The Book of Good Living: Self-Contained Living

“The right to swing your fists ends where your neighbor's nose begins.” I first heard that saying something like 50 years ago, and it made immediate sense. Obviously, you have no “right” to be hitting other people in the nose, accidentally or deliberately. Besides the fact that Fist vs. Nose is a fight nose always loses – meaning you hurt this other person – it also sparks Other Fist into action, putting your own nose in danger. Other people can be drawn in, starting a melee. Property can be dam … [Read more...]

Short Stack #24

Just sent in my application to the United Nations for the Pig Latin interpreter post.I think my chances are good. I've been speaking it since the third grade.--------------------------One bad shower can scar you for life.--------------------------When you think about it, The Joker is the ultimate example of motivational success. He's upbeat, cheerful, he has high self-esteem, he's willing to try anything, and he recognizes no limits. He's like the perfect corporate … [Read more...]

Farewell to a Feral Feline

cat tail

There was this feral cat, a big gray fellow, skulking around the farmhouse where I lived a few years back, stalking the birds and squirrels at the feeders. I saw him out there for two years running, hot summers and snowy winters, and started putting out food.He'd slip up and bolt down the food, then scurry off to wherever he stayed most of the day. I put a chair outside, about 20 feet from the food dish, and started sitting there reading every day at feeding time.The first day, he came … [Read more...]

Hillary and Bernie and Joe, Oh My

Washington DC

All the Bernie supporters on my friends list, I honor your liking for your candidate, and I'm VERY GLAD he's running. I'm glad he's saying all the things he's saying, and I'm glad there are people who love him. I truly feel he's shifting the ground of discussion in the United States, and I love the direction it's going.But to me his candidacy has the feel of a mad, crazy pep rally for a team that can't win. Look at the numbers. JOE BIDEN is passing Bernie nationally in this poll. And Biden … [Read more...]

Musings on the Nature of Mind


Anyone paying attention in the last few decades of life on Earth can't help but think there's something wrong in the human world. It's something that doesn't and, I suspect, can't work.I've thought many times this unworkable bit is our own understanding of ourselves. As in: We think we are one way, we expect ourselves and our fellows to be this one way, and yet we are very different from it. Which means a great deal of what we think of as the “should be” of human life is wrong. We get right a … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Mapping the Parasites

St Johns

Here's a little idle exercise: Open up Google Maps, and put this word in the search window: "churches."Wait for it to do its thing, and you will see the map fill up with little red dots, like the worst case of chicken pox you ever saw.Look at the lower right of the map for the scale, and zoom on your town to where the "one mile" is about an inch long. Zoom out to where that same scale says "five miles." You'll see that the entire countryside is ... infected.Zoom out a bit more, to … [Read more...]