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Articles written by edward martin


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  • Hope

    Edward Martin|Dec 21, 2023

    Although change is a constant, there’s one thing I can count on. Every day my 5 year old grandson will ask, “How many days until Christmas?” Everything beyond about three days is, to him, an excessively long amount of time. On the Christian calendar, we’re in Advent. It’s the season of anticipation and preparation for the birth of Jesus. Different groups down through history have traditions associated with this time. At least one actually included fasting! Thankfully, that horror was never pop...

  • Impatience and Evil

    Edward Martin|Dec 14, 2023

    It has been noted for many years that television has contributed to our being a very impatient people. We have been accustomed to very difficult problems being solved in a half or an hour-long show. We watch movies in which the world is saved from catastrophe in under two hours max. The Internet has made that tendency worse. Want to get information? It’s only a click away. Want something? No need to even drive to Great Falls, you can order online and it will be at your doorstep, assuming the del...

  • Glimmers

    Edward Martin|Nov 30, 2023

    My Thanksgiving involved 2,000 miles of travel. I drove to Utah to see a friend, then we went to Denver for Thanksgiving, then back to Utah and finally home to Cascade. The myriad of experiences makes simple evaluation a bit complicated. As I was thinking about it, a post on Facebook by Willie Sloan caught my attention. We’ve all been exposed to the concept of “triggers” over the past few years, those words or actions that cause someone to feel threatened and angry. We’ve seen that in folks w...

  • Thanksgiving Week Column

    Edward Martin|Nov 23, 2023

    I like to cook. To me cooking is like playing with the chemistry sets my parents bought me when I was young. They undoubtedly thought I would do the experiments in the accompanying books. The truth is, I rarely, if ever followed the instructions. I liked to try different things to see what would happen. Some results were good, some not so much. A couple were more dangerous than advisable. Likewise, I cook the same way. Some results are delicious, some acceptable, a few disasters. Over the years...

  • Along the Way...

    Edward Martin|Nov 16, 2023

    When this is published we’ll be a week away from Thanksgiving. As I’ve said often, it’s my favorite holiday. I’m sure for some of you, that’s not true. Some folks don’t like Thanksgiving, of course, those same people probably dislike puppies, kittens, fall foliage, and springtime and, are obviously, tastebud deficient. Just kidding. Some folks have legitimate reasons for not caring for Thanksgiving, or any particular holiday. Some folks honestly don’t feel like they have anything for which to...

  • Along the Way

    Edward Martin|Nov 9, 2023

    In the holiday season we often find ourselves besieged by the necessity of making decisions. We are supposed to adhere to family traditions, some of which don’t really fit what we need or want for ourselves anymore. We always go to this place or that for Thanksgiving, we must bring the dish everyone assumes we will bring. We have to keep buying presents even for adult relatives, cause that’s what we’ve always done. The list is endless. This a good time to think about how we make decis...

  • Confessions

    Edward Martin|Nov 2, 2023

    Don’t tell but I have a confession to make. I’m well aware that my opinions may be wrong! My first editorials, opinion pieces, were written some 25 years ago for the Los Angeles Times, and I’ve written over 500 just for the Cascade Courier. I’m sure some folks think I’m completely goofy on a regular basis but, I assure you, I never intentionally write anything I don’t consider true. The thing is, truth is somewhat flexible. Some truths hold up under scientific scrutiny. They are subjected t...

  • Fine Humming Stillness

    Edward Martin|Oct 26, 2023

    The Earth rotates at 1,037 mph. The Earth orbits the Sun at 67,000 mph. Our solar system whirls around the center of the galaxy at 490,000 mph. The speed at which our galaxy is moving through the universe is about 1.3 million miles per hour. All that is beyond comprehension even though we know it is true. We don’t feel the speed, if we did we could not function. We exist in an infinite void, travelling at an incomprehensible speed. There are no words capable of fully expressing our place in s...

  • Ranked Choice Voting

    Edward Martin|Oct 5, 2023

    Every political season people suggest we ought to institute some other political system, usually they say we should have a parliamentary system. Yes, parliamentary systems do have some advantages but also some drawbacks. We only have to look at the United Kingdom, Israel, or India to see where problems lie. No one, unless they’re hopelessly biased, would ever call Boris Johnson, Netanyahu, or Modi as being good national leaders. They were, and are, highly polarizing power seekers who believe i...

  • Cultural Chlorophyll

    Edward Martin|Sep 28, 2023

    If someone asked, “What color are leaves?” I’m sure I would respond, “Green”, while looking at the person as if they were a bit crazy unless they asked about this time of year. But, I recently saw a post that made me realize it was an unwarranted assumption. The real colors of leaves are the beautiful yellows, golds, reds and oranges we see in the fall. The green we see is when the leaves are overwhelmed with the pigment of chlorophyll. Life is like that. We are, from birth, overwhelm...

  • Vexing

    Edward Martin|Sep 21, 2023

    When I was in real estate I got the kind of call folks dream about. It was a professional couple who had just moved to Great Falls and wanted to buy a house. They both had good incomes and knew exactly what they wanted in a home. They had a lengthy checklist of requirements. Over the next weeks I showed them house after house that met most of their desires. Then one day, I found it. The house had just come on the market and it was perfect in every way plus it had additional qualities that made i...

  • Cave Heroes

    Edward Martin|Sep 14, 2023

    There have been, evidently, three times in human history when humanity was in danger of extinction. About 900,000 years ago the population was down to about 1,280 individuals and that number did not significantly increase for well over 100,000 years. We’ve known for a long time that hominids did not sweep across the globe in one steady progression. There were places where they existed for an extended period only to vanish and not reappear for many thousands of years. A violent volcanic e...

  • Lonliness

    Edward Martin|Sep 7, 2023

    There are vast numbers of articles and books dealing with loneliness. It’s an odd epidemic. We are more connected than ever. We have “friends” on social media with whom we can connect anytime. And yet, even young folks are lonely. It’s as if we all walk around with our favorite snack in our pockets. We can have a snack whenever we want but miss having a real meal. We can have immediate gratification without effort. Why bother making real friends when ersatz ones are as close as our cellpho...

  • Attitude

    Edward Martin|Aug 31, 2023

    It's been popular for self-help and spiritually oriented books for years to borrow a concept from Asian, particularly Buddhist, thinking. We’re supposed to live in the present, don’t think about what’s past because we can’t do anything about it and, likewise, don’t worry about the future because we can’t possibly know for certain what the future holds. It’s supposed to give us a calmer life. That is a good attitude to have, at least most of the time. There are, however, exceptions. No, we can’t...

  • Impossible?

    Edward Martin|Aug 24, 2023

    Virtually all human endeavor is, one way or another, connected to the quest for, or use of energy. Scientists and engineers have spent lifetimes in search of better, more efficient, methods for creating energy and channeling it for our purposes. The Holy Grail of research is finding a way, perhaps by cold fusion, to create more energy than it takes to produce the reaction. That may now have been, on a limited basis, accomplished. Imagine a world with cheap, unlimited energy. There would be...

  • New Routes

    Edward Martin|Aug 17, 2023

    Weather and time permitting, I let my dog, The Mighty Shmooie, choose the route we walk every morning. We have five basic routes and, with the exception of going into people’s yards, he gets to choose. His favorites are usually a mile to a mile and a half although, at age twelve and a half, I’ve noticed he tends to prefer the shorter walks more than he used to. There’s a two mile route but we rarely take that one anymore. Even though Shmoo doesn’t have as much energy for longer walks at his age...

  • Cloud of Unknowing

    Edward Martin|Aug 10, 2023

    Sometimes we assume we have all the answers and folks from the distant past have nothing to teach us. That’s especially true when we have to distill the meaning from unfamiliar language and expressions. Even writings from a hundred years ago in English can be difficult because the writer expressed thoughts in ways far removed from our way of speaking today. We dismiss the thinking because it isn’t said the way we would say it. Roughly seven hundred years ago an anonymous work of Christian mys...

  • Mosquitoes

    Edward Martin|Aug 3, 2023

    I have read ways in which mosquitoes are beneficial to the environment but I don’t know anyone who actually likes them. The one good thing is, they are fragile. Suppose they were like beetles and had a hard carapace so a simple slap wouldn’t finish them off? What’s also annoying is what they do to us psychologically. After a bite we all get twitchy. We feel a faint sensation on our skin and instinctively slap ourselves. Then we’re annoyed all over again when we realize there was nothing there a...

  • Creativity

    Edward Martin|Jul 27, 2023

    The speed with which the world is changing means we cannot possibly hope to teach our young folks how to deal with it all. The speed of climate change, the advent of Artificial Intelligence, the massive increase in information about the universe, leaves us with a feeling of inadequacy in conveying the necessary information to our children and grandchildren so they can deal with it appropriately. How do we teach the best way of employing Artificial Intelligence when even those at the forefront...

  • Time

    Edward Martin|Jul 20, 2023

    A child comes in, “Can I have a popsicle?” Adult who is fixing dinner, “No, dinner is in fifteen minutes.” Two minutes later, “Is dinner ready?” “No, I said fifteen minutes.” Two minutes later, “Is dinner ready…” When we give a small child a time frame for something we might as well tell them to go taste the number nine. It literally makes no sense to them. As we grow older we, hopefully, begin to grasp the passage of time. If children don’t have an increasing concept of time they are destined f...

  • Neutrinos

    Edward Martin|Jul 13, 2023

    Scientists, philosophers, theologians, and regular folks like you and me all search for truth, for absolutes. However, science is not simply a matter of collecting facts. Science is a method of asking questions and then studying the answers to make sure they are accurate. Philosophers and theologians have systematic ways of analysis to determine the logical consistency of their Truth but they also give us ways of looking at reality in a way that makes us comfortable. We seek psychological...

  • Refugees

    Edward Martin|Jul 6, 2023

    Since the advent of 24 hour per day, 365 days per year news cycle we’ve become accustomed to being inundated with so much news that we easily ignore news of great importance to someone else but doesn’t affect us directly. Sometimes there are problems we hear about but ignore even though the folks who know best try to alert us that it is going to get so big that it impacts everyone. Those are the problems we need to pay attention to sooner rather than later. There are 10 million refugees in the...

  • Social Contracts

    Edward Martin|Jun 22, 2023

    Human interactions can, generally speaking, be reduced to either force or mutuality of respect. Arguments can be made as to where we draw that line but we behave in certain ways either because we feel forced to do so or because we wish to nurture respectful relationships. If our behavior is based on wishing to have a society that functions in a manner which nurtures relationships we behave in a certain way regardless of whether or not there is a reasonable expectation of any further...

  • Libraries

    Edward Martin|Jun 15, 2023

    Sometimes it seems as if humanity lurches from disaster to disaster with brief periods of enlightenment in between. As we look back through history we learn about the so-called great conquerors. We hold up as persons of note men like Alexander, Genghis Khan, Attila, on and on. We build statues to these “great” men. Somehow the fact that their fame rests on the slaughter of untold millions of people who were just going about their lives before being butchered to serve the megalomania of a con...

  • Multiverses?

    Edward Martin|Jun 1, 2023

    A friend is taking music lessons from a talented teacher. She’s in Japan, he’s in New York. That, by itself, is utterly astonishing to many of us older folks. She assigned him a piece of music which he thinks is too difficult for him. In encouragement she told him she wants him to relate to the music, not the individual notes. He’s focusing on trying to get the notes right. She’s telling him to get out of his own way and play the music. We’ve all had moments when we did something exceeding...

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