27 September, 2011


Sometimes I really admire the eloquence and directness of Alec Baldwin. Click here to read his point of view on the death penalty.

From the op-ed: "Supporters of the death penalty often seem to me like the opposite side of a coin. Where they contend that death penalty opponents are soft on crime and coddle the murderers of police officers, their opposites see them as those supporting a system that they largely have faith in, yet if a few innocent convicts get put to death?... well... nothing's perfect. I'll make a deal with you. You don't imply that I'm indifferent to the murder of a police officer and I won't imply that you're willing to kill innocent men by way of a racially tainted legal system."

26 September, 2011


“Why isn’t any major news outlet covering this?” he asked. “If that’s a tea party protest in front of Wall Street about Ben Bernanke putting stimulus funds into it, it’s the lead story on every network news cast. How is that disconnect possible in this country today with so many different outlets and so many different ways of transmitting news?”

—Keith Olbermann, calling out media hypocrisy on "Occupy Wall Street" protest

25 September, 2011


"Cleopatra stood at one of the most dangerous 
intersections in history: that of women and power."

By Stacy Schiff

I sometimes look at life today and think how wonderfully "advanced" it is compared to a couple thousand years ago... heck, even a couple hundred years ago. But then I read a quote like the one above (from Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra: A Life) and it reminds me of that old adage: the more things change, the more they stay the same. The idea of Women + Power always seems to hold a degree of uncertainty and suspense in our culture. And it was the same over 2,000 years ago, in the B.C. time of Cleopatra.

Don't get me wrong, there are definitely amazing improvements in today's world. Among many other almost unbelievable inventions, we have the ability of flight - it takes us a mere 4 hours to hop on a plane and travel the 2,000 miles from New York City to Santa Fe. In the Hellenistic period, Schiff informs us: “Before her lay a trip of two thousand miles. At best she could expect to be at sea for a good month. At worst the passage was closer to 10 weeks.” Can you imagine? Most of us don't even get a month-long vacation during a normal year; let alone having to use that time just to travel from one place to another.

But the hunger with which we embrace these amazing technological improvements is quickly reduced to a loss of appetite when we turn our attentions to tolerance of people who are different than we are. Whether it's women in power, gays in the military, tea party activists, religious evangelists... we have a strong desire for everything (everyone) to be how we want them to be.

In Candide, Voltaire's sharp satire, the over-simplified mantra "all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds" shines a harsh light on the idea that "the best" is maybe not always "the best". Or, perhaps more accurately, what your ideal "best" situation is may be different (or opposite, as is quite often the case) than what my ideal "best" of that same situation would be.  Schiff shares with us an Egyptian mantra under Cleopatra's rule that sounds eerily similar: “...nobody is allowed to do what he wishes, but everything is arranged for the best.” Without veering too far into the political realm, sometimes I feel that this is how America has been treating the world. That we are too full of hubris to recognize that our ideals may ultimately not work (spoiler alert!) for every other country and every other culture. Voltaire would have great material to work with for a Candide sequel were he around today. A little compassion and empathy can go a long way.

For more quotes collected from this book, visit Borrowing Wisdom. 

Disclosure: I received a copy of Stacy Schiff's CLEOPATRA: A LIFE to read and discuss as a member of the online book club From Left to Write. The thoughts and opinions expressed above are my own.  Click here to purchase your own copy of this book.

20 September, 2011


"If Calder [her brother] were there he'd tell her how corny she was,
but it wouldn't be what he meant and they'd both know it.

by Deborah Reed

As a first-time-parent-of-one, I often wonder if/when we'll have a second child. I am asked that question by friends, family, even my landlord (who adores my daughter). Along with this seemingly innocent question comes a whole host of other considerations that swirl around in my head...

What would it be like for her to be an only child? Do I want her to have a sibling? Will she eventually want a brother or sister? How will it affect my life to be a parent-of-two? How will it affect hers to be a big sister? What impact will it have one way or the other? What is my responsibility to the global population problem? Do I think it's important for her to have a comrade, a friend, an enemy, an ally (all the things siblings are to one another)? Will it be important as she grows older... or as we grow older? Won't it be easier to share the burden of aging parents between two children? And won't it be a comfort to her as well, to have someone to share life with who can understand just what it is to be Our Child?

Within the excitement of a possible murder, the recognizable heartbreak of a woman left by the man she loves, the empty hole of a stalled career, and the loss of ones held near and dear - for me, at the heart of Deborah Reed's CARRY YOURSELF BACK TO ME a story about the deep connection of siblings shines through. A big sister. A little brother. And all the space and time and growth and memories in-between.

It's hard to explain the emotional ties of sibling-hood to someone who's an only child. But if you have a sibling, if you are a sibling, you'd probably agree that there is a love/hate relationship in place and it changes and shifts in different ways over the years. There are moments when you're on the same team and moments when you don't even want to be in the same room. There are hills of playful banter and great stories, and there are valleys of hurtful words and bitter actions. And yet - these are the very things that help to shape who you'll become and how you fit into this world and why you trust who you trust. And this sibling (or these siblings) will likely be with you for life - in all the wonderful and frustrating ways you've ever imagined... sibling rivalry and sibling revelry.

And that is the thought that makes me want to have another baby. Maybe not too soon. But someday.

For more quotes collected from this book, visit Borrowing Wisdom. 

Disclosure: I received a copy of Deborah Reed's CARRY YOURSELF BACK TO ME to read and discuss as a member of the online book club From Left to Write. The thoughts and opinions expressed above are my own. 
Click here to purchase your own copy of this book.

19 September, 2011


Well, it happened. My one-and-a-half year old daughter wore through her first pair of shoes. She loved these crocs. She wore them every day. We even had to wash them several times over the summer months - bare feet and rubber soles equal pretty smelly shoes!

And what do girls do when they need new shoes? Go shopping, of course! So, the ladies hit the shoe stores - just Toddler G and me. And my baby gal picked out her own pair of shiny new kicks. Perfect sneakers for running around the park and the house.

She wants to wear them all the time. And since they remind me of my own '80s childhood, I'm happy to let her! She is so proud of them. And very pleased with herself.

10 September, 2011


There are many remembrances happening in NYC this weekend for the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center events on September 11th, 2001. There's the major opening of the September 11th Memorial at Ground Zero. (And another in Pennsylvania for Flight 93.) And of course, the dozens of "possible threats" that keep us all a bit nervous - even if we don't want to admit it. But it was a simple artist's vision that caught my eye: rows and rows of empty chairs in Bryant Park. 2,753 empty chairs to be exact - one for every person who perished on that fateful day.

CBS New York reports, "Near the chairs, there's a row of manual typewriters where people can stop and record their thoughts..." It's striking simplicity like this, rather than pomp and circumstance, that really gets to me.

People are also sharing their stories - where they were on that Tuesday morning in September, ten years ago. With each other, with their schools, on their blogs, with the media. I wasn't living in New York when it happened. I was in Pittsburgh, in college, about an hour and a half from Shanksville, PA where Flight 93 went down. I was in tap class. We had just started our warm-ups when one gal's cell phone started ringing in her bag. Then our teacher's cell phone rang... then a few more. Then the words I heard started to piece themselves together. Airplanes. New York City. World Trade Center. Accident. Attack.

We all started - everyone started - to slowly leave their classes, looking for TVs or radios or a place to find some news, some information, about the day. I remember watching a very blurry television in the office on the performing arts floor. Then we were told to go home. All of downtown Pittsburgh was told to go home. We were evacuating - but I wasn't sure why. Everyone just started walking away from downtown. I think it was something about the U.S. Steel Tower being a possible target - because it was the tallest building in Pittsburgh? Or maybe everyone was just being extra cautious?

So, I went home. And I watched the TV non-stop. And I fell asleep to the news on the radio. And it was a bit of a blur. I only really knew a few people who lived in New York at the time; and only one that I really wanted to talk to - to make sure he was okay. And 11 months later, I packed a few bags and got on a bus to move to New York.

06 September, 2011


As a blogger, this quote really rings true to me!
"We are such a funny race, humans. Compelled to scratch our lives out in ink, on paper or rock. Whether it's a limestone wall or the pulp pages of a comic book, I suspect it's hard-wired in our DNA — the urge to record our lives."

—Matthew Cody, Powerless (p235)

01 September, 2011


I don't care if it is a Chipotle marketing campaign. This inspires me.
Plus, Chipotle is delicious.

"Coldplay's haunting classic 'The Scientist' is performed by country music legend Willie Nelson for the soundtrack of the short film entitled, "Back to the Start." The film, by film-maker Johnny Kelly, depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the errors of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. Both the film and the soundtrack were commissioned by Chipotle to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system."