Thoughts of the Week Blog

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On the Glide Path to Nirvana

At a somewhat advanced age for such youthful pursuits, you’re playing your first-ever organized chess tournament. You’ve entered the Los Angeles Open, along with about 400 other brilliant nerds, many of them teenagers and younger. In fact, every generation is well-represented here. There are players as young as 5 and as old as 90. Indeed,...

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Wasting Your Vote

With elections looming this week, it seems as good a time as ever to revisit the badly misunderstood concept of Vote Wasting. The standard lie, perniciously attractive to uncritical thinkers, is: When you vote for someone who “can’t win,” someone from, say, the Green Party, you’re wasting your vote. Therefore, the flawed reasoning goes, one should...

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One Unofficial Version of Events, Inspired by Terence McKenna

Moko the Hunter possessed all the attributes an early proto-human hominid needed for success. He was strong, strong enough to choke a wild boar with his bare hands. He was stealthy, able to blend into foliage and tree canopies like a biped chameleon. And he could wait patiently for hours, standing still as a birch...

The Real Real Deal

If one could add the entirety of what we can see and what we can’t — the supplicant on a rant, matter dark, unknowable, persistent bitterness neat and stowable – what we would be forced to examine are children wrenched by famine, a panoply of catastrophes, like man-made war, man-made disease. We might also deign to look...

Endorsement: Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court!

This space has previously offered ringing endorsements of candidates for Sheriff of Los Angeles, and Pope of the World. Today, we proudly add to that list the Honorable Brett Kavanaugh, soon to be the newest member of the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Our reasons for supporting his nomination are copious and...

Three Versions of Happiness

1) Refrain from seeking happiness. Be happiness. 2) Become the cause of happiness in others. 3) All right. That’s marvelous in theory. But how do you go on when every morning brings news of the intolerable, the intolerable that we all tolerate? How do you consciously continue the divine comedy, momentarily detouring Dante’s hoary inferno...

Mad Respect to Dave Chappelle

Last week we attended a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Ms. Lauryn Hill was celebrating the 20-year anniversary of her seminal album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” and she had De La Soul opening, followed by her special guest Dave Chappelle. Before the event, we received several emails from the concert promoter reminding audience members...

Poem: Extraordinary Boy

Sweeping cereal dust over weathered wooden floors He knew this push-broom life was not his. Brave soldiers and dashing lovers, charming spies and magnetic saviors, Giant heroes On a screen – These were his people. And (in darker moments) his friends, His Sirens, beckoning from a distant place, Where corn was found in polished supermarket aisles,...

The Meditation Shield

People who have a meditation practice — doesn’t matter what kind or style — make a conscious decision to put their focus on something specific: breath going in and out; a mantra; waves arriving and receding. Thoughts come and go. Things happen or don’t. And the meditator observes them all. When you’re traveling on the...

Better, From Several Perspectives

When a business owner replaces employees with automation — machines, robots, computers — the effects radiate in two opposite directions. On one hand, the employees (and their families), have less, since they no longer draw a paycheck. On the other, the owners (and their shareholders) have more, because lower payroll means higher profits. A dear...