successfully Defend Rights

Massachusetts voters uphold transgender rights law
The Yes on 3 campaign described Massachusetts as the first state in the nation "to successfully defend transgender rights by popular vote."
“Transgender people … we’re just trying to live our lives as who we are like everyone else and that includes going to the bathroom; that includes going to work, that includes buying coffee at a coffee shop, going out to dinner or seeing a movie,” she said.

Ram Dass on Suffering as Grace

You see, there is a tendency in us to find suffering aversive. And so we want to distance ourselves from it. Like if you have a toothache, it becomes that toothache. It’s not us anymore. It’s that tooth. And so if there are suffering people, you want to look at them on television or meet them but then keep a distance from them. Because you are afraid you will drown in it. You are afraid you will drown in a pain that will be unbearable. And the fact of the matter is you have to. You finally have to. Because if you close your heart down to anything in the universe, it’s got you. You are then at the mercy of suffering. And to have finally dealt with suffering, you have to consume it into yourself. Which means you have to–with eyes open–be able to keep your heart open in hell. You have to look at what is, and say, “Yea, Right.” And what it involves is bearing the unbearable. And in a way, who you think you are can’t do it. Who you really are can do it. So that who you think you are dies in the process.


Zen Master Bernie Tetsugen Glassman

Zen Master Bernie Tetsugen Glassman, while then sensei at Zen Center of Los Angeles, moved to the Bronx, New York City in December 1979. There, he was set on exploring the merging of spiritual training and social action, and in 1980 he incorporated the Zen Community of New York. A departure from the formal Zen training and teaching he himself had received and given until now, he went on to found Greyston Bakery as “…A place of inclusion and opportunity. Bernie recognized that people in the community of Bronx and, later, Southwest Yonkers needed jobs, and so opened his doors to provide employment, no questions asked…Employing individuals regardless of education, work history, or social barriers such as language skills, homelessness or incarceration, and offering the supportive services the community needs to thrive” (from Greyston Bakery’s Website). In 2017, Greyston celebrated 35 years of social innovation, and is being studied by major universities and companies around the world. Bernie has since been recognized with many awards for his groundbreaking work with Greyston.


further reading:

Bernie Glassman

When we bear witness, when we become the situation — homelessness, poverty, illness, violence, death — the right action arises by itself. We don’t have to worry about what to do. We don’t have to figure out solutions ahead of time. Peacemaking is the functioning of bearing witness. Once we listen with our entire body and mind, loving action arises. Loving action is right action. It’s as simple as giving a hand to someone who stumbles or picking up a child who has fallen on the floor. We take such direct, natural actions every day of our lives without considering them special. And they’re not special. Each is simply the best possible response to that situation in that moment.
– Bernie Glassman

Ram Dass

Can you accept total suffering, take on the karma of another human being, and yet not be attached to the melodrama of suffering?

If a person is suffering, the only thing you can do for them is to find the place in them which is behind the suffering. It’s all you can do. It’s all that’s available.

- Ram Dass

Comforting Solitude

“Oh comforting solitude, how favorable thou art to original thought!”
― Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Advice for a Young Investigator

Exhausted by the Problems

“It is fair to say that, in general, no problems have been exhausted; instead, men have been exhausted by the problems”
― Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Advice for a Young Investigator

Secret, Mystery Marvel

“It is strange to see how the populace, which nourishes its imagination with tales of witches or saints, mysterious events and extraordinary occurrences, disdains the world around it as commonplace, monotonous and prosaic, without suspecting that at bottom it is all secret, mystery, and marvel.”
― Santiago Ramón y Cajal

As Long as Our Brain is a Mystery

“As long as our brain is a mystery, the universe, the reflection of the structure of the brain will also be a mystery.”
― Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Try Resting for Awhile

“If a solution fails to appear ... and yet we feel success is just around the corner, try resting for a while. ... Like the early morning frost, this intellectual refreshment withers the parasitic and nasty vegetation that smothers the good seed. Bursting forth at last is the flower of truth.”
― Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Advice for a Young Investigator

Skillful Pedagogical Tactics

“What a wonderful stimulant it would be for the beginner if his instructor, instead of amazing and dismaying him with the sublimity of great past achievements, would reveal instead the origin of each scientific discovery, the series of errors and missteps that preceded it— information that, from a human perspective, is essential to an accurate explanation of the discovery. Skillful pedagogical tactics such as this would instill the conviction that the discoverer, along with being an illustrious person of great talent and resolve, was in the final analysis a human being just like everyone else.”
― Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Advice for a Young Investigator

Reverance and Awe

“Nothing inspires more reverence and awe in me than an old man who knows how to change his mind.”
― Santiago Ramón Y Cajal

Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Santiago Ramón y Cajal was a Spanish neuroscientist and pathologist, specializing in neuroanatomy, particularly the histology of the central nervous system.

“Consider the possibility that any man could, if he were so inclined, be the sculptor of his own brain, and that even the least gifted may, like the poorest land that has been well cultivated and fertilized, produce an abundant harvest.”
― Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Advice for a Young Investigator

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Former President Obama

Here is the former president’s statement in full:

I congratulate everybody who showed up and participated in our democracy yesterday. Obviously, the Democrats’ success in flipping the House of Representatives, several governorships, and state legislatures will get the most attention. But even more important than what we won is how we won: by competing in places we haven’t been competitive in a long time, and by electing record numbers of women and young veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, a surge of minority candidates, and a host of outstanding young leaders. The more Americans who vote, the more our elected leaders look like America. On a personal note, Michelle and I couldn’t be prouder of the alumni of my administration who took the baton and won their races last night. Even the young candidates across the country who fell short have infused new energy and new blood into our democratic process, and America will be better off for it for a long time to come. I also want to congratulate voters across the country for turning out in record numbers, and for voting for several ballot initiatives that will improve the lives of the American people – like raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid, and strengthening voting rights.Our work goes on. The change we need won’t come from one election alone – but it is a start. Last night, voters across the country started it. And I’m hopeful that going forward, we’ll begin a return to the values we expect in our public life – honesty, decency, compromise, and standing up for one another as Americans, not separated by our differences, but bound together by one common creed.

A Great Day for Democracy

The Washington Post
Democracy Dies in Darkness

The Post's View Opinion
A great day for democracy
By Editorial Board
November 7 at 12:18 AM

THE DEMOCRATS’ return to control over the House of Representatives is much more than a victory for one party. It is a sign of health for American democracy.

Distrustful of untrammeled majorities, the authors of the Constitution favored checks and balances, including, crucially, the check that the legislative branch might place upon the executive. Over the past two years, the Republican majorities in the House and Senate have failed to exercise reasonable oversight. Now the constitutional system has a fresh chance to work as intended.

The Democratic victory is also a sign of political health, to the extent it is a form of pushback against the excesses, rhetorical and in terms of policy, committed by the Trump administration and propounded by President Trump during this fall’s campaign. Turning against the dominant party in Washington even in a moment of economic prosperity, voters from Key West to Kansas refused to accept the continued degradation of their nation’s political culture. Republicans retained control of the Senate, where the map this year favored their defense. But voters nationwide refused Mr. Trump’s invitation to vote on the basis of fear of immigrants; they did not respond to his depiction of his opposition as dangerous enemies.

Now the House will be in a position to investigate any number of potential administration transgressions and demand accountability: the awful separation of migrant children from their parents; the dubious decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census; the president’s harassment of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.

The new majority also has an opportunity to offer a positive legislative agenda. The Democrats achieved their victory Tuesday night in large part by promising to protect health-care coverage, especially for Americans with preexisting conditions. Though effective in winning over moderate voters, the campaign did not establish a clear mandate for much beyond that — eminently valid — objective. And of course, even if the Democrats set forth a list of specific proposals for the House, before or after Election Day, the Senate and Mr. Trump’s veto pen could block it.

Still, the party can outline an alternative policy direction for the country. It can begin with measures to shore up the Affordable Care Act but then move to reforms of federal gun laws. Where the Republican majority has denied science, the Democrats can offer an approach to climate change. They can propose relief to the “dreamers” and, ideally, other undocumented immigrants, along with generous but not unlimited opportunities for future legal immigration. They should propose to restore the United States to its rightful place as a welcomer of refugees; to end the disgraceful denial of congressional representation to citizens in the District of Columbia; to repeal the most egregious giveaways to the rich in the 2017 tax bill.

Tuesday was a good day for Democrats. It may also be a good day for Republicans, if they take the lessons of their House defeat to heart and reconsider the devil’s bargain they have made with Mr. Trump. Indeed, if the results help lead to a reemergence of that party’s better angels, then it will have been good day for America as a whole.

Kevin Baker

Winning the House Is Not Nothing
[L]isten to yourselves. Listen to your experience, to that little voice in your heart or in your head, to what you can recall of what used to be acceptable presidential behavior in this country. It will tell you that this is not a fit man to be president, in any way whatsoever. It will tell you that this is not what you have to settle for, that you yourselves can do better in choosing someone else, no matter how often you have been disappointed in the past.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Michelle Goldberg

The Women’s Revolt Can the Resistance Save America on Tuesday
By Michelle Goldberg
Opinion Columnist


Its raining. I am sipping tea after my big swim. The bread dough is rising. The animals are with me. This is the definition of home.

Loaves of Love

I just set up multigrain sourdough in 8 loaf pans to rise for their final rise before baking. My latest mixture is coarse grind whole wheat flour, bread flour, pinhead oats, coarse cornmeal, and rye flour with sourdough starter, Fleishmann's instant yeast and kosher salt. I prep using a lot of water so the batter is the consistency of oatmeal. I let it rise in buckets then I punch it down and refrigerate the dough, it rises again and then I shape it placing the dough in greased loaf pans. It rises for a final time in the pans and I bake it at 450.

Rob Reiner

Rob Reiner
‏Verified account @robreiner
20h20 hours ago

Reject Lies. Vote for Truth. Reject Ignorance. Vote for Science. Reject Corruption. Vote for The Rule Of Law. Reject Racism. Vote for Inclusion. Reject Hate. Vote for Love. VOTE!

Krugman:the Survival of American Democracy is on the Ballot

Last Exit Off the Road to Autocracy

Taxes and health care aren’t the only things on the ballot.

By Paul Krugman

Opinion Columnist

Monday, November 05, 2018

Joe Fassler

Light the Dark is filled with craft and productivity advice mined directly from the lives of working writers, and it would be hard for me to choose just one. But one thing I’ve noticed across my conversations, and which has worked for me, is this: the writers who publish are the writers who write. Above all else—above ambition, above talent, above vision—you have to show up. If you’re not finding the time to work, the work won’t get done.

Some people write three times a year at residencies, and that’s enough for them. I’m a big believer in setting aside time—whatever you can spare each day, it might just be half an hour—and keeping it sacred five days a week. The magic starts to happen when you make it habit, and it’s amazing what you can get done when you make consistent time.
- Joe Fassler

David Leonhardt

On Hungary

The Children, The Families

“The reality is that for every parent who is not located, there will be a permanent orphaned child, and that is 100 percent the responsibility of the administration,” Judge Sabraw said in court last month.


The last two decades were a fat season in the soybean belt. The grain silos and pickup trucks in Cass County are shiny and new. Mr. Karel said a significant number of the farmers who sell crops to his company had done so well they purchased winter homes around Phoenix.

But the mood is souring quickly. Mr. Gebeke’s wife, Debra, a retired psychologist, has returned to work at North Dakota State University, to counsel distraught farmers. Public health officials in North Dakota, already confronting a recent rise in suicides, are concerned about the impact of falling prices, particularly on younger farmers with high levels of debt.


Evidence Suggests

Evidence suggests that a person who abuses animals also has a higher likelihood of hurting other people


A conviction for domestic violence in the U.S. strips a person of the legal right to possess a gun. It doesn’t matter if the conviction is a misdemeanor or a felony. The rationale for the federal law: Domestic violence is a red flag for future violence — including potentially deadly violence with a firearm.

Scientific and anecdotal evidence suggests that a person who abuses animals also has a higher likelihood of hurting other people. And that insight has begun fueling a push, at the state and federal levels, to slap a no-gun penalty on anyone convicted of animal cruelty.

Water Knows You

"Water is alive. Water has memory. Water knows how you treat it, water knows you."
- Wabinoquay Otsoquaykwhan, Anishinabe Nation.

The Safety of the Public is not Important to the Commissioner

“I am very disappointed with the decision of the agency to approve the sufentanil sublingual tablet,” Brown said in a recent statement. “This action is inconsistent with the charter of the agency. [T]he lack of efficacy data and the sponsor’s inadequate response to safety concerns have not been addressed since the FDA’s complete response letter was sent in 2017. Clearly, the issue of the safety of the public is not important to the commissioner, despite his attempts to obfuscate and misdirect. I will continue to hold the agency accountable for their response to the worst public health problem since the 1918 influenza epidemic.”

What is Needed in Emergencies

Washington Post
We saved 155 lives on the Hudson. Now let’s vote for leaders who’ll protect us all.

By Chesley B. 'Sully' Sullenberger III
October 29

Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger is a safety expert, author and speaker on leadership and culture.

Nearly 10 years ago, I led 154 people to safety as the captain of US Airways Flight 1549, which suffered bird strikes, lost thrust in the engines and was forced to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River. Some called it “the Miracle on the Hudson.” But it was not a miracle. It was, in microcosm, an example of what is needed in emergencies — including the current national crisis — and what is possible when we serve a cause greater than ourselves.

On our famous flight, I witnessed the best in people who rose to the occasion. Passengers and crew worked together to help evacuate an elderly passenger and a mother with a 9-month-old child. New York Waterway took the initiative to radio their vessels to head toward us when they saw us approaching. This successful landing, in short, was the result of good judgment, experience, skill — and the efforts of many.

But as captain, I ultimately was responsible for everything that happened. Had even one person not survived, I would have considered it a tragic failure that I would have felt deeply for the rest of my life. To navigate complex challenges, all leaders must take responsibility and have a moral compass grounded in competence, integrity and concern for the greater good.

I am often told how calm I sounded speaking to passengers, crew and air traffic control during the emergency. In every situation, but especially challenging ones, a leader sets the tone and must create an environment in which all can do their best. You get what you project. Whether it is calm and confidence — or fear, anger and hatred — people will respond in kind. Courage can be contagious.

Today, tragically, too many people in power are projecting the worst. Many are cowardly, complicit enablers, acting against the interests of the United States, our allies and democracy; encouraging extremists at home and emboldening our adversaries abroad; and threatening the livability of our planet. Many do not respect the offices they hold; they lack — or disregard — a basic knowledge of history, science and leadership; and they act impulsively, worsening a toxic political environment.

As a result, we are in a struggle for who and what we are as a people. We have lost what in the military we call unit cohesion. The fabric of our nation is under attack, while shame — a timeless beacon of right and wrong — seems dead.

This is not the America I know and love. We’re better than this. Our ideals, shared facts and common humanity are what bind us together as a nation and a people. Not one of these values is a political issue, but the lack of them is.

This current absence of civic virtues is not normal, and we must not allow it to become normal. We must rededicate ourselves to the ideals, values and norms that unite us and upon which our democracy depends. We must be engaged and informed voters, and we must get our information from credible, reputable sources.

For the first 85 percent of my adult life, I was a registered Republican. But I have always voted as an American. And this critical Election Day, I will do so by voting for leaders committed to rebuilding our common values and not pandering to our basest impulses.

When I volunteered for military service during wartime, I took an oath that is similar to the one our elected officials take: “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” I vowed to uphold this oath at the cost of my life, if necessary. We must expect no less from our elected officials. And we must hold accountable those who fail to defend our nation and all our people.

After Flight 1549, I realized that because of the sudden worldwide fame, I had been given a greater voice. I knew I could not walk away but had an obligation to use this bully pulpit for good and as an advocate for the safety of the traveling public. I feel that I now have yet another mission, as a defender of our democracy.

We cannot wait for someone to save us. We must do it ourselves. This Election Day is a crucial opportunity to again demonstrate the best in each of us by doing our duty and voting for leaders who are committed to the values that will unite and protect us. Years from now, when our grandchildren learn about this critical time in our nation’s history, they may ask if we got involved, if we made our voices heard. I know what my answer will be. I hope yours will be “yes.”

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Colorful Supper

In the fridge I had good leftovers; homemade brown basmati rice, homemade chick peas and black beans. I also had farm fresh peppers.

I sauteed fresh garlic in olive oil in my 12 inch pan. I added chopped collard greens, red peppers, a big chopped red onion. I added the precooked (leftover) brown basmati rice and some hot (rooster) sauce and soy sauce and Adobo. Then I added the leftover chick peas and their liquid and some leftover black beans. It was colorful and delicious. It was like a vegetarian paella.

The Best Way to Protect Democracy Is to Practice It

The Best Way to Protect Democracy Is to Practice It

Whether or not the cynics believe it, every vote really can make a difference. An election in 2017 for a legislative seat in Newport News, Va. — a seat that happened to determine control of the state’s House of Delegates — was effectively decided by a single vote, out of more than 23,000 cast.

Or take an even more consequential example: In the 2014 midterm elections, barely more than one in three eligible voters turned out; 143 million others stayed home. It was the worst showing in 70 years, and one of the weakest midterm turnouts in United States history. The only people celebrating were Republicans, because smaller electorates tend to be more conservative ones. The abysmal turnout in 2014 followed that pattern, and it allowed Republicans to seize control of the Senate. That gave Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, the power to shift the Supreme Court to the hard right for at least a generation.

Still think voting doesn’t matter?

This message is especially important for young people like Mr. Hagezom, who lean strongly Democratic and yet are notoriously bad about showing up to the polls. In 2014, the turnout rate for voters under age 30 was less than 20 percent. This year’s numbers, so far, are looking much better, and they will very likely remain high in 2020, when President Trump will be on the ballot. But beyond that, the struggle to keep young voters politically engaged will continue.

No matter who wins, higher turnout is a good thing. It reaffirms the essence of the democratic process, and it tends to help candidates who are both more reasonable and more representative of the public at large.

It’s also true that when more people vote, the electorate becomes more liberal. If Americans voted in proportion to their actual numbers, a majority would most likely support a vision for the country far different from that of Mr. Trump and the Republicans in Congress. This includes broader access to health care, higher taxes on the wealthy, more aggressive action against climate change and more racial equality in the criminal justice system.

Republicans are aware of this, which is why the party has gone to such lengths to drive down turnout among Democratic-leaning groups. A recent example: In North Dakota, the Republican-led Legislature changed the law to make it harder for Native Americans to cast a ballot.

It comes down to this: Democracy isn’t self-activating. It depends on citizens getting involved and making themselves heard. So if you haven’t yet cast a ballot, get out and do it on Tuesday, or earlier if your state allows early voting. Help your family, friends and neighbors do the same. Help a stranger. Vote as if the future of the country depends on it. Because it does.

Why this Election Matters so Much

Why this election matters so much

Mr.[X] thus seeks not to soothe a troubled populace but to exploit its anxiety.


“I’m afraid it will take a really big outbreak in the United States before we begin to see a reversal of this anti-vaccine sentiment,” Wu said.

Dr. Michael Fine for RI Senate District 21

The Dirt on My Opponents
Posted by Michael Fine · October 09, 2018 4:22 PM

Not from me. You are not going to hear any dirt from me about my opponents.

There is only one credible question that should be asked of candidates for office: what will you do that’s different, and how will it strengthen our democracy.

If I tell you what is wrong with my opponents, you shouldn’t vote for me, because that kind of talk exists to steer you away from who I am, what I know, how I’m committed to acting, and the extent to which I will listen to you and represent you and your interests.

They teach politicians to distract people by changing the subject, which is why most of us know not to expect an honest answer.

My job is to change that. My job is to do my best to answer your questions honestly and tell you the truth. If I stop doing that, please vote for somebody else.

Democracy matters. The truth is its best protection.

Michael Fine, M.D.

Janet Reitman

U.S. Law Enforcement Failed to See the Threat of White Nationalism. Now They Don’t Know How to Stop It.

For two decades, domestic counterterrorism strategy has ignored the rising danger of far-right extremism. In the atmosphere of willful indifference, a virulent movement has grown and metastasized.


David Fleisher: Deep Canvasing

After a vote that banned same-sex marriage in California, activist David Fleischer and his team at the Los Angeles LGBT Center started knocking on doors to test whether they could change voters' minds with a simple conversation. The results were encouraging. In this talk, Fleischer stresses the importance of deep canvassing and face to face interactions in reversing prejudice and effecting political change.
Ted Talk

Marathon Behind Bars


Standard Time

The time change was instituted overnight but I'm saving my extra hour until later, when I'll really need it.

Making Diwali Safe for Furry Friends

Recent ban on high decibel fire crackers.

Diwali - Wikipedia

Diwali is a Hindu festival of lights, which is celebrated every autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in southern hemisphere). One of the most popular ...
‎Diwali (Jainism) · ‎Dhanteras · ‎Newar Buddhism · ‎Rangoli

Creating Ritual

Ram Dass

100 Monologues

Project Description

This site is devoted to monologues written by Eric Bogosian featured in theatrical productions between 1980 and 2006. Eric Bogosian originally performed these monologues as segments of Off-Broadway solos directed by Jo Bonney. In 2013, he asked friends if they would each take on a monologue to video. A new monologue from the collection “100 (monologues)” published by Theater Communications Group will be posted weekly.



I was swimming laps in a team pool wearing only hiking boots and my denim barn coat. Vinny (Vincent D'Onofrio) was the swim coach. He let me swim even though I was not on the team.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Paddling in the Pond in Central Park

And other good news.


A. STEPAKOFF: The last thing I wanted you to do was to be afraid of being Jewish. Some of it went back to my childhood. My mother had told me stories from the '40s and '50s. Now, all of a sudden, through my 6-year-old to experience this. You know, one of the most difficult things for me was I could never assure you I could protect you. You know, I could never put my arms around you and say, don't worry, Josh, I'll keep you safe because I couldn't.

J. STEPAKOFF: For me, as I started to reflect on why I was shot, I started to think of all of the good things that came from Judaism as opposed to this one terrible thing. I started to remember that it's my view on life. It's making sure that I treat everyone with compassion. And that was more of what Judaism meant to me, rather than a threat to who I was.


Cozy and Hygge

adjective: cosy; comparative adjective: cosier; superlative adjective: cosiest; adjective: cozy; comparative adjective: cozier; superlative adjective: coziest

giving a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation.
"a cozy cabin tucked away in the trees"
synonyms: snug, comfortable, warm, homelike, homey, homely, welcoming; safe, sheltered, secure, down-home, homestyle;
informalcomfy, toasty, snug as a bug (in a rug)
"a cozy country cottage"

Hygge Article, New Yorker

Hygge Article Country Living magazine

The Nightmare Spread

By Dionne Searcey and Emmanuel Akinwotu

Nov. 2, 2018

DAKAR, Senegal — The Nigerian Army, part of a military criticized for rampant human rights abuses, on Friday used the words of President [X] to justify its fatal shootings of rock-throwing protesters.

Leader is So Blind

People seeking to partake of the American dream have always been central to America’s identity and strength. How the country treats them goes straight to its core values. The Democrats cannot sit this one out, especially when the Republican leader is so blind to the true sources of America’s greatness.

Founder of Chobani

Look, my background is a working-class background. And in the early days, I was a factory worker. One of my first dreams was to make this company a place where everybody’s a partner, and they deserved a portion of what they have helped build. So I made a calculation. If you make $7 or $8 or $9 an hour, you can’t have a house. You can’t have good food for your kids. Forget going on vacation. The math just doesn’t make sense.

And I look at it from the bigger perspective. Especially for rural communities, I don’t see any other way of finding a long-term solution than businesses stepping up, for their own employees and especially for their own communities. We have to start worrying about our own employees, their families and their children’s well-being, and the school, and the firehouse, and the baseball field.

Founder of Chobani, Article

Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO Chobani

This magic that still exists in this country, this cannot be taught to someone. This cannot be implemented by the political system. Someone as strange as me can come to upstate New York and say: “You know what? I can bring that yogurt factory back.” There’s this unexplainable thing in the air that this country has. If it is damaged, this would be the saddest thing.

Hamdi of Chobani

Silence is criminal these days. Being silent is as bad as if you’re doing the bad thing, especially when you are representing a company, representing a brand, representing a community. You have to get involved. You have to raise your voice, and you have to take a stand. We can’t solve all the problems, but we have to make sure that we stand for something.
-Hamdi Chobani

Hamdi Ulukaya

I’m from the eastern part of Turkey. It’s Colorado weather — snow, mountains and then a beautiful spring. I grew up with shepherds. We were nomads. We would go up in the mountains with herds of sheep and goats and cows, and make yogurt and cheese, and then come back in the winter to the village.

There was this sense of being part of community that gave so much security and safety. We grew up not worrying about anything, basically. Money didn’t mean much because up in the mountains there was nothing you could buy with it. If a wolf attacked your herds, and you lost all of your sheep, each family would bring one. And the next day you would have all your sheep back. There’s not a day goes by I don’t travel back to my childhood.

- Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder and chief executive of Chobani,

The Saudi Sisters


Swimming + Suicide Prevention

Once he began to talk about his feelings, "life became easy." Phelps told Axelrod, "I said to myself so many times, 'Why didn't I do this 10 years ago?' But, I wasn't ready."
"I was very good at compartmentalizing things and stuffing things away that I didn't want to talk about, I didn't want to deal with, I didn't want to bring up -- I just never ever wanted to see those things," said Phelps.
He has implemented stress management into programs offered by the Michael Phelps Foundation, and works with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Today he understands that "it's OK to not be OK" and that mental illness "has a stigma around it and that's something we still deal with every day," said Phelps. "I think people actually finally understand it is real. People are talking about it and I think this is the only way that it can change."

"That's the reason why suicide rates are going up -- people are afraid to talk and open up," said Phelps.
Today, by sharing his experience he has the chance to reach people and save lives -- "and that's way more powerful," he said.

"Those moments and those feelings and those emotions for me are light years better than winning the Olympic gold medal," said Phelps.
"I am extremely thankful that I did not take my life."



I dreamed the mayor was sitting in a room with a glass of red wine in front of her. I got up and said let me close the curtains.

Bethany Ball

If possible, develop a practice of introspection or mindfullness. Just a few minutes a day. Prayer or meditation or yoga. When we are young, everything can be exciting and interesting, but we know very little. As we age, I believe we can lose the ability to see things in new and surprising ways. Meditation, mindfulness, yoga and the like can be antidotes to rote thinking.

-Bethany Ball

The Truth

“The truth is always a surprise.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Nothing

Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word

“We are surviving, in this pleasant liberal enclave where people read and speak freely, on borrowed time. But for those not inside - the dispossessed of the world, the poor, the refugees and those forced into exile - existence is wasteland.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word

The Writer

“The writer, indeed every real artist, was the devil, rivalling God in creativity, trying even to surpass him. God was surely man’s most fatal creation, the devil’s kitsch bitch. It was God, with his insistence on being worshipped and admired, who made the argument of art necessary, keeping the fire of dissent alive in men and women. This dissident was the artist, who spanned with his imagination reason and unreason, the under and the over, the dream and the world, men and women.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word

He Felt

“He felt like a criminal, though the only laws he'd broken were his own, and he wasn't sure which ones they were.”
― Hanif Kureishi, Love In A Blue Time

Love In A Blue Time

“Sometimes he'd get home before the children were asleep, and carry them around on his back, kick balls with them, and tell them stories of pigs with spiders on their heads. Other times he would turn up late so he could have his wife make supper, and be free of the feeling that the kids were devouring his life.”
― Hanif Kureishi, Love In A Blue Time


“For those of you curious about the menu, I am drinking tear soup.”
― Hanif Kureishi, Love In A Blue Time

A Man

“He was, after all, just a man. And not merely a narrative.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word


“Plato, along with the latest pope, recognised how dangerous it is to have an artist around making mischief, stirring things up with the spoon of truth and intoxicant of fantasy and magic. And so, for crossing the line, and for stealing God’s fire, artists were banned, imprisoned, condemned, silenced, killed – they always would be, these sometimes Christs of the page.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word


“England's a nice place if you're rich, but otherwise it's a fucking swamp of prejudice, class confusion, the whole thing.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia

In Our Offices

“In our offices and places of work we love to tell others what to do. We denigrate them. We compare their work unfavourably with our own. We are always in competition. We show off and gossip. Our dream is of being well treated and we dream of treating others badly...”
― Hanif Kureishi

The Writer

“For him, the writer should be the very devil, a disturber of dreams and wrecker of fatuous utopias, the bringer-in of reality, and rival of God in his wish to make worlds.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word: A Novel

You Realize

“After a bit you realize there’s only one invaluable commodity. Not gold or love, but time.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Body

The Antidote

“The madness of writing was the antidote to true madness.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word: A Novel

The Last Word

“Most people don’t know how to maximize their pleasure, Harry, they sexualize their pain.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word: A Novel

The Only Animal

“The news I bring is to say that, man being the only animal who hates himself, the likely fate of the world is total self-destruction.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word: A Novel

Without Parents

“Without parents who had time for her, at an early age she had made herself self-sufficient.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word: A Novel


“My father had the right idea. Begin from an assumption of insanity and then laugh, where possible.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word: A Novel

Full of People

“The world’s full of people with unusual beliefs, Julia. Scientologists, Rastafarians, Catholics, Moonies, Mormons, Baptists, Tories, dentists, captains of industry—every madness has its cheerleader. The asylums and parliament are crammed full of delusionists, and only a madman would want to eliminate them.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word: A Novel


“People go their whole lives wanting to be admired for their hidden qualities.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Nothing

The Black Album

“In Chili’s hand were his car keys, Ray-bans and Marlboros, without which he wouldn't leave his bathroom. Chili drank only black coffee and neat Jack Daniel’s; his suits were Boss, his underwear Calvin Klein, his actor Pacino. His barber shook his hand, his accountant took him to dinner, his drug dealer would come to him at all hours and accept his checks.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Black Album


“It’s frustration which makes creativity possible.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word

To Believe

“You see, I have come to believe in self-help, individual initiative, the love of what you do, and the full development of all individuals. I am constantly disappointed by how little we expect of ourselves and of the world.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia


“The truth is a tattoo on your forehead. You can’t see it yourself. I am your mirror.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word: A Novel

The Past

“You know, when you end a relationship and say you fell out of love, you actually mean you were never really in love. The past is a river, not a statue.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word: A Novel

The World

“The world is made from our imagination; our eyes enliven it, as our hands give it shape. Wanting makes it thrive; meaning is what you put in, not what you extract. You can only see what you are inclined to see, and no more. We have to make the new.”
― Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy

The Best Stories

“The best stories are the open ones, those you don’t quite understand.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word: A Novel

Truth Telling

“Truth telling, therefore, has to be an ultimate value, until it clashes with another ultimate value, pleasure, at which point, to state the obvious, there is conflict.”
― Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy

It's the Only Place to be

“Everything has become very conventional. You're either in or you're out. I'm with the out- with the weird, the impossible, the victimised and the broken. It's the only place to be.”
― Hanif Kureishi, Midnight all Day

At the Mercy

“One falls in love, and then learns, for the duration, that one is at the mercy of someone else’s childhood.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word: A Novel


“This was the English passion, not for self-improvement or culture or wit, but for DIY, Do It Yourself, for bigger and better houses with more mod cons, the painstaking accumulation of comfort and, with it, status - the concrete display of earned cash.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia


“Sometimes I felt the whole world was converging on this little room. And as I became more intoxicated and frustrated I'd throw open the bedroom window as the dawn came up, and look across the gardens, lawns, greenhouses, sheds and curtained windows. I wanted my life to begin now, at this instant, just when I was ready for it.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia

Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy

“Desire is naughty and doesn't conform to our ideals, which is why we have such a need of them. Desire mocks all human endeavour and makes it worthwhile. Desire is the original anarchist and undercover agent – no wonder people want it arrested and kept in a safe place. And just when we think we've got desire under control it lets us down or fills us with hope. Desire makes me laugh because it makes fools of us all.”
― Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy


“Someone to whom jokes are never told soon contracts enthusiasm deficiency.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia


“Desire, like the dead or an unpleasant meal, would keep returning--it was ultimately indigestible.”
― Hanif Kureishi, Something to Tell You


“Almost certainly I will not tell her my intentions this evening or tonight. I will put it off. Why? Because words are actions and they make things happen. Once they are out you cannot put them back.”
― Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy

For Mum...

“For Mum, life was fundamentally hell. You went blind, you got raped, people forgot your birthday, Nixon got elected, your husband fled with a blonde from Beckenham, and then you got old, you couldn't walk and you died.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia


“Maybe you never stop feeling like an eight-year-old in front of your parents. You resolve to be your mature self, to react in this considered way rather than that elemental way, to breathe evenly from the bottom of your stomach and to see your parents as equals, but within five minutes your intentions are blown to hell, and you're babbling and screaming in rage like an angry child.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia


“People who were only ever half right about things drove me mad. I hated the flood of opinion, the certainty, the easy talk about Cuba and Russia and the economy, because beneath the hard structure of words was an abyss of ignorance and not-knowing; and, in a sense, of not wanting to know.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia

My Pleasures

“My pleasures disappeared with my vices. ”
― Hanif Kureishi, Something to Tell You


“But in love each moment is magnified, and every gesture, word and syllable is examined like a speech by the President.”
― Hanif Kureishi, Love In A Blue Time


“And silence, like darkness, can be kind; it, too, is a language”
― Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy and Midnight All Day: A Novel and Stories


“Secrets are my currency: I deal in them for a living. The secrets of desire, of what people really want, and of what they fear the most. The secrets of why love is difficult, sex complicated, living painful and death so close and yet placed far away. Why are pleasure and punishment closely related? How do our bodies speak? Why do we make ourselves ill? Why do you want to fail? Why is pleasure hard to bear?”
― Hanif Kureishi

My Mother

“Yes, Eleanor loathed herself and yet required praise, which she then never believed.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia

Why Can't they be Blamed

“Why do people who are good at families have to be smug and assume it is the only way to live. … Why can’t they be blamed for being bad at promiscuity?”
― Hanif Kureishi

There Would be No Room

“If you never left anything or anyone there would be no room for the new. Naturally, to move on is an infidelity -- to others, to the past, to old notions of oneself. Perhaps every day should contain at least one essential infidelity or necessary betrayal. It would be an optimistic, hopeful act, guaranteeing belief in the future -- a declaration that things can be not only different but better.”
― Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy

Fear Being Eaten

“At the deepest level people are madder than they want to believe. You will find that they fear being eaten, and are alarmed by their desire to devour others. ”
― Hanif Kureishi, Something to Tell You

Please Remove your Watch

“Please remove your watch,' he said. 'In my domain time isn't a factor.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia

Reluctant Intimacy

“Soon we will be strangers. No, we can never be that. Hurting someone is an act of reluctant intimacy. We will be dangerous acquaintances with a history.”
― Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy


“I know love is dark work; you have to get your hands dirty. If you hold back, nothing interesting happens. At the same time, you have to find the right distance between people. Too close, and they overwhelm you; too far and they abandon you. How to hold them in the right relation?”
― Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy

Hanif Kureshi

“The vocation of each writer is to describe the world as he or she sees it; anything more than that is advertising.”
― Hanif Kureishi, The Word and the Bomb

Maria Popova

We spend our lives trying to discern where we end and the rest of the world begins. We snatch our freeze-frame of life from the simultaneity of existence by holding on to illusions of permanence, congruence, and linearity; of static selves and lives that unfold in sensical narratives. All the while, we mistake chance for choice, our labels and models of things for the things themselves, our records for our history. History is not what happened, but what survives the shipwrecks of judgment and chance.
- Maria Popova, Figuring

Friday, November 02, 2018

What the Hell is Going On?

FDA approves a powerful new opioid despite fears of more overdose deaths

Xenophobic Demagogy


Mouths of Babes

“You do not just wake up and become the butterfly"
-Growth is a process.”
― Rupi Kaur, The Sun and Her Flowers


“you must want to spend the rest of your life with yourself first”
― Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey

It Takes Grace

“it takes grace to remain kind in cruel situations”
― Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey

I am not a Hotel Room

“I am not a hotel room. I am home
I am not the whiskey you want
I am the water you need
don't come here with expectations
and try to make a vacation out of me”
― Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey


“your body is a museum of natural disasters can you grasp how stunning that is”
― Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey


“a lot of times
we are angry at other people
for not doing what
we should have done for ourselves

- responsibility”
― Rupi Kaur, The Sun and Her Flowers

Making Gold

“the world gives you so much pain and here you are making gold out of it”
― Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey


“what is stronger than the human heart which shatters over and over and still lives”
― Rupi Kaur

How You Love

“how you love yourself is
how you teach others
to love you”
― Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey