Once during an interview, when asked for his definition of paradise, Johnny Cash replied simply: “This morning, with her, having coffee.”
It’s a strikingly beautiful phrase, though one that lost its initial impact on me after repeated exposure during a back-to-back-to-back series of trips to Nashville (home of both The Johnny Cash Museum and the Country Music Hall of Fame), where it was printed on everything from coffee mugs to throw pillows in area boutiques and cafés.
For that reason, I didn’t think much about that phrase again until last year. A little background on the coffee front: I’d been a beat reporter at the local NPR affiliate in Louisville, Ky., for several years.
The station was in a central corridor of the downtown area and less than two blocks from a miniature deli called Nancy’s Bagel Box. Daily coffee from there was non-negotiable because of proximity. I didn’t think about whether it was “good coffee,” I suppose — but it went down easy and powered me through early morning editorial meetings.
Any dog owner knows how hard it is to leave their pup for an extended period of time.
We wonder: Do they miss us when we’re gone? Do they know how long we’ve been gone for? Or even worse, do they think we’ve abandoned them?
The way humans are excitedly greeted by their dogs upon return — and the way many whine when we leave — suggests they recognize our absence, and mourn it. However, it’s hard to know what is really going on in a dog’s brain — perhaps they just miss the food we give them? — partly because we can’t really communicate with them.
Too many white men suffer from irrational fears and deep-seated insecurity — and the social consequences are dire
By Joe Hayden, Published September 19, 2021 12:00PM (EDT)
I once lived next door to a guy in Memphis who owned more than a hundred firearms, some of which were strewn around his two-bedroom house and even lying on the kitchen counter.
I saw them when he asked me to come over one afternoon to help him move his 700-pound gun safe. Neil, as I’ll call him, also kept two large dogs, one of which was a cane corso that was so unpredictable it couldn’t be allowed near his two young children.
Neil was a nice guy but perpetually anxious and nervous, which in turn made me uneasy about his family’s safety. I worried about a gun accident or one of the dogs getting loose and mauling a passerby.
The fact is, there are a lot of Neils in America — white guys in a near-constant state of fear about their personal safety.
And rather than being merely pitiful, guys like Neil are actually dangerous.
The bitter culture wars over the teaching of evolution in public schools dominated headlines throughout the 2000s, in large part because of the Bush administration’s coziness with evangelicals who rejected the science on evolution.
Yet flash forward to 2021 — when the acrimonious battle over science has shifted from evolution to pandemic public health — and few youngsters are apt to have any idea what “intelligent design” even means.
Curiously, despite the right seizing on face mask science and immunology as new battlegrounds in the culture war, the fight over evolution is all but forgotten. In fact, for many Americans, it is completely forgotten.
Though it might seem hard to believe, Americans are more scientifically literate than ever in 2021 — so much so that creationism has become a minority opinion. And Americans are likewise been able to identify intelligent design and other forms of creationism as the inherently religious theories that they are.
At the time of this writing, at least 120 people have been confirmed dead because of severe flooding in Western Europe.
It is tragically likely that, when this story is over, the number will be significantly higher. A German weather service (DWD) spokesman told CNN that in some areas there has not been this much rainfall in 100 years.
These extreme weather events are inextricably linked to climate change, politicians and experts have noted.
But there is another culprit, one above, that is also affecting the weather: a “wobble” in the orbit of the Moon. Indeed, only days before the flooding, a study in the journal Nature Climate Change by scientists from NASA and the University of Hawaii warned that the Earth may experience record flooding in the mid-2030s because of changes in the Moon’s orbit.
You do something strange every day. You consume fictions. It’s such an omnipresent habit, shared by all, that we rarely consider the oddity of it.
I’m a fiction writer myself, but I’m also a neuroscientist, so this activity fascinates me. What’s the cognitive utility of learning things that aren’t true? We’re evolved biological beings who need to understand the world to survive, and yet all facts we learn about Hogwarts are literally false. How can any of this information be useful?
Still, fictions surround us. I grew up in my mother’s independent bookstore and I’ve been a writer since I can remember. A significant change in my lifetime is that media, like TV channels, books, magazines, and films, have been condensed into a single one-stop shop: the screen. I call this the supersensorium. Screens are now supermarkets for entertaining experiences. Such easy access to fictions means we often binge watch, we stuff our faces.