Apr 042019

Evanston RoundTable, April 4, 2019 Reflecting on it later, he decided it was wonderful happenstance, “pocketing the key of knowledge” in that way. It had happened, as many wonderful things do, on a visit to the Evanston Public Library, where he had gone to find a Tolstoy CD to play in his car. He loved the building, that beautiful red-brick […click to read more…]

Mar 212019

Evanston RoundTable, March 21, 2019 It would be interesting to hold a contest for the “next worst” sin. Surely, despite its curiously low ranking in the Ten Commandments (number six, below respecting your parents), murder tops the list. It is so violent, so irrevocable. But even murder is not, as they say, an open and shut case. I want to […click to read more…]

Mar 082019

Evanston RoundTable, March 7, 2019 Five times in our nation’s history, including twice in the last generation, the will of the people has been subverted by a process that is obsolete and undemocratic. I am referring, of course, to the Electoral College. It is hard to justify its continued existence. Every four years it disenfranchises a minority of citizens in […click to read more…]

Feb 212019

Evanston RoundTable, Feb. 21, 2019 When I exercise doing planks, I pick out 60 seconds on the clock and start counting to myself. When I pass five seconds, I note that one-twelfth of the exercise is done. At 10 seconds it’s one-sixth. Fifteen seconds is a quarter. Twenty seconds is a third, 30 a half, and so on. In other […click to read more…]

Feb 072019

Evanston RoundTable, Feb. 7, 2019 There’s a famous video on YouTube—blandly titled “Selective Attention Test”—of six college students passing basketballs to each other. Viewers are instructed to count the number of times the students wearing white shirts pass the ball. The answer is 15, but that’s not the real point. About 25 seconds into the video (plot spoiler!) someone dressed […click to read more…]

Jan 242019

Evanston RoundTable, Jan. 24, 2019 Almost 2 million Americans take to the skies every day. Flying is fast, efficient and safe, far safer than driving, as we are constantly assured. Yet plane crashes occur, some survivable, others not. Ten years ago this month Capt. Chesley Sullivan landed a US Airways flight in the Hudson River. There were no fatalities. A […click to read more…]

Jan 102019

Evanston RoundTable, Jan. 10, 2019 There are two ways to come at “Green Book,” the new biopic about Don Shirley, the renowned African American pianist and composer who died in 2013. The movie purports to tell the “inspired-by-a-true story” account of Shirley’s 1962 concert tour through the south with his jazz trio, at a time when Jim Crow restrictions were […click to read more…]

Jan 102019

Evanston RoundTable, Jan. 10, 2019 Luck is usually considered to be random, inconstant and, well…lucky, something other people seem to have more of. “Success or failure,” the dictionary says, “apparently brought on by chance rather than through one’s own actions.” But that definition obscures the true meaning of luck, which might be more accurately said to be good fortune brought […click to read more…]

Dec 272018

Evanston RoundTable, Dec. 27, 2018 What if we could decide that betting on love is a good bet, a wager worth making? The 17th century French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal famously made a similar bet, only it was wagered on God. Pascal said the effort to bet for or against the existence of God was the same. But if […click to read more…]