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Reflections Blog

Welcome to Reflections in a Cracked Glass.  This blog gives updates on what I’ve added recently and it’s a place for photos and for thoughts on subjects small and large.

 

Catch it before it melts! Iceland and Greenland in winter

drJ : May 24, 2017 9:38 pm : Photo essay

A few shots from February’s journey to Iceland and Greenland.

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A few snapshots from Amsterdam-Bruges-Paris

drJ : May 24, 2017 9:23 pm : Photo essay

When I’m not worrying about the state of the world we live in, there’s a lot to appreciate…

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Anyone who isn’t terrified isn’t paying attention…

drJ : April 22, 2017 1:29 pm : Uncategorized

Terrorism fits so neatly with authoritarianism that they are a match made in hell. Violence breeds violence. How does peace spread? Or justice? Humanity?

 

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Democracy at the crossroads

drJ : April 19, 2017 11:48 am : Uncategorized

Perhaps it’s just always been true that democracy in a very fragile thing. All too easy to be turned into something very undemocratic, into oligarchy and autocracy.

I always remember what I read in college by a Frenchman (de Tocqueville) who visited in the early days of an independent United States. He worried about the American experiment in democracy: An electoral majority could trample everyone else’s lives if it chose. Democracy could an autocracy that could do what it wants, hampered only by fighting within itself, oblivious to the populace as a whole. This would be the diametric opposite of the democracy core principle: everyone has an equal say in what is to happen and it’s corollary: everyone’s needs and beliefs are equal.

I believe we are at this crossroads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And so I became a messenger

drJ : April 2, 2017 6:33 pm : Uncategorized

Or, to use the correct word today, as I write back to you in the past, a messager.  You likely still send text messages, but that went away when cell phones stopped working. Landlines held up for quite awhile, but there were ultimately two many computers that kept them going, so after awhile there wasn’t such a thing as a telephone that worked.

Walkie-talkies, sure, but more people used a person to convey their message and that was my job.  People were used to saying a lot more to each other than you can write down on a piece of paper and wait for days for a reply. So they often wanted a lot more communicated than they wrote down on paper. So it was a pretty complicated job. But there were a lot of us, in those days, who sharp memories and a decent ability to get the point of the message. I wasn’t too bad at it.  And it was a living, which was saying a lot.

 

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I was sitting at home, alone, when it happened

drJ : March 27, 2017 4:57 pm : Uncategorized

My wife was on the phone trying to buy something through her computer and eBay wouldn’t accept it. “Fraud Alert” it said.

The phones still worked then and she was used to interminable delays calling customer service.  Only this time interminable really meant interminable.

No one could understand what was happening and no one could do anything useful.

 

 

 

 

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A little nightmare…

drJ : March 14, 2017 12:28 pm : Uncategorized

A message to the past

It happened more suddenly than anyone had dared imagine. Nothing worked any more.  Money, most obviously, was most immediately and devastatingly hit. Maybe you’d stopped to get cash at the ATM and the line looked to be long and not moving.  And as you went home, you passed many ATM’s each with longer and growing longer lines and no one moving forward, everywhere you looked.  And it was like that moment in a blackout where you wonder if it’s just your place that lost power. You look around and see the whole city in darkness.

Cell phones worked for a while. Then weird things started happening with them too and pretty soon they were useless. For a while things were just “unreliable.” Then they didn’t work at all.  Electricity, water, were still flowing ok, or else I don’t think anyone would have made it through alive.

Gas pumps had to be re-wired, mostly by part-time electricians and amateurs over-riding the complex electonics of the things.

The cash you happened to have on hand was about all that counted for anything.

What happened after that? Is that what you want me to tell you about?

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Added Essay on Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch

drJ : May 13, 2016 5:32 pm : Creativity, Update Announcement

For the past two months, I’ve been putting together an essay on the Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.  The novel won the Pulitzer Prize and was also chosen by the New York Times as one the best books of the year. This is the first time I’ve chosen to devote my writing energies to the task of unraveling issues raised by a work of fiction, so certainly I was strongly affected by it.

If you outright loved the work, you may be disconcerted by my questioning a key psychological and philosophical underpinning of the novel. If you haven’t read the book,  I hope you’ll find enough description of it to be engaged by the argument I raise here.

If you’re a student of contemporary literature or psychology, I hope you’ll find the discussion useful, though of course you would be well advised not to cut and paste.

Yellow Bird – Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch

 

 

 

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Progress Report

drJ : April 21, 2016 1:02 pm : Creativity, Thought, Update Announcement

If you follow what a write in Reflections In a Cracked Glass, here’s what’s on-going:

I’m focused on an essay stemming from reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. In the editing stage. It’s so much more fun to spew this stuff out there than it is to edit!

I’m changing my homepage a bit, though most people seem to go straight to specific articles.

I’m constantly thinking that we don’t communicate enough words for peace, ideas for peace, hopes for peace, on the internet.  We have to be more creative in how we use the internet to counter the words of hate that dominate the media.

I’m part of the gang putting together Cameo, which in the moment means watching film after film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, on computer, on dvd, but mostly in the cavern-like theater that is the Hooker-Dunham. (Do you remember the Thalia, a half-underground theater on the Upper West Side on NYC?)  We watch, we chat, then we’ll try a few things and gradually Josh Moyse will emerge with an adaptation, a set and a script. As an actor, I have no idea who I’ll play though I don’t quite see myself as Cary Grant, Jimmy Steward, or Gregory Peck.

If anyone cares, I am absolutely in favor of marijuana legalization.

I am very glad that Bernie Sanders has gotten as far as he has. A lot of people have heard what he has to say and understood his message. Our “democratic” election process? No, I have little hope for that. Money and power keep far too close company…and they all seem varying flavors of insanity and self-obsession. Our poor little planet.

Oh, and of course if you want to use the Hooker-Dunham for an event, contact me. Scheduling events and changing the hand-towel dispensers seem to be a lot what I do these days.

 

 

 

 

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For the Legalization of Marijuana

drJ : April 21, 2016 12:09 pm : Uncategorized

There is no reason why anyone should be considered a criminal for the simple fact of possession. Production and distribution should be made straightforward, without being made commercial, big business. This is the really challenging part.

Perhaps a compromise on one point might help: there’s nothing wrong with decreasing the blood alcohol level for a person who consumes marijuana.  The combination of booze and pot and driving, especially in a car full of people carousing, is not a pretty picture. Yes, wise to keep limits on that sort of thing.

The big question everyone asks but no one can truly answer is whether more teens will smoke pot, and smoke it to excess, if it is broadly legalized for adults.  The teen years are tumultuous enough that adding pot into the mix can wreck havoc. But putting people in threat of being arrested isn’t the solution. Prohibition of marijuana has not resolved this any better than the prohibition of alcohol helped a century ago.

It’s time for more reasonable approaches to emerge and legalization is the right direction.

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