• My Café Life: Memoir as Cultural History

    Reading Time: 12 minutes As a boy, I never liked coffee, or thought I didn’t. Dark, bitter, mysterious, and forbidden. It was for adults somehow, and the last thing I wanted was to be an adult. Some things don’t change. Liking coffee did change for sure. And as it did for so many people in so many different ways, going to college—the mythic “rite […]

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  • Skinny Legs & Other Attractions

    Reading Time: 16 minutes Adventures and Musings on the nether end of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands Taken from the travel journals of Howard Dinin, circa 2003-2005 Skinny Legs is a bar and grill at the Coral Bay, the eastward or windward, end of St. John, USVI. It is a real place, though it has all the earmarks of a fiction, a made-up place […]

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  • The Homeless of Provence : Summer 2004

    Reading Time: 15 minutes The following story written originally as a journalistic first-person account of the state of the social order in rural France 12 years ago is, naturally, in the present tense and conditions described concurrent with the time. There are hints, here and there, though with no pretense to prescience—I could only report on what I myself observed, buttressed by readily available […]

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  • Patriotic Flamingos

    Reading Time: 3 minutes a very short story The fading sun on a warm New Hampshire summer day, a man confronts the lay of the land and the condition in which his life lies Herm whizzed the weed whacker closer and closer to the edge of the ridge at the front of the lawn. It was the piece that jutted out beyond the croquet […]

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With a Sharpie® what can go wrong?

Reading Time: 4 minutes You just can’t go wrong with a product like Sharpie Well, you might, if you happen to be a recent chief executive of the United States who happens to have problems with way more than one or two words in the lyrics to “God Bless America”… It’s OK with that to hum along and bob your head to the rhythm. […]

Vesuvius remains

Free thoughts

Reading Time: 4 minutes It’s another day, just another one out of what really is an uncountable succession of days, seems like years, well it is years, but I’m talking days and then I have to do the quick math of figuring for the sake of easy arithmetic that a year is 350 days and it’s like, what? nearly three years, more like two […]

Walk Signal

Reading Time: 1 minute   The little avatar of a trudging man blazes white above the curb opposite, the one I stand on, the street you’ve just crossed eyes down your golden hair suddenly blown out full by a gust of wind; sure to be dry no tell-tale damp in it when you reach your destination. Stay, you said, or rather didn’t say, but […]

James Madison, 4th President of the United States

Whose Job Is It To Undo the Damage?

Reading Time: 5 minutes It was James Madison who was the great champion of separation of powers, that is, an active and robust separation, so that each branch of government with its several well-defined assigned powers is itself always potent, equally so compared to the others, so the overall result is a state of active equipoise. Madison saw a danger in any form of […]

Shorts & Briefs | 24 July 2019 | Just What Is Expected from Grilling Mueller?

Reading Time: 3 minutes Not to suggest that the House and Senate have a statutory sworn, not to mention ethical and moral, duty to perform in the areas of inquiry and oversight of all branches of government as the people’s representatives within that government, but it seemed clear enough how these sessions with Special Counsel Robert Mueller would go. It was sort of clear […]

Is Donald Trump Now the Most Trusted Man In America?

Reading Time: 5 minutes Before I get into it, I know the meaning of trust has eroded over the past several decades. The particular admixture of credence, confidence, and faith we invest in certain individuals who earn it – at least among the public – has seen a decline, noted in the first world from the United States to New Zealand. Then there’s the […]

Shorts and Briefs | 2 July 2019 | When You’re Smiling

Reading Time: 4 minutes Trump Thoughts Today This happens sometimes when I am surfing and I do my daily check as a lurker on Facebook. I saw two links in particular that caught my eye, to news stories in standard mainstream media sources. It really doesn’t matter which or what. Trump gesturing in a photo at one of his rallies He has much of […]

The Culprits in 2004 at Harvard. photo credit: Rick Friedman, © New York Times Company.

Shorts & Briefs | 10 May 2019 | Deconstructing Facebook

Reading Time: 3 minutes I want to recommend for your current events reading today this rather long read, a New York Times opinion piece as part of their Privacy Project, intended for the Sunday Review by the co-founder of Facebook, Chris Hughes (so insinuated into the fledgling company, when it hadn’t quite started to fly, that his name appears on the patent for NewsFeed—but […]

Shorts & Briefs | 6 May 2019 | Big Noise

Reading Time: 2 minutes What are we doing to our hearing? “The New Yorker” in the current issue takes a serious look at a serious, and seriously neglected, threat to health, especially in developed nations. There is a great risk, not just of developing impaired hearing, but of far worse diseases and disorders, some irreversible. The worst hearing impairment is a little-known condition called […]

No Good Can Come of This—Newstead of State to Facebook

Reading Time: 2 minutes So, the deathstar gets Jennifer Newstead as wily mouthpiece: Newstead—from the Patriot Act to Zuckerberg’s Counsel This is where I dip into my highly conserved store of exclamations rarely used. Yikes. I see in this move, probably objectively a brilliant one by Facebook, though they’ll need a public relations genius of equal caliber to add to their roster, trouble for […]

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