Category: Thoughts

Super Bowl Sunday

This weekend brings the biggest sporting event in America, the Super Bowl. The violent antics on the playing field are only a small part of the ritualistic gatherings that happen in living rooms and dens around our country. People will congregate together to pass judgment on a well-known celebrity’s lip-synced rendition of our national anthem....

The Nature of Luck

This past weekend I competed in a made-for television event called “World Series of Blackjack.” The producers invited 25 gambling luminaries — if such a thing can be said to exist — to square off in 5-person, 30-hand matches. The winners got a pile of money, and the others got to be on cable television....

MLK

Martin Luther King’s birthday is the same as mine, January 15th. According to several recent books, Dr. King was anything but the saintly leader his hagiographers would have us believe. He was, it seems, a complicated, flawed person. A human being. And he is worth remembering. King’s great and lasting legacy is that he helped...

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...

Helping by Hurting

The 7-11 store in our neighborhood dispenses cigarettes, sodas, chips, hot dogs, coffee, cookies, and most every other snack food that can be fashioned out of partially hydrogenated oil and other trans-fats. This convenience outlet offers most of the noxious poisons people ought to ingest if they wish to slowly kill themselves. Though the products on...

Smooth Jazz

You can find karaoke machines in hundreds of bars and restaurants and bowling alleys around Los Angeles, where everyone is a budding star (or at least wants to be.) You can find fewer live piano bars, where a player well-versed in the standards and Broadway show tunes accompanies enthusiasts with cabaret dreams. And even rarer...

The Astrology Enigma

Anyone who believes in astrology is operating irrationally. If you don’t understand why, you may safely skip this Thought and return to your horoscope, where you will discover that you and the other twelfth of the world that was born on the same month as you are predisposed to success (or lack thereof) because of...

Natural Disasters and God

With the Iranian city of Bam nearly obliterated by an earthquake and now buried in rubble, devout Muslims must be asking themselves how this latest catastrophe (40,000 souls estimated dead) fits into their God’s grand plan. Jews could wonder something similar about the holocaust, but that tragedy could at least be ascribed to the cruelty...

Junior Idols

The other night a proud music producer played for us a new recording of his latest protege, an enormously talented diva who could sing like Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, and the Mariah Carey, among other songbirds. Not only could she hit the high notes, he assured us, his latest discovery had tremendous stage presence, movie...