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It was about the beginning of September, 1664, that I, among the rest of my neighbours, heard in ordinary discourse that the plague was returned again in Holland; for it had been very violent there, and particularly at Amsterdam and Rotterdam, in the year 1663, whither, they say, it was brought, some said from Italy, […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. American Emergency Medicine Works

 

This is both a brief story in itself and preface to another tale, “Strategic Logistics Work.” The point of observation: the Valley of the Sun, Maricopa County, the population center of Arizona. The time: summer 2018 and last weekend, March 21-22, 2020.

Foreshadowing: It was a normal summer Saturday afternoon in 2017. Which is to say, it was a dry heat in the Valley of the Sun. I was out for a 2.5-mile brisk walk when I got the urge to sprint. Nevermind that I had not done a wind sprint over a year, I just had the urge. Pulling up at the end of a 200-yard dash, I noticed something was a bit odd. My heart rate was not slowly dropping. I got indoors, sat down, and drank water. No change. In fact, I was getting increasingly light-headed, even with my head down, so I had someone dial 911.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QOTD: Every Instant of Every Life

 

The “Lord’s Prayer” is not to be prayed with resignation: “Father, what will happen will happen,” or “Since it’s an order, I’ll obey”–as though we were being called to attention by a spiritual commander-in-chief. Such an attitude would indicate that “the servant does not know what the master is doing” (John 15:15), which is not at all the case. He who has given up his life guides us along his path, making us acquainted with God’s will so that we do it freely. And the will of God is that each of us contributes to the salvation of mankind. Once we know this, a prodigious perspective opens up before us, affecting both our prayers and daily existence.

….

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

I am a safety professional. I am familiar with plenty of cases where people did not follow the rules and people ended up dead. Trevor Kletz has the highly readable What Went Wrong? and Still Going Wrong – find them in your library for some stories that will raise the hair on your neck. Alternatively, […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

When I studied in Israel during my junior year of college, I was very excited to learn that during our first summer we would be traveling to an archaeological dig for an entire week! I had dreams of finding ancient menorahs, beautiful pottery, and mysterious relics. Although it was definitely a unique experience, it certainly […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Rage and Realization

 

“There is a story of a great Samurai who comes to visit the Zen master, Hakuin. The Samurai approaches the Zen master and bows dutifully, asking, ‘Sir, I wish to understand the difference between heaven and hell.’ The Zen master looks at the Samurai and, eyeing him from head to toe, says, ‘I would tell you but I doubt that you have the keenness of wit to understand.’ The Samurai pulls back in astonishment. ‘Do you know who you are speaking to?’ he huffs. ‘Not much,” says the Zen master, “I really think you are probably too dull to understand.’ ‘What?’ says the Samurai. ‘How can you talk to me like this?’ ‘Oh, don’t be silly,’ says the Zen master. ‘Who do you think you are? And that thing hanging by your waist. You call that a sword? It’s more like a butter knife.’ The Samurai, becoming enraged draws his sword and raises it over his head to strike the Zen master. ‘Ah,’ says the Zen master. ‘That is hell.’ The Samurai’s eyes shine with recognition as he bows and sheathes his sword. ‘And that,’ says the Zen master, ‘is heaven.’” — Stephen Levine, Who Dies?

Stress is running through America like a restless stream, breaching its boundaries. Unless you live in a cave, you’re not immune. And the stress craves a voice, a way to make itself known. It shows up when we voice our impatience at our spouse, or yell at a child for a minor issue, or rant at a co-worker. Many of our actions may be bloodless, but they are leaving tiny wounds in those we care about. Those of us who normally have long fuses are erupting, surprising ourselves and those around us.

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The Quote of the Day is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. You don’t have to be intelligent, pithy, or eloquent yourself. You can share a written passage that you find interesting, or even something from a favorite movie. You can present the naked quote, or add your thoughts on how it applies […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Respecting Work: The Wisdom of “The Essential Craftsman”

 

There’s a story about a young man who hopes someday to be an airline pilot. Having to pursue his dream “from the ground up,” he finds himself servicing the lavatories for small jets on a private ramp. Employed by a penny-pinching manager, there’s an unresolved repair ticket on the waste pump hose. Due to this malfunction, about once a week the young man gets sprayed with a combination of “blue-juice” and human waste. One evening he comes home after work, stinking of disinfectant and poo. His bride suggests that maybe he should look for a new job. “What!” he exclaims, incredulously, “and get out of aviation?”

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

There are two major monthly Group Writing projects. One is the Quote of the Day project, managed by @vectorman. This is the other project, in which Ricochet members claim one day of the coming month to write on a proposed theme. This is an easy way to expose your writing to a general audience, with […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QOTD: Further Language from Truthful James

 

I have taken life-long satisfaction in the writings of L. M. Montgomery, a Canadian author most well known for Anne of Green Gables. Re-reading one of her collections of short stories the other day (Chronicles of Avonlea*), I came across the following quote:

Do I sleep, do I dream, do I wonder and doubt?
Is things what they seem, or is visions about?

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Farm Life and the American Work Ethic

 

If you pay attention to the trends in agriculture in rural America, you are probably aware that the number of farms in the country, which consolidated sharply between 1950 and 1970 and declined markedly in the 1980s, has been steadily declining since 2000, hovering around 2 million but slowly declining after a significant uptick in 2007. Two million farms are feeding a nation of 300 million and indeed the world. We are the top exporter of all agricultural products worldwide, far ahead of #2 (the Netherlands) and #3 (Germany), and doing it with an astonishingly tiny farm workforce. You might think that this means those few people work like, well, workhorses.

And you’d be right. I had the pleasure, no, the advantage of growing up on a dairy farm that had survived that consolidation between the ’50s and ’70s that I mentioned above. We mostly kept that iconic breed of American dairy cow, the Holstein, with some Brown Swiss, some Jerseys, and some Guernseys to keep the gene pool healthy.

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“I challenge myself everywhere, onstage, on the golf course. Hey, isn’t that the point of it all? To keep getting better? Otherwise why do it?” –Hal Linden Linden turns 89 today, and as far as I can tell is still doing what he loves, and aiming to improve. More

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Member Post

 

I had intended to use the Co-Op farm tractor as a parable of the work-home balance that some people advocate. But after checking some of my facts I found it isn’t quite the parable I thought it was. I’ll forge ahead anyway. People sometimes talk about the need for a clear demarcation between work and […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: We All Need a Sabbath Right About Now

 

“Shabbat, one of the first commands Moses gave the Jewish people, remains as relevant now as it was then. It tells us that happiness lies not in what we buy but in what we are; that true commitment is to be found not by seeking what we lack but by giving thanks for what we have; and that we should never allow ourselves to be so busy making a living that we have all too little time to live. Above all, we should never be led by the crowd when it stampedes in pursuit of gain, for that is how gold becomes the Golden Calf.” — Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Covenant and Conversation

Many of us have extra time on our hands that we’d prefer not to have. People have lost their jobs, activities have been canceled, visits have been postponed, vacations are on hold. Regardless of your circumstances, everyone could use a Sabbath right about now.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Working Oneself to Death

 

This little missive provoked a lot of likes in the running commentary we call the PIT at Ricochet.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Working Up a Playlist for Social Distancing and Self-Quarantine

 

Just to be helpful, and because there was white space in the monthly theme calendar, I give you my first cut at the Social Distancing and Self Quarantine Playlist.

Let’s start off nice and easy, with a tune from those quintessential boys of summer:

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Closing of the American Mind

 

“In looking at [a teen-ager leaving home for the first time] we are forced to reflect on what he should learn if he is to be called educated; we must speculate on what the human potential to be fulfilled is. In the specialties we can avoid such speculation, and the avoidance of them is one of specialization’s charms. But here it is a simple duty. What are we to teach this person? The answer may not be evident, but to attempt to answer the question is already to philosophize and to begin to educate….

“The University has to stand for something. The practical effects of unwillingness to think positively about the contents of a liberal education are, on the one hand, to ensure that all the vulgarities of the world outside the university will flourish within it, and, on the other, to impose a much harsher and more illiberal necessity on the student– the one given by the imperial and imperious demands of the specialized disciplines unfiltered by unifying thought….

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Transcending our Illusions

 

“We suffer primarily not from our vices or our weaknesses, but from our illusions. We are haunted, not by reality, but by those images we have put in their place.” — Daniel Boorstin

Trying to get an honest perspective on our lives can be a most difficult venture. You’ll notice that I didn’t call for our seeing reality clearly; every single person’s reality is unique to himself/herself. In fact, I’d argue that there is no objective reality, at least not one that we can perceive and agree upon.

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“Help, Help I’m being oppressed!” Peasant, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I had not heard the word oppression before watching this hilarious British comedy. However, I knew one thing: I wanted to oppress the {expletive} out of that peasant. Every time I heard the word oppression, oppress, or oppressor, it was used by whiny […]

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