Ricky's Riffs:

Random Thoughts on Travel, Education, Health, and the World in General


Techniques of Transcendence

September 4th, 2021

Who are we? Who am I?

We are daughters and sons, mothers and fathers; we are our jobs, our homes, our educations, our nationalities; we are our ethnicities.

We travel through life attached to these identities; composites built, brick by brick, with the answers to these questions.

These identities are not just useful, but necessary. With the recognition that we have a self that is separate from the world around us, we can divide our experience into “I” and “it,” subject and object, reducing the external world into pieces to be taken apart and put back together again. Our sense of self– of separateness–enables us to navigate the vicissitudes of life.

Yet something nags at us.Read the rest of this entry »


COVID Diaries, Part Two: Naming Our World

January 27th, 2021

COVID intruded into our world last Winter, then raged through the Spring and Summer of 2020. After taking a small break in the Fall, it exploded again–predictably–on the heels of reckless Thanksgiving and Christmas travel.

So here we are, rounding the turn on our first full year of COVID.Read the rest of this entry »


COVID Diaries, Part One: On Practice in the World of COVID-19

May 2nd, 2020

One of the biggest challenges for me during this pandemic has been the very real possibility that work, as I have known it, may never be the same.Read the rest of this entry »


Some Early Thoughts on a Global Pandemic: COVID Diaries, Part 1

March 23rd, 2020

We have suddenly been thrust into a global pandemic. Seemingly overnight, our lives have changed. Many of us are on lockdown, prohibited from leaving our homes except to go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, or the doctor. We must now maintain “social distance” to prevent infection, staying at least six feet from others.

There were already signs, back in December 2019, of a strange viral disease originating in the filthy live animal markets of China’s Wuhan province. Then it was seen in South Korea, and Japan. Somehow it jumped to Italy, and spread throughout Europe. All the while, from our “distant” perch–despite alarms being sounded by infectious disease and public health experts–our leaders looked on, and did nothing.Read the rest of this entry »


The Democratization of Health and Healing

January 26th, 2020

I’d like to start a movement called “Humans for the Democratization of Health and Healing.” The movement will include many stakeholders: patient/consumers, healthcare practitioners, industry, and government. It will question the traditional relationships among all of these entities. And it will demand change from them all–including myself!Read the rest of this entry »


Cannabis: Medicine of the Future?

January 6th, 2020

The cultivation of cannabis is a science and an art. As medicine, it can be used for relief of pain and the enhancing of pleasure; to relax and to sleep. It can stimulate the creative mind, and the spiritual one as well.

The Emerald Cup, an annual event held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, is the “Academy Awards” of cannabis.  Named for Northern California’s “Emerald Triangle”–the center of the state’s cannabis cultivation industry—it is now in its sixteenth year. Awards are given in a variety of categories: from Best Tinctures, Topicals, and Edibles to Best Marijuana Plant Photography.Read the rest of this entry »


Book Review: “The Digital Health Revolution” by Kevin Pereau

September 28th, 2019

In The Digital Health Revolution, Kevin Pereau describes a new world of medicine: a digitized world. He takes us from electronic health records (EHRs) to new self-monitoring devices that provide continuous feedback about blood pressure, heart rate, and how many steps we take each day.

Knowing the number and type of calories we have taken in, how active we have been (or not), and our blood sugar levels, can be very helpful.  This information provides a pathway to prevention, and often reversal, of many of the chronic diseases that plague us today.  Eighty per cent of all illnesses we suffer from fall into this category.Read the rest of this entry »