21st Century Religious Ethics . . . Pondering the God of a Trillion Stars

Written in 2011: The recent turmoil in England, the riots and resulting damage, raise the challenge of a troubled society without spiritual anchors. Comments have been made that the rioters, mostly young, unemployed males are adrift without religion and, its moral guidance. Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith expressed similar concern after his 2008 research project […]

Joanie Meets Irma

No – we’re not talking about Joanie “meeting” Hurricane Irma. We’re talking about Joanie meeting a hurricane casualty, a Cormorant named Irma. The mighty winds of Hurricane Irma drove Cormorant Irma to our condo’s pool – with a concussion, disoriented, unable to fly. Slowly, Irma the Cormorant began to recover. Rick, an avid fisherman and […]

So, Do You Know What You’re Eating for Dinner Tonight?

Somethings, it’s tough to figure out what you’re about to eat for dinner. Joanie and I had that experience in 1986 when we decided to trek the Himalayas along the Mount Everest trail from Lukla to a Buddhist monastery at Thyangboche, about 13,000 feet high in the Himalayas. Passang, our Sherpa guide, was supported by […]

Our Pale Blue Dot – Up Close

Yosemite at moonrise. I took this photo five years ago, when my good friend Greg and I were in Yosemite for a winter photoshoot. John Muir, perhaps the most famous of our environmentalists, and Theodore Roosevelt, then President, stood on cliffs near here in 1903. Smithsonian gave me a photo of those two as a […]

For 2016: The Touch of the Master’s Hand

A few years ago, my good friend Barry presented me with a plaque, which quickly found a cherished place on a wall of my law office — a painting and a poem, signed “Author Unknown.” I later learned the poem was written and published anonymously by Myra Brooks Welch, as a gift for us all. […]

The Gift of the Magi: A Holiday Message

December 2015. Two years ago, I published this blog. In thinking about the Holidays and Christmas 2015, and the concerns and fears we have regarding the sacredness of life and the care of our planet, and what it means to be human, I thought it would be good if I simply republished this message without […]

The Grandparent’s Hypothesis: The Story We Live is What We Leave Behind

Perhaps our title, The Grandparent’s Hypothesis, is an unexpected title for a Fourth of July Holiday Blog. But, then, the Declaration of Independence we have been celebrating is almost 240 years old. So, our Declaration and we grandparents have something in common: We are getting old. Then, using a photo of a whale – in […]

Kids Thrive on Memories, But . . .

May 7, 2015 – quite a day! Our book, Wonderlust, was launched at the Marriott Hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida, before a packed house of 200 people. Each attendee who contributed $100 or more to one of four designated charities – Pinellas Education Foundation, Tampa Bay Watch, Morean Arts Center or WEDU/PBS – got an […]

Whale Splashing – A Whale of a Good Time!

It was Julie’s pick where we’d go for our Father-Daughter Trip. Whales. Julie has a thing about petting whales. Baja. That’s where people pet whales. So, last month we were sailing Baja’s balmy Sea of Cortez. Whales are magnificent animals – highly intelligent, immense air-breathing mammals who evolved from their homes on land into a […]

For the New Year: The Touch of the Master’s Hand

A few years ago, my good friend Barry presented me with a plaque, which quickly found a cherished place on a wall of my law office — a painting and a poem, signed “Author Unknown.” I later learned the poem was written and published anonymously by Myra Brooks Welch, as a gift for us all. […]

A Question for our “Selfies”: Is Rice Nice or Wheat the Treat?

Google “rice versus wheat culture” and you’ll get over 2 million hits. Although some of the hits get into food as food, the prime Google revelations are sourced in a 2014 study published by T. Talhelm of the University of Virginia and his colleagues in Science Magazine, “Large-Scale Psychological Differences Within China Explained by Rice […]

Getting a “Locke” on the 4th of July

It is sweltering hot in Philadelphia in late June 1776. That’s why he rented a second-floor apartment with five windows, giving him cross ventilation. He wanted the breeze to keep him cool; he had a lot of writing to do. There was no air conditioning. He wrote at night, after long hours spent with the […]

Honoring Our Longest Day

JUNE 6, 1944. D-DAY. SEVENTY YEARS AGO. Under the deadly fire of bombs and guns, the Allied Armies retook to the beaches of Normandy. Our Longest Day, historians labeled that day of heroic sacrifice. I haven’t seen much about D-Day in the news in recent years. I looked for it, but it hasn’t been there […]

May 7, 1945 – May 7, 2014: Patriotism – its Decline and Fall – Is There Opportunity for Rebirth?

World War II ended in Europe on May 7, 1945 when German emissaries met with General Dwight Eisenhower at his schoolhouse headquarters in Reims, France. The New York Times headlines announced to an anxious world that on this day, Germany surrendered unconditionally. Thus, the ‘first leg” of the war to end all wars was completed. […]

NOAA or NOAH … or Both?

Circa April 4,014 BC: It’s a bright sunny day in the Middle East – a balmy day for taking your family for a sail on the Red Sea, or the Nile, in your felucca. We’ll come back to this story in a bit, about what was going on deeper in the desert, several kilometers beyond […]

A Lesson from Snorkeling: The Intelligence of the Swarm

The waters surrounding Champion Islet, a small rocky outcrop off the coast of Floreana Island, are clear – crystal clear – and provide one of the best drift-snorkel spots in the Galapagos. And on January 2, 2014 we were there, drifting – floating with schools of colorful fish – past steep underwater volcanic walls. It […]

Let’s Take Darwin Off Autopilot

The January 18-24, 2014 issue of the New Scientist has a provocative editorial, The urge to dehumanize others is itself all too human. The editorial introduced the article, Talent for prejudice: Why humans dehumanize others [published in the hardcopy edition as “When the face doesn’t fit”]. Yes, apparently we all share a human tendency to […]

Faith – A Lesson From Zimbabwe

December 14, 2013 On September 27, 2013, a few days before we began our safari in Botswana and the Okavango, we had an opportunity to visit Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Normally, these sorts of trips visit Victoria Falls in Zambia; but our safari was during the “dry season” and more water flows on the Zimbabwe […]

A Christmas Message: His ‘Gift of the Magi’

December 7, 2013 On December 7th, the Christians Science Monitor, my favorite tabloid, published a quote of Nelson Mandela, South African’s heroic apartheid fighter, who died a few days ago, expressed by him after his more than two decades in prison: “… As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to […]

The Magical Moment: When Lesedi Passes the Leopard Skin to Lefifi

Botswana, October 6, 2013, 6:50:52 PM. Perhaps the story I am about to tell is but a metaphor, a legend about how we came to have day and night, about how our world alternates between daylight and darkness. After all we humans have a penchant for story-telling, for filling in the gaps between the known […]

The View from Nordkapp

June 20, 2013. At Nordkapp [North Cape] 71°10’21″N, 25°47’40″E The treeless bluff John and I were standing on was maybe 300 meters above sea level. There were only a few scattered snow drifts. After all, it was summer – even here, far above the Arctic Circle where the coast is warmed by the meandering currents […]

In the Realm of the Sea Eagle — A Cathedral in the Wild

Before Solomon built his temple, there were Cathedrals in the Wild. Before Giovannio de Dolci created the Sistine Chapel, and Michelangelo painted his masterpiece on its ceiling, there were Cathedrals in the Wild. Before Norwegians built their Stave Churches, there were Cathedrals in the Wild. John Muir’s Cathedral was Yosemite; Thoreau’s Walden Pond. A Cathedral […]

Why the Puffins Keep “Puffin'” and Other Lessons from Gjesvaerstappan

In mid-June 2013, we traveled to a fishing village, Gjesvaer, high up on the northwest coast of Norway, far above the Arctic Circle. There we boarded a small boat to take us Gjesvaerstappan, a series of small islands, breeding colonies for thousands of birds, located about 15 km from the Nord Kapp (North Cape) on […]

Pete Polar Bear’s Morning Workout

May 7, 2013 Good morning! Pete Polar Bear here. I’m subbing for Dick today. It’s his 82nd birthday. So, he’s got the day off. I told him not to worry, we had some pretty good stuff to pass on to you. Healthy stuff, too! When Dick was up here last fall taking a look at […]