Category: Thoughts

Urban Density

If one requires further evidence that we human beings are, at the end of the day, animals — or beasts, or savages in clothes, or however one prefers his locution –turn to our planet’s major cities. (One can look also to our obvious obsession with mating and eating, also.) There, in our teeming metropolises, we...

Philippines Notes, Part 3: Free Markets

Those of us with a libertarian bent are at times susceptible to the theoretical ideal of “free markets,” the utopian concept of economics unburdened by interfering governments or regulations. Expressed purely (and absurdly) as the perfect crossroads of Supply and Demand, free markets are supposed to produce the best product at the best price, letting...

Philippines Notes, Part Two: Using Dogs

Some people in the Philippines eat dogs. (A recent documentary about the country, made by a native, was entitled “Dog Eaters.” Some expatriate Pinoys didn’t appreciate the label, but the verity of canine consumption wasn’t ever in question.) Occasionally, pet-owners here suffer the heartbreak of having their furry friend kidnapped — dognapped? — and transformed...

Philippines Notes, Part One: Litter in Paradise

The easy default reactions of an American who encounters unspeakable poverty and squalor when visiting a country like the Philippines are pity, scorn, and outrage. How monstrous, it seems, to call places like these “developing countries” when the extent of their development is obvious: great bastions of wealth and property concentrated in the hands of...

Poem: The Crash

Startled by an interloper, something bigger than they, a moving shadow that connotes death, Or what is understood to be the end, The little ones flutter away, dashing hysterically for cover, like a child seeking solace Beneath his blanket. All but one are safe. The unlucky fellow crashes head-first into an invisible pane of glass,...

The Prize Industry

Our friend Tierney Sutton’s latest album, “I’m With the Band,” has been nominated for a Grammy award in the category of vocal jazz. Although she probably won’t win, simply being recognized by the recording industry has been (and will continue for some time to be) a boon to her career. It’s effective shorthand: Grammy nomination...

Department of Trivial Inquiry: Eye-Blacking

Seeing some of the BCS Championship game last night, between USC and Texas, reminded me that there’s almost always betting value in the underdog. It also raised a not very important issue: What the hell is with the eye blacking? When I was a lad, football players painted black stripes below their eyes, on the...

To Kill a Mockingbird, Revisited

The plot of Harper Lee’s book about racism, childhood, and paternal love revolves around the rape trial of a black man, Tom Robinson, defended by a white lawyer, played in the movie version with transcendent nobleness by Gregory Peck. In both the novel and the movie, the evidence strongly suggests that Robinson is innocent and...

2006 Resolutions

Welcome to 2006, a new year that will offer more of the same if we let it (and probably even if we don’t). Despite our collective helplessness in the face of Nature — Human and otherwise — we can, however, resolve to do things differently, and better, and with more care. I join everyone else...