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All Things Eventually

What if you could skip through spacetime, avoiding death. This is another writers' group story. And it's a love story, sort of.
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The Eater Of Time is coming. He is a bastard with a wide-gaping maw that doesn’t miss a thing. He comes for all things eventually. A very few of us are more sensitive to him than others. We have cracked his code, done the math and found him wanting, easily checked. ... more »

Beginnings

A new short story from the Pan21 / Oligoi universe. This is another writer's group story.
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Softly, with an eye on the quad, Bird said, "We don’t have to live the lives they tell us to. We don’t have to be slaves, cogs in their machine. The barrio is like the wild west. We can write our own rules. We don’t have to live by theirs. You can cover a lot of ground, Kraut, just taking small steps. ... more »

Sapient Rift

New fiction in the Consortium universe
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I would like to claim that I died in pursuit of something greater than myself, in service to family or community, but that isn't the case. Not really. I thought as an upstanding member of the church I was doing just that. I thought my hours of volunteer work bolstering the faith of others were hours well spent every week. Like many, I came to realize this wasn’t so much too late, past the time when salvation was possible. ... more »

The Artist's Friend

A new science fiction story from the Pan21 universe
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It was the most beautiful place to create. It possessed a quiet solitude that allowed ideas to coalesce in unexpected ways. Life fermented here and discovered new planes of being. It wasn’t work when he set up his canvas in this room. ... more »

Promises To Keep

Hmm. I wrote a short zombie story. Flash fiction for/of the brain dead. Because, you know, zombies.
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She lined up the shot with the sight, felt the weight of the cold barrel in her hand and the press of the stock against her shoulder, and squeezed a bit on the trigger. The memory stutters and halts at times like these. Sure, there are the jeans, his dumb-ass sneakers and most of the torn sweatshirt he was wearing, but beyond that it’s all guesswork and subliminal pattern recognition. But the mind weaves it all together, eventually, assembles the jigsaw puzzle that is the horror-show heading her direction, and parades the last few weeks of highlights in front of her. ... more »

The Mites Of Time

New short story about catatonia. What if you could get inside the head of the person suffering from catatonia?
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She checked the mirror before heading to breakfast. She could see it, the time lost. A wrinkle just beneath her eyes, subtle, not deep. Still, it wasn’t there before. Kreiger had stolen more of her time. The mites hadn’t completely settled, the floaters a bit too numerous. There was a cost to her impatience and that cost reflected back at her from the mirror. ... more »

The Place Where Hope Goes

We each define our own reality. You can think me twisted or bent – unfortunate, maybe – but don’t pity me. I have something many don’t. New short fiction.
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A note, a silk flower, memories. These are all I have left now. But who knows how real they are. Oh, the note and silk flower are real enough, tactile. But the memories associated with them are nebulous, filtered through fog, viewed through frosted glass. They are mine, but I can’t say for certain that I own them, yet. At best, I am their caretaker. ... more »

I Am Monster

There is a greater game at play here. One at odds with itself, one with a long history of stripping individuals of significance, of tossing them aside and into the fires in a gesture of appeasement.
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In the distance explosions light up the night sky, their light exposing silhouetted buildings and the smoke and airborne debris from previous bombs that hang suspended in the air. ... more »

The Slant Of Sunlight

A grasshopper landed on my windowpane and stayed there. He seemed to me to be a happy grasshopper. His left front leg was bent in a way that made it appear as if he were waving hello.
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A grasshopper landed on my windowpane and stayed there. He seemed to me to be a happy grasshopper. His left front leg was bent in a way that made it appear as if he were waving hello. He peered into my place with big eyes. I imagined he was wondering what was going on, what I was doing. How could he get in through the window to be a part of things on the other side? ... more »

National Treasures

Something missing from our treasure trove today are the heroes who carry our country on their backs and blaze a unique trail for the rest of us to follow. They are the stuff of ticker tape parades and universal admiration.
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Older Posts Ask any man or woman on the street to name a national treasure – something so far removed from the public psyche that many will stutter or stumble over their own words – and you are likely to hear things like the Grand Canyon, Lincoln Memorial and Disney World. All are important cultural places, to be sure. The Grand Canyon is one of the few spaces in nature that still inspires and moves us collectively. No small feat in our CGI world. The Lincoln Memorial, with its hulking size, marble edifice and piercing gaze, reminds us of a difficult past that is still unifying and fracturing our nation in its own perspective-dependent way. And what would our world be like without the genius of Disney and those who have helped sculpt generations of imagination. ... more »

New Car Smell

I love the Apple ecosystem, the fluid ownership, and the fact that I can have my applications, files and settings immediately transferred to a new device. And I hate it.
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My daughter often laments the fact that I have mostly forsaken books composed of wood pulp and glue for their electronic brothers. Like many, she believes there is something to be gained from turning actual pages and holding in her hands something with a bit of heft and density. A forest of binary numbers, translated to their representative letters, spaces and punctuation marks and projected through a screen of glass, lack a sense of permanence for her, somehow aren’t as real. She shares this perspective with others who still have a foot firmly planted in a past that is quickly receding in our collective rear-view mirror. ... more »

It Isn't 42

The problem with our search for meaning is that we are attempting to place a pin on a map and beat a path to a fixed destination. But there is no map. And where we are going is anyone’s guess. But, still, just a guess.
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One truism consistently reveals itself to us in all parts of life: the simple answer is usually the accurate answer. Fabricating complex reasons for something – anything – using circular logic and impossible leaps of reason isn’t the simple answer. There has to be something else. ... more »

Uncle Bill Is Everywhere

My uncle spent his energy trying to convince us that he was actually the real life Archie Bunker
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As a kid, I thought my uncle’s basement was filled with wonders. Neon signs from local bars hung on the walls. And then there were the mechanical toys. My uncle was known for keeping a crazy collection of battery controlled animals and cars. These were before wireless control and plastic injection molding. Most of the things had metal under pinnings and cloth hand-sewn around them. Each was programmed to do one specific thing. Everyone’s favorite was a monkey – complete with a red and white striped jockey suit – that would bang two symbols together when turned on. It was utterly obnoxious and loud. And its painted on mouth had a permanent smile that looked more like a scream, especially once you had heard its symbol banging madness. Yet, something about it got everyone laughing and smiling. ... more »

To My Daughter Upon Graduating High School

I have many expectations of you, not the least of which is this: I expect you to fail. A lot, and often. I don’t say this because I am angry or doubtful of your future. Quite the opposite.
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Our models of work and career are no longer relevant. They are no longer capable of feeding us, either literally or spiritually. Let me explain. Your world is the world of revolution and change. It is the world of connectedness and empowerment. It is the world of your own individual making. And you are - if you choose - the leader of this world. ... more »

The Sapient Rift

One of the reasons the sapient rift could be so difficult to cross is how quickly intelligent life advances in terms of its technological prowess. It is difficult to imagine any intelligent civilization progressing slowly. Curiosity fuels intelligence.
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Sapient Rift

I love science fiction, always have. Television shows, movies and, especially, books have been a staple part of my diet since I used to sit in my underwear watching Batman & Robin, The Green Hornet and Star Trek on my parents' black and white Zenith television.

Ever since I discovered sci-fi I have been enamored with the unlimited possibilities I saw out there – “where no man has gone before.” The stars and the greater universe made me curious about a lot of things. I suppose at some point most of us ask the question “are we alone”? The odds seem to be in the favor of “no, we aren’t”. There are billions of galaxies containing billions of stars and billions upon billions of habitable planets. Given those numbers life can’t be so uncommon as to make our presence upon the universal stage singular. What a tragedy that would be! ... more »

No, You May Not Punch Some Girl In The Face

When it comes to parenting I’m like most guys with a teenage daughter: clueless and making stuff up as I go along. Any guy claiming otherwise is full of it.
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Junior Prom has come and gone, which was mostly uneventful, but quite costly. That’s okay. As any father will tell you, once your daughter becomes a teenager you turn into a 24 hour ATM. Currency equals love. That’s why some of us with lots of greenbacks go for younger women when we age. It’s learned behavior. ... more »

Stacks Of Notebooks

I sometimes wonder if the notebooks forced certain habits upon me, or if I use them because they lend themselves nicely to the way I do things.
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In a kitchen closet is a box containing 30 notebooks, give or take a few. There are a couple more notebooks at my office. Then, there is my current notebook, a soft cover large Moleskine, sitting on the kitchen counter. They vary in style and sometimes purpose, especially the older ones. There are spiral ring-bound notebooks with college ruled paper. A few of them are hard backed with heavier paper. I almost never think about them. They are an extension of me, taken for granted and never questioned. ... more »

I Miss America

Everywhere we go there we are. We have surrendered our uniqueness for convenience and conformity
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I miss our straight-forward approach to solving big problems. I miss the willingness to tackle those problems without agendas or motives, simply because they existed and needed solving and who better than us to provide the solution. ... more »

The Obstacles In Our Way

Navigating the crooked path to truth and honesty
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We have entered an era where “proofiness” trumps all. The statement “I believe …” coming from anyone causes us to stop in our tracks and give added weight to any explanation. It’s as if the belief in something – anything – is more important than the veracity of what the person actually believes. Sarah Palin can say on national television (with a straight face!) and no one in the media even questions her competency to be before a microphone: "Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant – they're quite clear – that we would create law based on the God of the bible and the Ten Commandments.” Somehow, questioning the idiocy of her “belief” is off-limits, so no one in the media does, and this lends more credence to her statement with the listening and watching public, blurring lines between fact and folly. ... more »

Scoring In Vegas

I de-skinned my knees. When I stood up there was blood flowing everywhere, shreds of skin and DNA missing, tangled in the fake grass and adding a bit more color to the local landscape.
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The first morning I skinned my knees. Actually, I de-skinned my knees. When I stood up there was blood flowing everywhere, shreds of skin and DNA missing, tangled in the fake grass and adding a bit more color to the local landscape. No worries. I cleaned out the wounds with some water, applied some Neosporin, and got on with things. ... more »

Obamacare Is Taking Our Guns!

Irrational Fear and Inconvenient Facts
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For some people the depths of their fear cannot be measured. Fear of 'Them', of the government, of 'turrurists', of losing their rights. Fear, Fear, FEAR! How they live like this I cannot imagine. ... more »

Quit Stealing My Wonder

Of all of the adults in the U.S. only 33 percent believe humans have always existed in our current form (no evolution)
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There are those who scoff at science and, in particular, evolution. They often argue with a visceral madness that God created them as they are, that there is no damned way we can count chimps as a relative, distant or otherwise.

Of Evangelical Protestants in the United States, 64 percent believe God made man as he is today. Fifty percent of those claiming allegiance to the republican party believe this, according to a recent PEW study ... more »

Antidepressants and the American Zombification

35 million people in the U.S. take antidepressants. One in four women over 40 are on them
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I get bored quickly. I have ADD – and when it comes to numbers I have a serious case of OCD. Occasionally, I wish people away by completely ignoring them, not in spite, mind you. I just don’t want to be bothered. I have things on my mind – scratching to get out – and stuff to accomplish, however trivial, thank you very much. Yes, my anti-social tendencies can be annoying to some and I am aware that I have the patience of a claustrophobic man trapped in a dumbwaiter. Whatever. If I’m comfortable with it then you will have to be too. I see no need to change. ... more »

You're A Dick

Here’s another observation since I’m on a roll and trying to see life as this guy. He’s the guy everyone told me I should be.
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Against my better judgement I agreed to set up some sort of booth at a local leadership conference. My opinion of these things is pretty low, having been forced in the past to attend a few. I can tell you leadership conferences are generally attended by people following orders to attend and hoping to escape their cubicle confines for a day or two. At best attendees can be found on the sub-mid-level management rosters of many Fortune 100,000 companies. At worst they are unemployed and thinking of ... more »

Space Oddity

Chris Hadfield just completed something that only a handful of men and women have ever done. He spent five months in space on the International Space Station (ISS). Hadfield did more than just take his work to edge of our world for a few months.
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Chris Hadfield - Space OddityChris Hadfield just completed something that only a handful of men and women have ever done. He spent five months in space on the International Space Station (ISS). Hadfield did more than just take his work to edge of our world for a few months. He packed his guitar along for the ride and while on the space station gave an amazing rendition of David Bowie’s "Space Oddity". ... more »

A Man Of Culture - Iain M. Banks

I just learned that one of my favorite writers is dying, cancer and apparently late-stage. Iain Banks – or Iain M. Banks for fans of his science fiction novels – has had an unusual and sparkling career.
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Iain M. BanksI just learned that one of my favorite writers is dying, cancer and apparently late-stage. Iain Banks – or Iain M. Banks for fans of his science fiction novels – has had an unusual and sparkling career. Mr. Banks has produced some wonderful mainstream fiction (whatever the hell ‘mainstream’ means) but is probably best known for his Culture novels, a science fiction universe filled with high-tech gadgetry, love and, most importantly, humor.

I discovered Banks by accident. I hadn’t read a science fiction novel in decades when one day walking through Barnes and Noble I spied the cover to his most recent work – ‘Matter’ – on the bottom shelf of the newest science fiction releases. ... more »

A Conversation With Generation Text

"You know," I said, "in the 1950s and early 60s this thing called rock-n-roll was invented. Christian fundamentalists called it the Devil’s music."
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"You don’t understand. My generation is fucked up, and not just a little bit!”

"The same has been said about every generation," I replied, smiling. “Quit cursing.”

“Really, so in your generation were fourteen year old girls stealing their mother’s cars and driving around like idiots? Were fifteen year olds dropping acid or getting high in the back of the classroom? Were twelve year olds having sex and getting STDs?” she asked, indignant, with a frown on her face. She was looking around the food court at the local mall, shaking her head at the horrors she saw, there and in her memories. ... more »

The Resurrection Of Wheat Field Jesus

Freedom, with all of its warts and foul odors and uncomfortable postures, can only be measured by the ability of the least amongst us to be heard
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Wheat Field Jesus was crouched down along the side of Main Street, also known as interstate 70. It was, in fact, western Kansas – near the edge of Russell County. Wheat Field Jesus was peering over the tops of wheat stalks and wearily watching over Kansans in their pick–up trucks and Chevy Malibus. ... more »

Steve Jobs

We all loved Steve Jobs for the incredible products Apple has given us over the years. He built the first computer that was actually fun. He made a machine our friend instead of something we had to use.
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We all loved Steve Jobs for the incredible products Apple has given us over the years. He built the first computer that was actually fun. He made a machine our friend instead of something we had to use. For those of us in the creative arts he re-defined our professions and allowed us to go in directions that none of us could have ever believed possible just 25 years ago.

My daughter is fourteen years old and she has never known a world without an iPod or the iTunes store. Music dominates her life – is her life – and yet neither of those products existed before she was born. Garage Band, an Apple application for editing audio and music, is an essential tool in her world and it is barely out of infancy. ... more »

The Haunting of 26th

Numbers haunt me. They always have. They take up real estate in my head and they burn synaptic pathways that never falter or weaken with age.
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26thNumbers haunt me. They always have. They take up real estate in my head and they burn synaptic pathways that never falter or weaken with age.

I can tell you that in 1976 I hit .427 for Norwood Sorrentos Baseball Club and that I didn’t commit a single error that season in center field. That same season Bob Crable, the former Notre Dame All-America and New York Jet stand out, embedded the number 500 in my head. At the time, Crable was playing for the Midland Cardinals baseball team in Cincinnati. He hit a ball so hard that by the time I chased it down and picked it up he was crossing home plate. The field we were playing on didn’t have a home-run fence. Crable didn’t need one. That ball traveled at least 500 feet before hitting a tree and coming to rest. It was too far to throw it back to the infield so I threw it to the kid in left field. As a number, I have nothing against 500. As a memory, 500 tastes like bile. ... more »

Okay, Old Man

Yes, Eddie Van Halen was cool, emphasis on was. High school was not the pinnacle of my time on planet earth. If it was yours, well, sorry. Really, move on
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I’m not the sort to be overly sentimental. And, truth be told, I tend to count amongst the living-dead those not yet retired who frequently reminisce about days gone by, especially high school days. Relishing past glories too often is to give up on present aspirations and celebrations. It’s kind of like listening to classic rock from back in the day and nothing else. Look, Dude, try some Jimmy Eat World or Linkin Park. Yes, Eddie Van Halen was cool, emphasis on was. High school was not the pinnacle of my time on planet earth. If it was yours, well, sorry. Really, move on.

Thomas Wolfe exposed the reality that most of us face at some point in our lives, that you can’t go home again. Change, the animating factor in life, turns the most rose-coloured glasses another color, or dark, depending upon your experience when returning to the home of your youth. ... more »

Stop That Train! The Little Bear

The truth is the Little Bear is still at the forefront of live music because it is a living history. Every week each act adds to its lore and contributes to its spirit. Some acts are better than others. Some go on to bigger things while others fade away. But taking the stage under the light of so much history forces the best out of them. In this way, the Little Bear feeds on itself, on its own energy and history, and on the expectations of those in attendance
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The truth is the Little Bear is still at the forefront of live music because it is a living history. Every week each act adds to its lore and contributes to its spirit. Some acts are better than others. Some go on to bigger things while others fade away. But taking the stage under the light of so much history forces the best out of them. In this way, the Little Bear feeds on itself, on its own energy and history, and on the expectations of those in attendance ... more »

Every Dog Has His Day

My daughter, smart though she may be, is like all teenagers: omniscient of all things life and indignant towards her elders (that would be me). She is not singular in this affliction, of course.
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opposable thumbsMy daughter, smart though she may be, is like all teenagers: omniscient of all things life and indignant towards her elders (that would be me). She is not singular in this affliction, of course. All teenagers since the opposable thumb evolved have been know-it-alls, myself excepted — I swear!

Lately she has taken to posting on Facebook bits of parenting knowledge she wishes those of us with inferior DNA would acquire. And today I logged into the site to find this ... more »

The End of the World As I Know It

It wasn’t always like this — slivers of silence amongst the warbling and cacophony. But invasions are like that, aren’t they. Sometimes they are blindingly sudden, so brusque and immediate. So devastating.
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TeenagersIt wasn’t always like this — slivers of silence amongst the warbling and cacophony. But invasions are like that, aren’t they. Sometimes they are blindingly sudden, so brusque and immediate. So devastating. And other times, like now, they come so slowly, so deliberately, they feel seamless, integrated, unthreatening. No matter how foreign, how alien, they blend into the fabric of days like natural occurrences, their disruptions a matter of fact instead of an overwhelming force, an occasional calm before ... what? ... more »

We Are The Crowd

Cultural change can be an incredible thing to witness and examine. This is especially so when the change is something you've been involved in, up close, and felt personally.
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U.S. soccer fan at the World CupCultural change can be an incredible thing to witness and examine. This is especially so when the change is something you've been involved in, up close, and felt personally.

In 1974 as a young teenager living in Cincinnati I watched the World Cup at the Cincinnati Gardens. The games were shown on a movie screen on the basketball court with curtains draped all around. My mother managed to win a set of tickets from a local radio station and I got the thrill of my young lifetime. ... more »

Twitter Bitches

The Twitter bitches, as I came to think of them, were chirping about drunken encounters and nearly forgotten evenings (of which this was destined to become another in that long list) and feverishly typing on their cell phones.
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Twitter BitchesThe Twitter bitches, as I came to think of them, were chirping about drunken encounters and nearly forgotten evenings (of which this was destined to become another in that long list) and feverishly typing on their cell phones. I don't mean to call them bitches, exactly. They were nice enough. But the conversation was a parallel to their texting and tweeting — anything over 140 characters was too burdensome and to be avoided. Seriously, when the conversation is so shallow that you can't retain it in your short-term memory you might as well concede that you are spamming your way through life. ... more »

Mr Fix It

Occasionally I become a fitx-it guy. You know, the guy who sees something wrong, old, worn or broken, who has to grab a tool and tinker. This isn't to say that I'm mechanically inclined. I'm not un-inclined.
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Occasionally I become a fix-it guy. You know, the guy who sees something wrong, old, worn or broken, who has to grab a tool and tinker. This isn't to say that I'm mechanically inclined. I'm not un-inclined. It's just that most days I'm completely uninterested. Besides, I have to fix things like bad code in a web site design all day long so who wants to mess with the knob on a door at the end of the day. ... more »

Chaos Theory and the Tea Party

They are staunch conservatives. They abhor socialism, government intervention, and taxation of any sort. They insist that this country, the United States of America, needs to return to its Founders' original vision and values, as they interpret them.
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Tea Party ChaosThe Tea Party movement - essentially a creation of Fox News that now is receiving corporate news coverage - is filled with individuals screaming for government to get out of their lives. They are staunch conservatives. They abhor socialism, government intervention, and taxation of any sort. They insist that this country, the United States of America, needs to return to its Founders' original vision and values, as they interpret them.

The Tea Partiers will scream at gatherings in every corner of america for lower taxes and less government control. They don't seem to understand that their current President — yes, the black man who really isn't an american — gave more than ninety-five percent of the populace (and almost all Tea Partiers) a significant tax break last year, thank you very much. Not one of the mainstream media outlets has run an article pointing out this very simple fact. The president has already cut taxes (to the poor and middle class). ... more »

Vancouver Olympics

The Winter Olympics are taking place in Vancouver, Canada. I find myself following events I wouldn't normally watch.
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Shaun WhiteThe Winter Olympics are taking place in Vancouver, Canada. I find myself following events I wouldn't normally watch. Don't get me wrong, I would probably pay a bit of attention in the intervening years between Olympics, but television pays them no mind. For once, I'm happy to not be dating anyone at the moment. There is nothing worse than watching guys in sequins acting feminine. I'm not watching figure skating. I'm not watching hockey, either. There aren't any stories in hockey. Just a bunch of pros we already know. I like my Winter Olympics with a little unknown, with a little home-town humility and obscurity. ... more »

Colonel Mustard With A Candle Stick

DaVinci was more than an artist. Quite probably he was one of the greatest inventors and scientists that has ever lived
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William Feathers once said: “Beware of the person who can't be bothered by details.”

Leonardo DaVinciDig deeply into any work of art, any novel of note, and amongst its mountain of details you will find its excellence. Broad ideas, bold strokes, and colorful images are the signal posts of our world and how we navigate it, but it is only in the details that we can truly see its beauty.

Design is no different than any other endeavor. No matter the apparent simplicity of the work, there are always an array of complicit details that make it shine. A professional designer is aware of this and strives with every project to focus on the little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary, the competent from the effective. ... more »

Vacationing With the Dead

A basic definition of life is the capacity for growth, functional activity, and continual change preceding death. So what do you call it when one voluntarily surrenders those requisites?
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Lindbergh, Da Vinci, Galileo, Martin Luther King, Jr. They thumbed their nose at convention. They spat into the wind and dared it to spit back. Each of them reached beyond the horizon and grabbed tomorrow. Not for themselves.Cruise Ship Not for posterity. They did it because they had to, because, as Jack London wrote, they "would rather be ashes than dust." These men, and other men and women like them, could not float on the tides and be content to take life as it came. No, they were meant to carry others in their wake. They created the eddies that brought us changes in perspective and forced us all to swim against the current. They made us bigger than our evolutionary roots, bigger than our petty grievances. They gifted to us the human spirit; each one building on his predecessors. ... more »

The Elephant Man of Loxahatchee

The fact that it was late Thursday morning at Loxahatchee Golf Club in Florida was irrelevant, except that everyone I knew was working 1400 miles away to make a buck and suffering through a mid-west winter day.
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Joe NamathAt some point during the day I had to stop and say to myself, “Jack Nicklaus is playing in the group in front of me.” No matter that my drive had sailed away to the right and landed behind a tree, leaving me with little hope of advancing the ball forward, let alone to the green.

The fact that it was late Thursday morning at Loxahatchee Golf Club in Florida was irrelevant, except that everyone I knew was working 1400 miles away to make a buck and suffering through a mid-west winter day. But the man playing in front of me three years earlier had completed, arguably, one of the most amazing feats in sport history. He won the Master’s at age 48 – and in dramatic fashion, too. ... more »

Female Math

Some things are so indelibly etched into our framework of electrical impulses, DNA encoding, and sweat and dreams that we rarely question their rationality, let alone their existence.
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NumbersIt’s all about me!"

Some things are so indelibly etched into our framework of electrical impulses, DNA encoding, and sweat and dreams that we rarely question their rationality, let alone their existence. There are times, however, when a psychic knock on the head causes us to stop and look at things anew, to re-focus and examine that which was before seen as a given. ... more »

France Notes

There are 150 smaller chateaus in the north and west of France that have beeen turned into Bed and Breakfasts. But these places, while wonderful to stay and spend time in, are only launching points.
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Clos LuceWe've spent two days along the Loire river in a small chateau owned by Mssr and Madame de Gelis, the Chateau Colliers. The chateau has been in Christian's family for twelve generations, since the mid-seventeen hundreds. The de Gelis family is the third family to own this Chateau.

There are 150 smaller chateaus in the north and west of France that have beeen turned into Bed and Breakfasts. But these places, while wonderful to stay and spend time in, are only launching points. Throughout the Loire Valley region are massive castles that have dominated this region since the 1400s. These massive complexes are surreal in their appearance and grandeur for a native mid-western boy. The quality of their craftsmanship, the intricacy of design, and the completeness of their grounds bely their age. Moats and gardens, drawing rooms with ceilings two stories tall, spiral staircases that allow two people to traverse them opposite each other (thank you Leonardo Da Vinci!): these mamouth structures seem to be quietly waiting their rediscovery by the modern world that is in desparate need of its own renaissance (at least in the U.S.). ... more »

Let It Snow

The question is part of the daily barrage the seven-year-old whiz kid throws my way. Where does God come from?
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Let It Snow!So dad," comes the still-tiny voice from the back seat of the car, "when Santa finally gets too old and tired and decides to retire, who will take his place?"

The question is part of the daily barrage the seven-year-old whiz kid throws my way. It is early February, the holidays are recent memories and next year’s Yuletide aspirations still occupy Madison’s thoughts.

I'm momentarily caught off guard by the question, but I quickly recover and chuckle softly to myself.

"You know how excited you get when Christmas gets near? How fun it is to see all the pretty lights and snowmen?" ... more »

Agents of the Undertow

Regardless of the synaptic rust that may have accumulated, there will come a day when viewing that picture brings back the sun’s warmth and you will again step into that place between yesterday and today, that place where
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TidesTake this picture: a young child stands in the half-sunlight beneath a group of large pine trees, reaching out to touch the flowers and smell their spring-time fragrance. The child is smiling. The back of her printed dress hangs loosely in the breeze as she bends forward. The picture is a conduit, a reminder of simpler times, of the sun’s warmth and how there are moments when time can stop and the sun can wrap its warm rays around us and coddle us. This momentary sidestep of time that accompanies such episodes--this photo--breathes life into us and connects us, making us aware of the fluidity of existence. This standing still of the world--where the minutest detail is crystal clear--is unexpected but always welcomed.

Keep that photo, place it away somewhere safe, somewhere that you are sure to come across it in the future. Regardless of the synaptic rust that may have accumulated, there will come a day when viewing that picture brings back the sun’s warmth and you will again step into that place between yesterday and today, that place where time slows down and tranquility washes over you and memory ambushes you ... more »

One Day

He has to be the poster child for his generation, gracefully moving about the stage like someone half his age. In fact, from a distance – like the balcony at the Buell Theatre in Denver, Colorado – he appears to be half his age.
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Tommy TuneHe has to be the poster child for his generation, gracefully moving about the stage like someone half his age. In fact, from a distance – like the balcony at the Buell Theatre in Denver, Colorado – he appears to be half his age. His graying hair, from the cheap seats, anyway, looks like it was manufactured by the gang in make-up (he's too young to be grey, isn't he?). His voice is still strong and clear and fills the theatre. On this night he is Dr. Doolittle, the monkey-chatting, snake-smacking chap from days gone by. Otherwise, he is known as Tommy Tune, American theatre icon.

The show itself is only somewhat entertaining – to me anyway. The music is wonderful, the lyrics crisp and witty, and the choreography is fun and energetic, but the remainder of the story is lacking. I am not the best judge of the show's effectiveness, however, and this night isn't for me. ... more »

Footsteps

Human newborn are among the least developed creatures on earth. It takes longer for us to reach maturity than any other animal, physically, socially and emotionally
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Footsteps

It is very early in the morning and I have stolen Madison from her bed and taken her to the beach for a sunrise walk. The beach, like most of Hawaii, is sleeping, only a few egrets are keeping watch over us. The sun is emerging from its morning bath and the ocean is beginning its retreat from the heat until later toward evening. We walk along the shoreline where the water has recently come and gone, leaving a smooth ... more »

The Value of Things

A short time ago, I received in the mail an inventory booklet from my home insurance agent. It was, of course, blank and asking to be filled in, something I’d avoided too long. Start small, I thought. It will be easier.
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PatchesA short time ago, I received in the mail an inventory booklet from my home insurance agent. It was, of course, blank and asking to be filled in, something I’d avoided too long. Start small, I thought. It will be easier. Take measure of the little things first, the seemingly insignificant, the ordinary. Progress toward larger stuff and keep a tally along the way. In the end, when the counting is finished and the books have been totaled, there will be a sum and the value of things will be known, ordered. Or so it seemed. As I looked around the house I realized it would be difficult to discern the junk from the treasure. Measuring the value of things is a tricky business, I found, even when their cost is known. ... more »

Hitting Bottom

If we are lucky we find a place in the world (and within ourselves) and then begin a search for greater things. If we are lucky we begin to dig with a purpose. Our digging will then shape the world and the lives around us.
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If we are lucky we find a place in the world (and within ourselves) and then begin a search for greater things. If we are lucky we begin to dig with a purpose. Our digging will then shape the world and the lives around us. If we are lucky we learn to see the unlimited potential in others and we mine it for the benefit of all. As we age, what we learn from our digging and exploring is that it is difficult to create a world without boundaries. It is difficult to step outside of the things that we know and fly freely. Too many constraints force us to view the world and its inhabitants with a twisted eye. ... more »

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