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IT’S SCIENCE!

I was listening to a conversation this morning at breakfast, and I must admit, it made me cringe…uh, think. The young men were talking about a scientific study they had seen posted on Facebook, and what it meant. They were very earnest, and taking this very seriously, and I thought, oh, how nice, they’re interested in science. Actually, no, I didn’t. My thought process was quite a bit more complex, so it my take me a little work to move through the stages of the things going through my head.

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THOSE DAMNED COASTAL ELITES

Hi, there, “coastal elites”. A message for you from flyover country. I’ve been living here for most of my life now (like, decades!) and I have been watching with fascination as the pundits have been fingering you for being out of touch, misguided, and contemptuous of those of us here in the heartland. I would just like to add my voice to the mix, as someone who has actually lived in flyover country (unlike most of the people writing the pieces about flyover country, who have mostly flown over, and decided to stop over for a night or two and talk to the first six people they met before they hopped back on the plane to write a piece about flyover country from the enormous experience they had just acquired).

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DEAD LETTER OFFICE

Myself, I hastily indicated that I had mailed a letter that week, and then was stricken with remorse when I realized that, although I had written a letter, it repined still on my desk, and that I had not yet mailed it.  I was going to Hell!  (Sorry for the outburst—I’ve been reading Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man).  Though the responses to the poll were rather scattershot, they were marginally less discouraging to penfriend hobbyists such as myself than one might expect; the “I mailed a letter this week” crowd just about matched “I’ve never written a letter”, “I’ve written a letter this month” vote was close to “It’s been years”, and so forth, with the intermediate categories being the biggest, thus producing a quintessential bell curve.

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OF MOTHERS AND MOTHERHOOD ON MOTHER'S DAY

Let me state my position up front. I am against motherhood. I am not against mothers, unless of course it is lousy mothers, scary mothers, abusive mothers, hurtful mothers…but I realize that every one of us has at some point in our life had a mother, and that many of us love our mothers. We love them so much that we all get together once a year to erupt in a giant flood of love for our mothers, buying them cards and flowers, taking them out to dinner, and telling them how much we appreciate them. That’s good, because it will encourage Mother to keep doing all those things we appreciate but don’t mention for the rest of the year.

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CASSANDRA? DON QUIXOTE?

You may have heard the different descriptions given of environmental scientists by the left and the right. The right prefers to describe the environmental scientists as Cassandras, mockingly pointing out that they spread a message of gloom and doom. The left prefers to paint them as Don Quixotes, misunderstood knight errants wandering the land in search of evil giants and damsels in distress. The preferred frame of reference you use in referring to this branch of science can immediately give away your political leanings.

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THE DRUG SONG DETECTIVE IS ON THE JOB

Some of my favorite moments have come when I have been sitting at my desk, quietly doing my regular job, when somebody bursts through my office door in a panic,  requiring my help in determining whether a given song contains any narcotics allusions.  Many years ago, one of my most desperate clients was a co-worker who had just been told by a friend that Simon and Garfunkel were lovers and that “Puff, the Magic Dragon” was a drug song.  Although I was able to reassure him that I had never heard anything about Paul and Art being lovers, and that it seemed unlikely to me—not to mention that if they had been, they were currently engaged in the world’s longest-running lovers’ spat, I had to tell him that yes, “Puff” (to give it its actual title), was indeed a drug song.  And what thanks did I get for this valuable service?  He poutily informed me that when he listened to it, he wasn’t thinking about narcotics, so it was in fact not actually a drug song, therefore elevating the philosophy of solipsism to heights hitherto undreamt of.  So taken aback was I that I never felt able to charge him my usual fee.

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THE DOVISH WING OF THE WAR ON TRUMP

About that time, I found myself wondering whether these street protests were going to become a regular feature of the Stable Genius’ tenure in office, as with the Vietnam and civil rights era protests; extended campaigns such as these require a considerable attention span and public stamina, qualities which meseems are difficult to find huge quantities of in America today.

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YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP

I was reading an article related to the Janus case – you know, the case working its way through the Supreme Court related to unions. The gist of the matter is whether unions can collect fees from non-union members to cover the costs of negotiations, since non-union members benefit from the negotiations. In the past, the Supreme Court has upheld this practice, and 21 states currently have that provision. This case is asking them to reconsider it, alleging that it is a violation of the free speech of non-union employees who might object to the political activities of the union. The money collected for the fees is supposed to be used solely for the purpose of negotiations.

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Women's Writes

Starting Thursday, March 1, 2018, this site will host a new feature called Women's Writes. For the duration of Women's History Month, there will be a new post every day related to women and feminism. The author, Robin Buckallew, has declared the intent to write something every day for Women's History Month every year until women everywhere have the same rights, opportunities, pay, and respect as men all over the world are able to command. The management of this site hope she lives a very long time...

Works posted here will be works of short fiction, essays, or excerpts from longer works. Please check in regularly to see any and all of the updates in this dynamic new area. This new section will continue to host the works of this author throughout the year, and will host the once a day posts every March until...well, unfortunately, the way it looks, probably until the end of the author's life, even though she is still young(ish).

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CHIEF WAHOO CONTEMPLATES THE RIVER STYX

I’m almost always behind the curve on this political correctness bit, so I can’t say my passions were quite as stirred as most on this particular question, but I did think that Wahoo was a pretty limp mascot; I disliked his leer and the overwrought red he radiated was a little unsubtle, probably even in his birth year of 1947, and certainly today, when primary colors don’t seem to be part of design palettes any more.

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HOOLIGANS AND THUGS

Next time, before you start that speech, I would like you to stop, take a deep breath, and think before you speak. Then, go ahead and wave your Constitution. Go ahead and read the First Amendment. Explain in all your usual detail about Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists, and give a full history of religious entanglement from the Greek pagans all the way through the Enlightenment – there is one member of the school board who will be pleased you learned your classics, anyway. But then, stop. Shut up. Sit down. Do not finish with your favorite flourish. Don’t acknowledge his right to raise his children the way he wishes, because that is a right that he does not – or at least should not – have.

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WHERE DO I SIGN UP?

Since this isn’t my first post about obituaries, I suppose it would be fair to say that they’re an interest.  Just don’t call them an obsession.  I even had a job back in the day which privileged me to give them a scan every week or two just to keep my part of the assembly line moving.

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YO DUDE, IT’S THE MAN OF THE YEAR!

Back in the day, there was this national institution known as Time, a magazine which was of common occurrence in homes and waiting rooms across the land.  Today, not so much, though it has managed, to its credit, to remain in continuous publication even as paper publishing, especially of magazines, has become fraught with peril.  Back in 1927, when I was still pretty young, the magazine’s founder decided to recognize the Man of the Year, perhaps more as an excuse to put national hero Lucky Lindy on the cover yet again than from any thought that the public would be still interested in quibbling about the suitability of the selection each and every year.

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LEST WE FORGET

Did you hear that Charlie Manson died the other night?  If you did, it was no thanks to any news I saw the night that it happened or, for that matter, the night after it happened, and I watched a lot of news those nights, owing to my custom of switching to a news channel during the many commercials which festoon the evening’s football game.  Pick your ideology—Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC, and you can even throw in C-SPAN, and…Nada, Zilch, Commandante Zero.  He didn’t even make that cavalcade of trivia that scrolls along the bottom of the screen.  Susan Collins, Al Franken, John McCain, Charlie Rose.  Angela Merkel, Robert Mugabe, Vlad Putin, a merger between two cable outfits, even the death of fifties singer and latter-day ham actress Della Reese-- they were all there, but not the man who at one time was arguably the most recognized man in America.  All of this news is very important and interesting (well, maybe except for the cable TV merger), but does it really have to shove an uber-important death out of our minds?

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Of Predators and Prey

With the recent rash of revelations out of Hollywood, Alabama, and Minnesota pertaining to sexual misbehavior, we have a perfect opportunity to have a national dialogue, and actually make some changes. Of course, we have had many opportunities for that dialogue before (remember Anita Hill?) and we seem to be almost supernaturally able to forgive, forget, and return to business as usual. Then the next incident arises and we are shocked, shocked I tell you, that this is going on, and has been going on for so long. How is it we didn’t notice? How could these men be so predatory without someone knowing? (I’ll tell you a secret – people did know. Lots of people knew about Harvey Weinstein. Lots of people knew about Roy Moore. And since Al Franken was not alone when he misused his proximity to a sleeping woman, it is likely that people knew about that, too.)

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THE DONALD AND THE SLIPPERY SLOPE

Logicians tell us that the “slippery slope”, an argument which posits that one seemingly reasonable concession on societal values, or most any argument, will lead to  less reasonable and more destructive consequences, is a weak one.  And it causes this writer considerable discomfort to admit that our President got something right; thus, this post begins life with two strikes against it.

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LOOK, POPPA, JUNIOR’S A PUNDIT!

Last week my inner political junkie kicked in, and I decided to watch some late-night C-SPAN.  What they offered me was watching a young lady with the same unusual surname as a well-known ABC financial reporter holding forth on the administration’s regulatory policies.  I had just finished reading a magazine column by a man with the same unusual surname as an even better-known CNN anchorman.  My apologies to all concerned if I jumped to an incorrect conclusion, but it occurred to me that these might be relatives, perhaps even children, of their entrenched media celebrity sires.  That’s called nepotism, and it’s still nepotism even if you’re the finest political analyst of your generation.

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