Category: Thoughts

Borat

Now everyone know Borat.  He is number one movie film in America. Nice! Many people, including Jews and women who like to make sexy-time, pay money for learning the cultural exploration Borat make for benefit of glorious nation of Kazakhstan. Great success! Those of us who have known Borat for several years are happy for...

The Nicest Part of a Worship Service

I don’t attend church services regularly. All the salvation talk is a little much. But when I do, my favorite moment is when the leader asks the congregation to give salutations to those around them. Strangers introduce themselves. Old friends share a handshake. Couples embrace.  In those gentle moments, when the warnings and imperatives have...

Jailing by Example

Manfred Nowak, the United Nations investigator on torture, told reporters this week that governments around the world respond to criticism of their inhumane jails by saying they handle their prisoners the same way the United States does.  How mortifying, how shameful it is to be a citizen of a country that once was considered the...

Good Writers

Readers of my books often ask me what I like to read when I’m not writing. And whenever I post a Thought lamenting our aesthetic culture’s descent into exalted mediocrity and irrelevance, the email correspondence usually includes queries like, “Well, if you don’t think Dan Brown is a good writer, who is, smarty pants?”  I...

Size Queens

Despite our vigorous protests to the contrary, what Americans value more than “family” is quantity. We are a nation of super-sized dreck.  As our population eclipses 300 million — bigger and better every day — we are less inclined to appreciate (or even acknowledge) anything that is accomplished on a small scale. “Go big or...

How to Be Happy, in Three Easy Steps

1) Surrender all ambitions to make, do, or build anything truly great. Trying to achieve greatness will lead to certain failure for everyone, except maybe Tiger Woods. The odds are so stacked against you — like, I don’t know, 10,000,000 -to- 1? — that you’re going to fail in this lifetime and probably the next...

A Modest Proposal for World Peace

The international furor surrounding North Korea’s underground detonation of a nuclear bomb reminds us that several nations on our planet have the ability to obliterate all the others. Hooray for us, we’re one of them! The outrage at Kim Jong Il’s putative procurement of weapons of mass destruction isn’t because he’s starved his country to...

Election Day

Millions of Americans go to the polls today, participating in the grand charade that passes as our debased version of democracy. Millions of other Americans won’t go. They’re too lazy, or they’ve convinced themselves that their vote doesn’t matter.  This time, perhaps more than in any other election in my lifetime, everyone’s vote matters. For...

Poem: Measuring

A cup of solace, blended nicely with a pint of remorse  Stirred together with a whisk made of weathered telephone poles Like the ones we saw as children, driving across the Great Plains In the back of a too-small car — never wondering if we were there yet because the counting and the waiting and...

The Shame

Mark Foley, the Florida congressman who abruptly resigned his seat in the House of Representatives on Friday after sexually suggestive e-mail and instant messages with a 16-year-old male former congressional page became public, has — predictably — entered an alcohol treatment facility and has said how sorry he is for the harm he has caused....