Generally Speaking

As is my wont two or three times a week, I was headed over to the Veloway for a little cardiovascular maintenance the other morning. The preferred route is almost all highway:  up South First to 290 westbound; switch to Mopac southbound; exit la Crosse. Quick and easy. But it was a little later than usual and the customary pathways […]

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A Timely Brush with Mortality

In the end, it had to have been the breakfast tacos. They and the good-natured banter with the young fellow who made them had become an essential part of my morning, six days a week. There were other factors, of course, and it was a long time coming. But those nuggets of pure flavor from the busy little trailer on […]

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It’s Election Day–Now Get Out There and Vote Dammit!

Or Don’t Finally, after a grinding, seemingly endless couple of years, the 2016 election is at last upon us. The end. Billions of dollars and hundreds of millions of man-hours expended, and it comes down to this. For one side exultant triumph awaits; for the other, bitter defeat. For all of us, winners and losers alike, there is utter exhaustion […]

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Red in Tooth and Claw

So there I was, headed for home after stopping at the dollar store to gather the usual sundries. As I passed through the busy parking lot, seeking the exit, something caught my eye. Off to the left, a short distance away was a pair of male grackles, going hard at it, a small vortex of fury on a sea of […]

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Of Myths and Realities

A while back, I wrote an essay in this space in which I shared some views on gender-related issues. God knows why anyone would ever willingly stray into that minefield, but this is my forum and I can say what I want. So often, works devoted to this rather touchy subject devolve into one of two extremes, being either rants […]

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A Catastrophe That Isn’t

The pitch is about as direct as you can imagine, the causal chain unambiguous and damning. There is, we are told, a place called the Marshall Islands, a collection of coral islets straddling the equator a few hundred miles northeast of Australia. A little slice of paradise, it is an idyllic place of waving palm trees, warm ocean breezes, and […]

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A Nagging Uncertainty

Recently, a small item surfaced in Google News that caught my attention. This article was about a group of scientists from Yale who had just completed what amounts to a census of the world’s trees. After several years of work involving researchers from around the world, the team came up with an estimate of just over three trillion, or about […]

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Borders and Boundaries

There was plenty of room. In fact, the whole eastern side of the island would have made a good anchorage. But the lobster boat from Yarmouth wanted that spot, right there, less than thirty feet away to port. Why was anyone’s guess. It was a much larger boat than ours, and had it swung at anchor on this windy day […]

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The Perfect Clarity of True Belief

Recently, I posted an essay in this space on the very topical issue of climate change, a subject I happen to care about, and on which I have strong opinions. I did this with some minor reluctance because the subject is a hot-button issue, and my opinion, though well-reasoned, is not exactly mainstream. It was at least theoretically possible that […]

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A Really Inconvenient Truth

The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it. H.L. Mencken   The cartoon, by Chan Lowe of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, titled “A GOP Thought Experiment,” shows an Earth floating in space, completely covered with water. The caption reads: “If global warming floods the planet but nobody is around to […]

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You, Robot

Asking for me by name, the caller identified herself as “Barney.” And who are you with, Barney? No one, just Barney, she replied, going silent. My assistant and right hand, a young woman who goes by the name of Seed, repeated the question just to be sure she had heard correctly and got the same response. Standoff. Faced with this […]

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An Open Letter to Lisa G.

Dear Lisa: I just became aware of your negative review of Computer Medic on Yelp. Thank you, I think, for your feedback. It is neither necessary nor appropriate to respond to every critique, but you have made some pretty damaging claims that more or less demand a rebuttal. This will follow shortly. In my original version of this post I […]

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Death of the Hired Man

My first meeting with Steve, some twelve or thirteen years ago, was not exactly auspicious. I was out in my front yard one afternoon when he wandered up and, apropos of nothing, offered his services. He was thin to the point of gaunt, had long and greasy hair framing a haggard-looking face, an unkempt beard of biblical length, and was […]

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Black Like Me

The end of summer, by the calendar if not by the thermometer, also means the end of Summer Blockbuster movie season and the return to the theaters of real movies for adults, which means the resumption of Sunday movie matinees for yours truly, the mom, and the lady friend. Yesterday we saw The Butler. The movie is really two stories. […]

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Bad Business

Because almost everyone has a computer these days, and because almost every computer breaks sooner or later, my customers tend to be a microcosm of Austin society. I see people of every age, every race, every profession, and every income level. I also see people of every ethical disposition, including, just often enough to be considered anomalous, people who clearly […]

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