A Eulogy For My Father, Mark Swiss

We have hopes about an afterlife. I guess some of us have fears — Dad didn’t, thank goodness. His God was love, and he knew that whatever comes after could never be something to fear. What do we really know for sure about what comes after? Well…sometime, long down the road, many years from now I hope, maybe I can tell you. But whatever the truth about that, the Buddha noticed something important about our life here. Read more

Life Is a Series of Dogs

If we love a dog, the odds are very good that they will die before we do, and we will suffer the pain of grief. But the same is true of all love. Read more

Hearts and Heads in Houston

Somewhere out there among the ordinary people saving lives in Houston is a guy with a Confederate flag sticker on his car. There’s a woman putting her safety at risk who supports torturing people suspected of terrorism. There’s someone wading through the flood who thinks Black Lives Matter is a terrorist group. There’s someone taking heroic action who supports more war in Afghanistan and Iraq, who thinks we should invade Syria tomorrow and nuke North Korea the day after that. And there are people out there conducting rescue and relief operations who deny that climate change from burning fossil fuels is a real thing, that it was a driver of the disaster. Read more

Love Starts With Boundaries

But we have to operate in both the realms of absolute and relative truth. It is true that you and I are fundamentally one; but it’s still identity theft for you to open up a credit card in my name. Read more

Nazis Are Bad. Now What?

While both are wrong, there is not a moral equivalence here between punching someone and running a car into a crowd of people. We can speak out against two different things without saying they’re the same. There are a significant number of people on the left ready to fight fire with fire. Funny thing about that: every firefighter I’ve known used water. Read more

The Fire Circle: All Kinds Magic Worked Here

The fire circle is an audience participation event. In fact, there is no audience. We’re making magic together. If you need permission to participate, then by the power vested in me by whatever I can get you to believe has vested me with power — by the power of Starwood putting me on the speaker’s roster all these times, maybe — I grant you that permission. Congratulations. You are now all magicians. Read more

Knowledge, Victory, and Empathy

You have to get into your opponent’s head. So to be a good fighter, you actually have to have empathy. And that’s interesting! Because if you have empathy, if you understand your opponent, then maybe you don’t have to fight. Read more

Starwood 2017: An Unconventional Convention

Starwood is a magickal adventure construction set. A variety of pieces are provided, but it’s up to you to put them together as you please. Read more

Doctor Who: Continuity and Gender Politics

But we fans of long-running franchises also value internal consistency, a.k.a. continuity. Of course no long-running series gets it exactly right; why does the tombstone Gary Mitchell creates for his old friend James Kirk read “James R. Kirk” when we all know it’s James T. Kirk? And what ever happened to Superman’s “super ventriloquism” power? But internal consistency is vital for a SF universe that lets us suspend disbelief. Read more

FSG: Music and The Morrigan

So the Morrigan, that Celtic goddess (or trinity of goddesses) of war and death (but also perhaps of fertility and sovereignty), had some things to say to me in this ritual. Read more

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