November 3rd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


I first saw Arnold Lobel’s picture books in the late 1990’s, when my first daughter was little.  The first one I ran across was OWL AT HOME, a collection of five or six little stories about an owl.  I liked them a lot – at any rate enough to seek out other books by Lobel.


Eventually I found Arnold Lobel’s FABLES at the public library.  At first the FABLES mostly just seemed eccentric.  I liked them, I liked the pictures and the vibe and the clarity of the writing, and I could sense a great depth and energy and MUSICALITY about them, but it took me quite a while to appreciate their full potential.



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….of Rabbits and Hats

January 20th, 2016 § Comments Off on ….of Rabbits and Hats § permalink

…or shall I say “in defense of crackpottery”?

I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. Humanity is in a bit of a pinch just now. Need all the help we can get, yes?

It may be that in order to save our sorry asses we humans are going to need to pull a rabbit out of our collective hat any day now. And what if we’ve misplaced our hat? And what if we don’t believe in rabbits?


By the way, I don’t think Rupert Sheldrake is a classic Crackpot, though he intentionally plays the crackpot card often enough.  I admire him, and here’s why.  Sheldrake is playing Devil’s Advocate, and we need to hear it.

I’ve actually come to a bit of a decision, in part in response to Rupert Sheldrake’s latest book “Science Set Free”.  I do not have an academic job. Unlike many people who aspire to understand Natural Philosophy, I have nothing to lose by riding the crackpot wave.

It is arguably my duty to speculate.

If people in my position – at least moderately scientifically informed, and not economically dependent upon being perceived as scientifically orthodox – don’t have the courage and, let us say it, self-deprecating humor to take a chance on looking foolish or gullible, then who will?

‘Tis my duty.






December 23rd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s downright beautiful…

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

Joseph Heller, Catch-22, 1961.

Tragedy and Comedy

November 2nd, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink



This week it is my happy duty to be directing actors in a scene from Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The School for Scandal. The scene in question, Scene I from ACT II, is between the rather late middle aged Sir Peter Teazle and his young wife Lady Teazle:

SIR PETER.  Lady Teazle, Lady Teazle, I’ll not bear it!

LADY TEAZLE.  Sir Peter, Sir Peter, you may bear it or not, as you please; but I ought to have my own way in everything, and what’s more, I will, too.  What! though I was educated in the country, I know very well that women of fashion in London are accountable to nobody after they are married.

So what to do with the actors?  » Read the rest of this entry «

In the Hands of A Very Safe Driver

May 28th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


I was listening to an interview of the English novelist John Fowles (The Magus, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Daniel Martin), wherein Fowles is asked about screen adaptations of his novels.  Speaking of Harold Pinter, who wrote the screenplay for The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Fowles said that with Pinter he never worried about the course of the adaptation – “It’s like being in a very safe driver’s hands…”

That is precisely how I’ve felt on those few occasions when I have been fortunate enough to have renditions or productions of my work overseen by people who have my complete confidence.  I relinquish the driver’s seat, the steering wheel, the accelerator, the brake and the map book.  If consulted, I make myself available and as helpful as I can contrive to be – though my impression is that it’s OK for me to take a nap if I am so inclined.

It’s best for me to just cool out and let the work find its way.

This is a very good feeling indeed.

(UPDATED on 5.31.09)

Red Mars

March 22nd, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


Have you read Red Mars?


(Illustration by Don Dixon)

“So it’s democracy verses capitalism at this point, friends, and we out on this frontier outpost of the human world are perhaps better positioned than anyone else to see this and to fight this global battle…

So says John Boone, the first man to visit Mars, to a convention of settlers on the summit lip of Olympus Mons sometime in the late 21st century.  Democracy verses Capitalism – oh yes…

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Why “The Shock Doctrine”?

January 26th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


UPDATE – 1.26.09  –  So it’s Monday morning and I’m plowing on further into The Shock Doctrine – approaching the end, even – and on page 418 I come upon this paragraph which totally embodies my deep concern regarding the prospects for the Obama Administration, however skilled and well-intentioned we might be:

Under Bush, the state still has all the trappings of a government – the impressive buildings, presidential press briefings, policy battles – but it no more does the actual work of governing than the employees at Nike’s Beaverton campus stitch running shoes.

Our government is in the hands of the private contractors, and I fear that in many cases their loyalty is not to the United States Constitution.

Every now and then as I write for theWheel I come across some artifact of our ever evolving culture that I just go nuts for.  Perhaps it’s something from the past, like my fascination with the Beatles A Day in the Life. Then there was the film Ratatouille, which entertained me so very thoroughly and was clearly head and shoulders above so many other films.  I’ve found myself mentioning  Julie Taymor’s film Across the Universe more than just once or twice.

Tonight I find myself writing about Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine for probably the third time, and here I haven’t yet even finished the book yet.  (Almost – I’m on page 400 something… )

Why should this be?

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The Shock Doctrine

December 15th, 2008 § 1 comment § permalink


This video is shocking, and not appropriate for children. Be careful.

What is The Shock Doctrine? The Shock Doctrine is a book by Naomi Klein which coins a metaphor – a mapping between barbaric American psychiatric practices in the mid 20th century and the right wing Chicago School economic theories and practices of Milton Friedman and his legions of very well funded disciples.

The essence is that “disaster capitalists” have exploited and sometimes deliberately induced society wide shocks – for instance, using the great tsunami of 2004, the Iraq invasion, the September 11 attacks, and so forth – as opportunities to remake shocked societies in the same way that primitive sadistic psychiatrists tried to use electroshock therapy to erase and remake the personalities of individuals.

This is scary stuff, and it rings true to me.

I’m only on page 63 of Klein’s 558 page book, but I’m knocked out.

More later on this one.

Smolin on Einstein

June 17th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink


Today I bumped into this book review by Lee Smolin of a couple of books about Albert Einstein over at Cosmic Variance.

It’s a good read.

Faces in the Smoke

May 25th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink


A quote from pages 21-22 of Douchan Gersi’s Faces in the Smoke (with my emphasis)

“Our culture filters the information we receive and ultimately determines our perception of the world around us. Like a lens, it brings some aspects of the world into sharp focus, while blurring its other aspects. If we change cultures, we change the way in which we perceive the world. We then live in a different world, where different interactions become possible. What is impossible for us remains impossible as long as we live in the cultural world that formed our perceptions. Thus each culture creates its own limitations and its own limitless possibilities.”

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