Hurray! It’s International Eat a Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

Well, sort of. Okay, it should be.It was, after all, on this day in 1903 that Ruth Graves Wakefield was born.And the glorious Ms Wakefield is credited with creating the "Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie." The recipe was included in the 1938 edition of her constant best seller the Toll House Tried and True Recipes. And as best anyone can tell this was the first instance when anyone thought of including chocolate chips in their cookies.People just really, really liked … [Read more...]

James Weldon Johnson Lifts His Voice

The great James Weldon Johnson was born on this day in 1871 in Jacksonville, Florida.He was at various times in his life a poet, educator, lawyer, diplomat, songwriter, and activist.James Weldon Johnson's writings included the Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, Along the Way, and God's Trombones. Oh, and Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing...A civil rights leader, US counsel to Venezuela and Nicaragua,. first African American to be named a professor at New York University, and later … [Read more...]

Soto Zen Buddhist Association Statement on the Orlando Tragedy

Soto Zen Buddhist Association Statement on the Orlando TragedyAs members of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association — along with communities and practitioners of all faiths — we stand in solidarity with those who seek to live in peace and nonviolence, and grieve for the loss of life in Orlando. In particular we extend our heartfelt compassion to Orlando’s Latino and LBGTQ communities, their friends and families.In the Dhammapada Shakyamuni Buddha, says: “Hatred does not cease by hatred at any … [Read more...]

A Feast for Evelyn

The Church of England and the American Episcopal Church both observe today as a festival in honor of Evelyn Underhill, who died on this day in 1941.Sixty-five years earlier she was born on the 6th of December, 1875 in Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, in England. She would grow to become a novelist, poet, and most of all a renowned spoksperson for the mystical encounter. The author of many books, no doubt her magnum opus was Mysticism: A Study of the Nature and Development of Man's … [Read more...]

Censorship, Imagined, Ambiguous, & Real

Censorship is a complicated thing. That time where publication was an easily controlled act and the state actively did the controlling is over. Contemporary totalitarian states do their best, but even in China unwanted information has begun to leak into the farthest corners of that nation. Today in the United States the last areas where unambiguous censorship occurs touches upon what can be deemed national security and some matters that involve sex. In Europe also some things touching on sex, … [Read more...]

I Went to See the Lobster. Didn’t Have a Great Time

The Lobster is a movie that shows in high profile why I'm hesitant to call what I do here from time to time commenting on movies that I've seen as "reviews." There are areas in life about which I might legitimately be called an expert. Film is not one of these. I don't even have a history of seeing lots of them. I just like movies. About all I bring to the table is some sense of humanity and some basic literacy.That said over the past year my spouse Jan and I have started watching them in … [Read more...]

Orlando: A Small Meditation

As I write this what we know is fifty people are dead, murdered. It is unclear how many more are wounded. The number I've heard is over fifty. How many of that later group will join the first, who knows. Only time will reveal this.This was flat out horrific.Now in Orlando right now people need to be tended to, and I think by and large they are. There are many others across this country and elsewhere who are directly touched for many reasons. And, from that, there is an ever widening … [Read more...]

Anne is Given a Diary

It was on this day in 1942 that Annelies Marie Frank turned thirteen. She was given a diary. A few weeks later her family moved into some concealed rooms trying to avoid the Nazis who were tracking down Jews. … [Read more...]

Love & Friendship: A Small Appreciation of Jane Austen’s Wicked Lady Susan Brought to the Screen

This has been my first week of retirement, actual retirement from that part of my life that generated a living. Now, while I have a lot of things to do, there is also a fundamental re-ordering of our lives at Casa Ford Seymour Ford, including the finding of new rhythms.Which leads to yesterday, where quite spontaneously we decided to go to a movie. A quick run through the options for a late matinee, our preferred time, we saw that Love and Friendship was playing at one of our near by … [Read more...]

That Time When We All Learned About the Trojan Horse

Eratosthenes of Cyrene, chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria was a polymath, a music theorist, poet, astronomer, geographer (generally considered the founder of that science) and mathematician. He calculated both the circumference of the earth and the tilt of its axis with astonishing accuracy. (He also calculated the circumference of the sun with much less success)Eratosthenes also developed a calculation for dating the sacking of Troy, which he figured began on the 11th of June … [Read more...]