Steinbeck Wins the Pulitzer

Grapes of Wrath

It was on this day in 1940 that John Steinbeck was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath. This was one of the most important books I read in my adolescence, and continues to haunt me. The vidio below is of a sermon in which I spell out a bit of the why of that haunting... … [Read more...]

The Say Hey Kid Picks Up His Bat

Willie Mays

Willie Howard Mays, Jr, was born on this day in 1931. Arguably the best all around baseball player in history, it feels right to notice his birthday. … [Read more...]

Why I Celebrate Cinco de Mayo, And Maybe Why You Might Want to, As well

cinco de mayo

I do love Cinco de Mayo.What a lot of folk may not know is how it is a quintessential American holiday. And by American I don’t mean that broader use standing for all of us who occupy the two continents bearing that name, I mean United Statesian.Yes, it is observed in parts of Mexico, but like with St Patrick’s Day it is more our holiday, observed by immigrants who have become American, a nostalgic nod to the motherland. And, rather more, it has spread and become part of the tapestry of … [Read more...]

Encountering Reality: a Mind Bubble

child blowing planet bubbles

Deleted from something else I'm writing, but thanks to having a blog, it doesn't go onto the cutting room floor. Whether it should or not, of course, is an entirely different question...My personal motto is “I’m more rational than you.” Not always true, but it annoys enough of my friends when I say it, that I like to repeat it from time to time. Now, my little assertion is grounded in some assumptions I've found helpful in my life, and so I am sharing them here.I believe the world follo … [Read more...]

Happy birthday, Pia!

Pia Zadora

Pia Zadora, that is, who was born on this day in 1953, and who, among her many credits played Girmar in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians... … [Read more...]



IN PRAISE OF A DIVINE THAT MATTERS A Meditation on Faith and HopeJames Ishmael Ford3 May 2015First Unitarian Church Providence, Rhode IslandTextMy soul proclaims the beauty of God, my spirit rejoices because the Beloved looks with favor on the lowly. And so from this day forward all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. She is nothing less than that mercy found by all in every generation who are willing to … [Read more...]

Oh, Boy! It’s Beltane!


There are so many things that could be noted, some celebrated on the 1st of May. But, me, I'm going whole hog for Beltane!It's a holiday in the calendar of my ancestors, or, some of them, anyway. It's the beginning of summer and apparently in ancient Celtic cultures it is the time cattle were taken or driven to their summer pastures.There was a tradition of visiting holy wells, and also various things with flowers. Also a time of bonfires, the ashes of which have special powers to help … [Read more...]

Annie Walks on to the Stage

annie dillard

The Pulitzer prize winning writer Annie Dillard was born on this day in 1945.For me its her religious explorations that are most compelling. She's called herself "spiritually promiscuous," something I've been accused of on occasion. Although she did eventually find her grounding in Roman Catholicism, officially converting in 1994. Although the Wikipedia article on her notes that her website claims her religion as "none." I see no contradictions here...Anyways, as a special treat in … [Read more...]

THREE APPLES FELL FROM HEAVEN A Meditation on the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide

Armenian Genocide .

Three Apples Fell From Heaven A meditation on the Centenary of the Armenian Genocideby Janice Dzovinar OkoomianDelivered at the First Unitarian Church of Providence April 26, 2015Paree Louees: Good morning.Three apples fell from Heaven.One is for a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; one is for justice, equity and compassion in human relations; and one is for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.Now, you might recognize these … [Read more...]

Do Not Deny, Do Not Forget


Today the Armenian community marks the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the terrible events that the world now calls the first genocide of the twentieth century. Somewhere between a million and a million and a half people were killed, as the Ottoman Empire collapsed and Turkey began the journey to what would become a nation state.The horror has been compounded by the denial of the Turkish state that the event happened, or, when pressed with endless evidence starting with the … [Read more...]