Ricky's Riffs:

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


Covid-19: What the Left (and Right) Got Wrong

July 28th, 2022

Do we ever say we were wrong?

Or have we become so polarized, so isolated in our social media bubbles, that we will maintain the “righteousness” of our positions–bolstered by reams of “evidence,”–forever.

We on the left like to believe that we have sole access to the truth; that it is only the “other side” that wanders in the desert of “alternative facts.” Of course, the other side feels exactly the same way.

But sometimes, the other side is the right side.

And Covid-19 is one of those places. In a variety of ways, “we” were wrong.Read the rest of this entry »


Book Review: “Aya: Awakenings” by Rak Razam

November 17th, 2021

There are at least two types of journalism. There is the classic detached, distanced, “objective” journalism. And then there is “Gonzo” journalism; most notably practiced by the likes of Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe. In this style, there is no need for distance; rather, the journalist is fully immersed in the story and reports it from the inside.

Aya: Awakenings is the story of gonzo journalist Rak Razam. In 2006, Razam was on assignment for Australian Penthouse magazine to report on an ayahuasca conference taking place in the city of Iquitos, Peru, in the Peruvian Amazon.Read the rest of this entry »


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 »