Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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31

Aug

2016

An open letter to my dog

Author: Jim Taylor
Dear Phoebe,
You’re just a dog, but I love you like a child, like the sister I never had. I don’t know how much longer we’ll have you in our family, but every day is precious.
You came to us by chance. Your first owner committed suicide; abandonment was a traumatic loss for you. 
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: letter, dog

28

Aug

2016

Courtrooms take forty years to catch up

Author: Jim Taylor
“The law,” declared Mr. Bumble, one of author Charles Dickens’ memorable characters in his novel Oliver Twist, “is an ass.” I wouldn’t go quite that far. But I would say that the law is almost always behind the times. Witness the American Bar Association’s recent ruling that lawyers are guilty of professional misconduct if they use sexist language in court. No, not about witnesses. Nor about accused criminals. But about their colleagues, other lawyers. The Bar Association’s resolution refers to “conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination,” which includes “sexual harassment and derogatory or demeaning verbal or physical comment.”
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24

Aug

2016

The greatest story ever told

Author: Jim Taylor
With apologies to both  Fulton Oursler’s novel and the movie based on it, for borrowing their title, that story is a single episode in the greater story of all of us. Maybe it’s time to revisit the biblical story of creation, movingit out of misplaced nostalgia for a golden past to a more realistic tale of growth and change.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: greatest story

21

Aug

2016

The age of lone wolf terrorism

Author: Jim Taylor
Donald Trump says he will make America safe again. I don’t think there is such a place anymore. Certainly not in America. In the last few weeks, we’ve had police shooting black men in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Miami. We’ve had black men killing cops in Dallas and Baton Rouge. America now averages a gun for every citizen. Forty states allow open carry. No major U.S. city can guarantee you won’t get shot by some guntotin’ goon. The cycle of violence seems to be escalating. It’s no safer internationally.
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17

Aug

2016

Thunder and lightning and ruthless gods

Author: Jim Taylor
This has been a summer of thunderstorms. Out of a clear sky, a few fluffy clouds form. Some of them grow taller, heavier, darker. An anvil top mushrooms ominously. Thunder rolls; lightning flashes; rain falls in torrents.
For a period, the meteorologist’s weather maps showed recurring bands of thunderstorms hanging over the higher mountain ranges east of us.
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14

Aug

2016

Annual checkups we could benefit from

Author: Jim Taylor
I had my annual physical checkup this last week. The doctor did all the usual things. He checked my vital signs -- I still have them, thank you -- and poked and prodded various parts of my body to make sure nothing was going wrong under cover, so to speak. He ordered a series of tests, to ensure he hadn’t overlooked anything. He asked questions. And he took time to listen to me. To hear what I might have observed about the way my own body functions. After all, I live with it every day. But I don’t always know whether that mole is significant, or how to reduce the pain in my big toe. Basically, I learned that I am still in good shape. For my age, at least.
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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: health, checkups

10

Aug

2016

The benefits of diversity

Author: Jim Taylor
It was an enchanted moment, a fairy-tale moment. A small group of hikers -- seven, itself a special number -- climbing slowly up a dewy trail along the ridge of a mountain. As the trees thinned into mountain meadows, wild flowers spread themselves across the shallow soil.
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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: benefits, diversity

7

Aug

2016

A humble insect overshadows the Olympics

Author: Jim Taylor
The 2016 Olympic circus has opened. Fittingly, the Olympic logo has five rings -- two more than the famous threering circuses pioneered by Barnum and Bailey. For the next two weeks, until the closing ceremonies at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time Sunday August 21, the media will swamp us with hype about individual athletes, medal counts, doping scandals, and self-congratulatory speeches by officials. Don’t get me wrong. I’m in awe of those athletes. I hold my breath as they push their lithe bodies towards impossible goals. But the medal counts leave me cold.
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