It’s not going to happen unless we stop talking and start listening

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Photo by Alex Lopez osh

How many of us sat watching the unfolding election returns waiting for the moment when we could say — yes, America has come to its senses and cast Trumpism to the dank basement of history?

How many again felt silly having realized that the media-created hype had fooled us again? It’s reminds me of the fairy tale where the Evil Queen asks her Magic Mirror who is fairest one of them all? You are, CNN, tells us.

There is one minor problem here, though. …


FINDING GRATITUDE IN 2020

Roasted turkey saved us once, it can do it again

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Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

The cultural dominance of white people in America is being pressed upon by forces that are readily seen, heard, and felt — the number of people not looking, speaking and thinking just like them encroaches upon their majority.

This is a scary thing to happen to any people whose culture is the dominant one; and the reaction of many white people is similar to the reaction of majority cultures in countries all over the world through many different times. Take Rwanda, Malaysia, Congo, Russia, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea, etc.

Eventually the powerful tool that racism becomes for the majority culture is overcome when the oppressed and the oppressors begin to talk and share experiences. …


Why arriving immigrants to America succeeded where Black Americans didn’t

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Library of Congress, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the enduring justifications among American racists is that the waves of immigrants arriving to the shores of America in past centuries also had it very difficult fitting in with the dominant “native” culture; but they eventually did and today flourish, not to mention, rule the nation.

My great-grandmother would tell me about signs in the storefront windows saying help wanted, Irish need not apply they say.

The opinion goes that if the “drunken” Irishman or the “WOP” (this actually meant without papers) Italians, popular stereotypes and slurs, succeeded then why couldn’t Black Americans?

Racists then go on to say that Black emigres couldn’t prosper because they were inherently inferior to their white emigrating brethren. The fact that most of the Black men, women and children brought to the American shores were in chains does not prevent these racists from holding onto their shameful generalizations. Slavery gave way to the Jim Crow Era laws making the first 300 years of Black existence in North America one defined by complete and total race oppression. …


By cooling emotion and creating verbal bridges, we can tackle the epidemic of violence

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Words are no longer etched onto massive slabs and left to the whims of weather and time. The most pressing issues and disagreeable topics can be reassessed for possible solutions — but first we must begin to hear each other.

As a linguist, I know five and sometimes six languages — the sixth one depends on whether I had a beer or not — I would describe my talent as not so much a verbal one but more aptly as one that grants me a certain skill for communicating ideas. This has been my profession, actually.

For two and a half decades, I enter into companies and either create brands from scratch or take existing ones and realign their relationship with the market, the consumer. The skills used that make me successful professionally are then applied to foreign languages. I can communicate in varying degrees of fluency in English, (native-speaker), Russian (which lets me understand Ukrainian and some other Slavic languages), German, French, Italian and sometimes Spanish. …


Obliterating the eco-system of a small mountain village is no longer necessary to solve problems

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Photo by Prateek Keshari on Unsplash

Davos is in the air again. Every year around this time, people start getting into heavy planning mode for those four January days in the little Swiss winter wonderland. It is the whitest snow you will ever see — so it seems. Although, it could be the effect of a receding hangover mixed with the perfect combination of caffeine that adds to its brilliance.

Known as the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, or just called “Davos,” the organizers should seriously consider ending the practically mandatory pilgrimage of the wealthy, powerful, entitled and a whole of lot of really smart people striving to become those three things. …


If only I knew then what I don’t know now

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Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

Defund the Police is a stupid message. As a progressive, when I first heard this I thought — welp, there goes our Blue Wave. And, now with the election over, I can say, yep, naivete has again killed our chances of actually making real changes in the country.

It’s not just naivete but a lack of life experience, in my opinion, that cripples progressive messaging; a failure to understand context, to read the room, as they say. …


As a child I was responsible for setting it up under the tree — it created a safe place inside of me forever

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Photo by Sebastian Staines on Unsplash

It was always now. The first or second Saturday after Thanksgiving. We got to get that village up, boy.

Somewhere along the way, from birth to when I turned 7 or 8, my grandmother decided that I was the one. Sort of like in The Matrix when Neo was chosen by the Oracle, my task would be to pull together a magical world of Christmas. The creation would be on display from early December until “little Christmas,” as Gram called it — January 7th.

Perched under the tree in the front room, the other nine grandkids would come and look but few would touch it because there was a sense that it was my world. …


To steal or not to steal, the existential question that has already been answered by the courts

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Photo by Mark Williams on Unsplash

Remember that day in Benghazi when four Americans were killed? Being an avid consumer of news or to making being politically-informed a favorite hobby wouldn’t be necessary to recall that tragedy.

Thanks to the Republicans and Fox News, all you had to be was conscious over the past eight years and you would have heard of this place on the map. You would have heard of that fateful attack — it’s the one that brought us Trump.

You also would hear of the “criminal incompetence” of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that led to the tragic deaths of those four Americans. The events of that evening, on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya were used to create a three-ring circus filled with scary clowns, sickly-sweet cotton candy, foul-smelling and poorly-fed elephants and a whole array of freaks from the Republican Party. Their callousness and deceit ultimately became one of the sharpest tools for demolishing Hillary Clinton’s chances to be president. …


From Titusville to Armageddon, the obsession with fossil fuels is just a numbers game.

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Photo by Jon Sailer on Unsplash

In 1859, on a small piece of land in the foothills of western Pennsylvania, farm country where my great-grandfather Christopher Columbus Kean was just laying the foundations for our family farm, a local businessman named Edwin L. Drake discovered oil.

The rest is history.

Poached Eggs

Have you ever tried to make the perfect poached egg? It’s not easy. It’s not impossible but it requires practice. The spinning of the water has to be finessed so as to pull the raw egg into the gentle vortex, blending the vinegar and water without collapsing the egg’s amorphous, but firming, structure.

Seems like a lot of bother, right? Frying an egg is just so much easier. Break the egg directly over the warming oil in the pan, salt and pepper to taste and voila, in minutes ready to eat. …


The greatest gift our first president gave to posterity was that he left

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Photo by Tiraya Adam on Unsplash

There is always that one guest who just doesn’t take the hint. Everyone else has long gone. The last of the dishes have been washed and dried. You vanish for a bit and reappear in glasses. Oh, I didn’t you know you wore contact lenses, the surprised guest says sipping on a fresh glass of wine.

Of course you didn’t. You never slept over my house before, you think.

About

Brian Kean

A writer, a father and a student of history, the past holds the answers to today’s problems. “Be curious, not judgmental,” at least until you have all the facts

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