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Articles from the 'Along The Way...' series


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  • Acquisitiveness

    Edward Martin|Jun 13, 2024

    When we meet someone the first thing we usually share is what we do for a living. We tell each other that frame of reference, a box to put each other in. If, on the other hand, we asked what really makes them happy or content in life we’d often get a different response A very high percentage of folks did not choose their job because it is what feeds their soul; they chose their job because it was what they were capable of doing or what was available at the time they needed work or they simply i...

  • Lunar Time

    Edward Martin|Jun 6, 2024

    In local news, the first mosquito of the season has appeared, right on schedule. There’s always a lag between them showing up and when effective spraying begins. For those who prefer not to douse themselves in mosquito repellant it’s useful to reacquaint ourselves with how to get relief once we’re bitten. I like the method of applying the back of a spoon heated in hot water to relieve itching but there are lots of others. In addition to all sorts of anti-itch products on the market, there...

  • Epictetus

    Edward Martin|May 30, 2024

    It was as asinine a comment as is possible to make. Not only was it ignorant, it showed an utter distain for logic, and history as well. I felt the instant urge to correct, to educate, to defend truth, and then old Epictetus intervened. Considering Epictetus lived 2,000 years ago it was an extraordinary achievement on his part. Yes, the old guy is still spry enough to prevent me, at least occasionally, from responding to stupidity. Epictetus was a Greek philosopher, concerned with ethics. He...

  • Tacos

    Edward Martin|May 23, 2024

    My favorite news story of last week was the announcement that a tiny taco stand in Mexico City earned a Michelin star for its excellent food. Chef Arturo Rivera Martinez of Taquería El Califa de León has only four different tacos on the menu and none costs more than $5. The café is only ten feet wide but is a great example of excellence being rewarded. Granted, he had a large city full of hungry people as possible customers, but that doesn’t mean for example, a small town in, perhaps, nort...

  • Instinct or Reason

    Edward Martin|May 16, 2024

    Over the years I’ve discovered many of the things I was taught to be true have turned out to be false. It’s happened often enough to have engendered a healthy amount of skepticism in me. Now, when someone tells me something is absolutely true, part of my brain almost invariably whispers, “Really? Maybe.” One thing I was taught as a child was that animals operate on instinct, not by rational thought. I’ve learned there are two things wrong with that belief. First of all, I haven’t detected an...

  • Consistencies

    Edward Martin|Apr 25, 2024

    I met a couple about 55 years ago when I was working in Rocky Mountain National Park. What stuck with me for all these years was their statement, “We’ve been coming here for 40 years.” I really love the park and think it’s a great place to visit, but I couldn’t understand how someone could do the same thing for so many years. They went on to tell me they always stayed in the same place and ate at the same restaurants. They were really proud of their consistency. There are lots of folks who...

  • Dark Energy

    Edward Martin|Apr 18, 2024

    Unlike most human endeavors, when science gets new data which contradicts old assumptions, it changes what is considered true rather than digging in its heels to defend what it previously declared to be true. Of course, there are usually a few who refuse to adapt but it’s a small minority. A couple of weeks ago a possible bombshell hit the world of astrophysics. Dark Energy makes up, we think, about 68% of the universe. Science still doesn’t know what this Dark Energy is but there’s a lot of it...

  • Odds and Ends

    Edward Martin|Apr 11, 2024

    Maybe it’s my age showing but I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with the inability of tech companies to stop making it difficult to use software from other companies seamlessly. They go out of their way to make it hard to use the other service even though everyone I know uses a variety of products from Google, Microsoft, etc. Trying to remember how to go from one to the other along with the correct sign-in credentials causes extravagant use of cuss words from all around the globe. Tech com...

  • Diamonds

    Edward Martin|Apr 4, 2024

    5 years ago was the first flight. The time between that flight and the first moon landing was only 66 years. This past year NASA had a helicopter that flew on Mars. That little helicopter had a scrap of canvas from that first Wright brothers plane on it. Imagine what will occur in the next 66 years, in 2090 or, in 122 years, in 2144. We can imagine some things but we’d be wrong about most things. Something we didn’t know just a few years ago was the makeup of other planets and asteroids. Tod...

  • Authority

    Edward Martin|Mar 28, 2024

    I heard a child say, “When I grow up I want to be an influencer.” For many of us the immediate question is, “What is that?”. An influencer is someone who has amassed a large number of internet followers and are self-proclaimed experts on something, style, makeup, animals, virtually anything that younger folks are interested in. Successful influencers can make thousands of dollars every time they post something online. They don’t have to actually have any expertise, they only have to act like...

  • Culture

    Edward Martin|Mar 21, 2024

    I read a quote recently that was a reminder that the term “culture” often means not only the behavior of a group but also the rationale for that behavior. The great baseball player Shohei Ohani very recently revealed that he is married. The announcement came as a complete surprise to his fans and even his teammates here. No one knew he had a special girlfriend, had no idea he was even contemplating marriage. The American media was bewildered and wanted to know why such a thing had been kept a s...

  • Pinball Machines

    Edward Martin|Mar 14, 2024

    Remember pinball machines? I’m sure there are still some around, but nowhere nearly as many as when I was a child. The thing about pinball machines was they were a bit disreputable because some people were known to gamble on them! In this era it seems sort of quaint to worry about the nickels and dimes that probably changed hands but it was a different time and place. Pinball machines could be found in gas stations, cafes, and bars. In my childhood memory they usually had some young males g...

  • Grief

    Edward Martin|Feb 29, 2024

    There are folks who endeavor not to feel emotions. We’ve all known people who hide their tears, their sorrow, even their love. We mistakenly call that “being strong”, but it isn’t. Burying emotions is corrosive and ultimately erupts in some way, as anger, as depression, some other way. I’m no expert but I do know what grief feels like and, of one thing I’m certain, it doesn’t just disappear once and for all. I know folks who do their best to overcome grief by chasing constant distraction. They f...

  • Wisdom

    Edward Martin|Feb 22, 2024

    NASA tells us Mars once had plentiful water which evaporated when its atmosphere thinned. Life, as we know it, requires water. It is supposed, given the presence of water, microbial life could have existed at one time on Mars but we haven’t found proof. As we humans begin to touch the barest fringes of the universe, it seems clear we would go absolutely nuts at the first sign of non-earthly life. Whether a microbe or a larger creature of any sort, we would be transfixed. If we actually d...

  • Hope And Trust

    Edward Martin|Feb 8, 2024

    I don’t know anyone who says they’re looking forward to the politics this year. We’ve been inundated with so much negativity we’re sick and tired of it long before the campaigns really get going. There are, however, two things which we all can do to improve our feelings about this year. They go hand in hand. The first of these is hope. We can focus on all the bad stuff shoveled endlessly through the news and assorted partisans who do their best to create fear and distrust or we can focus o...

  • Achievements

    Edward Martin|Feb 1, 2024

    There’s an old saying, which, when I first heard it, I mentally objected and pushed the thought aside. The saying is, “Let go, or be dragged.” The Buddhist idea that it is our attachments which causes our suffering makes it a likely origin. I couldn’t accept it because, like everyone, I am a child of my culture. Our culture teaches us from birth that we are valued according to our achievements. We are molded by culture to believe we must continually do more, be more, or we’re not achieving...

  • Just Ask

    Edward Martin|Jan 25, 2024

    A friend and I were discussing the difficulty all of us have growing up in learning to ask for help. Especially, when we’re young we don’t like to admit we don’t know things and need someone to give us a hand. My friend recounted a time when he was about nine years old watching his stepfather, who was about forty, attempt to iron plastic curtains. At nine he already knew that was a wildly illogical thing to do. Needless to say, they didn’t have curtains over that window when he was done. W...

  • Era of Good Feelings

    Edward Martin|Jan 18, 2024

    The news has a repetitive theme these days about folks dreading this election season. Even political junkies who thrive on every twist and turn of elections confess to dreading how divisive and vitriolic it will almost certainly be. People are rightfully worried about a return of the violence that occurred in 2020. I’ve attempted to reassure some folks that we’ve gone through rough political waters before and survived but that doesn’t help much. There was a time in our history, known as the ...

  • Resolutions

    Edward Martin|Jan 11, 2024

    Whenever I head for Great Falls I always make sure I have my cell phone, my wallet, and my truck keys. Those are important. By the time I’ve been on the highway for even two minutes, I remember something else. I wish I had some eye drops with me. There is some micro-dust in the air between here and there that causes my eyes to feel irritated. It wouldn’t be advisable to put in eye drops while driving but, theoretically, if I had eye drops with me I could use some before I start driving and bef...

  • Assembly Theory

    Edward Martin|Jan 4, 2024

    Because I like articles that make me go, “What?” I dove into an article in “Aeon” recently that made the case that time is an object. Since I’m still trying to wrap my poor head around the concept of “spacetime” I confess I have no ability to even begin to explain what I read. What I did take from that article is the idea that evolution is necessary for things to come into being and the evolutionary principle demands we recognize time as an object rather than a mere conceptional framework by...

  • Along the Way

    Edward Martin|Dec 28, 2023

    The children’s Christmas pageant at my church this year had one of those unexpected moments we don’t forget. Among the sheep gathered at the Manger was a tiger. The image of a tiger, the most fearsome of predators, at that iconic scene of peace and goodwill, definitely brought smiles. What were they to do when the little boy really wanted to wear his tiger costume? Sometimes we can really enjoy something that breaks the routine, something that alters the trajectory of what’s expected. We are a...

  • 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...

  • 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...

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