I spent about a week in Yogyakarta several years ago. I can’t even remember who I met, what I did, or what kind of place I stayed in. I want to put a face on it; I’m sure I laughed and ate and argued with Indonesians while I was there. But I can’t remember. [End […]

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Humans talk. That much is clear. What I find interesting is how strong the urge is. When we experience something unusual, whether it’s beautiful or terrible, the first thing we want to do (once out of harm’s way) is to tell someone about it. Until we share it, there’s something incomplete about the experience. It’s […]

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Should You Pay Your Debts?

A friend recently lent me the DVDs of the series of interviews called Errol Morris’ First Person. For those who don’t know, these are one-on-one interviews with assorted interesting (but not hyper-famous) people, filmed in a highly stylized way. Errol Morris did “The Fog of War,” which I really liked, so I was interested in […]

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Bad Excuses

I won’t even get into whether or not the NSA should be able to get records of all Americans’ phone calls. I will just quickly register my annoyance with one justification I keep hearing. I keep hearing, about this and the last possibly illegal spying adventure, that if we had only been doing this earlier, […]

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More Civil War (Still Not Iraq)

I recently read Frederick Douglass’s autobiography. I have previously wondered whether the Civil War was worth the human cost to stop American slavery a generation before it would have stopped anyway. I’m sure I’ll wonder that again after the emotional impact of the book has worn off. But in the meantime, I say that no […]

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Snake Bite!

The Discovery Channel has podcasts. Over the weekend, I listened to a very annoying one about snake bites. The content was interesting, but the announcer’s voice was trying to be deep and dark and menacing. Very lowest-common-denominator snake hype. (Sort of like titling a post, “Snake Bite!”) Interesting item: Scientists believe that constrictors don’t kill […]

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Nothing New under the Sun

Recently, while reading about Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in the early 1980’s, I was struck by the way that Israeli politicians ignored, or cherry-picked, intelligence in order to achieve a political goal. Sound familiar? Israel’s Secret Wars, about Mossad, IDF Intelligence, Shin Bet, and the rest, is an amazing look into the kinds of stuff […]

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More God Stuff

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m reading a book about the debate over separation of church and state. Almost right away, and before getting on to anything resembling his actual point, the author (Noah Feldman) threw out a side comment that made me blink. In his Introduction, Feldman tells us that his world-view […]

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In God We Disagree

I’m reading Divided by God, by Noah Feldman. I just started it, so this post isn’t really a review or discussion about his book, but he did make me think about a few things right from the get-go. He’s trying to come up with a compromise between people (like me) who would have no overtly […]

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Big Love is coming to an HBO channel near you, and has sparked a bit of conversation about polygamy. Is polygamy ok? Well, I mean, isn’t it? What’s the moral reason that men shouldn’t be able to marry two women, or women marry two men? As long as all parties agree to the deal, I […]

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