Ah - now for something refreshingly different. My friend Gilbert, still a friend - I even know where he is - sends me a "memo" from someplace in one of the Carolina's, I think, where he is at a summer philosophy seminar - whether teaching or attending, I do not remember. 30 July 1984. He took his motorcycle out there, and complains, "Bar time here is 2:00 am, and the police are worse than flies on hamburger ... Put you through a routine (recite alphabet standing/hopping on one foot touching your nose alternately with different fingers) worthy of Monty Python - if you giggle they bust you." Read more about The Price of Paranoia
We've come to the turn of the year. This is the last day of 2012, a day so far in the future that I still can't comprehend that it's over with. I'm continually astonished by the juxtaposition of the date on the calendar and the view out my window. For anyone born before the middle of the 20th century, the 21st was a land of promised wonders. But the world outside my window remains essentially the same. People, plants and weather. I can't help but think it's not that different from the world the Babylonians saw. They saw more animals, perhaps, less tech. Read more about Tomorrow Never Happens
That Christmas my grandmother bought me my first doll, a beautiful porcelain thing in white satin and lace, with blonde curly hair.
We were at my grandparents' farm in Iowa. There was a coal-burning stove - I remember my grandfather carrying in the cobs and coal. Cobs, because I suspect they burned corn cobs too. I seem to remember the room and the tree and boxes in the middle of the floor, and my parents and grandparents sitting in a semi-circle, their eyes riveted on me, their one beloved child. My sister was still a year away. Not to mention the four boys. Read more about First Christmas Memory
I've never met the little boy named James who died on Friday in Sandy Hook Elementary. But when I heard President Obama read his name, I thought, oh, yes, James. That's the little boy I know about. Read more about Mourning James
Cleaning house. I don't know why everyone seems to hate it so. I like it. Oh, the everyday gets repetitious and dreary, so it's not like I wake up in the morning thinking, Oh boy! Dishes. But then there are times like these.
I can't count the times I've moved over the years, but one thing I have learned from the experience. If you want to get to know a place, if you want to feel at home, if you want to stake your claim on a space and make it yours, clean it. Every last corner. Read more about Cleaning House
Got into another fascinating conversation with an old acquaintance of mine, Seattle's own Jim Page, that began with the question of whether or not the word "intelligence," as a human trait, was ever used in the gospels. I had to shove my oar in with the supposition that perhaps "intelligence" was what was then meant by "wisdom." And the back and forth began. Read more about The Evolution of an Argument
The Thanksgiving air seems filled with angels taking uninvited seats upon shoulders, angels whispering "remember, only one scoop of mashed potatoes," "you probably don't need all that gravy," "don't forget, just a tiny sliver of pumpkin pie, skip the whipped cream." And right after those angels, having done their worst, flutter off, another set flutters in and begins a whispering campaign to convince you that Christmas isn't about presents. You should rebel against buy, buy, buy. Your relatives - even your children - will be so much happier with gifts given to the poor in their name. Read more about Temperance
A looooong time ago, I knew this guy. Maybe you knew him too. He was kinda like a one-man drug store. You know, the kind of drugs you may have seen on police procedurals - how else could you possibly know about these things? The kind of drugs for which, apparently, a number of people have been arrested.
And he got away with it. He's still around, but no longer in business. He's not a millionaire, not even a thousandaire. He's got a real job and lives a quiet life and never spent a single day in jail. Read more about Private Parts
I have been working on the virtue of patience my entire life and I have to say, I haven't gotten very far. Anyone who thinks I have, who thinks I'm very patient, who thinks I am the very essence of delayed gratification, doesn't see the subtle machinations I have put in place to make that illusion possible.
For one thing, there are the books. Waiting for a cab? I have a book. Doctor's office? Book. A friend is running late? Am I ever mad? No. I had a book. Read more about Patience