Archive for the ‘Random Thoughts’ Category

Shifting Down

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Coming down from intense projects can be quite disorienting. I experienced that yet again this morning, when I suddenly found myself without anything immediate to do after several days of very long hours.

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Root Canal

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Which kind of says it all, you know? Except, of course, that clearly I’m going to go on and say much more than that…

Last Friday night: intermittent toothache. You know, the kind of thing that makes you wonder if you got something stuck between your teeth. Except that after re-flossing for the fourth time, you clue into the notion that there’s something more going on. I wasn’t even completely sure what tooth it was that was bothering me.

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Gifts of the Earth

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

(originally written a couple of days ago)

For breakfast this morning I had some leftover bread pudding, with a bit of homemade plum syrup and whipped cream over it. Heavenly. Plus a small pear from our favorite orchard.

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The Pusher (New Years 2004 Reprint)

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Note: This is a reprint of a column I sent out, oh, 10 years ago now, purely for my own amusement…

The kids come, one and two at a time. Up the path, a furtive knock at the door. Down the stairs into the cellar, where the stuff is kept. Faces staring at the floor, with every appearance of shame. Then the fateful whispered words, from the addict to the dealer: “Can I have a book?”

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It comes as news to precisely no one reading these columns that I am a book addict: bookworm, son of a bookworm, brother of bookworms, parent and spouse of same. There is little about bookwormish behavior that I don’t know, nothing experts can tell me about the symptoms that I haven’t observed at close hand. It’s all familiar to me. And of all of it, there’s nothing I know better than the urge to share the addiction with others.

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Paying Attention to the Words

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Last Sunday, I attended a performance of Rob Gardner’s Lamb of God by the Minnesota Mormon Chorale and Orchestra. It was surprisingly good — pretty much professional quality.

Of course, me being a writer and editor, I can’t simply leave it there. And in fact there was one small detail of the performance that stuck in my mind, and eventually led me to this keyboard — in musing upon language and scripture, and how familiarity and easy readings can dull our perception.

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The Two Towers

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Earlier this evening, I finished reading the last few chapters of The Two Towers to my children — including my oldest, now back from his mission. As always, it was a bit of an effort to pull them away from their various evening pursuits to listen. But once I started, they were quickly drawn in.

Generally speaking, I tend to read only a chapter at a time. This time, though, we read three chapters with only a couple of relatively short breaks. Partly, that was because I feared that if I stopped, they’d never let me start again. It’s pretty intense.

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Prevention, Health Care Costs, and Health Insurance

Friday, June 24th, 2011

And now for something completely different.

There are two fundamental problems with health care in the United States: cost and equity. Most proposals for reforming the system address (at most) one of these. Given the vast influence that my online presence gives me (cough, cough), I’d like to propose something that might actually manage to address both — or at least address one without doing much in the way of net damage to the other.

I should start by emphasizing that I have absolutely no expert knowledge in the field of health care, thus making it almost certain that there’s a good reason why I haven’t heard these proposals talked about anywhere. But if so, I’d like to hear them.

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Down Days

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

It’s a down day. The weekend was great; my sister-in-law was in town, and we got a chance to see my daughter’s choir concert. And the weather’s pretty good, with spring finally more or less definitively here (though that also brings the need to figure out lawn mowing soon). But it’s a down day nonetheless.

I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe because I’m still recuperating on sleep I lost over the last couple of weeks due to some urgent work deadlines. Or maybe it’s because I’m at “that” phase in my fiction writing process. (I don’t think I’ve commented here on my perception that each major undertaking includes Despair as a distinct, unavoidable project phase.) Or perhaps it’s allergies. Or laziness. Or some other as-yet-undefined factor.

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Spring Break

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

This is another of those no-I’m-not-dead-yet posts, for those who might be wondering…

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Xenophobia and Punishment

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

It’s time for another of Jonathan’s vaguely political/cultural criticism posts! I promise not to get too rabid…

Listening a few weeks ago to a discussion on NPR about the challenges of educating black youth in the United States, I was struck by the comment of one of the experts. We know what to do in order to solve this problem, he said. We simply lack the will to do it.

His comment got me thinking. Is this really the case? And if so, what are the reasons underlying that lack of will? Two related answers came to mind: xenophobia — fear of the other, or more generally thinking in terms of “us versus them” — and a mentality that’s oriented toward punishing people for poor behavior rather than teaching them to do better.

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