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[Author’s Note: this year marks my 25th anniversary] Until I saw the date, February 2, it hadn’t occurred to me that it was my “birthday” again. This birthday–which is more of an anniversary–marks for me the first day of uninterrupted sobriety 22 years ago. It hadn’t seemed like a very important day at the time; in fact, if anyone had asked then, I would have said it was the worst day of my life.  I was bloated and quaking. My eyes were yellow like a cat’s–from jaundice. And my store of courage was so low I had to be led around like a child. There’s no question that on that day, my second life began. It would help to note here that I am not

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  WHAT HAVE YOU done for me lately? I find tremendous irony in the fact that the US president was the star of a reality show where he was surrounded by less-than-brilliant sycophants and presented as the epitome of  business success in charge of a thriving empire (though it turns out his decision-making often led to bankruptcy). The  climax of each episode was when he got to pronounce to a hapless contestant “You’re fired!”  The irony makes an entrance in that he is now at a point in his tenure where the party that embraced him (only after they realized that he could get them power) may soon make a similar pronouncement to him.   Almost two years ago on this blogsite, I posted that

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She is Winter      by William Hecht Deep December night and she is spent. She is consumed–like the fields after a greedy harvest. She slumbers—as does the world. Only her essence is sentient, aware. It is a spell: cast in the light of the great moon, it will break with the first rays of the equinox sun. Her hair is black. It is a wave of boreal night that flowed through the glass, swept down her  cheek, and spilled on a pale shoulder.  Things made of night are smooth–and softer by far than anything made from day. She dreams—as does the world–of light and warmth, of aromas and twitching roots, the vibration of launching sprouts: calls to life. If I could dream with her, I would

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[Note: I wrote this a few years ago, before I moved back. But SE Wisconsin was just covered in snow today after a very mild December. It reminded me of this piece.] I am in the North for a family visit. My elderly parents manage their simple life with a grace that humbles me. They could be threatened by the simplest acts. My minor setbacks would be their calamities: a fall, the flu, a minor accident driving to the store. Today they were mirthful and sweet and I could not decide if they were revisiting childhood or auditioning to become angels. Last month, I watched the movie “Amour,” an intense look at a couple managing change after half a century of life together (they managed

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Hannah Arendt coined the phrase “the banality of evil” in the early ‘sixties when she covered the trial of Adolf Eichmann for The New Yorker.  The phrase was in response to how Eichmann had matter-of-factly claimed to have only been “doing his duty.” The phrase applies  in many countries today, but each in a unique context.  As for the United States, with the 2016 election, our country managed to elect as president an individual who personifies much of our culture–its superficiality and the worship of wealth, power, and privilege. During the first two years of his tenure, the former reality TV star and red-toothed capitalist has shown us ourselves (not all of us, but enough of us) and the result is so lacking in virtue

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In my mother’s kitchen, and taped to the door of a cabinet where cups and plates are kept, is a laminated Catholic Diocese card. The card is divided into two distinct sections. The top part is titled The Corporal Works of Mercy. The “works” are ministrations to be made and observations to be kept in caring for –to name some of them–the poor, the sick, and the dead. The lower part describes The Spiritual Works of Mercy. This section addresses, among other items, forgiveness toward the wretched and prayers for the dead.  The Diocese card made it clear that Mercy took the form of both Thought and Deed. Earlier this week, after a spate of cool, damp weather had broken and given way to a

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          Two of these books will guide you for change that will occur.  The other one is to inspire you to action and help prevent events that could occur. All three books were written in the middle of the last century. The world war was over, but the Cold War had begun. One could argue that the events of the first half of the twentieth century made it clear that human race faced two formidable enemies: the innate human lust for power, and the curse of the tree of knowledge in the form of quantum leaps in technology. The first two books explore the conflicts with these enemies. The last book faces the prospect of defeat – by both. I have

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When I hear the Star Wars theme and see the text scrolling up and away from me into the stars, it arouses the wonder in me. And because for over three decades I have been rewarded for accepting the reality projected in these stories, I suspend whatever disbelief I encounter. This episode (VIII) has its share of potential distractions in the form of questionable plot points, but if you can silence those interruptions of reason, the film and the story take you –as all worthy stories do–full circle: from your own human experience to an imagined one and back again. The point, of course, is to see what changed in the process. I hope that enough of the other hundreds of millions of viewers changed as

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  THERE ARE several reasons to believe that the current president just served his first and last full year in office. Here are some of them: He just delivered the Republican party – or you could say he delivered to its benefactors—the biggest thing he could have given them: a multi-trillion-dollar handout in the form of a tax cut.  In other words, his usefulness just became greatly diminished His unpopularity is eroding the Republican brand terribly: They just lost a “red” Senate seat in one of the reddest states in the union – Alabama His absence would not disrupt much: Pence would do the party’s bidding with all the alacrity of a Boy Scout helping an old lady across the street, but without all the drama

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Much as with the Star Trek TV series, the first BladeRunner was not immediately appreciated. Sometimes, society does not immediately recognize itself in the mirror that Art holds up to it. The fact that as time went on, both efforts became epic and sacred for TV and film implies that they had tried to share a vital human experience that we didn’t recognize yet. But after another decade and the emergence of the Digital Age, it grew clear that within a generation we would be presented with choices and changes to our existence that would redefine what it meant to be human. Then, when these prescient films held up the mirror a second time, we recognized ourselves. The first thing to say about the sequel

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