80 Thoughts

Random posts along the way, sometimes serious, often not.

Losing Duke

The Everglades, May 2015

I just had my last conversation with Grandpa Duke last night. Just typing that sentence doesn’t seem right, or accurate, or even possible. He has always been such a large influence to me personally, and to the family as a…

Pretty Hate Machine: News, Facebook, and the Culture of Mass Hysteria

Political-Polarization

For two weeks, the noise droned on in the background. I tried to tune it out. I tried to escape. But it was always there. The words didn’t matter. The flashy graphics didn’t matter. The tone told you everything you…

Overcoming Fear and Standing For Our Values

schengen

Author’s Note: I started writing this post on January 10, 2016 after being stopped at the border between Denmark and Sweden. I wrote it purely for some peace of mind, and then revisited it with some new thoughts in March. The day…

On Free Education

uef

There’s a reason I ended up in Eastern Finland, and it’s not for the weather or abundance of mid-winter sunlight. No, it’s to study. While the program–Master’s Degree in Environmental Policy and Law–was appealing, the price tag was even more…

It’s Time To Rethink American Elections

elections-ahead-sign-600x400

The U.S. 2016 presidential election might still be a year away, but it has basically been happening since the day after the 2012 race. For some, running for office has become a viable career choice, not merely a means to…

Dogs In Space!

A notable exception, Cosmo. Source: http://marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com/

Man and dog have been inseparable since long before recorded history. The domestication of the dog from its wolf common ancestor is a hallmark of human history, and as we have found each other so useful over the years, it…

80 Couches: 200 and Counting…

To the next adventure: Finland!

This is my 200th published post on 80couches.com! When I started this blog five years ago prior to my move to Korea, I had no idea where my random brain-droppings would take me, or where I would take myself. Since…

The Norden

Nordic Flags. Source: Wikipedia

Recently, through my various wanderings about YouTube, I came across a most excellent Finnish TV program, The Norden. The show explores various aspects of Nordic societies (prisons, police, religion, gender, work, and family values) through the eyes of a foreigner. The episode…

Losing Jerry

Jerry

On Wednesday, my Grandpa Jerry passed away. His passing was not a shock, as his diagnosis of terminal cancer had been hanging over his head like a noose for most of the year. He was 87 years old. Despite being…

A World Without Borders: The Trifecta (plus one) of Peace

Source: linkedin

Globalization is often demonized, and there are certainly downsides which have been either glossed over or ignored in these posts. Perhaps I’ll come back to those in a later post, but the reason I’ve focused on the positives is because…

How Nice Should Your Airport Be?

Incheon International Airport. Seoul, Korea

I was a bit taken aback by the recent New York Times article on the world’s best airports. I had long known that Seoul’s Incheon International Airport ranked among the best, but I was not prepared for Munich’s entry in…

In Between Days

Adams beginning

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” -Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I have this watch from communist-era Czechoslovakia that I bought from an antique shop in the Jewish Quarter of Prague. It has no battery, relying…