Hobgoblin Watch: Gerry Ford and eastern Europe

It’s said Gerald Ford lost a presidential debate in 1976 when he said, “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.” The conventional wisdom is that Ford mistakenly believed the USSR did not have those countries under its thumb. That’s not what I heard Ford saying. Continue reading “Hobgoblin Watch: Gerry Ford and eastern Europe”


Ignition: A time of assessment and reckoning

Warren & Mom 1975

Sunday was the 44th anniversary of that hot sunny day on the lawn in Ripon, Wisconsin, when I was declared a college graduate and released into the wild. I scarcely could fathom what 44 years means. My parents, 52 years of age, 14 years younger than I am now, smiled sadly and let me loose on the world.

This anniversary, any turning of the calendar, and the final pages of a journal – which I’m approaching now – always put me in a reflective mood, even more so than the everyday picking-up of the journal. For whatever reason, it becomes a time of assessment and reckoning: Can you hear me now? Where am I anyway? What is this place? Has anything important ever occurred here? Who do you say that I am? (Jesus asked that last question, of course, knowing full well who he was, but knowing how important it was that others understood.) Continue reading “Ignition: A time of assessment and reckoning”

Uncle Warren’s Attic: 5 show stoppers

It wasn’t so long that I put Simon & Garfunkel’s immortal 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme on the turntable and – as happens every time – had my breath taken away by Art Garfunkel’s glorious rendition of “For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her.”

It’s one of those songs that, when I hear it, everything else stops. I fall into a trance, overwhelmed by the song’s beauty, the flow of the lyrics, the smile it brings to my soul and (often) the tears it brings to my eyes.

(And by the way, is it possible any more to think of any of those four herbs without thinking of the other three? They go together musically like peanut butter and jelly.)

Here are four other tunes that do that to me, two you surely know and two that may be new to you, unless you know me well.

Continue reading “Uncle Warren’s Attic: 5 show stoppers”

W.B.’s Book Report: Reinvent Yourself

dejah - reinvent yourself

After I finished reading Reinvent Yourself by James Altucher on my Kindle, I bought the paperback book. Now I keep it nearby and open it at random to refresh my memory and the lessons learned.

James talks to a lot of people and writes down what each person taught him in distilled bite-sized nuggets. And so by browsing this book, you can get short lessons in how to make a million from Mimi Ikonn, or business and marketing tips from Eminem, or Einstein’s secret of productivity, or negotiation techniques from the FBI’s top hostage negotiator.

Inspiring stuff? Well, since reading it I refocused this blog, set release dates on two books I’ve been diddling around with for years, generated an ambitious schedule to get my other work shipped, and plunged full speed ahead on a series of vintage books I’ll be editing. Inspiring stuff indeed.

The book contains 47 chapters packed with information, practical applications of the stuff James picked up from comic books and astronauts and authors and moguls.

Reinvent Yourself is a great book. Go read it and you just might learn everything you need to tackle whatever it is you’re trying to tackle.

Screenings: Arrival (2016)

wpb, willow and arrival

Warning – This post is about a crucial plot twist in the movie Arrival. Please don’t read further if you like experiencing a film the way its creators wanted the story to unfold for you.

I mean it. You owe it to yourself to watch the film before you read any further. This is the most sincere and complete spoiler warning I can possibly convey. I don’t want to ruin what, for me, was one of the most delightful surprises I’ve ever experienced watching a film.


Four words change everything. Four words turn the movie Arrival on its head and reveal the meaning of all that has happened and will happen. Four little words.

Continue reading “Screenings: Arrival (2016)”

Hobgoblin Watch: Navigating the floods of crises


The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. — H.L. Mencken

One of the biggest issues in the famed 1960 presidential debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon was the fate of Quemoy and Matsu, two islands off the coast of China. The future of democracy and freedom rested on whether those two islands were controlled by Communist China or Nationalist China, Beijing or Taiwan.

I had to look up the names of those two islands to complete this post, because they are essentially lost to history. It’s not hard to find a clear example of what H.L. Mencken called “hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” All you have to do is see what issues were tearing us apart 60 years ago, or 25 years ago, or last year, or last week, or today. Continue reading “Hobgoblin Watch: Navigating the floods of crises”

Ignition: This is The Day

sun on clouds

Sometimes morning comes with a splash of creativity, bombs bursting in air with passion’s red glare of urgent joy. Sometimes morning eases tenderly into the sun, softly whispering, “Oh gracious, is it time already?” Sometimes morning is an old dog content to sit at the top of the back stairs, waiting for her human to come out and sit next to her with his arm around her shoulders.

We all find peace in separate ways, but peace seeks us out in the morning. Something about sleep clears the mind, and in the waking hours of dawn, we know what we need and what we must do to get there, even if we can’t put it into words. Continue reading “Ignition: This is The Day”