Category: Thoughts

Selective Smelling

Women, those creatures from Venus, assume that most men, particularly boyfriends and husbands, suffer from a malady known as “selective hearing.” Other forms of this pervasive syndrome include “selective memory” and “selective comprehension.” A rough description: When the Lakers score is coming over the radio, a man hears like a bat; when the wife is...

Tom Sawyer Syndrome

Marx famously thought that religion was the opiate of the masses. If he were around today he could safely add sports and every other form of entertainment to the societal apothecary. We pay burly fellows like Albert Pujols more than $25 million a year to hit baseballs and petite ones like Tom Cruise about the...

Near Death on Two Wheels

Last week I experienced my first ride inside the back of an ambulance rushing to a hospital emergency room. The sirens wailed while paramedics monitored my vital signs and called out important-sounding numbers. I looked up from the gurney I was attached to, noting the oxygen valve on the ceiling, the lights, the latched compartments...

Shopping Our Way to Happiness

Friends are fickle. Family is unreliable. But shopping – now that’s something we can all count on to raise our collective Holiday Spirit. This was the primary message of hope we heard during Thanksgiving, which has gradually morphed into a two-day bacchanal. (Day One, Thanksgiving Thursday, features food and football. Day Two, Black Friday, features...

Evolutionary Doubts

Mr. Darwin has some ‘splaining to do. Our species, which has managed to rise to the top of the food chain, conquer and colonize every region of the planet we care to inhabit, and control the fate of almost every other species unlucky enough to exist contemporaneously with humankind, seems to be partially exempt from...

Sophocles in Happy Valley

The tragic hero, Sophocles taught us, is an otherwise great man (a warrior, a king) with a flaw that makes him perilously human, which is to say imperfect and prone to terrible mistakes that may or may not involve the family matriarch. Thanks to the magic of theatrical drama, we who witness the tragic hero’s...

Poem: When Nothing Else Seems to Matter

Cling to childhood memories, those anchors, holding you to your narrative, The one you supposedly wrote with every choice you made Good and Bad And all the others in between, somewhere on the scale, a shade of grey seen in Whistler, Who studided these things.   Tell your story. Tell your stories. Keep repeating it....

Occupy Everything

Here’s how a noted correspondent for the London Observer recently described one of the world’s great democratic republics: “[The country] has become greedy, obsessed with commercialism at the expense of any other value or norm, xenophobic, belligerent, and hubristic.” He was talking about modern Great Britain. But sentient Americans reading the unpleasant description surely identify...

Stop the War(s)! Cut the Budget! Restore our Faith?

Finally. After more than eight-and-a-half years of deadly folly (more than 120,000 lives, most of them Iraqi civilians) at costs that may never be fully counted ($806 billion out of our treasury so far; $3 trillion according to Nobel-winning economists), President Obama announced on Friday that he’ll pull all U.S. troops out of Iraq by...

Commuting and Cocooning

As non-commuters, weve always assumed that commuting to and from work or school was a kind of five-times-a-week penury, a semi-voluntary temporary confinement that people endured as a necessary but hated element of getting by. Stuck in traffic, rolling past the same landmarks ten times a week was brightened only by the opportunity to listen...