The Mother of All Pragmatism

“We love the earth and the earth loves us.”      a performer at the Earth Day festival on April 24 to raise funds for the Ubud Community Playground If the earth loves us, then the old gal has got to be one tough mother. I mean, she tries to do us in all the time. At […]

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No City of Angels

“I’m tired of this dirty old city. Entirely too much work and never enough play. And I’m tired of these dirty old sidewalks. Think I’ll walk off my steady job today.” — Merle Haggard Jakarta does no favors for itself. It’s disheveled, mismanaged, clogged with traffic, and full of people so disconnected from any larger […]

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Toughen Up! It’s Earth Day

      “What I hate most are motorcars and aeroplanes; they have wrecked the world and robbed it of all its diversity. If I could’ve done my travels by car, what would’ve been the point?” Sir Wilfred Thesiger, the last great British explorer, in an interview in 2000 As we enter the Northern Hemisphere’s spring – […]

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Monkey, Get Off’a My Back!

“Tobacco is a dirty weed, I like it. It satisfies no normal need, I like it. It makes you thin, it makes you lean, it takes the hair right off your bean. It’s the worst darn stuff I’ve ever seen. I like it.” Graham Lee Hemminger, November 1915 This is a dangerous undertaking. Whenever I […]

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Looking Life Straight in the Eye

“She exerts herself very much for Africa, sir.”  Esther Summerson of Mrs.Jellyby in “Bleak House” (1852) by Charles Dickens Travel is supposed to enlighten the mind, and someone once said that a person can never truly understand his own country unless he’s viewed it from the outside. True as those sentiments might be, it’s been […]

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Cash on the Barrelhead Gets You Anything

“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different     from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand.” […]

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Strutting Across the Stage of Wisdom

“To know that you do not know is the best. To pretend to know when you do not know is a disease.” Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher Americans of a particular political persuasion – at least the Americans who live mostly north of Mexico, south of Canada, and who now and then do something beside play […]

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Nice Guys Finish Last, Again

“Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell …”  “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” 1854, Alfred, Lord Tennyson Sometimes, for no reason whatsoever, a man feels the need to gird his loins as best he can — preferably with Kevlar — and venture into the minefields of […]

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Taking on the Facebook Follies

“I want to be left alone.” – Greta Garbo, enigmatic screen star of the 1920s and 1930s People are often surprised to find that I am on Facebook. They assume that I am too cranky and crusty to get much joy out of something so social; they put me down as a curmudgeon who trolls […]

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Overpaid, Oversexed, Over Here

 “I against my brother, I and my brother against our cousin, I, my brother and our cousin against the neighbors, all of us against the foreigner.” – Bedouin proverb Some ideas should die at inception – Donald Trump’s comb-over, any Pamela Anderson movie, using large concrete balls to plug up a mud volcano – and it […]

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