The good news? America has more trees than it did 100 years ago. Aggressive efforts to replace decimated old-growth forests paid off. The bad news? The new forests have a far less diverse selection of tree species than the originals. The fresh batches are often crowded into smaller spaces, so wildfires are more massive and devastating.
In 1987, college freshman Mike Hayes was having trouble paying for his University of Illinois education. He appealed for help to famous newspaper columnist Bob Greene, who asked each of his many readers to send Hayes a penny. The response was tidal.
If Pope Francis isn’t traveling, he comes out to meet the public in St. Peter’s Square every Wednesday. During one such event last January, he took a few moments to bestow tender attention on a talking parrot that belonged to a male stripper.
The word “abracadabra” is a spell that stage magicians say at the climax of their tricks: a catalyst that supposedly makes a rabbit materialize from a hat or an assistant disappear in a puff of smoke. It’s not real sorcery. It’s an illusion perpetrated by the magician’s hocus-pocus. But “abracadabra” has a little-known history, as an incantation real magicians used to generate authentic wizardry, that can be traced back to Gnostic magi of the second century.
“My definition of a devil is a god who has not been recognized,” said mythologist Joseph Campbell. “It is a power in you to which you have not given expression, and you push it back. And then, like all repressed energy, it builds up and becomes dangerous to the position you’re trying to hold.”
17th-century writer Rene Descartes is regarded as the father of modern philosophy and founder of rationalism. His famous catchphrase is a centerpiece of Western intellectual tradition: “I think, therefore I am.” Here’s what’s amusing and alarming about the man: He read almost nothing besides the Bible and the work of Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas.
You can’t give what you don’t have. Here’s a corollary: You can sort of half-give what you half-have, but that may lead to messy complications and turn out to be worse than giving nothing. Devote yourself to acquiring a full supply of what you want to give. Be motivated by your frustration at not being able to give it yet. Call on your stymied generosity to be the driving force to inspire you to get missing magic. When you’ve got it, give it.
What does he think of the Jacksonville City Council’s crackdown, and picking up drunk strangers?
One of your allies or loved ones will get caught in his or her own trap. Your response will be crucial for how the rest of the story goes. On one hand, you shouldn’t climb in the trap with them and get tangled. On the other hand, it won’t serve your long-term interests to be cold and unhelpful. What’s the best strategy? First, sympathize with their pain, but don’t make it your own. Second, tell the blunt truth in the kindest tone possible. Third, offer limited support without compromising your freedom or integrity.
In 1936, Libran author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about the “crack-up” he’d experienced years earlier, including this tough realization: “I had been only a mediocre caretaker of most of the things left in my hands, even my talent.” This is a seed for your oracle.