Category: Life

The Meaning of Dogs

Throughout my early boyhood our family had a succession of German Shepherds, all of whom perished prematurely because of disease and whom I only vaguely remember. First there was Caesar, and then (a second) Brutus. (My family, I realize in hindsight, had a thing for Roman history.) I don’t remember much about these animals except...

Things Versus Experiences

We work to make money so that we may clothe, feed and shelter our family and ourselves. We also work so that we may acquire things: baubles, gadgets, appliances, games, art, and more clothes, food, and shelter just in case we run out. Sometimes a good life is measured by how many things we’ve managed...

Mars Versus Earth

Like millions of others,¬†I watched with fascination and wonder as NASA’s space probe Spirit touched down safely on Mars and began to transmit back to Earth images of our planetary neighbor. As a child who enjoyed reading the science fantasies of Arthur Clarke and Ray Bradbury, among others, I didn’t imagine that sending a spaceship...

Poem: Without Health

Do you agree? Do you think this is true? Have you considered or are you offended or does this¬†conform? When we say with certainty and a large (any word but “healthy”!) dollop of pomposity:   Without health, we have nothing. Without health, abiding happiness is not possible. Without health, the pleasures of life seem muted...

It’s Almost Over

My barber was incredulous. “Do you believe it, Mikey?” he said, gesticulating with scissors alarmingly close to my ear. “Only three more weeks and this year is over. I can’t understand how this year went by so fast. It seems like we celebrated New Year’s just yesterday.” Franco is in his late-forties. His eldest daughter...

The Dust of a Comet

The other night in Los Angeles, it was possible to see faintly the Leonid meteor showers with the naked eye. A bright gibbous moon made the show less spectacular than it will be tonight, on the 19th, when the moon will be on the wane. The light we saw shooting across the sky was thrilling...

Why Comedy Matters

Comedy cannot permanently change the world — at least not as effectively as brave science, bold literature, and partially clad women. But comedy can bring us disparate human souls together in the shared communion of laughter. Even Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat can enjoy the same jokes. “A rabbi and a mullah walk into a...

The Ultimate Accomplishment: Being Famous

What exactly do “reality” celebrities do that warrants their fame? Do they make anything transcendent and lasting? Do they help us understand in new and revelatory ways what it means to be alive? Are they anything more than our society’s court jesters, our physically attractive fools who distract us momentarily from the challenges of “real”...