How to Stay Married

So the goddess and I have launched a podcast called How to Stay Married. We explore what we’ve learned over 31 years of staying with it in hopes of helping others figure out How to Stay Married.

Take a listen…—episode-1—Introductions-e147q7

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Black Panther Pregaming, Part II

With four days until The Black Panther leaps into theatres, here’s a look at T’Challa’s first appearance, in Fastastic Four numbers 52 and 53, published in July and August, 1966. I was four at that time, so I didn’t experience this tale until way later (after discovering him in The Avengers numbers 57 and 58).

The clip is only a few minutes long but the celebration is sincere!

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Black Panther Pregaming!

Black Panther Pregaming Podcast


Alexander Simmons and Christopher Ryan discuss the roots of the Black Panther, creative contributions that are reflected in the new movie, and why we may need the Panther now more than ever.

(Link below)


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The Value of Fire and Fury

While not perfect, Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury – Inside the Trump White House offers value Americans need right now.

The White House is working diligently to discredit this portrait of a presidency’s first months but reporters and Washington insiders have generally agreed that, overall, Wolff got it right. Herein lies the value of this work.

The basic fact is an enormous number of Americans are perplexed by this president and his staff. So many of us really want to know what is going on.

Here’s what we know for sure:

he uses foul language while doing the work of the highest office in the land;

demonstrates sexist and racist tendencies;

taunts leaders of other nations;

hurts the USA’s standing in the eyes of the rest of the world;

attacks anyone perceived as an enemy including allies who make the mistake of getting credit he believes should be his;

both shows ignorance of, and contradicts himself on, his own policies;

creates almost daily chaos with tweets that often echo something he just saw on TV or was told by another person;

And insists he’s doing a great job.

How can this be?

Veteran New Yorkers will shrug and say this has always been Trump. Maybe they are at least partially correct.

Others will say he’s a damaged rich kid who is still overcompensating for 1) a disapproving father, 2) the pampered academics that serious money buys, and 3) the sidestepping of military service via his debilitating bone spurs. Maybe they are at least partially correct as well.

But that’s not the whole story.

The fact is, it is not all Trump’s fault.

Fire and Fury shows us that here is an aging political neophyte of dubious mental and emotional stability being pulled in competing directions by numerous conflicting voices that express opposing agendas and openly mislead this confused, undisciplined mind on a daily, maybe hourly, basis.

That scenario explains so much about the widening gyre that is the White House. Taking a look into the Trump twister via this book will not make us feel more confident about what is happening but it will offer clarity of what ails the struggling leader of the free world.

Understanding is a crucial first step to getting this divided, faltering union to recognize our desperate need to find common ground and maybe, just maybe, a path forward.

Highly recommended.

The author is about to release A Simple Rebellion, which shows us a near-future dystopia uncomfortably close to our present.

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2017 NFL Awards Predictions

Guest post: My son is a gifted sports blogger. Here is is latest post.

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New Year’s Eve Epiphany

“It’s the final countdown…”

The was the song playing when I got bagels this morning. Hard not to smirk. Harder to dismiss in this, the era of American divisiveness.

But we haven’t lost all hope, not yet.

At least that’s what I kept thinking last night as the goddess and I tried to see in the new year with as little mind-numbing entertainment as possible.

It wasn’t easy.

We explored television, which is treacherous going but we found a real gift – the first episode of the new season of Black Mirror called “USS Callister”. This dark and twisting story centered around a Star Trek-like television show and a virtual reality platform called Infinity.

I’ll make every attempt to avoid Spoilers, but Spoiler Warning just in case.)

The characters are almost all misdirecting their gifts, making everything about themselves. This metaphor is played out masterfully with hope only presenting itself after they find reasons to serve the greater good.

Lesson: we fail when we make it all about ourselves.

And like the inability to turn away from a car crash, we did turn on “Rocking New Year’s Eve” in time to see Mariah Carey “perform”.

Here is a woman gifted with an amazing singing voice but she seems so caught up in the “being Mariah” of it all, that she no longer recognizes that her art must be honed with vigilance and shared.

Lesson: We all have gifts and with them come the responsibility to use them to improve the world not just for our own enrichment.

All of this brought me to what awaits us in 2018: more Trump, more Congress, more divisiveness. More accusations. More slanted news. More social media trolls. More shutting out anyone who disagrees with our world view. More divisiveness.

It is possible that already we are no longer a country that can do what the Founding Fathers wanted us to do in service to this great nation.

The Founding Fathers, as imperfect as they were, knew for this republic to prosper, we needed people willing to exchange ideas until we reached consensus. That is how this imperfect nation was supposed to evolve into a more perfect union.

But over the last eight or 12 or 20 or 40 years, we have found ways to devolve instead. Now we only listen to our own parties, only acknowledge similar minds, only work to ensure our side “wins”.

And it is destroying us.

The widening gyre between liberals and democrats and republicans and conservatives, makes it progressively more difficult to honestly call ourselves a more perfect union anymore.

But not all hope is lost, not yet.

If only we learn the main lesson the Ancient One tried to impart to Dr. Strange, and through him to all of us: It is not about you.

There are two things we can do to save ourselves.

Number one, we have to get out of our own self-created bubbles and re-engage with the full spectrum of our grand mosaic, abandoning defensivness for attentiveness, abandoning the fear and hate of divisiveness for the strength of consensus.

The second thing is a result of the first: we need to start talking to each other. We need to get out of our isolated bubbles, acknowledge that there’s differences and exchange ideas,working for the true greater good. Neither side wins when we tear each other down.

Without these steps we are truly creating a nightmare America.

So, let’s talk.

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New Year’s Resolution Suggestion: Listen to The Doctor

“They say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one….”

As the decade that was 2017 finally ends, I keep thinking of advice spoken in the final moments of a beloved character’s existence (at least in this incarnation – if you don’t understand as a Doctor Who fan). 

After all we have been thrashed by this year, from non-existent climate change, “bold and beloved” government leadership, devastatingly slanted media that has created bubble civilizations where entire swaths of people listen only to thoughts that confirm and strengthen their own beliefs and condemn all other thoughts as dangerous and evil, and economic separation that may prove life-threatening to millions of our own neighbors, many of us are searching for a way forward, a set of principles that won’t fail us.

Thanks to a beloved show, its gifted writers, driven directors, and talented performers, a solid suggestion awaits below.

Here’s to 2018. Keep strong. Keep vigilant. Hang on to these core beliefs:

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