Posts by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith, journalist and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, and a couple of cats.

W.B.’s Book Report: Steve Ditko’s 160-Page Package

ditko

After the news of Steve Ditko’s death, I went in search of his later works, after having drifted away from comic books in general during the 1990s or so. I landed, more or less at random, on a 1999 collection called Steve Ditko’s 160-Page Package, which presents a group of short stories on some of Ditko’s most familiar themes – good, evil, choices, irony …

Some of the stories are OK, some are meh, and the same with the art. I have seen Ditko’s work look much more compelling, and I have seen it look much less. That’s not the point I took away. Continue reading →

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Calm and the certainty of coming sorrow

calm and coming sorrow

In a quiet place, in a quiet moment, the scene opens on a guy sitting in a chair reading and, in between lines, reflecting on his life to date. Something is amiss in his soul, and yet his soul is calm as can be.

He frets at the thought that his noble old dog is showing signs of age, but he accepts he has no power to do anything except love her day by day.

That seems to be what feels amiss – the peace in his heart in the face of coming sorrow.

On the other hand, there’s no point in railing against an unfair but inevitable reality – not when there are still toys to gnaw and fields to wander.

Morning in the garden of good and evil

letter to the editor dreamstime_s_51857409

Where do they all come from, these bug-eyed monsters, these giant ants in the New Mexico desert who fly to Los Angeles to live in the storm sewers? What brought to existence the man who pieced together body parts and lighted a spark of life into the remains? Why tell the story of doomed lovers on a ship destined to sink? What made the story of the man whisked to Mars leap into Edgar Rice Burroughs’ mind and out his fingers?

How do we see things that never were and cannot be? What allows us to see a better world – or a worse world? We conjure spirits and realities out of thin air. It would be best if we use this power wisely, and for good, not evil. Continue reading →

Wildflower Man

Saturday Stories: Summer rerun

wildflower man

The man who carried himself older than his years, boulders weighing down his shoulders, adjusted his glasses and harrumphed.

“Meeting will come to order,” he said. “Here about the complaint regarding Sam Tucker’s lawn. Mr. Tucker present?”

A bearded man who should have combed his hair that morning raised his hand. “Here, your honor.” Continue reading

‘There’s good news tonight’

good news tonight

#TBT Written for my newspaper column of July 29, 2015. Would you listen to such a podcast?

Yes, somewhere someone is dying. Someone is killing people. A fire has destroyed. A great wind has orphaned children. Someone is hungry, even starving. Their stories must be told.

But over there, someone is comforting a stranger. Someone is building. Someone is creating new beauty. A habitat is protected. A windmill is drawing clean, healing water for a community. A meal is being cooked to share. A disease is being cured, even prevented.

It has always been my experience that the impulse to to help a neighbor in need crosses social and political lines. The arguments, the differences, are about how to solve the need. If only the passions of the election season could be harnessed into solving and caring and helping, instead of tearing and denigrating and hating. Continue reading →

24 quotes about fear and freedom

24 quotes about fear

That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent. — Chinese proverb

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. — H. P. Lovecraft

The brave man is not he who feels no fear, For that were stupid and irrational; But he, whose noble soul its fears subdues, And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from. — Joanna Baillie Continue reading →