• School and society as a whole want us to believe that, in order to succeed or get what you want, you must assiduously attend to whatever work is put in front of you and otherwise submit to someone else’s course. That means always doing your homework, putting everything into your job, getting involved in your community however you can . . . the list goes on. This is a mindset that’s pounded into our heads from the moment we start preschool. You want to go play in the sandbox? Well, Jimmy, you have to learn your ABCs first! It makes sense too. It’s a productive mentality... Read More
  • You know how 2016 was a royal mess and how some people had hope that 2017 would make up for it? Well, it’s not looking too promising so far. Illness has befallen my family and, now that I’ve noticed it, maladies seem to be spreading throughout the country like a vicious rumor. Everyone in my family has had, or will soon have, surgery and everyone around me seems either to have the flu or be in a cast or sling. The thing is that, just like the flu, three mental states travel as fast as the news can: Fear, ignorance, and hatred. Observe how quickly these things spread and... Read More
  • Hello and welcome back to UMass, folks! Some of you might have returned after reluctant and teary partings with family, some may have sprinted out of their homes to get here. Whatever the circumstances, I hope that you feel relieved and excited to be back. A lot of you will already have found your niches and are eager to return to your friends and activities that make UMass a part of your extended family. For those of you who are taking a bit longer, as I did, never fear! Each semester is like starting all over again. Yeah, you’ve got the same people in your dorm, but... Read More
  • Memory's a funny thing. It’s entirely subjective, prone to corruption, and infamous for these failings, yet we depend upon it for, well, everything. Everyone’s had that quarrel with their parents or friend where one party says that Doug leaned on the big red button while the other party says that Maxwell clipped the wrong wire. Either way, things went *boom* and all that’s left is the results and finding who to blame. I mean, look at some of the students here on a Saturday morning! I heard someone say that figuring out what you did the night before while on a bender is... Read More
  • November 4th, 2016- Thought process during the election: 10:00 p.m.: “Wow, a lot of those states are turning red.” 10:30 p.m.: “Okay, this is ridiculous, but Hillary can still catch up.” 11:00 p.m.: “Okay, now it’s a long shot.” 12:00 a.m.: “All hope is lost.” I woke up the next day thinking “Geez that was a weird dream. Better not turn out like that tonight.” Then I looked at my phone and discovered that, no, “tonight” had happened the previous night and that it was no dream. The Donald is going to be our new Commander-in-Chief. If you’ve been paying attention to... Read More
  • If you haven’t noticed, my father’s kind of a history geek. Must be where I get it from. Anyhow, we were talking about how much of a circus this presidential election is and he mentioned a concept that a man named Joseph Goebbels came up with in the ‘30s. Pretty much the idea is that if you lie copiously and vary the lies every time, then the fact-checkers can’t keep up. Something we might’ve noticed from climate change deniers and rumors about My Chemical Romance getting back together is that it takes more time to debunk a lie than to make one up. As my old man put it... Read More
  • Today, I’m speaking of a community that spans the entire globe: The Ignoramati. Yes, that is a fake word and, no, I did not come up with that. Credit goes to the old man. Again… He presented the word to me as one might find it in the dictionary: Ignoramati Noun 1) The fellowship of the ignorant 2) Members of the fellowship of the ignorant See "illuminati.” As he explained it, the ignoramati are those who spread ignorance and refuse to enlighten themselves while their leaders are those who benefit from others’ ignorance. The people who profit are those who fund climate... Read More
  • One of the things that my father has drilled into my head is that life is pretty bland without two things: Curiosity and bravery. Of course, he doesn’t say it that way for fear of sounding corny like me, but that’s the gist of it. However, he always seems to emphasize the curiosity, whether he realizes it or not. He’s even ended one of his letters with “Be well.  Be interested.  Be open to wonder.  Be wildered.” Quirkiness aside, he’s made it clear to me that without curiosity and the willingness to be confused and work through it, a person cannot learn. They cannot... Read More
  • The greatest illusion in life is separation. Everything is connected and we know it. One of the problems with being human is that our instincts and our reason are always conflicting. Our instincts tell us that medicine should be avoided because it tastes repulsive. Our reason tells us to suck it up and take the medicine if we want to get over an ailment. Our instincts also tell us that the world is divided. Physically, it is divided by oceans, mountains, and any number of other obstructions. Between people, it is divided by religion, race, ideology, and a myriad of other... Read More
  • Well, we cast our votes last week. The first round is done. Now things are just going to get worse. As if the campaign ads for the primaries weren’t bad enough, we all know that the actual campaign is going to inundate every TV channel, every magazine, and every website short of, I don’t know, pornhub. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if a political ad showed up there too… The point is that the ads become ubiquitous, almost omnipresent. They’re flooded into our lives so that favorable thoughts of the candidates might seep into our skulls. Mixed with the increasingly... Read More

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