Agency: The Myth at the Heart of Mysticism

Mountain Lion copy

I lived in mountain lion country for more than 20 years. Never saw a single one. A more skeptical man might have doubted they even existed, but even if you never see a mountain lion, you can know they're out there because -- like every terrestrial animal -- they leave tracks.Tracks are probably not something an animal ever intends to leave, nor are they in any way useful to the creature that makes them. They are a side effect of just being there, the visible, undeniable evidence of a … [Read more...]

Death & Dying, Unbeliever Style


I'm late to the party, but Greta Christina has a new book on death and dying as it relates to unbelievers. So far available only in audiobook and digital versions, ordering links to Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God are listed on her blog.An earlier post on Alternet covers the ground on  what to say as a bystander to someone dealing with death -- When It's Not God's Plan: 8 Things to Say to Grieving Nonbelievers.Finally, one of my own thoughts on the … [Read more...]

Beta Culture: Being Grownups on Planet Earth

Cowboy Dad

For most of the years I knew him, I unconsciously thought of my Cowboy Dad as “the grownup” in my life. Since he died, I’ve realized there were several side-effects of thinking that. One is that I cheated him out of all the years of ME being a grownup, so that we could be ... well, friendly equals, fellow MEN together. The other is that I cheated myself out of all those years of me being a grownup. All the endeavors and relationships in my life were approached in some degree of a child … [Read more...]

Looking Past the Bright Sun of Crazy


[ This is about somewhat the same subject as my recent “bracket” post – the ignoring of the full array of facts on a subject at hand by narrowly focusing one's attention – but spotlighting a somewhat different aspect of it. ]I saw some people taking a “group of happy friends” picture a week or two back at one of those highway rest stops. Watching them, I felt an urge to take the camera away from them and reshoot the picture, because I just knew what they were going to get – a silhouette with … [Read more...]

Race and Culture Again: Bessie and Lois

Jim Crow

Here's a chunk of memory that bubbled up when Facebook friend Dre Morell posted on The Old Jim Crow Etiquette.In 1950s Texas, when and where I was born, pretty much all of the Jim Crow stuff was in effect. Of course what you'll read in the linked article was in addition to the separate white and colored drinking fountains, separate white and colored restrooms, the No Negroes policies at "white" swimming pools and schools. I remember several conversations among adults where a black teenager … [Read more...]

Thoughts on “Privilege”

I've been hearing a lot about "privilege" lately, and I confess I continue to be disturbed by the subject, and how it is most often applied.I recognize that I have ADVANTAGES over some other people. For instance, I have the advantage that I'm healthy enough to donate blood, strong enough to carry a neighbor's groceries, perseverant enough to hold a job, bright enough to learn fresh skills or read a book in a day, creative enough to come up with novel ideas and think about things in new … [Read more...]