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Practically Idealistic blog
The title for this blog originated with use of the term “practical idealist” in this 1996 opinion piece, which asked: “To what kind of work should a practical idealist aspire?” A century and a half earlier, Emerson, in his 1841 essay Circles, wrote: “There are degrees in idealism.  We learn first to play with it academically. . . .  Then we see in the heyday of youth and poetry that it may be true, that it is true in gleams and fragments.  Then, its countenance waxes stern and grand, and we see that it must be true.  It now shows itself ethical and practical.”  Mahatma Gandhi embraced practical idealism in the 20th century, as did UN Secretary General U Thant.  Al Gore invoked it in a 1998 speech. In the context of this blog, the term is meant to convey idealism tempered but not overwhelmed by realism: a search for the ideal on a path guided by common sense.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

“Impressions of India: New Delhi via New Haven”

The New Haven Independent published my account of a recent family trip to India.

A version also appears at Medium.

5:14 pm edt 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

V-E Day Tomorrow, War and Peace

Tomorrow marks Victory in Europe (V-E) Day, the 71st anniversary of the announcement of the surrender of the German Nazi regime to the Allies on May 8, 1945.  This momentous historical event had personal angles for families around the world -- especially but not only those actually serving in the war.  

At the time, my mother (of Lutheran background) was a child in Germany, my father (of Jewish descent) a child in New York.  Seventeen years later, they would marry in an example of one of globalization’s happier effects

Peace, and Mother’s Day greetings…

8:51 pm edt 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

New Citizen, New Voter

This past Tuesday, April 26, was the Connecticut primary – an opportunity for my wife, Sahar Usmani-Brown, to cast her first vote as a new U.S. citizen.

She and I, along with our children, arrived early in the morning at our polling place (Wilbur Cross High School) to vote, with a few photos capturing the occasion.
2:10 pm edt 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Blood and International Travel

After giving blood last Friday, April 8, today I fly to India, which will keep me from donating blood again for a year after my return on April 22.  The risk of malaria, however slight, is the issue.

Normally a blood donor every 8 weeks, I encourage friends and neighbors to consider donating.

More on the India trip will appear on this site in the weeks ahead.

5:55 am edt 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

“Overburden” (or “The Coal War”)

Last night, via the Environmental Film Festival at Yale, I appreciated a documentary – “Overburden” (or “The Coal War”) – and panel discussion including one of the film’s principals, a West Virginia activist.

12:54 pm edt 

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