Thursday, October 20, 2016


Last night when the debate was beginning, Wallace cautioned the audience not to react. Now, having trod the boards a few times myself, I wondered why do they debate in front of an audience, if they don't want the audience to react? What is a debate or a theater without an audience reaction? It's pointless, that's what it is. And boring.

Now, of course, Wallace said that because there are always a few in the audience who will try to shout the debaters or players down. These are the 'riotous groundlings', as they were called in Shakespeare's day. The fellows in the cheap seats. Well, I say bring on the riotous groundlings and let 'em have at it. Didn't do Shakespeare any harm. And we like to know what an audience feels. It's all part of the experience. An audience teaches you when to laugh and to cry. Grow up television, join the world of the living.

When you tune out your audience, you lose touch with reality, otherwise known as the truth.

TV has relegated the audience to an afterthought. They sweeten the sound track with fake laughter and applause. No audience necessary. Say whatever makes your friends feel good and stay in power, but do it SECRETLY and LIE. You can get away with it because you've turned off the booing from the riotous groundlings that would tell you they know you're full of **it. 

And then it's over as the Tweet below says, it'll be years before the media shows a pulse again.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Giving Safe Spaces the Middle Finger, Therapeutically

I've had a hard time getting my head around the 'safe spaces' concept. I consider myself a ladylike person, which is a kind of safe space that you keep in your mind and radiate, and a person with respect for manners and politeness, so the advice I'm about to offer may seem out of character. And I offer this just as something to consider, while you're in your safe space, if you feel like considering someday facing a world teeming with dangerous fellow creatures who are actually alive in front of you and not on digital screens which will disappear with the flick of a finger.

I think this advice might be useful, because in the bad old days of my youth, we were not able to do most of the things we enjoyed doing without encountering many people who triggered all kinds of scary feelings, making the timid among us long to go home and shut the door. But, you see, that was the problem. In order to escape those feelings, we had to go home and be alone with our sofa, a book and a cat. After a very short while, say five or ten years, this got very dull. It then became necessary to venture out amongst 'em again. Eventually, by watching others of our species interact, we developed strategies to quell those butterflies in the stomach caused by large, hairy, sweaty men pushing against one on a crowded bus. We also figured out ways to lessen that awful 'please let me melt into the ground' feeling we got when someone walking by us on the street stared at us with unconcealed hostility. This type of fixed, hostile glare made us search our minds trying to figure out what horrible crime we'd committed to cause such a blistering reception. Was it our outfit, mode of dress, hair style, facial expression, eye shadow or our whole being and entire person that was unforgivably REPULSIVE AND HIDEOUS? It takes time, but these feelings can be overcome. Read on.

Think about this punishing existence from the safety of your big screen TV room. Merely seeing a popular movie required more intestinal fortitude than going to the dentist does today. Try to put yourself in the shoes of my generation as we waited in line to see some film, say LAST TANGO IN PARIS with Marlon Brando. First of all, you had to appear as if you were seeing this film for purely intellectual satisfaction alone. Whatever Brando did to that naked girl in the bathtub was artistic and profoundly shocking for a noble purpose. But, you did want to see it, just like everybody else, and so you had to line up because once it had left the theater, it was gone forever. No DVD's and LAST TANGO certainly would NEVER EVER be on TV. Hell would freeze over first. Oh, how very wrong we were about so much back then.

So, anyway, we had to go out into a public space to see a movie in a theater. You could go alone and feel like a total reject on any given night, but especially date nights. You could dress for the solo date in something nondescript and sloppy, let your shoulders slump, wear no make up, and not wash your hair.  This look would evoke pity and make people look the other way. But, you'd be surrounded by happy couples, and let me tell you nothing triggers a person's worst feelings of rejection like happy couples, laughing too loudly, smiling, cooing at each other and all that kissy face. Oh man, basically, I either felt like crawling into a hole or shoving a bag of popcorn in their faces. But the worst was running into a happy couple you knew. That was the end. No safe space could save you except some dark coffin. Your life was and ever would be hopeless from then on. Of course, you could try to find someone to go with who wasn't going to be an embarrassment. Or a girlfriend. But all the other girls who didn't have dates would never admit it. Not in my day.

And this all happened before you entered the theater. The inside of a movie theater was a positive cacophony of triggers. Loud talking, louder shushing, ensuing arguments and then the trading of insulting phrases, possibly involving the audience taking sides and MORE LOUD AND ANGRIER SHUSHING. Yeah, count your blessings that you can see a popular movie today in splendid comfort at home with the cell phone turned off. If we took our home phones off the hook so as not to be disturbed at home while watching something halfway decent on TV, the receiver buzzed louder and louder till it went dead. Ma Bell, as we referred to our fantastically expensive phone service back then, was very strict. It was her way or the highway.

But you cannot imagine how distracting it is to watch a movie sitting beside some stranger whose digestive functions had been triggered by their dinner with resulting sound effects and odors. Then there were the popcorn munchers chewing with their mouths open, the non stop candy wrappers crackling just at the emotionally powerful but very quiet moment, the smoochers whose endless lip smacking never failed to cause someone to suggest that they rent a room, and little old ladies who were a bit hard of hearing and just loved loudly commenting to each other about on every shocking detail. PLEASE STOP TALKING!! Well, I never, young woman.

Don't forget children. At most movie theaters, you'd like to forget children, but movies were cheap in those days, cool in the summer when air conditioning was a luxury only the rich could afford, and a great way to entertain the kids while taking a load off the feet. Ah, children and movie theaters. Think of the gum, the dropped toy that had to be found in the dark, the talking and the questions asked in loud voices. And when it comes to triggers, OMG, no one triggers so relentlessly as children. And they never say those terribly hurtful things in a QUIET voice. Oh no. When some unfortunately tall and slow moving man gets up to go to the men's room, Johnny shrieks making the funniest joke his six year mind can conceive of. "Look, Mom, there goes Frankenstein! Watch out for Frankenstein, everybody," followed by loud laughter from all your small guests to annoy the entire audience. Or, some poor woman trying to step over your seats on the way to the ladies room,  "Mom! That woman stuck her butt in my face. Watch out! Your butt's too big." It takes many years for a child to fully grasp the line between self expression and things that might hurt someone's feelings. Good manners, we used to call it.

The sad fact of life in my day was that very few pleasures were attainable without risking being offended, hurt, triggered and emotionally destroyed. But, that being the case, we developed ways to cope with this unfortunate fact of life called other people. Ignoring was always a reliable method, especially if you could look very haughty. An icy, uninterrupted glance often worked wonders. Many seemingly invincible bores and insufferable big mouths are surprising cowards when faced with the icy stare.

But the most satisfying practice in the self preservation kit is the loudly voiced insult embellished by a deeply felt gesture. This I learned when I became a true New Yorker, a city where nothing and no one passes without scathing comment. In New York it is not possible to obtain a coffee without encountering at least fifty people on the sidewalk. They will be freely expressing their opinions on everything without regard for anyone's feelings. There is no escape. You must learn to stand your ground or brew your own and spend a lifetime with your cat.

Having grown up in New Jersey, where half the fun of going somewhere by car is constantly honking at everyone in front of you, I discovered how thrilling the middle finger accompanied by the standard F U could be, so I was not unfamiliar with standing my ground. But the old F U said from the safety of your car is only a preparation for the true joy of the person to person shouting match.

New York taught me the joys and human necessity of occasionally sounding off at someone who seemed to need it. This was not a common occurrence, say, not more than once a month. Usually the icy stare, haughty look or ignoring was sufficient to shut the fool up. BUT. THERE. ARE. TIMES. For instance, when it is rush hour and you must get a cab to make it to your next job. You manage to spot a free cab, hail his attention to get him to pull over to your curb. But just as you open the door to get in, someone races from across the street and jumps in the other side. At this point, if you appeal to the driver as referee, and he shrugs, you are free to begin, without shouting. "Excuse me this is my cab. I hailed it, so please get out." If that doesn't work, size up the nature of the intruder. Some are humble and polite, pleading a sick grandmother. Women generally tried this ploy. Men were more easily intimidated in my day because chivalry still lurked somewhere in the back of their minds and they felt that taking a cab from the weaker of the species was beneath their dignity. That kind of manly behavior has gone the way of the Dodo bird. But there were sometimes fresh, nasty men. These were fair game and once again, like all cowards, surprisingly easy to rout.

I always began by swearing like a sailor, as loudly as possible with all the insulting gestures I knew. This was done to shock them and let them know that there was side of womanhood they'd always suspected, but had never before encountered that was so fiendishly evil that well, you leave the rest to their imaginations. A well heeled, intelligent woman who can unleash a stream of profanity at a man is so unnerving that he will be convinced he's in the presence of a lunatic. And it just isn't worth it. Even the cab driver will pale if you know enough swear words and hurl enough wild insults. "Lady, please, I've got a wife and kids.' Usually the taxi thief will say something like, 'Boy, you are really crazy. You should see as psychiatrist." This is the loser's line and they will retreat, usually rather quickly.

It's my experience that the F word said many times as loudly as possible with random other words and descriptions of their attire, their mother etc, thrown in for effect, while defending your right to possession of the cab, and executing the under chin FU gesture of fingers flicking outward with a big sneer is very effective. If you're a person who is easily triggered, you actually have an added advantage because you are highly emotional. Throwing a big wallop of emotion into almost anything you say doubles or even triples its effectiveness. Ride the emotional wave, it will swamp all boats.

The most fun part of the exchange is what spontaneously comes out of your mouth as you in a state of high dudgeon confront the offender. "Get out of my way, you blubberpuss and take your pretty little purple shoes with you before I spit on them." Yeah. It's such fun. And I've never been able to spit worth a Sh** in my life. But it sounds so good and feels so good to say that kind stuff in the heat of the moment. 

I believe the person to person shouting match of insults to be one of the finest experiences a person can have. It's part of what make life livable in crowded places, and I love crowded places as much as I love solitude. The louder and more insulting the better, and, in my experience, the less likely to lead to violence. Perhaps it's like those gorillas beating their chests. But I can tell you nothing feels better than just letting it all out, even if you lose the cab or whatever, at least you've had your say and that is such a delicious feeling that it makes up for everything. It actually makes the possibility of encountering triggers when you leave your safe space and your cat an experience you will look forward to with relish. Yes, you will feel the adrenaline rush and might get a bit shaky about the knees, but the sweet sensation of yelling swear words at someone who so richly deserves them makes it all worthwhile and is so gratifying. You yourself have meted out a just punishment that will give someone something to think about.

There are some things in life that are unpleasant to learn how to do and this is one of them. It's like learning to play the cello, for instance. Just ask my son who now says my making him stick with his cello was the best thing I ever did for him. The moutho a moutho shouting match is another such experience. Hard to do well, tiresome to practice, upsetting when you hit so many wrong notes in the beginning, but a truly rare pleasure once you've mastered it. I live in a very quiet town now, where no one ever honks at me, even when I deserve it. How sweetly I remember my days in the thick of it trading insults with the best of them.

How tempting and easy it is today to stay in your safe space, but take my advice; shake yourself up a bit, learn to yell and shoot the middle finger, it's just like playing the cello, loud, throbbing, tremulous and very satisfying. Once you let fly face to face with an F U and up your ass tight stupid pants, you will be a new person and able to venture out into the face of the most withering trigger situations sporting a new élan that will positively astonish you and all your acquaintances.

Friday, September 9, 2016


The incredibly romantic French film "A Man and A Woman" 1966


What do romance, sex and our creator have to do with each other? I was raised on conventional morality in the Presbyterian church. You know the deal: date, fall in love, marry, have kids, live happily ever after. This was the approved life plan for those of us in my middle class town. However, my life proved a bit more complicated than that.

To escape my difficult family life, I retreated into books and movies. Whether I was a born romantic or acquired the affliction, I don’t know, but romance was my obsession. Thomas Hardy’s Tess in “Tess of the D’Urberville’s” was my first romantic heroine, followed closely by Hayley Mills in “Pollyanna”. Other romance icons of mine were Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff in “Wuthering Heights”, Rhett Butler in “Gone with the Wind”, the inimitable Mick Jagger and Anouk Aimee in “A Man and a Woman”, where constant rain and the back and forth of the windshield wipers symbolized the hopelessness of true love. My favorite quote was from the insanely romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, “I fall upon the thorns of life, I bleed.” The only thing that made me laugh was slapstick humor, where the hapless, well-meaning fool always ended up hanging off the cliff or getting clobbered by something he never saw coming. I identified with Laurel and the Little Tramp. I fear I was a bit grim in those days.

I will confess right here that I did not learn to appreciate Jane Austen’s scathing wit until at least twenty years later. But as a movie fan, my wit and sense of fun were sharpened by the throw away looks and deadpan one liner delivery of actresses like Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard and Myrna Loy.

My approach to men and love arose from that fertile grounding, well-watered with tears of pain and hilarity. To want to go to bed with a man, he must first be attractive enough for me to want to drive with him in the pouring rain with windshield wipers beating their sad tattoo and make me yearn to toss off my clothes and inhibitions far, far from the madding crowd. In practice, this could mean anything. Often a man I met and dated didn’t seem sexually attractive at first, only interesting, until he did or said something that fired my passions. I have no particular style of man. I had affairs with not all that many men, but they were of several different races, sizes, ethnicities, professions and colors, and probably of many creeds, too. However, the only time religion entered the picture was when I dated a very attractive young man studying to be a Jesuit. We dated and argued. I was a romantic scientist who wanted to sleep with him, and he was, well, he was a Jesuit trying to convert me to anything resembling belief in God. Poor man. Neither of us succeeded.

Disco dancing provided a pretty good substitute for sex, when no man could please. I did a lot of dancing in those days to sublimate the desire I felt but could get no satisfaction for. But I was a child of the Sixties generation, a freewheeling baby boomer, the generation that liberated sex from the Playboy magazine in the closet, with mixed results. It had been my experience that a marriage without sexual fulfillment was a witches brew straight out of bubble, bubble toil and trouble, Lady Macbeth horror show. The magic pill, sexual freedom. Sex buffet. Search for who makes you satisfied, pleases your sensibility, and earns and can keep your respect and admiration and the marriage will be a happy one. May I remind you traditionalists that even Jane Austen has the father of Elizabeth Bennet advise her on accepting Darcy’s proposal, “Lizzy, I know that you could be neither happy nor respectable, unless you truly esteemed your husband – unless you looked up to him as a superior. Your lively talents would place you in the greatest danger of an unequal marriage. You could scarcely escape discredit and misery. My child, let me not have the grief of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life.”

Though I hadn’t read Jane yet, this was my creed and working hypothesis. When your affections and respect for your partner were worn out, your marriage, respectability and happiness were over. You had to find a man who you could always esteem.

I guess the whole sixties generation could be called a very sexy generation. We threw out the rules and pursued sexual pleasure in every way possible, in marriage, in groups, partner swapping, serial lovers, you name it, some one of us tried it and wrote it up in some magazine or book. Though I had a few affairs, eventually, I settled down to the idea that one partner who you found irresistible, who was someone you could admire and who shared you goals in life was the way to go.

Once I met Tom, we seemed to have checked off every box in the perfect love affair. I literally adored the man and everything about him. The man he was aroused and enchanted the woman I was, and it always seemed that he felt the same about me. He certainly gave every evidence of being a happily married man. Except one, it turned out. Fidelity. When, after thirty-five years of marriage, I found out that Tom had been constantly unfaithful and hidden it from me, to say that I felt deceived and misused would be the understatement of the millennium.

Tom and I found each other physically irresistible almost from the first moment. Finding someone sexy is a combination of many things. Many small, seemingly inconsequential things can completely kill desire. And you never know exactly what it is that may do that. The surrender of dignity and exposure of your physical self and your most ardent, naked desire, so necessary to having great sex, that, for normal people, mutual respect and trust are absolutely essential. I’m not including the people who get off on sexual fetishes, like deriving satisfaction by debasing their partner or debasing themselves. But I’m talking about a lifetime of great, lusty sex in a happy marriage.

Having worked with many beautiful people during my modelling days, and dated several men of surpassing physical looks, I knew that five minutes with someone who looks perfect, but turns out to be a jerk in some way kills all physical desire. Heck, it even kills your appetite for your dinner. The beauty effect lasts until the person opens their mouth. True intelligence and thoughtfulness are extremely sexy. I think that’s why people always mention humor as a desirable quality. Humor is one of the higher forms of intelligence. I guess it’s the ying and yang thing. If you can’t belly laugh at something, preferably yourself, every so often, you can’t be fully serious about tickling all the sexual pleasure out of your own and your partner’s body.

Tom had a terrific sense of humor. He ended up on a nighttime TV sitcom where they loved him. He got my jokes and got jokes that I hadn’t even noticed. And he could tell a joke. I’m funny, too, in a broader way, no pun intended. But it turned out that his sense of romance was even grimmer than mine. Sadly, he kept his disillusionment hidden from me. It ate away at his heart, until it killed him. Love is a letting go, a free falling. He could do that in the Army wearing a parachute and jumping out of an airplane, but he didn’t trust his love to save him. In a way, I guess romance is a parachute for the heart. Romance is a higher calling, and it's psychotherapy, it's an art form, it's an ideal to shoot for, it's what gets you through the day, it's what makes life worth living, it'll fly you to the moon, and it's what makes the world go round.

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Cocktail hour is when I miss Tom the most. We always had the most interesting conversations about actors, movies, theater and current events, all while sipping dry martinis, a drink our fifties era friends introduced us to as their version of smoking pot, only better.

The tinkle of ice in a chilled shaker still sets off all kinds of random observations of wonderful and fascinating things that happened during the day. Relief in humor and wisdom.

Tonight a memory from Tom's conversation, which I was reminded of as I watched the movie "The Final Test" a 1953 British light comedy about a cricket match and a family. It stars Jack Warner, a very popular British actor in the classic movie era, and, one of my favorite actors, Robert Morley. It's what might be called a heartwarming story about a famous cricket player's last game, but it is so much more than heartwarming. Or rather it warms your heart like great brandy, bracing and with character and bite, as well as warmth and humor. The cricket player's college age son must decide between seeing his father's last game and meeting the famous poet he aspires to emulate. The humor is lightly broad, but mostly from the heart. I loved it.

And the movie also reminded me of one of my favorite Tom stories. When he was working at "Law and Order" he met Ted Kotcheff, a producer for the show, who was also the famous director of such movies as "Weekend at Bernie's" and "North Dallas Forty". Then Tom found out that Kotcheff had also directed on of our personal favorites, "Who's Killing the Great Chefs of Europe", the 1978 comedy about great restaurants starring Robert Morley.

Kotcheff had a funny story about Morley arriving in US to shoot some of the scenes for the movie. When they were sheparding Morley through customs, due to the fact that he was there on a work visa, he had to sigh many extra forms. He got to one where he had to answer the question, ridiculous as it now sounds, but true in 1977, regarding his work: "Do you intend to plot against or violently overthrow the United States government?" To which Morley wrote in reply: "That is the sole and only purpose of my visit." Needless to say, the customs officials did not see the humor in this response by the famous comedian. It took a bit of fast talking to get them to allow Morley into the country.

Both Robert Morley movies are delightful. "The Final Test", an older black and white film, and "Who's killing the Great Chefs of Europe" which is in color, also starring a young and lovely Jacqueline Bisset and George Segal. A movie which, now that I think about it, was decades ahead of its time as the first movie for foodies.

Saturday, August 6, 2016


When our son was small, we lived in an apartment complex in Los Angles with a pool. Everyone who had kids and grandkids got to know each other as we sunned ourselves, swam and kept a close eye on the little tadpoles. Often, we got to chatting. That was how my husband and I heard a very remarkable wartime story of the kind of great and unnoticed heroism that characterized the men who fought WWII.

We were chatting with a grandfather proudly keeping an eye on his two grandchildren. He was an older man who we'd spoken to briefly many times before, but, on that day, my husband, who was raised on WWII stories, happened to ask if this gentleman had been involved in the war. Oh, yes, he replied. Really, where were you stationed?

Well, he was on a PT boat. He described how very small and fragile those early PT boats were, but how fast and maneuverable that made them. It was a small crew that served with him on his boat. And, completely surprising my husband, who'd read so much about WWII, this unprepossessing grandfather, sunning himself in Sherman Oaks, had been part of the D Day invasion force. Very few people know, he told us, that PT boats braved the channel the night before the invasion to reconnoiter the coast, but he was there and witnessed the dawn of June 6 when the huge attack force came across to the beaches at Normandy.

Yes, he said, it was very funny when he joined up and got assigned to the small PT boat. I believe it was a crew of only six, and, he added, I was the only Jew. In fact, most of the guys were Southerners and had never met a Jew before. But we got along great, he added.

Looking at those lovely grandkids of his, I expressed how glad we were that he'd lived through D Day to come home.

But, turned out that was hardly the end of his story. After the D day invasion, he'd been assigned to the war in the Pacific, where the Marines and Navy were retaking all the Japanese occupied islands one at a time. He got a far away look in his eyes, before he went on. We thought we were goners, he said. The casualties for retaking each island were huge. He didn't expect to live many more months. None of them did. Then, he said, it was the most amazing thing. This rumor went around about a miracle bomb that was going to end the war. No one could believe it at first. We were so used to thinking we had to take each island at the cost of thousands of lives, that it just seemed like another one of those crazy hopeful rumors that couldn't be believed. But it was true. And that was the A-Bomb. I wouldn't be here today if not for that.

Well, he was just one man of many brave and very young men in the Pacific fighting a war that looked endless. And he was on a mission that had extremely high casualties, so he knew it would take a miracle for him to ever see home again. But, he got his miracle. For him and all those men, the A Bomb saved their lives. And he looked to have lived a very good life after that. His grandkids had a lot to be proud of in their old granddad, and I'll bet when they asked, "What did you do in the war, granddad, they got a story that they would never forget. I never have.

August 6 is VJ day. I thought it was a good thing to remember one man's story.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Bible a New Perspective

In coming to terms with my psychic experiences, there was no ignoring the bible, a book filled with stories of scientifically impossible things which modern people were always trying to explain away as some perfectly natural phenomenon. I used to be a big fan of this type of thing. The Red Sea parted due to the gigantic volcanic explosion that blew the Greek island of Thera almost off the map. The seven plagues of Egypt were biological events having to do with the flooding of the Nile and parasites. That kind of thing fascinated me.

It was time to give the bible the once over with an open mind about psychic phenomenon. I started with the bible because I was most familiar with it, as opposed to any other religious document. The truth is I was only passingly familiar with the bible.

The New Testament turned out to be the best place to start my quest to reevaluate the bible in light of my new science of the psychic world. So much of the Old Testament is very ancient and each book has such a complex history, that it would be a life time of work to try to tease an understanding of the psychic threads from the old prophets. 

How funny and distressing it was to read about the Jesus Seminar, which was a group of religious leaders who, like me, didn't believe in the supernatural. Well, I was not alone in my skepticism. But I had seen the mystery in everyday life that psychics had access to, and all my former assumptions about what was true in the bible were open to modification.

The question I wanted to settle for myself was how reliable were the gospel's testimonies about Christ's miracles and his rising from the dead. Was the reality of a supernatural God actually empirically believable in a modern scientific world? 

This in itself is a gigantic undertaking, but I did my best to satisfy my intellect. My first question was where did the bible come from. Sounds easy, but it's a long, complicated story. Suffice to say that thousands of brilliant scholars of ancient Greek, Hebrew and Latin have spent their lives studying fragments of ancient biblical texts, papyri, and many other sources to obtain the most accurate reading of the New Testament Gospels. 

There are disputes about many of the details, but for my purposes, I was able to assure myself that the texts we have are close enough to the original texts to be trusted. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly, there are lots of reliable, first person sources and records for the gospels from very shortly after Christ was crucified.  

I read so many books and often got only one small insight out of the whole book. The best overall book I read was 'Who Is Jesus' by Darrell L. Bock. 'Can We Trust the New Testament' by John A. T. Robinson is also pretty good.

The picture I constructed from all this various research was of a Mediterranean world that was far more sophisticated and advanced than I'd imagined. At the same time, in those ancient days, they were more inclined to believe in supernatural causes for things than we are today. Things like thunderstorms and droughts were believed to be acts of God, as indeed, we still often refer to them today. Soothsayers and prophets and the idea that some people can perform miracles was more easily accepted back then, than it would be today.

I had to believe that if there were third grade teacher looking people today who could hunt out murderers from unseen Polaroids, as I had seen on the TV show SENSING MURDER, there were similar people in the time of Jesus, doing the same sort of things and subject to far less skepticism than they would be today.

Jesus, then, must have been someone quite a magnitude above this type of 'seeing,' or the things he did wouldn't have seemed so remarkable to his contemporaries. It appeared to be very likely that he was something much more than a knowledgeable rabbi who told subtle and profound parables.

As I read the letters of Paul, I was very impressed by his intelligence. He was a highly educated, sophisticated Jew from a cosmopolitan city, who was also a Roman citizen. In the end, it was those letters, written so soon after the Crucifixion, that persuaded me that something very unusual had indeed happened. Clearly, Paul was a man of substance in his community and a deep thinker, and he was satisfied by the testimonies he heard from the disciples, and by his vision on the road to Damascus, that Christ was the son of God and had come back from the dead. I am not enough of a scholar to understand exactly what was meant in those times by the phrase 'son of God.' But it seems to me, at the very least, to imply a very close relationship with the very greatest of powers of the universe, otherwise referred to as God.

Now that I had accepted that the world according to science was a very incomplete world model, I gave a lot more credence to the New Testament claims of miracles, like bringing Lazarus back from the dead, the angels at the tomb, and Christ risen from the grave. The New Testament could be looked at as partly a simple reporting of the significant events of the life of Jesus, and his attempt to make clear the spiritual meaning of his miracle acts.

Once you accept that the rules of science are somehow embedded in a larger supernatural construct, the New Testament becomes a really interesting document of ordinary men and women, who witnessed probably the most extraordinary event in mankind's history, relating what they saw and thought about it. The story of what they saw is so amazing, that it is not surprising that over two thousand years later, people are still enthralled by it.

To say that this was a life changing event would be a huge understatement. However, I did not shed my clothes and run around the streets shouting Eureka! But, subtly, every day, I thought in new ways about everything and everyone, wondering what I really believed was going on in this life. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016


I love the Fourth of July because I love hot dogs on the grill and REALLY LOUD fireworks.

I'm glad we're independent. I'm proud to be an American. If we Americans did nothing else, we tried to build a country where the most important self evident truths are that all men are created equal and have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

For me, hot dogs are happiness. HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY