I had never thought much about physical disabilities until the autumn of 2012, when an airplane flight from Hell from Wichita, KS, to Denver – long horror story ... please don't ask! -- squeezed me into a last-row seat of a tiny Embraer jet aircraft for four hours, resulting in a severely compressed sciatic nerve that basically crippled me for several months. At first, the pain was so intense that I thought I would die, then later on, the pain was so intense I was afraid I would not. (My wife and I slept in our first-floor guest suite for some period of time.) Gradually, thanks mainly to the intervention of an excellent chiropractor, I incrementally, over a period of about four months, recovered to the point that, instead of walking half the length of my driveway, I can now walk perh
For the last several weeks, I have been following the news out of the UK about the Parliament’s vote on PM Theresa May’s foredoomed plan for Brexit, including one installment of “Prime Minister’s questions,” which, for obvious reasons, centered on the still-falling debris from the May government’s unprecedented 230-vote blow-up of Mrs. May's Brexit deal. It had all the tragic dignity of, say, Sophocles’ Oedipus trilogy: you know what is going to happen, but for that very reason, you simply cannot bring yourself to avert your gaze. I was all the more horrified because, knowing the Parliament vote was imminent and that it would be followed by the 29 March deadline imposed by Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, I had begun some weeks before to read about the European Union (EU), Brexit, and
Have you ever had the experience of noticing a certain pattern in a wild variety of contexts, a pattern that occurs so consistently that you feel it simply has to mean something … but you have no idea what? I say “in a wild variety of contexts” to rule out cases of patterns that occur within the same context, even though, at the time, you may have no idea of the cause. I remember back in the early 1960s, when I was in junior-high school, I went on a “geology jag”. I spent several months reading books on geology, geophysics, and volcanology that noted with perplexity the mysterious – in the early '60s – pattern whereby volcanic activity tended to be concentrated around the circumference of, e.g., the Pacific Basin, what we today call the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” and similar places.