Tagged: thought of the day

America’s Greatest Export

While traveling abroad in Southeast Asia, we shirked from inquiring eyes when George Bush’s coronation was broadcast live on CNN. We weren’t ashamed to be an American — on the contrary, we’re proud to be a citizen of this glorious country — but at that inglorious moment in history we were mortified to have come...

Notes on Les Miserables, La Boheme and Love

The fabulously entertaining stage adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables is sold to consumers as “the world’s most popular musical,” an honorific that seems accurate upon first consideration, since Alain Boblil and Claude-Michel Schonberg’s retelling of the novel has been produced in every part of the world (including China) and enjoyed by millions of appreciative...

Thankful

On Thanksgiving Day most of us will eat too much. Many will watch football games. Some will retrieve playing cards from the closet, or a worn mah jong table. If we’re lucky we’ll be among friends and family, basking in the comforting warmth of people who know us well and love us anyway. Few of...

Mel Gibson’s Christ Porno

Last night, while most of us slept, the most cleverly marketed movie in recent history opened on thousands of screens across America. Before a single megaplex presented Mel Gibson’s “Passion of Christ,” the film inspired more editorializing, hand wringing, righteous anger, righteous pride, and cocktail party theorizing than every other work of creative fiction composed...

The Privilege, the Honor, the Responsibility

We have a very smart friend, an American, who never votes. He excuses his laziness with an intricate, self-negating argument that equates voting with an endorsement of a broken and fraudulent process. Like many citizens of this great country, my friend hasn’t traveled very much, and never to a place we would call a “third-world” nation,...

Mistaking Commercial Popularity With Artistic Achievement

Not long ago a couple of friends invited us to watch a concert DVD of one of their favorite performers, a woman named Beyonce Knowles. One of our friends, a musician, said that although most fans admire Ms. Knowles for her pretty face, powerful singing voice, and shapely ass, the really impressive thing about her is...

The Magic Formula

AxD – P = M (C+F) Where “A” represents apathy, “D” represents dismay, and “P” represents powerlessness. And “M” represents misery, “C” represents contentment, and “F” represents fulfillment. Thus, our formula expresses the ability of one force — the dismayed and apathetic individual with a perceived lack of power — to inflict misery upon another...

A Gambling Book Worth Reading

The vast majority of books about gambling hold out the faint (and mostly spurious) promise that they’ll help you somehow gamble better. Or smarter. Or longer. They suggest, usually erroneously, that they contain some sort of heretofore unexpressed secret about beating unbeatable games. These books may be safely ignored, unless you’re a hopeless degenerate who...

The Bad Thing About Dying

Except for suicidal people, those desperate souls who wish for nothing more than oblivion, none of us wants to die. Why? Many religions teach us that there is a “better place” awaiting us when we depart this earthly plane. Whether it’s heaven, nirvana, or some parallel universe where Louis Armstrong provides the soundtrack and ice...

Some Free Gambling Advice

At dinner with a lovely couple, a sweet husband and wife of obvious intelligence and clarity of mind, the topic turned to Vegas. One of their favorite pastimes, they remarked, was going to Las Vegas for quick one or two-day trips during which they assiduously avoided the showrooms, much-lauded restaurants, and anything else that might...