Category: Inspiration

Doing Something vs. Doing Nothing

Pick your favorite platitude: You can only do so much. You’re not going to change the way everybody else behaves (or thinks). You’re only one person. Comforting, aren’t they? You are hereby excused from culpability in the grand disaster that is human civilization. May your acquittal be an abiding relief from that weird sense of...

An Inspiring Friend

My dearest friend, my wife, is in Africa at the moment, enjoying what we shall delicately refer to as a birthday of significance. Having gone through this getting older thing, I know that it’s easy to get caught up in mathematics – fractions, mostly – figuring what’s gone and what remains. When you arrive at a certain...

Encouraging Words for Despairing Artists

If you’re an artist, or have an artistic impulse, or care deeply about art, you probably experience the kind of quiet despair that I find in many of my jazz musician friends, my poet friends, my painter friends, and frequently from myself. Yes, it’s heartbreaking to be part of a culture that finds the work that...

A Prayer on Easter Sunday

As Thomas Jefferson did in the 1700s, let us set aside the Bible’s confounding melange of mythic mysticism, foggy mumbo-jumbo and confusing contradictions. Instead, let us concentrate on the principles that a dangerous Jew from ancient Nazareth was willing to die for. Let us behave less like the charlatans who organize their businesses around lost...

The 85% Diet

Facing the physique-softening indignities of middle-age, a friend — call him Chumley, or Chum – adheres to a different diet-and-exercise plan every few weeks or months. He’s done them all, with varying degrees of success. (The old-fashioned “burn more calories than you consume” method doesn’t come with a glossy recipe book or 4-hours-a-month workout plan,...

Marathon Watching

This morning in the rain, a pounding torrential rain that punished the streets and those upon them, I walked a couple of blocks from my warm dry house to Sunset Boulevard, where I found thousands (tens-of-thousands?) of people in shorts and sleeveless shirts, splashing toward Santa Monica, more than twelve miles to the west. Most...

Standing Together, Singing

This week twenty-five years ago, in 1986, Filipinos ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos with a non-violent massive protest on Manila’s main highway, EDSA. The movement was known as “People Power,” an apt description of the force that overthrew a tyrant. It wasn’t bombs or kidnappings or guerilla warfare that toppled the criminals in charge. The...

Doers

What the world needs now, aside from love, sweet love, is doers: People who, like everyone else, enjoy talking about big plans and brilliant ideas; people who, unlike everyone else, aren’t content to merely talk about big plans and brilliant ideas, but feel compelled to act. Such folks are rarer than you might imagine. It...

Art After 40

After the excessive optimisim of youth, the impressive energy of young adulthood, and the confidence of being all grown up, those of us who are fortunate enough to make it to our Forties generally look forward to an incremental and inexorable decline in just about every meaningful area of life — and not just health,...

Losing Weight: How I Did It

Folks who haven’t seen me for a long time have been looking at me quizically, slightly startled. One lady who previously had encountered my visage only on an old video archived on the Internet said when she met me, “I didn’t recognize you. I thought you were, you know, a big guy.”  At one point,...