Category Archives: Society

Living without stories of our own

There are some things novelist Neal Stephenson just does better than anyone else.  This post is about two of them.  The first is that he builds these thick amazingly dense alternative worlds—worlds with their own history and people and languages.  … Continue reading

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And he lies scarcely at all…

Scene 1: Saint Peter and a few angels are performing the daily ritual with some dice and a chart of the cardinal sins. They throw an 11, look at the chart and see what vice is on special today. Scene … Continue reading

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Juneteenth, 2020

I think I’d like to pay some attention to Juneteenth this year. I remember hearing about it before, but only from a distance. Since last June, I have been thinking about the increasingly wide divisions in this country and how … Continue reading

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Strong women

Where I live, people want women to be “strong.”  That is the official sentiment, at any rate.  That seems to me to be asking for too little.  Maybe I can introduce my concern by coming at it from the other … Continue reading

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What keeps me up at night

It’s not just worrying about things. I get roused out of sleep by new ideas, too. And I don’t really mind that. I wish I got more sleep, but I would hate to miss out on the ideas. I’m better … Continue reading

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The bird needed to be flipped

This very unusual expression was used—I am tempted to say “coined,” because I have never heard it before—by my friend, Bob Nightingale. He was describing a situation I didn’t see, myself, although I was there. But I knew what he … Continue reading

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Are we worth saving?

“Let me tell you something, my friend, Red says to Andy in The Shawshank Redemption, “hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” And that may be true. Or it may be the only thing that gives … Continue reading

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I wanna be a hero

I don’t know how it is with girls, but there is a persistent attraction among adolescent boys toward “heroism.” It can take really ugly forms as well as really attractive ones. I think there is nothing good or bad about … Continue reading

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Selling Providence

In these brief comments, I reflect on the way Providence (formally Providence Health and Services) markets itself.  At every Providence site I have seen—and I have seen many in the Portland area—these five framed posters are displayed.  It is a … Continue reading

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Why hating “religion” isn’t going to help anything

Timothy Egan posted a pointless rant in the New York Times today.  I don’t think it will do any damage because the only people who will get past the first several paragraphs are people who want to see a really … Continue reading

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