Sep 04 / Simcha

No Bucket List for Me Before I Die (K. Bowler)

In her recent guest essay in the New York Times, Kate Bowler (associate professor at Duke Divinity School and host of the podcast Everything Happens) suggests that the modern bucket list industry is a form of experiential capitalism; with at least a hundred books with titles like 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, it can provide enough activities to “keep people industriously morbid…. Hang gliding. Snorkeling. Times Square on New Year’s Eve and Paris in the spring….”

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Nov 20 / Simcha

How to Have Deeper Conversations (D. Brooks)

NYTImes opinion columnist David Brooks writes about the art of connecting, even in time of dislocation.  His list of “non-obvious lessons for how to have better conversation, which I’ve learned from people wiser than myself,” are applicable to non-Covid times as well.  

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Aug 13 / Simcha

Old Age is a Slow Surprise (R. Banks)

The novel The Darling by Russell Banks (HarperCollins, 2004) is told in the voice of Hannah Musgrave, the ultimate privileged child of the 1960s, a former Weatherman sought by the FBI, widow of a minister in the Liberian government, and caretaker of threatened chimps.  The book begins with Hannah’s decision to return to Liberia in her late 50s. “We return to a place,” she writes, “in order to learn why we left.”

The following is Hannah’s magnificent description of aging and of death, as her story unfolds in the book’s opening pages.  

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May 19 / Simcha

We Need to Talk (C. Headlee)

Celeste Headlee, who has worked as an NPR and Public Radio host for decades, knows the ingredients of a great conversation: honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. Author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter (2017), Headlee notes that most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand, but rather to reply — a dynamic that is clearly evident in many dysfunctional relationships. 

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Mar 26 / Simcha

STD Testing in an Age of Viruses

This period of coming to terms with viruses and transmitted diseases might be a good time to give some thought to whether we are protecting our sexual health, and whether we are doing our utmost to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections and diseases. Once we are all out of quarantine and sequestration, it would be wise to follow these guidelines coming from STDTesting.org.

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Nov 13 / Simcha

Your Child Owes No One a Hug

A thought I want to share as the holidays approach: Your child owes no one a hug.  

Insisting a child kiss or hug a relative or family friend Hello or Goodbye when s/he does want to, invalidates your child’s feelings by suggesting that external pressures (and Aunty’s feelings) are more important than his/hers.  And it teaches them that consent can be manipulated, by cajoling or worse.

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