If I Were A Rich Man


Chiam Topol was born on this day in 1935. … [Read more...]

A Welcome to the Pacific Unitarian Church in Rancho Palos Verdes, California

PUC logo

If you're in the Los Angeles area and thinking about a church, here's an idea. Come and check out the Pacific Unitarian Church in Rancho Palos Verdes. We are a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association. I will be serving as the interim minister for the next two years. I work with an amazing team of professionals and volunteers. Our community offers something for individuals and families who are seeking a spirituality that is equally committed to the mind and the heart. … [Read more...]

Thinking of Pigpen


Ronald Charles McKernan was born on this day in 1945. Better known as Pigpen, he was one of the original members of the Grateful Dead and their first frontman and leader. Unlike most of his bandmates, his taste was for whiskey over psychedelics. He died shockingly young. Of course, now Jerry is gone, too. And, the Dead have disbanded... Time passes. All things made of parts will inevitably come apart. Although memories can linger a bit longer than flesh. And melodies a tad longer, yet.. … [Read more...]

A Small Meditation on Labor Day: Bad News, Good News

child labor

Our American and Canadian celebration of Labor and the contributions of the labor union movement was set for the first Monday in September to consciously separate it from the international workers day observed throughout much of the world on the 1st of May. Me, I've always felt conflicted about this.On the one hand our American left has had little stomach for command economy systems that mark much of the world socialist movement, particularly communism and instead has persistently advocated … [Read more...]

A Few Words on Syrian Refugees and America

Refugees Welcom

I find it hard not to think of the lines of that poem.Of huddled masses.Of the wretched.Of the tempest-tossed.It is pushing five years since Syria fell apart.Back in May fourteen American senators sent a letter to the president calling on him to lead a significant resettlement of Syrian refugees to our shores. At this point the government has said we're likely to admit up to eight thousand, although to date we have admitted no more than about fifteen hundred. The senators' … [Read more...]

The Sage for All Seasons, that Perfect Crank & Nature Saint Leaves Walden Pond


"A century and a half after its publication, Walden has become such a totem of the back-to-nature, preservationist, anti-business, civil-disobedience mindset, and Thoreau so vivid a protester, so perfect a crank and hermit saint, that the book risks being as revered and unread as the Bible." John Updike in "A Sage for All Seasons"It was on this day in 1847 that Henry David Thoreau ended his two year, two month, & two day sojourn living in a hut on Walden Pond. His experiment in radical … [Read more...]

Kerouac Hits the Road


It was on this day in 1957 that Jack Kerouac's second novel, and his masterpiece On the Road was published. Like much of his writing On the Road is a roman a clef, featuring many of his friends including Alan Ginsberg as Carlo Marx, William Burroughs as Old Bull Lee, Neal Cassady as Dean Moriarty, and himself as Sal Paradise. While it had its critics, Truman Capote famously said Kerouac didn't "write, he types," for the most part the book was acclaimed as something amazing. Today Modern Library … [Read more...]

A Feast for Gregorio Aglipay, Filipino Revolutionary, and Unitarian Bishop


Last year I noticed the Episcopal Church has a feast day for Gregorio Aglipay, and commented on it. I think it is worth revisiting this year, as well.Aglipay was born in 1860. He was a priest and fervent Filipino patriot, one of the leaders of the revolution, who at the same tim led a schism from the Roman Catholic Church, founding the Philippine Independent Church.All the original clergy of the new church had been Roman Catholic priests. Following his election as their supreme bishop … [Read more...]

In Praise of Coffee and a Celebration of the Joy of Finding a Local Roaster

Pollys Coffee

I adore my morning cup (sometimes two) of coffee.I love my morning cup (sometimes two) of coffee.And so I'm pleased as punch it appears the earliest attested use of coffee was at the Sufi communities in and around Mocha, in what today is called Yemen. Mild stimulants (okay and sometimes not so mild) have a long association with religion. In China, for instance, the legendary origins of tea are tied into one of the many stories of Bodhidharma the semi-mythical founder of Zen. Speaking of … [Read more...]

Frederick Wins His Freedom


It was on this day in 1838, after two unsuccessful attempts, twenty year old Frederick Douglas escaped slavery. … [Read more...]