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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.More
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 […]
We went to the park as a family last weekend. It was unseasonably warm and as I pushed my nine-year-old daughter on a swing (photo) it finally occurred to me what useful tidbit I might offer. Here it is: chase joy. Whatever it looks like to you, make a little more room for it. I […]
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.More
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.”More
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.More
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.”More
An older friend once asked where I would most like to be and what I would most like to be doing with my life. Then he asked, “What can you do today to make that happen?” It doesn’t need to be a major step, he explained. The point is that one should always be moving […]
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.More
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 HandsMore
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:More
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’. More
In 2016 my nephew asked me to officiate at his wedding. This caught me by surprise, not only because I am a technical writer, not a clergyman; but also because I didn’t think I had any sage advice for a young couple. “Are you sure?” I asked, and he assured me they were. Well, it […]
One of the reasons I like the occasional music posts on Ricochet is that I’ve spent most of my life quite disconnected from whatever was going on in the contemporary entertainment world, and the posts give me a window into what I might have missed (and whether or not I’m glad I did). Although we moved to the United States only a couple of months before The Beatles took the “Ed Sullivan Show” by storm, I never owned a Beatles album. And while The Rolling Stones were hot during my years at British boarding school, we weren’t allowed to listen to them; Mick Jagger’s hips and lips being (in the opinion of the good ladies running The Abbey School) a bridge too far, even for the radio.
Prior to that, my experience ran to the blue wind-up gramophone in Nigeria and the 78, 45, and 33RPM records we’d either brought with us from England or borrowed from the Officers’ Club, and programs such as Desert Island Discs on the BBC World Service. After that, with a few notable exceptions when I would, in a transgressive mood, listen to Jeff Christie on KQV, the most youth-oriented local AM station (he later resumed his birth name and achieved some measure of fame as Rush Limbaugh), I left the music scene to others, and largely ignored it myself.More
If wisdom lies in learning from the experiences of others, then I am not particularly wise. My M.O. is more of a barely-learns-from-his-own-repeated-mistakes sort of thing.
But let’s start with the piece of advice I did take when my wife and I were expecting our first children: twins. We were talking to an older co-worker of mine whose twin boys were already on the other side of college. “Let me give you the most important advice about raising twins we learned early on.”More
Our group-writing topic for this month is advice, and I thought it only right to begin with the very most important advice that I or anyone else could give. It was, of course, given by Jesus:
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”