Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Too Much

“Dear Lord, please send us another oil boom, and we promise that this time we won’t piss it away.” – Yet  another Texas and Oklahoma bumper sticker of the   oil bust of the 1980s The music didn’t stop until after 3 a.m. It never does. You’ve heard it, same as me, with that thumping […]

Read more

Resurrection at the End of the Paper Trail

“It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paper work, and the other is nostalgia.” Frank Zappa       Paperwork, what joy! Anyone who lives overseas gets their double-fill of forms and filing requirements, which  often seem to necessitate pulling up and retrieving documentation on […]

Read more

Crank Up the Obsolescence

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done … Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new?” Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 My five-year-old son has taken to telling me I don’t know anything. This is probably something I […]

Read more

Maybe There Is, Maybe There Isn’t

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” – Psalm 14:1 There comes a time in almost every religious ceremony or service I attend – be it Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or  Islamic – when my rational mind rebels and I start cursing the tyranny of belief. In this frame of mind it […]

Read more

Kids These Days, I Tell You

“Ohhhh we used to DREAM of livin’ in a corridor! Woulda’ been a palace to us. We used to live in an old water tank on a rubbish tip. We got woken up every morning by having a load of rotting fish dumped all over us!” – Michael Palin of Monty Python in the Four […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 – […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more