It’s a Free-Range Friday!

An Assortment of Odds and Ends for Your Weekend Reflections

Let’s Rummage Around a Bit

I am calling this post a Free-Range exercise, in part because that sounds better than the Messy Drawer Day. I have several short items for your review today.

Pretty well all of us have “that drawer.” You know, the one that seems to collect everything. For some reason, it seems to be a kitchen drawer most often. It has odds and ends from all over the house. You can never seem to find what you are looking for in that drawer.

There, but for Grace, Go I

There are life lessons and humbling experiences to be found at homeless facilities

 

Like many of you, I spend some time at homeless shelters, food banks, and feeding facilities. A lot of people do not do so, but they think about such places at this time of year. Kitchens that feed the needy and shelters that house them can go all year hurting for volunteers. Then, they are inundated with offers to serve on Thanksgiving or around Christmas.

I confess to my own biases about such places.

I am grateful for those that open their doors to all – men,

The Zen of Shaving: Mindfulness Meets Facial Hair

Hey, Mars. I think Venus is on to something.

Women Know Something Men Don’t  (Yeah, what surprise that headline is…)

Have you ever noticed that almost all the ads for those nice spas and similar places feature women in the ads? That is not a coincidence. Women make up the vast majority of clients for such care and self-care places. Most of the offerings at such venues cater to women and do not offer much that guys would be interested in. But guys, there is a lesson in all that; we should pay attention.

Go Fund Me and Go *X@! You!

A Proposal for Taking Care of Important Parts of American Life

 

I had the great pleasure recently of attending the annual fundraiser for our regional Planned Parenthood team. It was a joyous, committed group that celebrated real values and gave a ton of their hard-earned money. The event brought to mind an idea that occurred to me a while back. It’s an idea I would love to see us carry out.

Running the Gauntlet

Every year four great institutions get drug through the political mud. This is done by people who have no interest in them except as punching bags.

Tell Me a Story and I Will Tell You Mine

Nothing Comes Close to the Power of Storytelling for Human Communication

 

This time of political divisiveness and isolation reminds me of the power and grace of storytelling. It is, at once, a social convention and an art form. We need it now more than ever.

Like most people, I have always enjoyed a good story. I am fortunate at this point in life to live in an area that revers good storytelling. Here in Appalachia, storytelling is celebratedand practiced widely. It is still a primary means of communication and of social bonding.

Random Thoughts from a Mind Adrift

Assorted Thoughts About Everything and About Nothing

Do you ever have one of those days where your brain will not be still, but neither will it focus? Yeah, me, too. I have decided that when such periods appear, one might as well enjoy the ride. It’s a bit like high speed cruising through a bookstore you like. All sorts of interesting odds and ends can pop up.

I made one of those “bookstore drive throughs” recently. I thought I would share with you what popped up. I hope you find some of it amusing,

Use the Power of the Marketplace to Drive Social and Political Change

 

Changes People Seek by Politics and Government Can Be Helped by Free Markets

We Know the Big Issues

The case can be made that a good portion of the American public agrees on what we want as a nation, although we may have some differences on the details. This is the case even this far from the election. For example, most Americans want some version of the following:

  • Sensible gun policies. Break the growing randomness of deadly violence in public places. The vast majority want universal background checks and some form of registration.

Funny Thing About Church Services…

 

People Come Together on Sunday (or Friday, or Saturday…) for Very Different Reasons

First, an acknowledgment. I am likely the least religious person you will ever encounter. Still, I maintain an active membership in the Unitarian Universalist community. I attend services and other activities with some measure of regularity. I support the organization with time, talent, and treasure in a conscious manner.

I attended a service this past Sunday (and a fine one it was). I reflected, as I often do during a service, on why I was there. What was it that made me decide that this was where I wished to be?

It Has Come to This – And They Are Not Done Yet

 

If What You Are About to Read Doesn’t Enrage You, Relook Who You Are

Immigration – Big Scale, Human Scale

We will be talking in the coming days about immigration writ large. Not just current issues, but the broader and deeper nature of this part of humanity and how we might think about it. That should be a conversation that is balanced and reflective.

But before we get to that, we need to call out the worst of what is going on now in our name. There is not a lot of room for balance and reason for what we will discuss today.

Words are Magic. Writers are Wizards

Two Recent Events Remind of the Power and Universality of Great Writing


The title from this blog post comes from an anonymous source. Whoever first said these words has my undying gratitude. Truer words have rarely been spoken– or written. This phrase runs through my mind often. Partly as confirmation of a known truth, partly as a challenge to write better.

Two recent experiences underline this truism for me. I am thinking you can relate to both.

A Lesson Close to Home

The first is more local and personal. The community I live in has a small gathering once a month called Writers Read.