I freely admit that this "Skeptic's Collection" column is shamelessly self-indulgent. I wrote it about a year ago this coming Christmas, and it was one of the 2 or 3 most fun columns I have ever written in the five-plus years I have been Beguine's Skeptic-In-Residence. So, as a Christmas present to myself, I am republishing it here. Enjoy and merry Christmas!
I have good news and I have bad news.
The good news is that the week preceding Christmas Eve, my wife and I took the ferry up to Victoria, BC, where we had high tea at the venerable Empress Hotel. The weather was cold enough in Victoria to make Seattle by comparison seem like a giant hot-yoga class, since both our hotel and the Empress fronted the harbor. Notwithstanding, Vi
This “Skeptic’s” column tackles a subject that is both delicate and volatile: suicide. People who have known me for a fairly long time are well acquainted with a time in my life – during the time in Boston at Harvard and later at Seattle University during the equally ill-advised quest for the MDiv -- when I was undergoing episodes of very severe, quite arguably pre-suicidal, clinical depression. So – for the benefit of those people, for “my mariners, souls that have toiled and wrought and thought with me” – I want to emphasize that the following column does not describe me as I am now. Quite the contrary. I am not in crisis. I am not depressed. I am not afflicted with suicidal ideation – a term I came to know all too intimately during the “winter of [my] discontent”. So those of you
In October of 2017, I published what I intended as a more detailed examination of all three of the main clauses of the First Amendment: the "establishment" clause, the "free exercise" clause, and the "abridgement" clause (encompassing freedom of speech, the press, and assembly. Life got in the way, however, and only the first part of the column, on the "establishment" clause, ever appeared. Since then, however, and largely as a result of the continuing assault of the Trump Administration and other parts of the American fascist community on First Amendment liberties, I have returned to the subject of the First Amendment, and have written the other two parts -- "free exercise" and "abridgement" -- that I neglected back in October of last year. In the interest of continuity, I am re-publ