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I don’t write posts frequently (I enjoy the other ones so much!) but every so often something comes up and as I was fretting over it, I realized that the very-sensible Ricochet-members would probably have solid advice. Here goes: I take the Metra from downtown Chicago to the suburbs (Lake Forest, for those in the […]
They are simple but not easy. Then again, things worth doing are seldom easy, especially when entrenched interests are threatened. Nevertheless, sometimes there are simple solutions that can actually shift the political landscape. So, consider changing the dynamics of elections at the state and local level, while recasting the college scene without a dime of additional spending.
1. Change your state’s election rules to truly empower voters, increasing participation and ballot box integrity.
The left always raises the specter of voter suppression, crying “count every vote!” The right always raises the specter of ballot-box stuffing, of determining close races with extra ballot boxes full of ballots from fake voters or real voters whose votes were “harvested,” whose names were used by party operatives, and who actually fill out the ballots from the old-folks’ home. Yet neither side has campaigned for the obvious solution, perhaps because operatives, pundits, and politicians do not really want to really face all the voters.
There is much experience and more than a bit of wisdom in the Ricochet community. Let’s see what good, practical advice we can offer to candidates and parties right now. You are invited to unearth gold nuggets from the pages and archives, sharing them in the comments below. Think of this as a collection of […]
I spent time recently driving around town with some young women, and after a bit, one of them began to ask me questions about being married. She was approaching the age when she wanted to find a fellow that she could partner with and have it be a success. These three girls/women were all impressed […]
There are many reasons to appreciate George Washington. As general, he led the colonies to a victory that cemented the Declaration of Independence. A modern Cincinnatus, he was ever eager to return to life in Mount Vernon. But he answered the call even when it wasn’t in his best interest to do so. He didn’t […]
In honor of George Washington’s actual birthday, I wanted to feature one of his extraordinary actions during the Revolutionary War.
George Washington didn’t need any advice about the deadliness of smallpox. When he was 19 years old when he accompanied his brother ill with tuberculosis to Barbados. They accepted an invitation to dine with a family, some of whom had recovered from smallpox. Although the incubation period was supposedly past, Washington came down with the deadly disease and survived. But the memory of the illness stayed with him.
It was Christmas 1962 and I only had one wish: I needed advice on how to make Jimmy Murphy like me. So that meant I wanted the Magic 8-Ball, Mattel’s amazing creation that produced misty, cryptic answers to your yes-no questions in a little window on the globe’s base.
Me: “Does Jimmy Murphy like girls who wear lipstick?” Magic 8-Ball: “As I see it, yes.”Me: “Should I tell him I like him?” Magic 8-Ball: “My sources say no.”
I loved my Magic 8-Ball. It made navigating the treacherous waters of fifth grade so much easier and provided a sure and comforting compass. What’s more, if you didn’t like the Ball’s answer, you could ask over and over until you got the response you wanted. I used my Magic 8-Ball so often I completely wore it out and had to ask for another one for my birthday the next year. My question had changed to “How can I make Randy James like me?” but my desire for advice had not (changed, that is). And that desire still exists, to some degree, today.
Those weren’t his exact words, but that was Dad’s advice. He was often a source of wisdom, but not that time in the summer of 1967. It was actually more than advice. He pretty much insisted on it. So as dutiful sons my brother and I went west (actually a lot more north than west) to Grafton, North Dakota, to join the student work crews in the sugar beet fields. I stayed only a few days, then got on a bus and went back home to reclaim the much better summer job I had left to go there.
My career in the beet fields consisted of about one day of actual work, and maybe not even that. That was part of the problem. We didn’t work when the weather wasn’t right. But I calculated that even though the weather would improve and I would get better and faster (it was piecework) there was no way I’d make the kind of money we had been told that students were making. I’d be better off going home to Mom’s and Dad’s place to try to get back in my job as a construction laborer.
In the course of my nearly sixty-four years, I’ve attended my fair share of funerals. I remember each of them vividly. I was nine years old when I went to my first funeral and will never forget it. My folks had bought each of us four boys sport coats and ties. I remember dressing in my smart outfit; I remember splashing my dad’s English Leather on my face. I remember hopping in the car. I remember the solemn music that began the Mass. But most of all, I remember the casket being rolled down the aisle to the foot of the altar. I hadn’t expected that, and my heart jumped, my stomach churned, and suddenly I grasped the fact that death was real, inevitable, and terrifying. Today the smell of English Leather nauseates me as it still triggers the memory of that moment all these years later.
From that day on I’ve remained acutely aware of the meaning of the words of the priest as he draws cross-shaped ashes on my forehead on Ash Wednesday: “Remember man thou art dust, and unto dust though shalt return.”
From Hollywood to kids’ cartoons, to sappy inspirational Facebook posts, entertainment culture is full of advice on how to live our lives. Imagine the consequences of taking this wisdom seriously. Actually, you don’t need to imagine: our culture is littered with living examples of men and women who embraced the subtle and not-so-subtle popular messages. Still, it would be interesting to flip through a book called A Year of Living Hollywood. Here is some of the most common propaganda of social media, celebrities, and movies:
1. Follow your heart. This pretty saying comes first because it’s our culture’s favorite. I remember years ago asking a wise older friend for advice about getting married, and this is what she said to me, very tenderly though: Follow your heart. I was confused. My very problem was that I had followed my heart, and it wasn’t getting me anywhere. What I needed was some sensible input, help weighing up the pros and cons and identifying flags of all hues in this relationship.
My job is laboratory safety. I work with a wild range of various labs that have a cornucopia of crazy chemicals and a plethora of pathogens. I take part in over 100 laboratory inspections per year, along with responding to questions and acting as an in-house consultant for my institution. There is a surprising amount of you can use from the laboratory safety world in normal life where you make crispy garlic bread rather than CRISPR/Cas9 lentivirus vectors.
Wash Your Hands
There is a reason people mention handwashing as part of nCoV-2019 preparedness, and it is a recurring theme in all of our safety courses. Washing your hands thoroughly is a reliable way to remove pathogens and toxic chemicals. Disinfectant handwashes are not needed — a good scrubbing will physically remove far more contaminants than a disinfectant will kill. I actually prefer a good industrial hand cleaner (STOKO Solopol is a personal favorite) after cleaning or using the bathroom. Scrubbing your hands is actually less harmful to non-harmful bacteria on your skin, as they typically are adapted to stick tightly to your skin’s micro-scale environment. I’ve never heard from someone practically involved in safety you does not recommend handwashing.
What were the odds that twin sisters, Jews raised in Sioux City, IA, would achieve international fame as givers of advice?
I can’t calculate those odds, but Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer came to be known as Ann Landers, and Pauline Esther Friedman Phillips followed quickly in her footsteps to become Abigail van Buren (Dear Abby). They were born on July 4, 1918 to Russian Jewish immigrants, Abraham and Rebecca Friedman:
They moved to Sioux City, Iowa, in 1910, giving birth to Helen and then Dorothy soon after. Like many Russian Jewish immigrants of that time, the family slowly earned enough money to leave the poorer sections of the city, first by peddling chickens from a pushcart and then, by 1911, by amassing enough earnings to buy into a grocery store. When Pauline was born, her parents owned a small house. Her father became part owner of a movie and vaudeville theater when she was in her early teens. Active in the Jewish community of Sioux City, Abraham Friedman’s civic stature grew as he acquired other theaters and diversified his business interests.
I’m not just talking membership here, I’m talking the monthly writing theme: “Advice.” Lots of open dates remain after our strong opening. Lots of opportunity for say… “Wisdom under the spinning disco ball” or “Bearly good advice,” with a reappearance of the Charmin bears. Just sayin’. Do stop by and put in your 2 cents […]