Michael

Acid-Trip Politics

Rick Santorum

January 4, 2012

Reading this morning about Rick Santorum’s success in the Iowa caucus vote made me wonder whether someone slipped LSD into my coffee. How else to explain a presidential candidate of a major political party doing so well while opposing birth control and advocating that states can make it illegal. Santorum is essentially saying that a […]

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Gift of Silence

January 3, 2012

A compilation of old-time Christmas gun ads dusts off a cobwebbed memory. I was in the seventh grade. “What do you want for Christmas?” my parents asked. I knew they knew and this was a dance of formalities. So I paused as if deliberating before answering. “A .22 rifle.” They said nothing, and I felt […]

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JFK, the Moon, and Friends

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November 22, 2011

The biggest news events of my school days were the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and Neil Armstrong’s hop onto the moon in 1969. Like me, my friends at the time surely remember where we were and what we were doing when tragedy struck 48 years ago today, and when America’s triumph […]

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New Natural History

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November 19, 2011

Our near-downtown neighborhood buzzed all summer about the coyote. Facebook and blogs noted its daily (and nightly) moves with awe and fear. TV stations joined the chorus. It was if an alien had landed in our midst. The sightings advanced closer to our house, and one night my wife and I heard unfamiliar sounds growing […]

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Awaiting Destiny’s Test

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November 12, 2011

For decades a thought arrived often and too pushy to ignore: I had a purpose in life not of my choosing. Without warning I would have an instant to save a stranger’s life. The chance was destiny. Imagined scenarios would flash past, chief among them rescuing a drowning child. Maybe the idea emerged from a […]

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Miracle Odds

November 9, 2011

My previous post, inspired by Steve Jobs’ last words, explored what happens when we die. But what about the here and now and the unknowable number of days ahead of us? Jobs himself used the certainty of death as a motivator and guide for how to live every day. In his much-praised commencement speech at […]

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Death and the Triple Wow

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November 7, 2011

Leave it to Steve Jobs to depart this world with words of wonder. In another context his last utterance would have been overused slang, a reflexive expression lacking meaning. Oh wow. Not so with Jobs as he slipped slowly toward death. Immediately after gazing at his family and then staring past them, he said: OH […]

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Stubborn Illusion Of Time

Loving skeletons

November 6, 2011

Two recent stories of love and death feel connected. This is absurd considering that 1,500 years and 5,000 miles separate them. But why let facts get in the way of a feeling, a yearning? Last month an Iowa couple married for 72 years died an hour apart while holding hands. The wife died first but […]

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Vicarious No More

November 4, 2011

When I live vicariously through someone, it usually involves imagining a pleasurable or adventurous event. Now I’m experiencing the opposite, imagining the terror of friends waking at night in their burning house. That’s terrifying enough, but add to the plot a baby and arson. The couple and their five-month-old son, asleep on the top floor, […]

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Futures Never Seen

Daytona Beach, 1904

October 30, 2011

Now this is old Florida: Daytona Beach, 1904. More than six decades later, Daytona occasionally beckoned me, especially during Spring Break, a rockin’ happening then but sedate compared to today’s debauched version. The Daytona Beach of my memory, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, was overcrowded, the sands jammed with cars, and Highway A1A […]

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Numbered, I Am

October 27, 2011

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TfdA9fWb_g&feature=related[/youtube] “I am not a number, I am a free man!” That memorable line by actor Patrick McGoohan is from the 1960s TV series The Prisoner, which riveted me years later. I remembered the line today when learning that I have a number. There’s nothing official or sinister about my number, 2,772,772,874, unlike that of […]

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Lost Words, Lost Beauty

October 23, 2011

Most English words we take for granted. Never think about them. They mean what they mean and ably serve their function. Then there are the smattering of words we love not because of their meaning but their sound. Actually more than sound: the pleasurable feel of speaking them. Mine include serendipity, euphoria, and melancholy. But […]

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An Owl That’s Me

October 21, 2011

Reincarnation as this owl — that’s what I want. Not merely to flaunt my aerial adroitness, fierce gaze, and stunning plumage. I like the idea of staying up all night and hooting from trees. I found the video here via a journalist whose work I admire. But James Fallow‘s likening of owls to cats with […]

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