Turkey Day 2020

Just because I’m delicious doesn’t mean I am food

45 years ago today, I ate my last traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The day on our calendar that is most closely associated with killing other species of animals, and of enjoying the consumption of its flesh, seemed the perfect day to become a vegetarian.

I have nothing against carnivores. Some of my best friends, and so on. In fact, almost all of my friends and the ones I love are carnivores. It is very much a part of the nature for animals to kill and eat other animals. A human eating a turkey is no less natural than a lion eating a gazelle, or a fish eating another fish. But vegetarianism is natural too. In fact, most of our primate relatives and ancestors were and are mainly vegetarian.

The majority of the food consumed by primates today–and every indication is for the last thirty million years–is vegetable, not animal.

Rob Dunn, in Scientific American
A shaft of light in the darkness

For painfully obvious reasons, this Thanksgiving is like no other, and some traditions need to be altered this year, or at least postponed until next year. Still, there are things for which we can give thanks. I am grateful, even more this year, for my family and friends, and for the creative spirit that flows through our species and flowers in such spectacular fashion and variety. And I give thanks for all the doctors, nurses, researchers, and technicians who have worked so hard, since the beginning of this pandemic, to develop a vaccine that will bring this nightmare to an end.

Stay safe, and remember – this time next year we will have many new wonders to be thankful for. And, for anyone considering vegetarianism, I highly recommend Thanksgiving as the perfect day to begin enjoying the lifestyle.

Bloggiversary 2020

Seven years ago today I became a blogger. I had just quit a band that, in one incarnation or another, had included me as a member for about 30 years, and I needed a new creative project. So I blogged. I had been keeping a journal for a while before launching the blog and it was a surprisingly natural transition from notebook to website.

2020 might be the worst year this world has seen since the end of the second World War. Even with the promise of a vaccine in the next 3-6 months, many thousands will die of Covid-19 before it is widely available. Unless you’re one of those people who believe it is all just a liberal hoax, in which case many thousands will still die, even more than would have died if nobody believed it was a hoax.

While the wider world was suffering unspeakable tragedies, and some of my connections to family and friends were obstructed by social distancing, I spent more time this year than any other in my life treating my creative work like a job, and wound up producing my first album.

In a world without live music, theater, and museums to quench creative thirsts, we need to find new wellsprings of sustenance in the invisible, internal, and eternal. It seems like a dream to think that by this time next year we might be able to mingle freely again without fear of contagion, and I hope to see you out there in that new world. We can show each other what is behind our masks.

The Lopsided Friendship and The Other Side

She turned 30 a couple of months before we met. I turned 50 a few months before that. Consequently, ours was a lopsided friendship, kind of like riding a bike with a flat tire. She said things like, “I don’t want something to just get me through the night,” and I said things like, “I worry about coming on too strong.” Neither of us needed to worry: We were frozen, beyond the reach of fire.

Each morning I stop, with a sock and shoe on one foot, before I move on to the other, to remember, and say a silent prayer to the goddess of love. I ask her for forgiveness, and for relief of suffering – inflicted and endured – but mostly I ask for the warmth and illumination that only she can provide.

I will not know until I reach the end if there is a judgment to be passed and a reckoning to confront but, if there is, I will find some comfort in the fact that my greatest sins were the ones I did not commit. I know there are few penalties left that I need to fear. And I know that the people waiting for me on the other side of the mountain have laughter in their hearts.

Veterans Day 2020

Washington by N.C. Wyeth

This Veterans Day, let’s remember that every soldier to join forces under the American flag was risking their life for democracy – the right of all our people to have their say in who governs them.

This year’s election saw the greatest percentage of American citizens to vote since 1968. In the middle of the worst pandemic in a century, 62% of eligible voters cast their ballot this year. That alone is reason to celebrate. The percentage that voted for Joe Biden is the greatest for a challenger against an incumbent president since FDR defeated Herbert Hoover in 1932, a little better than Ronald Reagan did against Jimmy Carter in 1980. The election officials, poll workers, and vote counters of all political backgrounds and beliefs did an incredible job, under unprecedented difficulties, to protect the rights of all Americans to have their voices heard. We owe them our thanks in fulfilling the trust that our veterans placed in their hands.

And let’s never forget that this year, the president of the US, and his political party, are lying to us about the integrity of our electoral system with their baseless claims of voter fraud. They are purposely undermining democracy for their own ends, and in the process insulting the sacrifice of every veteran.