This week we’ll begin a series of blogs based on an unpublished book I wrote in 1972 while teaching college courses on U.S. military bases in then West Germany. The book is written in the prophetic style of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (1923) so it will be quite different from any of my weekly blog essays of the last eight months. I hope you enjoy it. RRF
The Chinese 危机, wei1ji1 = crisis (danger + opportunity)
Some 298 years ago this month, English writer (also trader, journalist, and spy!) Daniel Defoe published his Journal of the Plague Year. Although only five when the Great (Bubonic) Plague hit London, his hometown, in 1665, the author of Robinson Crusoe gave readers 57 years later a novelist’s view of what that plague was like. Google states that some 100,000 Londoners, a significant portion of its population back then, probably died. The BBC online goes on to state, however, that, according to modern historians, “the plague had little effect on England—scientific and economic growth continued unaffected, and even the worst-affected towns recovered quickly.” May it be so—the latter, that is—for the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Hey, ‘tis the season. So why not?! My sense is it will take a village for the Democrats to win the Presidency and take back the Senate while keeping the House in 2020. This idea is not original. Both David Brooks and Tom Friedman of the New York Times have already made this point. Brooks talks about a “band of rivals,” i.e., a leadership team made up of the original Democratic candidates for President. I think about it as Biden’s All-Star Team.
That’s what the late Fr. Raymond O., an Anglican priest, called our shared spiritual practice, Subud. The concept to be sure is presumptuous. How can anyone snap their fingers and have God? It’s not a matter of adding hot water and stirring.
Me! As a city boy (as in New York City), I liked my nature with tall buildings around it, as in Central Park. Okay, so our sojourn of a few years here and there in the nearby suburbs got me used to public parks without towering silhouettes surrounding them. But civilization in the form of single-family houses was never far away. Sometimes a poorly thrown hardball could even endanger nearby picture windows.
When it comes to money, wisdom isn’t so hard to find. It’s just hard to follow. My life is a case in point. By the time I was 40, I had read several books on how to build a personal fortune, or at least, on how to build up respectable assets for a relatively worry-free retirement. Eventually I also read that millionaire-making bestseller, The Millionaire Next Door (1996), and that oldie-but-goodie, Think and Grow Rich.
I woke up last night with a splitting headache. It was doubtless a part of the bad cold or light flu I had been down with. Anyway, I did two things to fight it. I took headache tablets and massaged some CBD cream into my temples and scalp. Cannabis-based CBD products are now legal in Colorado. I already had bed hair, so who cared if I messed it up even more! Headache, ahem(!), trumped hair, so to speak. Shortly after l lay down again, the headache seemed to be releasing its grip. I fell asleep right away and woke up some hours later headache free. Praise the Lord!
In linguistics there is a concept called “false friends.” Meant are similar words in different languages that none the less mean something rather different from each other. Wikipedia gives these examples: “the English embarrassed and the Spanish embarazada (which means ‘pregnant’), the word parents and the Portuguese parentes (which means ‘relatives’), or the word sensible, which means ‘reasonable’ in English, but ‘sensitive’ in French, German and Spanish.” Sometimes choosing a false friend when speaking a second language can be funny.
That line, first heard 2500 years ago from the Greek playwright Aeschylus in one of his tragedies, came to me one Friday evening as I was driving our year-old Tesla Model 3 through crowded downtown Boulder, Colorado, my hometown. Here’s what happened...
During my working life as an academic, one of my favorite national education gurus was a man named Harold Taylor. He traveled the lecture circuit and was always referred to in the Chronicle of Higher Education as the “former president of Sarah Lawrence College,” at the time an elite, innovative women’s college in a New York City suburb.