Traveler helping othersThe concept of “paying it forward” — doing a good deed while asking only that the person helped would in turn help someone else — provided the motivation for a Good Samaritan in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to pay it all the way forward to Chicago, Illinois.

cover story for #2514For more than two centuries, freedom has been the catchword of Western Civilization. What began as an abstraction from the pens of Locke, Sidney, Montesquieu, Beccaria, and others has become, in the more than 230 years since the Declaration of Independence was signed and published to the world, an all-embracing pretext for political activity. Where rulers once justified their activities on the basis of discredited doctrines like the divine right of kings and the absolute and indivisible sovereignty said to inhere in the person of a monarch, governments of nearly every stripe today proclaim the sanctity of freedom.

1950s AmericaA well-used copy of Consumer Reports dated March 2009 caught my eye in the doctor’s reception area. The cover story: “Great old appliances.” Owners stood beside their still-operational refrigerators (1926), toasters (1936), mixers (1938), waffle irons (1939), dryers (1954), vacuum cleaners (1955), sewing machines (1957), blenders (1959) and dishwashers (1960). Even 40-somethings refused to ditch their “finds,” relegating more modern versions, bestowed by children or grandchildren, to the basement, unopened.

Man“Marriage has many difficulties, but celibacy has no pleasures,” said Samuel Johnson. Whether Johnson was exaggerating or was right on the bull’s eye, there is no doubt that celibacy has many deprivations.

Gay couplePresident Barack Obama on June 17 issued a presidential memorandum that extended a number of benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers. The move received mixed reviews by homosexual rights activists, some of whom were more angered than appeased. The president had earlier proclaimed the month of June "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month."