- Sarah’s Mini Bio
- John’s Mini Bio
- Who We Think We Are
- Who This Blog is For (and Blog Rules)
- A Word About Our Style (and Accessibility)
One writer I know tells me that he sits down every morning and says to himself nicely, “It’s not like you don’t have a choice, because you do–you can either type or kill yourself.” – Excerpt from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird
On weekdays, I teach science at a public middle school in Baltimore. I have an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and I’m a graduate student of Environmental Engineering and Science at Johns Hopkins University. I always get to be a wife and a mother of four, which are my very favorite things. I don’t sleep very often and so I have mostly sworn off writing (or speaking) very coherently. I write whenever I can. I try not to speak that much because it cuts down on being overheard. I’m afraid of ordering food in restaurants, knocking on doors at anything remotely close to an audible volume, group clapping, volleyball, and small talk.
I don’t write because I enjoy it, really, I write because I enjoy having written. The act of writing reminds me of the beauty I’m surrounded with each day, to be still long enough to let it soak in, that people don’t like me as much if I don’t run hard and regularly, that true connection is invaluable, that laughter heals, and that sometimes people that tell you things like “laughter heals” are incomprehensible sucks. My writing is profoundly influenced by the sudden loss of my older brother in 2012, the loss of my father from cancer in 2015, and by the lessons great loss has taught me about life.
I have been a vociferous reader for all my adult life, and my library is an eclectic collection of philosophy, psychology, economics, business, history, religion and theology, the sciences, health and fitness, technology, music, and literary classics. I’ve been paid as an author, copy writer, film and TV composer, record producer, voice over artist, vocal instructor, guitarist, videographer, keyboardist, recording engineer, computer programmer, graphic designer, 3rd grade teacher, middle school music teacher, youth group director, nutritional advisor, and personal trainer. Don’t try and understand it. I don’t.
I’m a happily married father of 4, and I tend to scrawl most of my my ideas in between nameless shapes in the margins of real paper, or–if I’m out somewhere and really desperate–greasy napkins and paper plates.
Who Do We Think We Are?
However widely read we are, neither of us are certified economists, political scientists, biologists, geologists, or climatologists. We don’t claim to be; anyone who thinks we ought to be before we speak up about about issues like systemic fraud and the destruction of the earth has lost touch with what it means to be an informed citizen, much less a lover of their homeland.
To understand our stance in relation to specialists and their expertise, consider this question: do you think it’s sensible that only chefs should be permitted to enjoy meals at restaurants? It would be sensible to suggest that only trained chefs prepare the food, but that’s exactly the point: It is the duty of specialists to collect data and deliver it for others to use. Conversely, it is a citizen’s duty to be informed of the things delivered by specialists that have an effect on our society, and then to share it, discuss it, and respond in the best interests of society, humanity, and the Earth. That’s (some) of what we’re doing, here.
If that sounds foreign, if it seems like only experts should ever discuss those issues, it’s because we’ve stopped being citizens and contented ourselves with being subjects, pacified by the bread and circuses of our masters. Historically, this delivery from the specialists to the public was one of the primary duties of a Free Press, and its discussion and decision making the duty of a free assembly in the town hall. But there is no town hall assembly, and the press is bought and paid for, twisted into a propaganda mouthpiece for the elites. So its up to everyday people like us.
Ideas stand or fall on their own, they are independent of their thinkers. Falsehoods are false whether anyone points them out, and the truth stands firm even when no one is there to defend it. So we ask you not to flee under the numbing comforts of authoritarianism. Face the ideas on their own merits, and let them rise and fall as they deserve. We promise to do our best to vet our claims and provide a defense for any that are controversial.
“Who is This Blog For?”
The only ones unwelcome are those who aren’t willing to engage in civil discourse. We welcome those from the right and the left; we welcome Christians, Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists, and New Agers. You can’t all be right, of course, but that doesn’t mean we all can’t have a lot of fun poking holes in everything.
If you believe that you are in possession of all the facts you’ll ever need, or if you believe the world should stay exactly the way it is right now, I can’t promise you’ll get much benefit from what we publish, but you’re welcome to hang out as long as you’re still civil to those you believe are in error. The following sensible blog rules should suffice:
- Save your most acidic insults for concepts, not people.
- Don’t just call people idiots. If you think they’ve said something idiotic, take the time to demonstrate it. (It’s like they say in books about the craft of writing: show, don’t tell.)
- If you’re going to cuss, do it tastefully–think strong spice, not TV dinner.
- Do a little homework and fact-check yourself before making a controversial claim. Providing a trustworthy source is always a plus.
- Always try to be clear and coherent.
- Jokes, sarcasm, and satire are always welcome.
A Word about Our Style and Accessibility
We believe that clarity without misrepresentation or oversimplification should be the ultimate goal for anyone trying to communicate something of genuine value. We don’t see the point in the purposeful obfuscations of modern philosophy or the bone-dry jargon of technical scientific writing beyond what it preaches to the choir.
Having said that, we still can’t promise that we’ll get through to those whose brains have been whittled down to a wet bag of to 150 character squibs. We aren’t posting in their native tongue (cat memes, monosyllabic celebrity gossip), so we can safely expect to confound many of those pop culture addled, attention-ravaged anti-intellectual egalitarians who believe they deserve to be catered to without expending any effort to learn and understand the world they are consuming, who believe their uninformed opinions are worth as much as those who have spent great portions of their life energy in the effort to become informed.