Personal Stories and Background Perspective

Personal STORIES

I Met a Guy

“But how could you live and have no story to tell?”  Fyodor Dostoevsky, White Nights How many of our stories start with “I met a guy?” Just as this one will. We were in the backyard of my daughter’s home in California earlier this spring during a birthday block party and cookout in the cul-de-sac out front for a…

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Maximum Benefit, Minimum Wage (Part One)

“The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today.” Elbert Hubbard The greatest legacy from my parents was watching them do their jobs, whether that was in a formal workforce or at home. They did not raise any lazy kids. We were all blessed with a variety of humble jobs when we were young. For…

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Sufficient Wisdom

“It takes a husbandman with spade and hoe To teach the learned, who profess to know…”        from the poem “Sufficient Wisdom” in the eponymous book of poems by Father Arthur MacGillivray S.J., 1943, Bruce Humphries, Inc., Boston   Someone once told me that part of all of us remains nineteen for the rest of our lives, which I…

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Diner Revisited 2020

“A poet could write volumes about diners because they’re so beautiful. They’re brightly lit, with chrome and booths and Naugahyde and great waitresses.” David Lynch (Interview with Brian Hiatt in “Food and Wine,” March 2015) Josef Stalin once said that a single death is a tragedy, while a million are a statistic. I thought of that this week when…

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Background & Perspective

Dueling Populisms

“What do I mean by “democratic capitalism”? I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism [i] We rightly have been obsessed with…

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Pharming for Profit Part Two

“All things are engaged in writing their history…. Not a foot steps into the snow, or along the ground, but prints in characters more or less lasting, a map of its march.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson The first time I ever met anyone with a nut allergy was a good friend in Maine. He was a former Marine and CIA something (he couldn’t…

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Pharming for Profit Part One

‘Not ignoring what is good, I am quick to perceive a horror, and could still be social with it – would they let me – since it is but well to be on friendly terms with all the inmates of the place one lodges in.” Herman Melville, “Moby Dick” In a terrible hot summer when I was nine or ten, my mother…

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Lil’ Rhody

“Louisiana loses 30 miles off our coast a year. We lost 100 miles last year off our coast thanks to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We have lost a size of land equivalent to the entire state of Rhode Island.”  Bobby Jindal (former governor) Rhode Island has its own miles of beaches and estuaries. Through a series of circumstances that were in retrospect…

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