Government and empowerment

government and empowerment

“To govern.”

Dictionary.com offers three definitions of the verb “to govern.” Continue reading →

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Morning in the garden of good and evil

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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

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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

Road to dictatorship

I found the book The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant on a list of “7 Books Everyone Should Read” by Jim Rohn, whose insights I have always admired (or at least ever since I first heard of Jim Rohn). Since Will Durant was the only author with more than one book on the list (The other is The Story of Philosophy), I checked him out first.

It’s indeed a book that everyone should read. Written in 1968 and necessarily framed against the backdrop of that tumultuous era, it’s packed full of insights and revelations about the nature of humanity as reflected in the arcs of history.

I listened to the audiobook but have resolved to find me a more permanent copy – and the close of Chapter 10 struck me as so eerily prophetic that I went back and transcribed what I heard: Continue reading →

#TBT: I just want to go my way

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One of the great characters in contemporary fiction is Capt. Malcolm Reynolds, owner of the cargo ship Serenity in Joss Whedon’s brilliant television show Firefly and the film named after the ship. At a pivotal moment in Serenity, Reynolds meets his main adversary, a nameless assassin we know simply as The Operative, and during their conversation comes an electrifying exchange that sums up Reynolds’ character in 11 words.

Operative: I have to hope you understand you can’t beat us.

Reynolds: I got no need to beat you; I just want to go my way.

Consider how powerful a message those words convey. I don’t need to convince you that my way is right and yours is wrong; I simply desire to live my life on my terms and let you live your life on your terms, as long as we do no harm to each other. There is plenty of room on this vast world for both of us. Continue reading →

‘an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary’

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Remember when the government flew off a fiscal cliff and collapsed because Congress didn’t pass an extension of the national debt? Remember when millions of kids starved because of cuts to the federal school lunch program? Remember in the early 1980s when the world supply of oil ran out? Remember when all those computers crashed on Jan. 1, 2000, because they weren’t programmed to register years that began with “20”? And oh, yes, and remember when the world ended after the ancient Aztec calendar expired in 2012?

For Throwback Thursday, I’m going all the way back to yesterday and all the other times I reminded you of the venerable H.L. Mencken quote: Continue reading →

How to avoid scrambling your brain

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I’ve always aimed to be kind and gentle, but I’ve caught myself lately going full snark. It usually happens in the privacy of my home in response to something some political hack said on the morning news.

I believe there’s something about politics that seals off a portion of the brain. I’ve seen otherwise rational human beings say the silliest things when in the throes of political frenzy. Continue reading →

The Declaration of Independence in American

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By H.L. Mencken

Baltimore Evening Sun, Nov. 7, 1921

Found at the Mencken Society website, mencken.org

The following attempt to translate the Declaration of Independence into American was begun eight or ten years ago, at the time of of my first investigations into the phonology and morphology of the American vulgate. I completed a draft in 1917, but the publication was made impossible by the Espionage act, which forbade any discussion, however academic, of proposed changes to the canon of the American Koran. In 1920 I resumed the work and have since had the benefit of the co-operation of various other philologists, American and European. But the version, as it stands, is mine. That such a translation has long been necessary must be obvious to every student of philology. And this is Better Speech Week. Continue reading →