Mary Oliver

She passed away – loved so many of her poems, especially this one:

I Worried
by Mary Oliver
I worried a lot.  Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up.  And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

Sanity…

…in the New York Times, of all places!

If you see only an “Israeli-Palestinian” conflict, then nothing that Israelis do makes sense. (That’s why Israel’s enemies prefer this framing.)

The fault lines have little to do with Israel. They run between dictators and the people they’ve been oppressing for generations; between progressives and medievalists; between Sunni and Shiite; between majority populations and minorities. If our small sub-war were somehow resolved, or even if Israel vanished tonight, the Middle East would remain the same volatile place it is now.

[Emphasis mine.]

Read the whole thing.

Charlie Hebdo, Four Years Later

Those awful murders, at Charlie Hebdo and at the Hyper Cacher, happened four years ago yesterday. I respost this piece of mine, which I think if one of my better efforts, and this very important analysis from Spiked Online (a website you should be checking on a regular basis).

From the Spiked article:

Free speech is the right to express one’s ideas without fear of retribution, even if others disagree with you – even if they are repulsed. This right leaves people free to dissent and free to persuade others of their ideas. No political, religious or ideological viewpoint should be allowed a special exception from challenge, criticism or ridicule.

But once the moment of ‘Je Suis Charlie’ faded, prominent voices effectively began to blame Charlie Hebdo for the attack.

When PEN America, a writers’ organisation, decided to give its Free Expression Courage Award to Charlie Hebdo, more than 200 well-known writers protested.

I mentioned yesterday how much I miss my brother (scroll down) – well, all the more so when it comes to these issues. Not a chance in heck he would have been blaming the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and editorialists for their own slaughter.

Al Would Have Been 70

Great picture of my brother, who died in 2012. He would have been 70 today. I would love to talk to him again, and especially would love his take on Trump, populism and such. Easily the smartest person in our family, though he always was humble and said that title — along with “the funniest” — belonged to our mother. This picture is from Christmas 2005.
alan2005christmas