Sunday, August 31, 2014


Whatever is out there, must be better than what I have. To envy is to sit apart and stare. To cast covetous eyes upon another life, another inanimate object, and wish bitterly it was yours.
It is human. We envy when life gets hard, when we are tired of the struggle, when suffering painful reverses; that's only natural. It becomes a problem when we sit upon and hatch our grievances until envy takes over our soul.
A cat hunched in a window, a fox looking up at grapes, the images are universal.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


As a sin, Pride has always given us problems. Jane Austen even wrote an entire novel about the perils of justified Pride being confused with inordinate Pride. It is a tricky concept, and that ambiguity continues to dog human activity. We are proud of our accomplishments, yet we value humility. We only give lip service to Pride as a deadly sin because of this confusion. And so it spreads unchecked.

Why is this so difficult? Nikita Khrushchev thunders "We will bury you," yet the Berlin Wall eventually falls. George W. Bush announces in his infamous Mission Accomplished Speech: "The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done and then we will leave and we will leave behind a free Iraq," and another region of the world falls into statelessness. The examples are too numerous to detail.

A better word is Hubris. According to the Oxford Dictionary, Hubris: (In Greek tragedy) excessive pride toward or defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis. Or, as often attributed to Euripides "Those whom the Gods would destroy, they first drive mad."

That is Pride. That is madness. That is the arrogance that leads to first and last voyages.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Seven Deadly Sins

Sins. We don't really think about them anymore, they are old hat, or watered down as cute anodynes to reality. With apathy being our biggest problem, why worry about old bugaboos?

Perhaps in this age of relativity and cultural pluralism we need to worry. Not about specifics sins, after all simony, the selling of ecclesiatical preference for temporal gain, hasn't been a hot button issue for centuries, but about how certain characteristics of Humans are always with us. Maybe that is what pluralism can teach us, sins may have different names, but the underlying concepts are all too human.

Stay tuned, next time we consider Pride.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I sat on my stoop last night in a light jacket. I drank coffee this morning in a light sweater. It's beautiful. The sky is a crisp bright blue, the air moves with a swirl of leaves, and the birds are mobbing the bird-feeders.

Reality intrudes with talk on the radio "The State Fair opens in Nine Days, what are your favorite attractions?" Wait, that's not possible. I look around and sniff the air. It's got the feel of Fall already, about 2 weeks after the Fair has come and gone. It makes me wonder what the winter will be like.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Resolve Face

It's all set. I am being serious. Somehow I keep flashing on Alyson Hannigan as Willow of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with her "Resolve Face." Possibly because she is battered by life, but still soldiering on.

I did send in a piece to a literay magazine, and the next step, all the professional advice givers on the internet tell me, is to attend a writing conference. I'd rather just keep flailing blindly by myself, as many strangers in one room, with its forced intimacy, requires an effort of will. I can fit in, and even enjoy it, but it is always information overload.

A conference also has the feel of a prescribed initiation credential. In this age of e-publishing, social media, and networking, credentials are becoming more important. I came; I spent money; I mingled. Not quite the impact of Veni, vidi, vinci, but it will do. Besides, if Willow could join a coven, I surely can survive a cluster of authors.

Monday, August 4, 2014


As I sit and knit another Feather and Fan scarf, I think about why. Knitting does that, simultaneously transporting our minds to the past, while our fingers work on the future. I'm knitting for a person I've never met, yet I've chatted to her on-line for years. Our connection is as ephermeral as the waves on a shore, yet as lasting as a piece of handiwork. I know she has a cat, a sense of humor, and a love of books.

In a disconnected world of virtual reality, with messages of support available at the stroke of a hashtag, I'm taking the time to create a tangible expression that the world is a better place because she is in it.

Feather and Fan is perfect for this; An old pattern, sometimes known as Old Shale for the look and feel of waves breaking on a rocky shore. Time and purpose ebbs and flows like the knitting pattern, like the waves, depositing a sense of wonder and warmth that a far away person reached out with a simple gift of beauty and left it on the shore.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Tempests in a Teapot

Pets. Can't live with them, can't sell them for a profit.

They strip us bare, cost too much money, and demonstrate how we (and they) deal with a crisis. There's a cat bug going around right now. First was Rikki, lethargic, febrile, and vomiting. Trip to the vet, fluids and antibiotics. She'll be fine. Then Gracie. Lethargic and grumpy. When something is bothering her, she bites me. Has done this since we got her. Doesn't break the skin, but it is disconcerting. You are calmly reading the paper and the damn cat runs over and bites your arm. You notice. No vet trip, as she got un-grumpy.

Finally, the little drama queen Allie. She was a little off for two days, I noticed. Still eating, acting okay, but not quite herself. Then, she goes off into a corner. Okay, vet appointment later that day. One hour later, we're on our way to the vet early with a cat in crisis. By the time we arrived, she was moaning with whimpers as punctuation. Her temperature was down to 'approaching death' level, and she was unresponsive to normal stimuli. What was wrong? Nothing, really. That's our Allie. A little dehydrated from some bug. She'll be fine. Now.

So what is it about that one cat? Why is her tether to this world so fragile? A common cold can bring you that close, that fast to death? Really? I love her, but she drives me crazy. It's hard not to think she does this for attention. She's always been the odd man out among the cats; the neediest, the most demanding. Maybe I should just find her a feline co-dependancy group, and leave it at that. But only after I've paid the vet bills.