The title for this blog originated with use of the term “practical idealist”
in this 1996 opinion piece, which asked: “To what kind of work should a practical idealist aspire?” A century and a half earlier, Emerson,
in his 1841 essay Circles, wrote: “There are degrees in idealism. We learn first to play with it academically.
. . . Then we see in the heyday of youth and poetry that it may be true, that it is true in gleams and fragments.
Then, its countenance waxes stern and grand, and we see that it must be true. It now shows itself ethical and practical.” John
Dewey and Mahatma Gandhi embraced practical idealism in the 20th century, as did UN Secretary General U Thant. Al Gore
invoked it in a 1998 speech. In the context of this blog, the term is meant to convey idealism tempered but not overwhelmed
by realism: a search for the ideal on a path guided by common sense.
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Expanding the Pool of Blood Donors
8:18 am edt
A December 2014 Times article by Sabrina Tavernise reported the FDA’s easing of what (since 1983) had been a lifetime ban on blood donors who are gay or bisexual
men. However, many restrictions remain, including prohibition of donors who have traveled to malaria
zones within the past 12 months.
That malaria provision kept me from donating for the
past year, after a trip to India, until yesterday.
Still, there are many opportunities for most people to give blood.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Grand Canyon, National Parks
8:06 am edt
National Park Week begins today and continues through April 26.
Coincidentally, my family just
returned from our first trip to the Grand Canyon (its south rim, in our case).
This natural wonder is stunning, as expected. It is also under threat.
Last summer, Kevin Fedarko described this threat, prompting letters to the New York Times.
recent days, we visited the Grand Canyon and then also Glen Canyon, the latter from below via a raft on the Colorado River.
Being at the Grand Canyon, after having read about the threats to it, inspired
me to donate to the National Park Foundation.
Our parks and wilderness areas should be widely enjoyed and preserved by the people who together own these lands
for future generations. The National Park Service's website has a page in tribute to Theodore Roosevelt, who understood this.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Academic, Athletic, and Financial Priorities
8:27 pm edt
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Benefits of Medical Marijuana
3:25 pm edt
An April 2009 (April 2) post addressed “Decriminalizing Marijuana, and Its
Medicinal Use”—and invoked a friend of mine who suffers severe digestive pain while enduring the effects of a
A March 2013 post mentioned that same friend, a U.S. Army veteran in a quadriplegic
When we visited yesterday, he was appreciating the benefits of a Connecticut
license for medical marijuana that he recently received. From marijuana cookies (a rare treat at an
exorbitant $9 per cookie) to a vaporizer, he is finding some relief from this drug.
Connecticut is considering lowering the age restriction of 18 to allow patients with Dravet’s syndrome, a type of childhood epilepsy, to use marijuana to counter seizures.