The Origins of Culture

This column also appears in the Orange County Register.

Once upon a time when the young woman who would become me was a freshman at Cal Berkeley studying French, art history, anthropology, mythology, literature and on weekends, beer and poetic boys with long hair, she was lucky enough to get into a very crowded physical anthropology class taught by a professorial luminary whose name, almost four decades later, I can no longer recall. Continue reading “The Origins of Culture”

What are you doing right now…?

This column originally appeared in the Orange County Register.

In response to the queries of persistent readers who have been awaiting a new column since late June, I thank you for your notice and offer this little essay in response.  In case you’ve ever wondered, the English word essay comes from the French word essayer, meaning “to try.”  An essay represents an effort to formulate and communicate ideas.  An essay, therefore, is a writer’s attempt to use language to forge a connection with a reader. Continue reading “What are you doing right now…?”


This column originally appeared in the Orange County Register.

The very unstable economic surround in which we now find ourselves has unleashed an epidemic of anxiety-related complaints.  Stomach upsets, irritability, sleep disturbances, hives and rashes and unpleasantly intrusive thoughts or mental imagery have become increasingly common even among the usually serene and composed. Continue reading “Terribilities”

Isn’t it just a scandal…?

This column originally appeared in the Orange County Register.

One more time…

Once again, thin veneers of public pose have cracked exposing very private lives.  So common as to be utterly prosaic, another powerful politician has been caught in an extramarital tryst with a political groupie, a less dominant woman aroused by power. Continue reading “Isn’t it just a scandal…?”

Another Tragic Shooting

Upon answering the phone early one morning last week, I heard a friend ask tentatively, “Did you hear about the school shooting yesterday?”  “Of course,” I responded, wondering why this particular shooting inspired a phone call.  “That was where I went to school,” she said sadly and paused.  “That was my college.” Continue reading “Another Tragic Shooting”