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Front Page » Table of Contents » Ponderings & Miscellanea

By Diane Wahto on January 12, 2011

Someone in my family gave me Jon Stewart’s new book, Earth (The Book), for Christmas. It is subtitled A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race. Having read a few pages of Earth, I have found it lives up to my expectations in that it deals with a serious issue, the extinction of the human race, in a chuckle-provoking manner. In the introduction, Stewart first addresses the alien readers, those who have come from outer space to a planet now devoid of human beings. He then addresses the human readers of the book, starting with the line, “It’s perfectly clear that we as a species are not long for this world.”

The world is what this book is about. Not just the geographical world, but the world we human beings inhabit, everything from the religious, (rituals, beliefs, holy wars) to the physical (physiology, bathroom habits, sex—well, everything). He even throws in Barbie and Ken dolls. This book is nothing if not comprehensive.

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By Janet Morrison on February 12, 2010

Yesterday it snowed... and it snowed... and it snowed. At 9:00 I was calling friends in Missouri explaining that it had been snowing all day long... and still hadn't stopped!

I woke up this morning to tweets saying we had a record 12 inches of snow! I could hear my neighbors talking outside so I walked outside to see.

When I was invited down the street to take pictures of the fun in the snow, I realized our entire street had been blocked off on both sides by the police trying to protect people from running into the (presumably live) power line laying across the street and sitting in puddles of water underneath the downed tree.

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By Weeden Nichols on February 3, 2010

Here in sunny southern New Mexico, my spouse and I are enjoying the climate and scenery and the various mild leisure pursuits associated with a reasonably comfortable (for which we are thankful) retirement. Unfortunately, I am laid somewhat low by a recurrence of sciatica. This gives me more time than usual for non-directed (aimless) thought. One example of such thought, which is thoroughly non-productive, is this: If the Red Riding Hood story is really about the hazards of puberty for the unwary girl, what is the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears about? Another similar thought, though not original with me, is, “If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?” See what I mean?

Another recent mental tack is, possibly, more useful. In my recent Christmas essay, published in December 2009, I alluded to matters of taste and tackiness. Even though the mention of taste was only one small, out-of-the-way paragraph tucked into the midst of more serious matters, it was that which elicited most of the responses I received. I don’t think that paragraph was my main point. (I hope not, and I hope I am not fooling myself.)

Tackiness and bad taste are very, very low in the hierarchy of imaginable offenses. After all, taste is merely a matter of – well – taste. Calculated, intentional, bad taste can be fun. It can be art, even! Of the bad things we ourselves can do, or can model for our children, bad taste is outranked by violence, greed, gluttony, dishonesty, drunkenness, prejudice, hatred, cruelty, waste, discourtesy, disrespect, and carelessness, to name only a few.

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By Eric Justian on December 9, 2009

I have shirked my duty as an EverydayCitizen writer. I did not write anything last month. Nothing at all. This month I must write extra to be less shirky.

Frankly, I'm not sure where November went. I remember Turkey.

October. October I remember. I was hanging up Halloween decorations with my son, I watched a lot of scary movies, we went trick-or-treating with our kids and some friends...

...and then we had Turkey and cranberries...

And then it was December.

Read more of this post here ...

By Jamie Sanderson on December 2, 2009

As a child, I never gave much thought into where Christmas gifts came from. I was told Santa Claus took care of it all. I believed it. My sister and I - before my brother came along - used to wait impatiently on Christmas Eve until the sky turned dusk because that's when the Christmas music came on. Boy, do I remember those days.

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By Diane Wahto on November 22, 2009

Years ago, as I was growing into feminism, I read somewhere that women tend to say “I’m sorry” a lot more often than men. In fact, women say “I’m sorry” quite often. It occurred to me that I said “I’m sorry” without giving it a second thought. I did it at work during class or during meetings, I did it at home when I was talking to my husband or my children, I did it in social occasions when I was with my friends. I decided to quit saying “I’m sorry.”

It never occurred to me that breaking this habit would be so difficult. I noticed during the course of almost every conversation there would be a lull in which “I’m sorry” would have been the expected response. After I started paying attention to people’s conversational patterns, I realized most people expected to hear “I’m sorry,” no matter what was under discussion.

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By Eric Justian on October 29, 2009

An old couple lives next door. Now just the woman. The man has passed on, leaving her alone. Few children come through our neighborhood on Halloween, so most people don't bother to stock much candy, but every year the woman sets aside a special bag of treats for my children on Halloween -- mints from restaurants, chocolates from hotels, waste not want not. The sort of thing, when you get older, starts to seem odd, like the people on the block who give out nickels or dental floss for Halloween. Apples. The air in the bag of candy, clearly a collection of sweets the woman accumulated over the course of the year, smells like her house, bit of cedar and a hint of antiseptic smell. One wonders if she accumulated the candy all year with the thought of handing it to my kids.

It's odd.

And it's sweet.

And on Halloween, it's my kids' first experiences with the kind differences of neighbors.

I love Halloween.

By Shari L. Wilson on February 14, 2009

I've been thinking about my grandmother a lot lately. The anniversary of her passing away, just over a year ago on 4 February 2008, plus the hyacinths have kept her on my mind. (More about the hyacinths later.) At 89, she lived at home on her own until she took a fall while sweeping her sidewalk on Halloween. She didn't want the kids to have to walk to her door trick-or-treating on a dirty sidewalk. That was so like my grandmother! She was never able to live at home by herself again, and in her small, north-central Kansas town there was no option for at-home health care. Thank goodness my uncle and aunt were nearby, so she had family around all the time.

I was very close to both of my grandparents. My grandfather died while I was in college, of complications from lung cancer (the primary reason why I've never smoked). I spent lots of time at their farm when I was growing up. They taught me to garden, feed the chickens, drive a combine--and to drive. My grandfather's driving advice was very different from my father's, much to my mother's horror.

Read more of this post here ...

By Larry James on January 2, 2009

It was my first Christmas without parents. A friend reminded me that this will be my first New Year as an "orphan."

It is very difficult, more so than I ever anticipated. Sadness, gratitude, joy and hope all mixed up in an emotional bundle I didn't see coming. This Christmas forced a time of refocus, of realization, of recognition. I expect the New Year will be the same.

Read more of this post here ...

By Larry James on January 1, 2009

While I love the excitement and the "feel" of the calendar turning off into a new year, resolutions have never been much help to me.

What I find myself needing most has to do with, well, I suppose you could call it "focus."

Energy runs right up against focus though! Maybe the way to put it is I'm looking for the energy to discover a new, motivating focus as I move out into what we call 2009.

Today I am thinking that the dimensions of my new focus won't be very complicated.

Read more of this post here ...

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