Category: Thoughts

Including Dogs in Everyday Life

I’m presently going over the manuscript for my next book, an account of traveling through Europe with my wonderful mutt, Ella. (It will be out around this time next year.) Just as I’m reviewing a section of the book about Ella lunching with me at one of Paris’s finest restaurants, I’m confronted (yet again) by...

Never Too Late

In addition to being a sublime Victorian novelist, George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) was a reliable source of refrigerator magnet epigrams about subjects as diverse and enduring as friendship, love, and destiny. One of our favorites is her thought about fulfilling one’s dreams: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”...

Sheep, Cows, and Fields of Grass

Spending a week in the Welsh countryside is like a drinking a nepenthe that scours away all memory of air pollution, terrorist attacks, and venal corporations. The real world feels far, far away. Although it was the first country to become industrialized (to exploit the coal, copper, and tin in its ground), Wales today is...

Why People Hate Art

A rich guy we know gives generously to a wide and cheering cross-section of charities: Special Olympics, animal shelters, American Cancer Society, institutions of higher learning. He feels good giving away some of his millions to any cause or appeal, except “the arts.” That he won’t do. The arts, he’s told us in so many words,...

Chemicals

Just as devoutly fatalistic folks ascribe everything that happens – or doesn’t happen – to an omnipotent author in the sky who meticulously scripts several billion not very interesting biographies every day, we have a friend who transfers responsibility for the course of life to a different higher power. Chemicals. Our pal believes that human beings are...

All Five Senses

There’s some sort of problem in my left eye at the moment, the details of which I won’t bother to enumerate. Suffice to say it’s concerning enough that I’m going to see a doctor — something I almost never do. And then, one presumes, everything will be all right. I couldn’t help, though, imagining what...

A Blessed Life

Capitalism requires that we consumers feel as though we never have enough. Our lives will be fuller, richer,better if only we might acquire, chew, possess that which we don’t yet have. The media reminders that constantly bombard our senses teach us that more money, more fame, more fabulousness will magically enlighten our days as friendship, love...

Training a Dog, Training a Country

My dog Ella is one of the best-behaved animals anyone’s ever met. She walks beside me without a leash. She can be trusted to wait alone outside unenlightened establishments that don’t welcome four-legged creatures inside their portals. And she responds to conversational spoken English better than most children. Much to my delight, I’m frequently asked...

How to Get Into Heaven

For most of my life, I was under the impression that the surest way for us human sinners to gain entry to heaven (whatever or wherever that may be) was to lead a good life filled with good works and good fellowship. Goodness would beget goodness. I learned this past weekend that my assumption was...

The Masters: A Tradition Like No Other

Every April, some of the best golfers in the world are invited to play in a tournament conducted at Augusta National Golf Club, a famously lush arboretum of magnolias and azaleas founded by the legendary amateur champion Bobby Jones. The first of the so-called “major” championships – the PGA Championship and the U.S. and British...