The Energy Business

For a couple of years in the mid-1980s I tried my hand at being a stockbroker. The job didn’t line up with my background as an English major, but the bull market at the time attracted me with its promise of fat commission checks. To build my book of business, I sometimes joined one of … Continue reading The Energy Business

A Nation of Unreliable Narrators

This morning, NPR aired an interview with author Adam Benforado, an expert on how “camera-perspective bias” can misrepresent a broader reality or context. He was speaking about the now-infamous showdown between the Covington Catholic students and Native American activist Nathan Phillips at the Lincoln Memorial. In his discussion, Benforado introduced the concept of “cultural cognition,” … Continue reading A Nation of Unreliable Narrators

The Over-Examined Life

I must have been about 14 when my father sent me to meet with our minister for some "counseling." By that point, I had already gone through a couple of phases in my spiritual development. When I was 10, I had a inexplicable surge of religious devotion; but when puberty gripped me, I moved away … Continue reading The Over-Examined Life

MLK Day 2019

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day made for some interesting media watching today—particularly on Twitter where the hashtag #MLKDay provided some memorable moments. Celebrities and politicians, apparently, like to tweet pictures of Rev. King along with his most inspirational quotes. Many of their tweets feel de rigueur, though, as if not marking the occasion would land … Continue reading MLK Day 2019

Why “Gladiator” Rocks My Masculine Soul

Most men over 30 know and love the movie Gladiator. When I’m in the mood for a quintessentially male movie after my wife has gone to bed, I have several options—Braveheart, The Patriot, Saving Private Ryan, Good Fellas—but Gladiator has been my hands-down favorite since I heard Maximus scream at the crowd “Are you not … Continue reading Why “Gladiator” Rocks My Masculine Soul

A Better View of the Abyss

Note: From time to time, I hope to include posts from guest writers whose preoccupations align with All of That. The following piece is by my wife, Barbara Black, who teaches nineteenth-century British literature at Skidmore College.  Pascal famously claimed that we live by situating something between us and the abyss so that we can … Continue reading A Better View of the Abyss

Middle Age by Any Other Name

Maybe it’s just me whining about my late fifties, but I think we need a better name for this stage of life. “Middle-aged” doesn’t cut it. Calling myself "middle-aged" feels vaguely mendacious. It’s like referring to yourself as a “seasoned veteran” on LinkedIn to skirt the fact that you graduated from college 15 years before … Continue reading Middle Age by Any Other Name

The Case for Owning Inequality

There’s one thing I’ve learned for sure from reading about race: A quick way to find the fault line between Left and Right is to broach the subject of reparations. Nothing quite gets Conservatives riled up like a $1.4-trillion transfer of wealth to the African-American community to restore it to what economist Robert Browne described … Continue reading The Case for Owning Inequality

A Year Between Two December Days

It’s kind of spooky how consistent the weather can be from year to year. Even with the effects of global warming, which are unmistakable in upstate New York, a day in December one year is eerily like the previous year. It’s almost enough to make you believe there really is a cosmic clockmaker whose spheres … Continue reading A Year Between Two December Days

Making a Good Business, Brick by Brick

Until embarrassingly late in life, it never occurred to me how much my upbringing affected how I ran my marketing communications business. I was a Presbyterian minister’s fifth and last kid, but because I went into marketing, I didn’t see a lot of obvious connections between his world view and the gritty world of business … Continue reading Making a Good Business, Brick by Brick