Psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman started out during a bleaker time for psychology, when the discipline was focused on treating illness rather than helping people flourish. As a founder of Positive Psychology, Dr. Seligman forged a path that celebrates the best qualities of human nature.

Photo by Tyler Nix at

Seligman’s PERMA model focuses on five attributes that describe well-being:

P = Positive Emotions
E = Engagement
R = Relationships
M = Meaning And Purpose
A = Achievements And Accomplishments

Theories of Positive Psychology are based on research and empirical evidence that demonstrate techniques that lead to well-being. It was found that of 24 Character Strengths and Virtues, Gratitude and a Love Of Learning correlate most positively with well-being. For example, it was discovered that people who take a few moments at night to reflect on three things that go well during the day and why they went well will…

I have always been on the lookout for alternatives to the word ‘great,’ and I suspect that in the Trump Era, the growing use of ‘awesome,’ ‘stellar,’ ‘excellent’ and similar adjectives happened as a direct result of Trump’s cheapening of the word ‘great.’ Let’s make ‘Great’ great again.

Graphic by Keith Walsh

I’m always looking for new adjectives to describe good things. In 2015 or so, when Donald Trump chose the campaign slogan “Make American Great Again,” the word ‘great’ became instantly cheapened as an attention-getting shorthand for something else. What did ‘great’ mean? Was it, as those on the left asserted, a code word for a time when minorities knew their places and when a white majority ruled? Or was it, as the right claimed, a message of hope, a reclamation of a time when American exceptionalism ruled the day?

And was America ever ‘great?’ As the late comedian George Carlin…

Hall And Oates, Big Brother, The Police

By Keith Walsh
There’s never been a good time to be paranoid, but the 1980s became an easy time to be paranoid. From the rise of authoritarianism (Ronald Reagan in the U.S., Margaret Thatcher in the U.K.) to the growth of synth pop and its theatrics of despair, the 1980s gave us sensitives plenty of fodder for our neuroses. Not to mention, four years in and we’re facing a culture becoming increasingly similar to that depicted in George Orwell’s dystopic novel, ‘1984.’

First there was Hall And Oates single of 1981, “Private Eyes,” a number one hit from the album…

The lure of fame and easy money attracts the unprincipled and corrupts the innocent, but the truth of it is not that simple.

Rock and roll guitarist on stage. Photo by Hector Bermudez on Unsplash.
Rock and roll guitarist on stage. Photo by Hector Bermudez on Unsplash.
Red Fang on stage in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Hector Bermudez on Unsplash.

Watching your favorite guitar hero or power singer strutting around on stage, it’s easy to draw the conclusion that the rock and roll and popular music scenes are populated by larger than life, heroic figures. But the truth is more complicated than that.

The exploits of rockers are well known, and it’s no wonder that the phrase ‘sex, drugs and rock and roll’ is common parlance. From the famous hotel wreckings of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and The Who, to the tragic ’27 Club’, to the rumored amorous advances of Madonna towards her young male dancers, the rebellious and…

I’ve learned so much from my buddies Mitch and Gamera — and despite the hard work involved, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Gamera and Mitch (L-R) Photo by Keith Walsh

You can find inspiration in unexpected places. Though I prefer warm and cuddly pets like cats and dogs, my two amphibious reptiles — red-eared sliders named Mitch and Gamera — have been a source of knowledge and joy. Here are just a few of the things they’ve taught me.

  1. The big guy has an unfair advantage. In societies, the fat cats of the world take the lion’s share of resources. In my turtles’ case, Gamera is two and a half times bigger than Mitch, and when I feed them he edges out his smaller friend, pushing her away. Maybe it’s…

When Darwin Meiners wrote the song, “Dance Alone,” it was before the COVID-19 crisis changed all our lives. The Santa Rosa-based singer songwriter had other things on his mind when he wrote the song that would become a video that resonates with the age of sheltering in place.

“What it was is,” Darwin explained, “I can’t dance worth sh#t, I’m a horrible dancer, but I really like dance music, so I was sitting there, kind of doing a comedy, kind of a comedic approach to it. The song started out with ‘I don’t feel like dancing, I’m at home.’ That…

In the summer of 1981, just after high school graduation, I was in love with two things: myself and my Moog Prodigy synthesizer. With these two meager assets, I embarked on a brief career playing in a synthpop quartet. But not before having a love affair with Stacey Swain, whom I met at the Casbah recording studio in Fullerton, and who would embark on a massive career of her own, with the stage name Stacey Q. Our paths took us to different places, and we lost touch. Since then, Stacey has had top ten chart success, and most recently, in…

During this terrible crisis, our lives have been disrupted in ways we didn’t imagine possible. When I write “our lives,” it means all of us, in every nation. Stay at home lockdowns are becoming the norm in the age of COVID19. We are adapting, working remotely from home, schooling our children by internet, only rarely going out for essential activities like shopping for groceries.

Slovenian Rock Musician Enej Mavsar. Used with permission.

I live in California. I messaged Enej Mavsar, a Slovenian musician and asked him what was going in his country. He told me that he is working on new music, despite being worried about the response…

I just heard from Petar Stojanović of Slovenia’s electrorock band, KNTRDKSHN, who lives in the city of Brežice. In a smaller country with a population of 1.97 million people, the pandemic in Slovenia is on a smaller scale.

“We have around 500+ infected and one death reported,” he writes. “We have a restriction of movement like you — no hanging out, no bars, no restaurants, no concerts, no fun. Thankfully we closed the borders with Italy soon enough.” Slovenia is bordered by Italy, one of the countries most hard hit, on their west.

Petar Stojanović of Slovenian Electronic Rock Band KNTRDKSHN. Used with permission.

Musicians around the globe have been strongly…

As a nine year old elementary school student, meeting his dad’s colleague Marcel Duchamp was an eye opener for author Tosh Berman. “When I told the teacher,” Berman explains, “she asked ‘what did you do over the weekend?’ and I said I went to this art show at a big museum in Pasadena, and I met this French man, and she knew what I was talking about. I don’t think she was an art fan, but I think she read about it in a newspaper and stuff.”

Tosh says that to this day, he remembers that his teacher was very…

Keith Walsh

Adventurer, Reporter, Existentialist

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