Past knowledge can inform us about events that have meaning for our present. It can affect us in many ways as recent developments in epigenetics and collective trauma indicate. And if we are mature enough, it can help us explain things we don’t understand about ourselves. Even the technical professions and IT specifically can benefit from knowledge of the past.

Take the British Empire. What lessons can it offer the IT world? IT professionals see themselves as unique in their mastery of complex centralized and decentralized networks and with the speed in which information can be transferred thanks to improvements…


Zero hour hit on Friday, March 13, 2020 around 3.30 in the afternoon. The Swiss Federal Council initiated a lockdown. Higher education and EFL in higher education changed on that day. There was no hurricane or flood. But it felt as if an atomic bomb had hit my profession. It was a ‘gale of creative destruction’ that struck with the immediate result: things have changed!

Pause for moment and reflect. This profession, EFL, has always required a certain dynamism because teachers need to engage their students. Unlike other subjects, topics relating to communication, and specifically English, demand flexibility in both…


Say what you want about Obama, I liked him. I did not agree with everything that he did but I don’t have to. I feel the same about W. I once told a professor that Bush would have been interesting to meet for a beer. Too bad, he quit drinking! Recently, I have found myself thinking of Bush and Obama after watching a video of Bush welcoming the Obamas to the White House the day after Obama won the 2008 election. That speech harkens back to a Washington that still had its differences but treated each other with a modicum…


He said the day that would live in infamy. An attack the day before had decimated the Pacific fleet and temporarily paralyzed the nation’s ability to wage war and defend its interests. While fires still raged in the far off naval base, a president stood before Congress in a joint session and demanded the resources and rights to wage war.

On the day of the infamous attack, the nation awoke from a stupor and suddenly people from Savanah to Seattle recognized the significance of events happening in the world around them. The country mobilized and joined the world around it…


To the person who killed Calvin: f%&$ off! Thanks, but I didn’t cry. Rather, you pissed me off. Not everything needs an end. I don’t feel enriched when my favorite characters from my childhood die. I feel worse. I don’t like crying especially for someone’s social media popularity. The one thing I will regret is that someone else may actually read that shitty post I am discussing. We don’t need to close the circle on our pop culture past.

Just think about it! Mr Ed did not die. He was not sold to the abattoir to have his final moments…


I stepped off into obscurity on a platform in the rural town of Scheirstedt in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. I was new to the area and had exited on to the right platform but took the wrong route on my way to teach at a nearby chocolate processing facility.

The small station was at the edge of a community surrounded by farmland. I was lost and I was late, yet I found some odd joy in staring at a vision of the loneliness in the fields before me. The day before I had taken notes from a hand-drawn map…


Photo by Susan on Unsplash

A wild eyed, halfcocked Ahab shrieked from the mast: “There is no land today!” as the rudderless ship floated adrift amid stormy seas bashed by waves. The pilot, chained to the wheel, looked on despairingly as the first mate and his crew waited in a life boat bickering about how to navigate the waters. The ship wafted aimlessly battered on all sides without direction and with little hope. For one of officers in concert with a few others had cut the rudder cable.

By this time, I was no longer aboard. I had long held the feeling to jump ship…


This past April, my former high school roommate died. His passing has affected me far more than I would have previously expected. Tristan (Tee) Atkinson died on April 14 barely a month after his 39th birthday. He left behind his two living parents, two grandparents, and a wife and child.

I knew him for four years between 1993 and 1997 and after 95 I am certain he would never have called me a friend, not even in passing. Through those years, he spent a lot of time annoying me and instigating acts that led me to lose my temper. He…


Kryptonite did not kill superman; a melanoma did. Unlike Icarus whose wings melted when he approached the sun, Superman developed a lesion right above his hairline from exposure on his many flights in the atmosphere.

In his youth, Superman had been born Clark Kent in Fairmont, West Virginia. He was a scholar and an athlete, who wrestled in high school; and played football and rowed at Harvard. He loved Shakespeare and learning languages. In his later years, he ran marathons after defeating his greatest foe: alcoholism.

He spent his alcohol free years seeking to redeem himself by helping others. He…


Naples Old City — Photo Ben Haymond

Traffic screams by you with inches to spare, phalanxes of tourists crowd through the gates of a city once buried and in a hospital with modern equipment, cigarette smoke and dirty floors, patients wait for treatment; no, it is not the third world, it is southern Italy — Naples actually. Around Naples, amongst the stunning landscapes, sweet lemons, and Neapolitan pizza; you discover the city is crazy! …

Ben Haymond

Expat, Lecturer, Storyteller, Writer and Communications Consultant

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