Author Archives: RJ

About RJ

Retired English prof (Ph. D., UNC), who likes to garden, blog, pursue languages (especially Spanish) and to share in serious discussion on vital issues such as global warming, the role of government, energy alternatives, etc. Am a vegan and, yes, a tree hugger enthusiastically. If you write me, I'll answer.

Amy Lowell’s “A Fixed Idea”: An Exploration in Paradox

A Fixed Idea What torture lurks within a single thought When grown too constant; and however kind, However welcome still, the weary mind Aches with its presence. Dull remembrance taught Remembers on unceasingly; unsought The old delight is with us … Continue reading

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Artificial Intelligence: Will It Take Your Job?

“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds” (Robert Oppenheimer, quoting the Bhagavad Gita following the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima) Recently, my daughter shared details of her trip as an Amazon employee to Las Vegas to attend … Continue reading

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Alzheimer Breakthrough? Bredeson’s The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline

Death has many doorways. Yet most of us go by way of heart disease, cancer, or respiratory disease; in fact, 50%. The good thing is that we can preempt these diseases, if not reverse them through lifestyle changes. Not so … Continue reading

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Does American Sign Language (ASL) Have a Future?

We all have hobbies or special interests. Mine has been studying languages. As a child, it literally became an obsession. I’d buy paperbacks with my meager allowance, seemingly offering a pathway to fluency in German, a language I desperately wanted … Continue reading

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Does the Qur’an Preach Violence?

Yesterday came news of the slaughter of up to 300 Sufi worshippers exiting a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai at the close of prayer, among them, twenty-seven children. It isn’t the first time such a murderous attack on unarmed civilians, even … Continue reading

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Elegy for Iris: A Review

“We can only learn to love by loving.” —Iris Murdoch I’ve just read John Bayley’s Elegy for Iris, his moving memoir of his wife, renowned British novelist Iris Murdoch—26 novels in addition to nonfiction—who succumbed to Alzheimer’s in 1999 at … Continue reading

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My hummingbird friends

My hummingbird friends descend upon my garden landscape each spring, or like clockwork with the advent of April, having journeyed more than a thousand miles from their winter feeding grounds to the south or in Mexico. They stay with me, … Continue reading

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NFL Hypocrisy

The media has been all over this story of Sunday’s NFL response to Trump’s provocative tweet that NFL team owners should fire players who don’t stand proud when the national anthem is played: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of … Continue reading

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Love for All Seasons

  “I hope that I will be the last victim in China’s long record of treating words as crime.” Liu Xiaobo (1955-2017) China isn’t usually a quotidian staple of the Westerner’s mindset. Let’s face it: our culture operates in Eurocentric … Continue reading

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Baseball’s Decline

Last night, the Cleveland Indians won their twentieth straight game, tying the 2000 Oakland A’s, an American League record. Win one more, and they’ll have tied the 1935 Chicago Cubs. Still, they have a ways to go for the all … Continue reading

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