Looking for consistent application of principles in American politics is perhaps like Diogenes’s famous quest for an honest man: good luck with it. But to someone whose political mantra for the past few decades has been “maybe we shouldn’t be putting people in cages over that”, the outrage over the separation of migrant families who enter the country illegally is interesting. This may be an important teachable moment: criminal laws put people in cages, and in so doing separate families…. Read more

I spent last week at my twentieth Free Spirit Gathering. I was reminded of the anniversary a few days before the festival by noticing the “FSG 1998” tent tag that hangs on my rear-view mirror along with a collection of other charms. (For the mathematically inclined: I do not have a fencepost error here, I skipped one year for reasons that don’t concern us here. So the twentieth anniversary is also the twentieth event.) And Friday at FSG — the… Read more

I spent Memorial Day weekend at Playa Del Fuego, the East Coast regional Burn (Burning Man-style event). I’ve written before about some similarities between the 10 Principles of Burns and the values of the Pagan festival community. But beyond that, as Burner culture has grown it has taken on ritual (one might even say “religious”, in the broadest sense) aspects, even without a deliberate inital plan to do so. Chief among these is the Temple. The Temple was not originally… Read more

I live in Catonsville, Maryland, a suburb on the southwest side of Baltimore. Catonsville has one claim to national fame: on May 17, 1968, nine anti-war activists raided the draft board office at the local Knights of Columbus hall, grabbed 378 draft records, and burned them with homemade napalm in the parking lot. They then quietly waited to be arrested; they refused bail, and fasted for eight days while imprisoned. It was one of nearly 300 raids that anti-draft activists… Read more

So I’m pretty much in the bullseye of the target demographic for YouTube Red’s new Cobra Kai series, which continues the story of the 1984 classic film The Karate Kid and its sequels. Not only am I an 80s kid, I’m a karate teacher who sometimes quotes Mr. Miyagi to his students. (And coincidentally, series stars William Zabka and Ralph Macchio did a promotional photo shoot at the Manhattan headquarters of my karate style. You can see those photos at… Read more

Well, the Internet is all upset over a dress again. But this time it’s not the color of the dress that’s the issue, it’s the color of the wearer. A white young lady in Utah wore a Chinese cheongsam style dress to her prom and, this being 2018, tweeted pictures. Now, I am not the fashion police — my idea of high style is a black Utilikilt and a purple top hat — and my own prom was over 30… Read more

There’s an Internet meme going around under the hashtag “#filmstruck4”. The idea, initially posted by the movie streaming service Filmstruck, is for participants to post four films that “define” them. Movie are an important part of our culture, sure. But let’s try something deeper. What are four myths that define you? Here are my four. Buddha Touching The Earth If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know this myth by now — it’s right there in the title… Read more

But we must be wary of thinking that more suffering enables more healing, that in order to become better healers we must suffer more. Read more

Product advertising has been with us since some Paleolithic guy boasted that his flint arrowheads were the best and everyone should trade with him; political hucksterism goes back to the Roman Republic. But technology is allowing them to move from the realm of human interaction to the realm of mind-control black magic. Read more

The fault, dear Americans, is not in our guns, but in ourselves, that we are brutal and careless about each other; that we live in a nation where racism and economic injustice and a culture of violent domination can set someone on the path to murder, and poor access to mental health care and a broken criminal justice system makes it unlikely that they will be stopped before they explode. Read more

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