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Life PureSchmaltz


My mother was a terrorist of the very most insidious kind. She seemed fundamentally incapable of complying with any injunction. Doctor's orders barely amounted to more than invitations to dissent. She mumbled about "polutocrats" and always followed her own rough-honed sense of propriety. She danced along this precipice for ninety years before the cliff edge crumbled from beneath her yesterday. Slip over here for more ...


Like you, people have called me boss and I have called some boss, too. I have both loudly proclaimed that 'you are not the boss of me' and sotto voce whispered it to myself, mantra-like, hoping it might give me quiet strength in some overly-bossy presence. I knew the person Scott Adams modeled his iconic Pointy-Haired Boss after, and he seemed pretty much the opposite of Dilbert's characterizations of him, but then he was not my boss. Someone always seems to get elevated to the enviable/unenviable role of being in charge, whether or not they hold the formal responsibility of judging another's performance. Bossy older sisters hold no charter justifying their pedestal.

Some people seem to appreciate a strong authoritarian presence while others seem to just shrink in that kind of light. Bosses get blamed for everything, since they seem to hold superior responsibility, though they also seem rather incapable of accomplishing much of anything. They represent both the oppressive yoke and the absence of it, depending. They might try to be friendly, but who really wants to befriend someone with the authority to be your oppressor? Slip over here for more ...



The cynic already heard the punchline and doesn't think much of your joke. He's on to the game and firmly believes it's all just and only a sad parody. He purports to understand what really matters, though nothing qualifies as meaningfully significant. In the long run, he quite logically insists, we're all dead anyway. In the short run, where we inescapably exist, the cynic rather too proudly holds his head in long-run clouds, an elite perspective utterly useless for living. The cynic appreciates nothing because he subtly insists he already understands all.

Not negative but also purposefully not positive, the cynic inhabits an orthogonal plane. Slip over here for more ...



I grew up in what today seems like an unimaginably repressive regime, where the privileged wielded tremendous power over ordinary citizens. Some cities and towns still had active sundown laws which made it a crime to be within city limits after dark if you weren't white. In the South, not being white was considered 'just cause' 24/7. My public high school had mandatory ROTC for boys; essentially, conscription into military training for sixteen year olds. Young women could be denied primary public school education for violating wardrobe rules or for the crime of teen-aged pregnancy. Prostitution was formally illegal but protected by the police and business leaders, who owned the buildings housing bordellos. (Wink, wink; nudge, nudge.) The John Birch Society was considered a community service organization.
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The Ancient Greeks invented democracy, but also recognized the stone in its shoe. They spoke of the Cretan who declared that all Cretans are liars. This simple declaration, Bertrand Russell later noticed, could undermine the entire structure of reason the old Greeks passed down to us.

This year, we have a Cretan claiming to run for President. The NYTimes reports on his long history of defending his public statements as "puffery", common commercial bluster: lies. He refers to his opponents as liars, which given that he's a Cretan, must mean that his statement, properly interpreted, insists that his opponents are most certainly 'not liars.’ The Cretan collapses choice into a nearly indiscernible mess. Slip over here for more ...


I admit to being a world-class ninny behind the wheel. I despise driving. I much prefer taking any form of public transportation, and not only because I can read on the bus. I seem to understand traffic rules a bit differently than many others sharing the road, if I can fairly describe their behaviors as evidence of anything like a sharing attitude. I often feel alone out there, steering a Soap Box Derby jalopy in a NASCAR race. Slip over here for more ...


As unlikely as it might seem to even the dedicated observer, the most prominent part of my personalty just has to be my InnerBunny. During the summertime here, the fields fill up with small rabbits. I unkindly refer to them as cheap protein sources for the raptors roiling around in the thermals. These rabbits seem more oblivious than fearless. They're easy for me to spot and I do not possess anything like a raptor's eyesight. They are, like all rabbits, cute, of course, and visions of Beatrix Potter dance around in my head whenever I spot one, though Colorado seems far, far away from the English countryside. I hold no animosity toward them because the deer already convinced me not to plant a garden. I am in no way a Mr. McGregor, anyway. Slip over here for more ...


The small venue jazz club featured a performance space in back and a dining room up front, with little separating the two. Sure enough, as Pizzarelli began a fine scat version of Emily, some group in the dining room started celebrating VE day, accompanied by the obligatory piercing intern cackle and the four shot-fueled guffaw. About half the audience began searching their pockets and purses for their rusty pig gelding knives while looking over their shoulders with murder in their hearts. John seems unperturbed, seasoned from ten thousand similar experiences in his life so far. This venue was clearly not the Carlyle. Slip over here for more ...


Mid-July mornings come savory-sweet, almost cold, promising punishing heat by noon. I set my alarm to an unGodly hour. I can nap through the heat of any afternoon, but I cannot as effectively dream of these fresh moments as I can experience them. Yes, it's high summer. Predawn, it's timeless here right now. Slip over here for more ...

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