Guided by Stars

The Starry Plough flag, at the Irish National Museum, Collins Barracks We are going through a period in our history that feels like a Rubicon crossing. Decisions made now will have ramifications that will be long, deep and unperceived from our current viewing spot. Brexit was one of those ramifying decisions, and the U.S. presidential […]

Identity, Universality and the Search for Meaning

Remains of the Traianeum (Temple of Trajan) on the Acropolis of Pergamon in Turkey. This most recent trip to India, South Africa and Turkey brought me into even closer proximity to some of the most persistent, larger-than-life issues like belonging, tribalism, identity, belief. In looking at those enormous ideas more closely, it is impossible to […]

Pale Ramon

One of the phases of the moon from Selenographia, world’s first lunar atlas completed by German-Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius in 1647 after years of obsessive observations. Hevelius also created history’s first true moon map. Courtesy of the Wolbach Library, Harvard Plate from Thomas Wright’s 1750 treatise ‘An Original Theory,’ depicting Wright’s trailblazing notion that the […]

Two Chords Are Enough

The cast of Woody Sez (Photo: Wendy Mutz) One of the things I love about India is that the stories most sacred to the culture are preserved everywhere. From street shrines to oversized temple statues, references to the ancient Sanskrit epics of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are ubiquitous. After a while even interlopers like […]

Licking Life

As unpleasant as air travel has become, it still serves up that delicious, “put your headphones on and block out the world” slot of time to just read. This weekend it was spent devouring Sarah Bakewell’s captivating and award winning book, How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at […]

60’s Redux

April 15, 1967 Spring Mobilization to End the War, San Francisco (API). This is a chapter from my account of the story. I can’t sit by and let the 40 year anniversary of Woodstock come and go without taking a moment to reconnect with my own memories of those days. You know, the ones that […]

Best Year Ever

The Economist’s More Intelligent Life conducted an online poll asking the question, What was the most important year in human history? The winner as of right now is 1439, the year Gutenberg invented the printing press. Here’s the list as it currently stands. BTW, it isn’t too late to cast your vote, which you can […]