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Home > Magazine > Thinking
College 2.0: Alternatives? Co-op... DIY... Indie... YES!
January 21, 2014 - [Revised and updated from 7/31/13.) College is going to do a Homeschool in the next year or two. The bubble will burst. Just like with housing. First: Is college right for you? More than half of the public needs to go to Voc-Tech school or to learn a trade involving people's bodies, food or physical surroundings. Thos...
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Outdoor Safety: Real Gains? ...Yeah: PFD's!
April 28, 2013 - I'm thinking of safety devices and their effectiveness ... and resistance to wearing them ... and affect in injury after their use become widespread ... Bike helmets are part of this, obviously. We can tie helmet use in with skiing as well. And motorcycles, of course. And race-car drivers and, to get into some fun theory, car d...
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Thinking of Gun Rights & Security/Safety... 1st Things 1st!
January 17, 2013 - There's a new push these days to "magically" reduce crime and ban certain talismanic devices said to cause crime. In opposition to this push are folks who magically believe that the devices can help their safety and security situations. Yeah, it's all about guns. In truth, gun crime rarely affects the general public ex...
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"Get a Season"
January 17, 2013 - My pal Dave mentioned this the other day. People need to "get a season." It's kinda like "get a life." People shouldn't just be bikers or skiers or paddlers or fishermen or hunters or runners. We're people first. Then comes life. And in Michigan life has 4 seasons. Activities, and those who sell them, try to make them life-...
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Outdoor vs. Ski Culture -- What's Growing and Why?
December 15, 2012 - Worth noting... *XC skiing so far has caught NONE of the recent huge explosion party-vibe of cyclocross and gravel-grinder biking (though it's a totally natural fit). *Canoeing has caught NONE of the huge boom in SUP (though canoes make great SUPers on rivers and quiet lakes). I still have hopes that both bad situations ...
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Bikes and Common Sense: Save the World?
May 28, 2012 - Hugely the most car trips are 3 miles or less, right? What would be the impact if people biked, say, HALF of those short trips? Right now, what, 1% of such trips are biked, probably. ? But why stop there? Why not add just ONE more common sense sort of thing to our world-saving mix... How about when it's hot out if we let...
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Thankfully, the Jerk is Only Skin Deep
May 05, 2012 - I just read the Bike Snob's story about how he was riding his bike in NYC on 9/11 and that in an emergency the jerks of the world drop their act and are truly caring underneath. That's a good thing to try to remember. Here's my own story along the same lines that relates basically the same message, but in more an everyday way. It...
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Community Development ...the CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens Way
August 25, 2011 - I'm just about fed up with what's happening to our town. (Ha. Understatement.) We've had a fair bit of new construction lately. --It has all been teardowns followed by new RiteAids, Walgreens and CVS's. Sometimes within a half mile of each other. A quarter mile. We now probably have a dozen pharmacies within a mile. Other fr...
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What Do Kids Need, Anyway?
August 19, 2011 - To me, what kids mainly need is activity, learning and quiet reflection. (I suppose my list refers to the "content" side -- of course they need parents, etc., too.) The outdoors is the world, and so kids need to explore it and learn it to make it theirs -- but the indoors is the same. The reason why they need to know it is ...
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How to Revive the Sandlot? --Bribery!
August 19, 2011 - Unstructured quality play is missing from kids lives today. As is unsegregated socializing -- that is, playing with neighborhood kids, those who are accidentally around us, not hand-picked. How to change this and get the kids actively mashed together again? Pay 'em! (It'll still be a lot cheaper than paying for any organi...
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A New Kind of Award: Integrated Achievement
June 25, 2011 - Kids and adults can get all sorts of awards and prizes these days. Most of them reward them for some sort of excess, obsession or deviation. ...Doing something WAY too much for anyone's good. So I have the idea of an Integrated Achievement Award. Martha says it's another bad idea of mine. The "IAA" would reward and award...
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Thinking vs. Understanding, Hearing vs. Listening
February 04, 2011 - Idea, to see what you think: Thinking is biological. Understanding is social. Listening is biological. Hearing is social. ...It's just a thought. Run with it as you like. Of course, understanding and hearing are also spiritual and existential. The idea being that biology to an extent stands alone -- although ...
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Whither the Hipster?
December 27, 2010 - Since I promote and produce indie media, lifestyle & craft stuff, my projects intersect with the hipster world. A couple years ago our pre-teen kids first heard me saying the word hipster and got angry. There's no such thing! Today they admit I was right. I suppose it was because hipster relates to cool youth and parents by ...
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Any Good Things About Video Games That I'm Missing?
August 26, 2010 - Our kids like playing video games. They say it's fun. They'd eat a lot of ice cream, pop and sugar, too, if we let them, coz it's fun. What I wonder is if video games are any GOOD. My basic approach is to find good things to do then let the fun come as it will. Usually good things are at least kinda fun to do, but if not...
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I Don't Get Philanthropy
August 08, 2010 - Philanthropy seems like a good thing, but its goodness seems pretty thin and cynical just below the surface, offhand, to me. Maybe I'm missing something. A truly good philanthropy would have a benefactor be more integrated in their life, it would seem. So that instead of having an excess of money that they choose to give away ...
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Working at the Cafe...
August 06, 2010 - Working in public on wifi or cell-phones seems kinda weird. I've been working this way for over a month this summer. I'm still freaked out by today's cafe and social scene. This is private stuff we're doing, really. It's like being in a bathroom with transparent walls. With the cells, people are airing their business yet no...
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A New Rule for the Seat-of-the-Pants Gang...
July 02, 2010 - New rule: "When you have neither time, money, skill nor help: wing it!" (...If the odds aren't too bad. And you're not too high off the ground...) (That's what we're doing with our upcoming travel trailer getaway. They say we should regrease our hubs. How? It's just too much. It's all worked great so far. ...So, we'll pla...
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Searching for Their $500 Toilets
June 23, 2010 - I remember in the 1970's when there were news items about the military paying $500 for a toilet seat and maybe also $500 for a hammer. Everyone seemed to me to be shocked by this and said "This kind of thing has to stop! It'll ruin the nation!" Full stop. Period. (I'm old enough that I've received a telegram.) It seems th...
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Emergency Training, Learn by Doing...
June 12, 2010 - A few days ago I was driving home in the night on remote dirt back roads and I came across a scary scene at an intersection. It's awkward to relate, but there might be something useful in it, so here goes. There was a car in the intersection and a young woman got out of it and stood up in my headlight and she was covered in bloo...
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All I ask for is a little weather awareness...
January 29, 2010 - I don't care what people do, only that they aren't ignorant about obvious things. Like Michiganders who say they don't like the winter because it's cold. Ugh! Nobody likes the cold. Nobody can stand the cold. Cold kills. If you're cold you eventually die. That's why anyone who grows up around here, in reality (rather th...
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A Successful Commune in the US: the Llano Colony of 1914
January 28, 2010 - [From the report at this weblink:] ...The hopes and ideals of over 10,000 people came together to create America's longest lived socialist community, the Llano del Rio Cooperative Colony. For a whole generation, the Llano Colony practiced what the rest of the American Left preached: a livable wage, an eight-hour work day, ...
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Ruminations on Postmodernism and Outdoor Sport
January 15, 2010 - I've long had a hunch that aspects of the outdoor life reflect the cutting edge in social issues and in underground media, but I couldn't connect it all up. I'm still lost, but I think there's a there there. I recently bumped into three books that seemed to suggest this as well. They provoked me into trying to sort this out f...
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Some Advice via George Washington Carver
December 15, 2009 - Here's an interesting chunk from the Wikipedia article on George Washington Carver, an important scientist and citizen for our nation (1864-1943): When George was only a week old, George, a sister, and his mother were kidnapped by night raiders from Arkansas. George's brother, James, was rushed to safety from the kidnappers. ...
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What's so Fun about Entertainment & Amusement?
August 21, 2009 - Here are the etymology roots of the words that drive Western Civ today: *fun: "to cheat, hoax," probably a variant of M.E. fon "befool" (c.1400), fonne, a fool, foolish, or fonnen, to be foolish; later "trick, hoax, practical joke," of uncertain origin. *amuse: †beguile, delude XV; †distract, bewilder XVII; divert with ente...
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Future of US Dams Infrastructure?
May 13, 2009 - I've heard that the USA would like to become more energy independent and would like to develop cleaner energy. I've also heard that there are thousands of electricity generating dams of all sizes in place which are being removed as fast as possible. Can someone tell me what part of this equation I'm missing? Why not use the ...
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Plight of the Mom'n'Pop
March 28, 2009 - Say a Mom'n'Pop corner store of some kind does a nice neighborhood trade and has some internet action, too. They live above the store. They own the building outright. No mortgage. They're property owners. They have a van and a little car. Old. Paid off. The building is decent and in a decent part of town. It's just the...
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In Hard Times: Coupons or Culture?
September 23, 2008 - Martha and I sometimes speculate on what might happen in hard times. Would people hang out on the porch more? Go fishing just down the road more? Or would they look for 2-for-1 coupons for bus-rides to the casino... There are 2 roads here, 2 options for hard times. One shows you the creative, cultural options you migh...
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The Exotic vs. the Everyday
July 24, 2008 - I tend to fall in love with performance. I think it's a common problem today. I love fast and light in everything I do. I love the idea of going farther, faster, doing what hasn't been done. But I can end up in a fanasy world on such a path. I can end up wishing for what I don't have. ...Wouldn't a 16-lb carbon fiber bike with...
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A Poem! ... "Does that Contain?"
June 17, 2008 - DOES THAT CONTAIN by JP Does that contain anything liquid, fragile or potentially hazardous? Does that contain anything liquid, fragile or potentially hazardous? Does that contain anything liquid, fragile or potentially hazardous? Does that contain anything liquid, fragile or potentially hazardous? Does that ...
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The Origins of Consumerism: Hint, it wasn't our idea...
May 12, 2008 - We've all seen the gloom'n'doom reports on the insidiousness of consumerism. But in my view not all that much is done to show another way to live, that is, in a way that doesn't involve buying into various "us/them" mindsets. For what it's worth OYB gives its take on another way. But reminders about how we came to be like we are ...
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Michigan in the Tank: Close Parks for the Rescue?
October 29, 2007 - It's so embarrassing what the credentialed experts spout in the media about the current disaster in our fair state. Michigan is at the bottom in the national economy. But do we really need X number of people here in the first place? It's sad to lose jobs---if they were good ones---but our main goal is to make sure that whoeve...
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Epigenome --- a letter to a med student
April 05, 2007 - Here's a link to a letter that author Ron Puhek wrote to a young med student friend. It's about the epigenome and how the lessons we might learn from its impact on the recent genome frenzy should have an influence on how we approach medicine. Puhek is the author of the FifthWay Press line of philosophy books that I publish, a...
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The Weather Report---from perhaps not your usual rich guy
March 14, 2007 - I'm not big into economics but I appreciate the occasional candid heads-up on what might really be going on in the world of cash (not that it's the real world). I mean, not that it really matters: aren't times always hard or harder in that sense for indy folk? Most of the world "gets by" so a lot of the details don't affect them. ...
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Society Can't Endure with Segregation & Isolation at its Core
March 13, 2007 - Our society will fall if two things happen. If segregation and/or isolation are allowed to become core values. How does segregation become a core value? It happens when groups are seen as having more than utilitarian content and drawbacks. That is, when we set our *social* valuation of things like religion, class, work, schoo...
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The Man[Thing] Concept
February 05, 2007 - Sometimes I get questioned about my various man concepts. Like the manpurse I sell or the manbooth I want to set up at craft fairs. Basically, the ladies beg to differ. As they do. They want to help me fix my concept. (Ahem.) OK, here's why I call some things "man." It's for things which are typically lady oriented. Where...
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Brave (weird) New World: of cellphones and wireless
February 02, 2007 - I see the point of cellphones. Some people have to be able to communicate when they're out and about. Who knows why, but I can see that far. I've seen the nuttiness of it, too. But I'm only now starting to get a bigger sense of the wackiness of the whole scene. Why? Because I finally went and dropped $20 on a wireless ...
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Cultural rescue simplified: Auto Safety & Healthcare in one swoop!
February 01, 2007 - Nobody likes car wrecks. People get hurt. We see huge campaigns mounted by folks like M.A.D.D. Cyclists hate bad car drivers, too. But there, I think, is the key! I've spilled the beans. I think there should be a huge campaign for DRIVER SKILL. Sure, maybe half of the harmful (etc.) wrecks involve alcohol and maybe ...
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If You Want It, Here's "Boots on Ground" War Blog...
January 16, 2007 - I don't do politics his site nor do I cover things which are basically beyond our control, reports on which amount to opinionating. Grassroots life experience is the OYB thing. Still, there's no escaping the Iraq War. Well, actually there is. If you're not in it yourself, other than your opinion you've got your vote and whate...
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Let's Celebrate our Decline!
December 10, 2006 - A wacky friend had a serious proposition at a dinner party last night. (Better than serious friends who make wacky propositions...) Already a proponent of offroad bowling, this friend, an *abnormally* perceptive emergency room physician, said that our species has long celebrated birthdays and the development of special skills...
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Do You Think By Going Somewhere...
October 04, 2006 - ...that you're getting somewhere? * Just wondering... (*Ron Puhek quote.)
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Brown-out, Schmown-out
July 31, 2006 - I watched the TV for a minute yesterday. They're saying it's a heat-wave and we should all conserve electricity. BS! First let all the businesses, public and govt spaces conserve then ask the people. Let all the vast, ridiculous malls and big-boxes crank it up to a scary (yet totally fine and cool) 74F...and, well, then forge...
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Berdyaev on Meaning: the Key to Freedom...and Reality
July 08, 2006 - Understanding Meaning: Our Key to Living Free Notes from Berdyaev's "The Beginning and the End" OK, I participate in a Life Philosophy group, as I've mentioned before, that's been meeting at a local retired professor's house for the past 30+ years. We get together weekly and compare notes on our lives, especially as the...
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A Friend's Project: Saving Michigan from Sprawl
March 21, 2006 - Chris McCarus is a local DIY reality pal of ours. He and his cohorts have developed a way to use radio to help Michiganders rebuild their state and resist further sprawl. They're doing stories dedicated to helping Michigan become a more liveable place. It's a new project. It'll be like the Wendell Berry Radio Hour. Check it out. ...
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The books we read as kids... What do they read now?
January 07, 2006 - I chatted with a lawyer pal the other day, a fellow maniac. He mentioned that when he was young he went hitchhiking for months down in Central America. He once got robbed by rebels then threatened by CIA thugs when he reported the robbery. Interesting stuff. He also mentioned that he read that summer the following books which had...
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Amateurism is best for big ideas
December 29, 2005 - It seems like certain ideas come across best if presented in old or friendly ways. Well, probably the best ideas, really, but I admit exceptions for high art. I'm thinking these days of the C. S. Lewis stories, "The Chronicles of Narnia." And the Tolkien stories, too, why not. All of these tales are told best, first of a...
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Long nites of Winter? No!
December 21, 2005 - People talk about the long, dark nights of Winter...but really they mean FALL. Winter is the time of rapidly increasing daylight! Today is the first day of winter and the first day of longer days! Fall is your bogeyman, who takes away daylight every day. Til today. Winter is the start of the big turnaround. Winter is the time of...
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On Being Poor
December 20, 2005 - They say you either have time or money. The big joke about being poor is that you have neither. Too broke to fix the car and no time to do it yourself. To have an option, a choice---time or money---isn't poor. The poor have no choices. The rich, though, do seem to often give up their time in exchange for money. That'...
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The "ideal" American life: enough to drive ya crazy?
December 15, 2005 - It seems like there's still a common view of the basically decent American life. It might even be considered a minimum standard. Ya got yer job and yer hobby and you go to church on Sunday. You take care of your yard on Saturday. You help with the Boy Scout troop and volunteer for a civic project regularly, monitoring City Ha...
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Solitary confinement: a big chicken coming home to roost
December 13, 2005 - Solitary confinement is a huge problem for our reality. I don't know how many prisons use it around the world, but whatever prison uses it beyond the minimum brings bad karma down on the nation sponsoring such treatment. I believe that it's used A LOT in America, both on civilians a...
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Does TV Help Sick People Get Better?
November 30, 2005 - I can't imagine that it does, but almost every sickbed experience is swamped by TV. (If you can call being in the presence of a TV a part of "experience.") Hospitals are filled with TVs. I tell ya, it's weird to visit a sick person and talk with them and join them in their TV state. One asks questions in a daze and gets answers ...
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Kids these days...and parents
October 11, 2005 - I've recently heard a string of funny things, uh, mostly from the same people, that I thought were too good to pass up. "Man, all these parking tickets are getting to be expensive. And speeding tickets cost a LOT these days!" "Geez, our cell-phone bills and long distance charges are really starting to pile up!" "Sheesh,...
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Authentic Towns: Only in my dreams?
October 06, 2005 - I've written about my dreams before but I hadn't realized something about them until tonight. I have dreams about every town I've lived in. And every time I dream about one of those towns, the dream is about an authentic neighborhood there. Not a real neighborhood, an authentic one. We live in America, remember? Aut...
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Life Among Peers: finding services on our level
September 26, 2005 - Two ideas here. One of my goals is to live among people I can relate to in some way, people who live in a way that allows relating. I think I'm flexible. It's not like we all have to be the same---a wide variety of people CAN be related to. But I think that mass-society cultural features get most of their power by taking ...
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Downside to the ERA
September 26, 2005 - I heard a radio show extolling the ERA on NPR the other day. The main practical downside to the ERA passing seems to me to be the fact that making men's and women's wages equal will require some balancing out---some offsetting here to make up for imbalance over there. Adjustments will have to be made. Since the area of ...
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What we leave behind...
September 22, 2005 - So much of what we have will outlast us. Will it leave the kind of impression that we desire? Will it represent the kind of connection that is worthy of the use of things? For instance, our bikes could easily outlast us. Are they worth leaving? Will they give our kids (or friends) a sense of who we were? Of, if they choose t...
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"Whenever 2 businessmen get together they conspire against the public."
September 14, 2005 - Adam Smith said that long ago. What's it say about business schools? About professional conferences in general? Boy, they sure are efficient. We're more optimized today to no end. But do these functions which put businessmen together serve the public interest? It used to be that business majors (and the business...
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Two kinds of boat life: one honest, one a lie
May 19, 2005 - The techniques of cultural critique that zeens made accessible in the 90's are a good thing. Anthropology isn't just something to do on tribes. Every aspect of culture needs it. This is a lesson that the field of literature and publishing needs to learn as well. Badly. If they don't learn it, they're doomed to irrelevance. No way ...
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Backlist of Think-Pieces on Culture
May 19, 2005 -
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Backlist of Think-Pieces in General & on Publishing
May 19, 2005 -
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Disintermediate Now!
January 12, 2005 - This seems like a good slogan for bikers, canoeists, walkers and XC skiers. I got it from Jack Saunders, who got it from the Mail Artist movement. I'm not positive but I think it means to get rid of the middlemen, the filters, and just do what you do right now, go live your life. Do it yourself, don't pay someone or watch som...
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Beware of turning religion into a political party
January 06, 2005 - I sense a big risk in rightwing evangelical fundamentalist American religion. First, they often like to say that they're not religious. They don't have an institutional relationship but a personal one with God. Even this first aspect of their view is rife with traps, but it's connected to the other traps, so I'll leave it f...
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Security = Failure
December 31, 2004 - My high school was one of the first church schools of the recent era. I wasn't doing well in the big, consumerist public school, so off I went to the little school. I did fine in the less formal setting. It was a fundamentalist school---probably what would be called right-wing and patriotic as well. It had quite a few rules, too...
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The Other Economy?
December 17, 2004 - I heard a news story the other day about how moving textiles to China will save Americans maybe 10% on clothing costs and that for the working poor that adds up to a lot of money, considering that people might spend $300-$400 for back to school clothes for their kids. I don't think we spend that much for clothes for all 4 of...
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Defending America
December 17, 2004 - I don't really consider this rant to be political: there's no party you can exactly pin it to. But... Is my America under attack? I suppose part of it is. But it seems to me that nearly all of it is not. Not the real America. Sure, I'm willing to defend my America, the one I can point to in the Constitution and Bill...
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Timely presidential quote from "Gulf Coast Boys"
November 07, 2004 - "Gulf Coast Boys" is a memoir I resell by longtime Austin singer-songwriter, Richard Dobson. He grew up playing hard-driving country-rock on the road with Townes van Zandt and is highly praised by folks like John Prine, Nanci Griffith and Steve Earle, but can't hardly sell a record here in the U.S. He lives and tours in Germany ...
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NYT Book Reviews Irrelevant? Shocking!
February 05, 2004 - Here's an article about the panic at NYT to improve their Book Review. But any change that still involves out-of-touch elitist clubbies will be just as, well, out of touch, boring and unread. They're betting that shifting to corporate (formula) nonfiction and airport trash is the answer. HARDY HAR! Too bad they won't review indy...
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My Memory of Mountain and Sea
January 05, 2000 - I was watching PBS tonight and saw parts of two shows. One about Mt. Ranier and the other about polynesian canoes being rebuilt today and sailing the seas with natives recapturing their heritage. Both of these shows reminded me of all the things I've known and left behind. It was a bittersweet and sorrowful feeling. It's ...
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