Law and Order: Donald Trump’s Fantasy

Donald Trump has promised us that he will be the candidate standing on the side of law and order in the face of all of the scary things going on in the world. And goodness knows, the world is a scary place. Shootings by police. Shootings of police. Terrorists and people who want to dignify [Read More…]

A Mathematics of Loss

Mathematics There is no algebra for death. No life lost cancels out another. The idea that there is some other side to the equation is a lie perpetrated by centuries of war and revenge. There is no other side. You cannot subtract and equalize the equation.   There is an addition of loss, grief upon [Read More…]

Profile of a Murderer

Don’t get me wrong. I am not generally a fan of profiling. I find it appalling that people of color are so much more likely than white people to be stopped while driving or followed in stores. I am horrified when an Arab-speaking scholar is presumed to be a terrorist for writing math equations on [Read More…]

On Outrage and Douchebags

Social media is great for so many things—staying in touch with distant friends and family, sharing the cute thing your kid or your cat just did, watching videos of people making delicious food at impossible speeds and much, much more. But what it is really superlative at is serving as a vehicle for expressions of [Read More…]

Advice to a Graduate

My daughter is about to graduate from high school in a few days, which leaves the terrifying prospect that she is now, more or less, an adult, and should know how to do the essential kinds of things that adults know how to do. I realize this is pretty much a fantasy, but still, I [Read More…]

Mother’s Day

Here’s what I want to say for Mother’s Day. Motherhood isn’t just one thing. And by that I don’t really mean the broad diversity of ways of being a mother, including step moms, foster moms, moms who placed babies for adoption, grandmas raising grandbabies, dads who are primary parents, important friends and neighbors and teachers [Read More…]

The Lure of Our Worst Natures

I think you could argue that if we characterized candidates for the presidency in Freudian terms, that Hillary Clinton would come out as the ego—rational, measured, pragmatic—and Bernie Sanders as the superego—idealistic, moralistic, principled. But there can be no doubt as to who perfectly plays the role of the id, the instinctual, passionate, utterly self-centered [Read More…]

A Christmas Conversation

“What do you want for Christmas?” I asked my soul. No response. “No, really, it’s Christmas Eve. You need to tell me what you want.” Joy to the world. Ho, ho, ho, she muttered, without lifting her eyes from her book. “Look,” I said. “I brought you some eggnog.” Her eyes lifted. Does it have [Read More…]

In the Ruins

In the Ruins   A man sits on the rubble— not just in the rubble, but on the pile of what  remains. No people in the bombed-out houses. No dogs. No birds. Just ragged hunks of concrete and loss. And on his perch he is playing an instrument constructed of what is left—an olive oil [Read More…]

In the Face of Evil

So much heartbreak, so many dead, so many injured. This is what evil looks like—people who would willingly, even eagerly, fire into a crowd or into a plane, who would even use their own body as bomb. Evil lurks in the eyes of those who would look full in the face of another human being [Read More…]


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