Gary Lerude

September 11, 2021

20 Years Later

On the 20th anniversary of the sudden shift in world history we call 9/11, the brazen and brilliant attack on America, I'm at a family gathering in the Great Smokey Mountains. I feel the cool morning warmed by the sun and hear the sound of Le Conte creek coming up through the trees outside our room. This morning, life is normal as our ...
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August 1, 2021

Variation on a Theme

The resurgence of coronavirus infections from the Delta variant seems like a variation on the tragedy of the commons. As originally proposed, a tragedy of the commons refers to individuals acting independently in their own self interest, ultimately depleting a natural resource until it's no longer available to anyone. The players pursu...
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July 31, 2021

The Master Interviewer

I've heard Studs Terkel's name at various times throughout my life, the mention generally lauding his interviewing skills. Most recently, Ezra Klein recommended his books; Klein's favorite: Working, Terkel's survey of people's jobs. That led me to an audio compilation of about a dozen of those actual interviews, produced by Radio Diari...
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July 31, 2021

Writing Prompt

Thank you, Len Edgerly, for the writing prompt. Although I spend my days working with words, my usual role is editing. Or writing stories of technology companies or short technical descriptions of products. My writing as introspection and making sense of this life has languished. I feel the void. There's so much in this world to contem...
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June 6, 2021

On the Road Again

It seems a bit surreal to be packing a suitcase for an early departure to Atlanta tomorrow morning. Bucking the odds, the 2021 International Microwave Symposium (IMS) refused to cancel the physical event and, thanks to the vaccines, will be one of the first conferences in the industry to act as though life is "normal" — although the at...
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May 31, 2021

Back to Normal

Except for many wearing masks, our dinner in the North End last night seemed strangely normal, the coronavirus already fading into memory. Despite the chill and rain, the streets and restaurants were full — lines of people waiting patiently to order cannolis at Modern, Mike's, and Bova's, all of us celebrating the May 29 "reopening" of...
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May 29, 2021

Politics Trumps All

A Republican filibuster today blocked the formation of an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capital while Congress was receiving the Electoral College votes from the states. To proceed, the proposal needed 10 Republican Senators to join the 50 Democrats in an affirmative vote. Six Republ...
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May 22, 2021

Follow the Science. Unless It's Wrong.

One of the distinctions between the Trump and Biden administrations: their different views of science. Describing how his administration would manage COVID-19 and climate change, President Biden talks about "following the science." During a trip to California, former President Trump, when told warming temperatures, a sign of climate ch...
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May 16, 2021

To Mask or Not to Mask?

The U.S. has made significant progress fighting the coronavirus since the FDA authorized the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Developing the vaccines began during the Trump administration — Operation Warp Speed — and the Biden administration moved swiftly to deploy the vaccines across the country, which are now availabl...
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May 12, 2021

Sometimes Caring is Just Being Quiet

Driving home from work last Thursday, I was listening to a Timber Hawkeye podcast and finding myself being enlightened, which is what usually happens when I listen to him speak. He reflects on some aspect of life, boiling complexity into a simple and cogent perspective — often counter to what I think. In this podcast episode, he was mu...
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May 9, 2021

Mother's Day Reflection

Mother's Day, 2006. I took this photo of my mother on the front step of her home. We had just returned from having lunch at Marie Callender's restaurant, after attending the service at her church. I had flown out from New Hampshire to spend Mother's Day with her. We both knew it was likely her last. All winter, she lacked energy and, d...
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April 25, 2021

Grief, Rage, Despair — But Don't Give Up

Last week, I watched the Sunday service at the UU Fellowship of Montgomery, Alabama. Rev. Lynn Hopkins’ moving sermon expressed how the experiences of the past year have layered feelings of grief, rage, and despair. It was an “aha” moment for me, putting into words what I have increasingly felt: grief caused by rampant self-interest, h...
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April 25, 2021

Trump's Press Releases Trump Trump's Tweets

It's been relatively quiet since former president Trump's Twitter account was suspended, cutting off his endless stream of falsehoods and attacks. When Twitter made the move, the former president and many of his supporters condemned the decision, calling it an infringement of the free speech guaranteed by the Constitution. That's not t...
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April 18, 2021


We had a new front door installed late last fall. As the weather was too cold for painting, we deferred that until spring. Now that the weather is warming, we need to decide on the colors for the outside and inside. We were happy with the exterior color of the old door, so we chose a color that is close to the old one. Easy. The inside...
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April 17, 2021

New Hampshire Mask Mandate

Today the governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, let the mask mandate expire. It was implemented statewide on November 20 of last year, although mandates had been implemented earlier in the pandemic by towns and businesses. In a press release, the governor justified his decision by claiming ““a reduction in the state’s 7-day average ...
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April 4, 2021


Growing up, from fourth grade through high school, I attended church with my mother most Sunday mornings, a Methodist church the first few years, American Baptist during high school. My mother was deeply religious, my father not at all, and they did not attend church. After divorcing my father, she resumed going to church and introduce...
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March 28, 2021

Georgia, Latest Voting Battleground

The foundation of a representative democracy is the idea of the governed electing representatives to "govern" them, i.e., make and carry out laws and policies supporting those laws and, more broadly, act in the best long-term interests of their constituents. Also part of this democratic foundation is who falls in the category of the go...
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March 27, 2021

All We Have Is Today

I find it paradoxical that we can only live in this moment, yet we spend so much of these moments ruminating about the past or planning for — worse, worrying about — the future. Bouncing between the past and future, we lose touch with this moment, then look back at it when it's too late to be present in it. One of the intentions of my ...
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March 25, 2021

Remembering Kenny

March 24, 2021 The woman's voice on the voicemail message softly said she was calling on behalf of the family to tell me Kenny died this morning. I knew this was coming, just not when. Several weeks ago, a former colleague of ours had emailed me, advising Kenny was receiving hospice care. There was no more that could be done to stop th...
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March 21, 2021

More on the Filibuster

The Washington Post's Post Reports podcast did a comprehensive story about the filibuster on Friday, covering its origins, evolution, and current arguments about modifying or eliminating it. Very well done. For me, the takeaways are: 1 — The founding fathers did not implement the filibuster, nor support the idea. Adam Jentleson, author...
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March 20, 2021

What's The Point?

My last blog post contemplated happiness, and I quoted the Dalai Lama's expression that "the purpose of life is to find happiness." While meditating this morning, I found my thoughts pointing to a different answer: the purpose of life is to serve and, in some way, leave the world better for having lived. I've long held that belief, hav...
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March 17, 2021


Each morning, the Chill app on my iPhone shares a spiritual quote. Today's was from American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864): “"Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained. Follow some other object, and very possibly we may f...
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March 14, 2021

Remembering George Floyd

The City of Minneapolis will pay $27 million to the family of George Floyd, the Black man who died after being handcuffed by police and held on the ground by officer Derek Chauvin, Chauvin's knee wedged in Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes. Floyd was stopped by police because a convenience store clerk claimed he used a counterfe...
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March 14, 2021

Is the Filibuster Undermining Democracy?

President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill Thursday, making it law and releasing a flood of federal funding. The legislation passed solely with the votes of Democrats — no Republican support in either the House or Senate. Before being sworn in as president, Biden said he wanted the measure to be bipartisan, causin...
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March 13, 2021

The Sun, Clouds, Trees

This morning, the rising sun caught an assortment of puffy clouds, illuminating their white against the light blue sky, a beautiful contrast to the neighbor's bare trees. You'll find the photo here, since I haven't figured out how to embed a photo in a HEY World post, assuming that is possible. Although breezy, the morning felt mild — ...
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March 12, 2021

A Year Later

A year after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and the day he signed the coronavirus relief bill into law, President Biden gave his first address to the nation, blending empathy, caution, and hope for the future. His tone was serious and largely soft spoken. Occasionally, he leaned on the podium to emphasize a ...
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March 11, 2021

Growing A Beard

Inspired by the salt-and-pepper beard worn by Craig Foster in the film My Octopus Teacher, I haven't shaved in over a week. However many days so far in this experiment, I am trying to withstand the itchiness and scruffiness while learning to trim the beard, hoping to end up with a respectable facsimile of my goal.
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March 10, 2021

Another Birthday, One Day It Will Be Otherwise

Tuesday, March 9 After so many years, birthdays are routine annual events, just another day in the 365 days that fill the calendar. To write that exposes one of the paradoxes of living: life is normal, even boring, until it isn't. Only then we remember the miracle of each breath, each blade of grass, the sun that gives us daylight and ...
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March 9, 2021


I don’t believe that life is supposed to make you feel good, or to make you feel miserable either. Life is just supposed to make you feel. — Gloria Naylor What do I feel? Do I even know, since I grew up internalizing various messages about downplaying feelings: Men should be stoic, unperturbed by life's events. With constant happiness ...
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March 7, 2021

To Thine Own Self Be True

As I approach another milestone birthday — aren't they all milestones? — I'm grateful to be at a stage in life where I don't feel I have to prove myself. My life has forged my values and brought self-confidence as I have navigated the challenges and achieved some successes, yielding a sense of security and an increasing fondness for th...
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