always give

Pope Francis issued some practical moral guidance a few months ago that has stuck with me. When confronted with a panhandler, give. Always give.

Also, touch their hand and look them in the eye and recognize their humanity.

Since reading this, I have done none of it. But I think about it, and I appreciate that there is a moral authority offering me this sort of relevant, day-to-day guidance, and then I look sideways at myself, like, really? You’re listening to the Pope now?

Desperate times.

thanks, Obama

Inauguration day and it’s still surreal, but one thing I know I’m feeling is grief for 8 years with a President I respected and admired. My favorite political blogger rounded up some of his major accomplishments, and current events inspire fresh appreciation for the dignified and reasonable way he operated. Obama made me proud to be an American.



This morning I’ve felt like a disaster survivor, leaving the shelter to find a world I don’t recognize, and grateful that my children are too young to ask me why this happened.

This article arrived in my work inbox today, written before the election but still relevant.

“This election is testing my capacity to trust in basic goodness. I’m not alone in this struggle. It seems as though everyone I talk to has a story about a low point in this election cycle. Many of them are feeling moral distress—that potent combination of moral outrage, worrying about harm that may be done, and feeling powerless to do anything about it. … For your mental health, you need to restore some balance. One antidote to moral distress is moral elevation: witnessing the good in others.”

It goes on to recommend StoryCorps Who We Are series. I agree: let’s all listen to an uplifting story and do something nice for a stranger today.

on the subject of sexism

As long as we’re talking about Trump and Clinton, here’s a little dollop of personal testimonial about being a woman in the workplace:

I recently moved from a shared workspace into a nice private office. Asked by a friendly, more-senior male colleague how I liked it, I said it was great, but since it was up front, strangers would often poke their heads in to ask for directions. His response, “Well, if you didn’t look like a secretary…”

Zing! Funny guy.


For, yikes, decades now I have been a lackadaisical tooth-flosser. And for decades I’ve gotten glowing reviews of my gum health. Today I learn that science is on my side.

The AP looked at the most rigorous research conducted over the past decade, focusing on 25 studies that generally compared the use of a toothbrush with the combination of toothbrushes and floss. The findings? The evidence for flossing is “weak, very unreliable,” of “very low” quality, and carries “a moderate to large potential for bias.”

“The majority of available studies fail to demonstrate that flossing is generally effective in plaque removal,” said one review conducted last year. Another 2015 review cites “inconsistent/weak evidence” for flossing and a “lack of efficacy.”

One fewer thing to worry about not doing myself, and one fewer habit to instill in unwilling children. Huzzah!