Early in the 2020 pandemic I established an evening routine of taking a stroll around my ½ acre compound and picking up any sticks that might have fallen from the various Eucalyptus and Gravillea trees growing within. Incidentally, what we call a compound in Kenya is known as a yard in America or a garden in England. I know that in America the word compound brings up notions of Branch Davidians and other armed cultists preparing for doomsday, but it’s really an innocuous word. More on words in a bit. Continue reading “Must be the Season of the Sticks”
We live in the information age, a time when one of the most popular career fields is “information technology.” The sum total of human knowledge is a mere Google search away. But who can honestly say that having access to more information has made his/her life better? Knowledge is power, but it comes at a heavy price.
For a brief time as a teen I was interested in sci-fi and fantasy books. Though the two genres are usually lumped together, I always had a clear understanding that sci-fi involved robots and/or space, while fantasy was almost always something about wizards, elves, magic and realms that had not yet witnessed an industrial revolution. (Seriously, why all the swords, people? Magic up some gunpowder for chrissakes). Continue reading “Where’s the Science in Your Fiction?”
The human species is incredibly adaptive. We have exploited essentially every ecological niche thanks to our large brains and tool-making abilities. In colonizing various habitats, humans have shown remarkable resiliency to a variety of climates, from hot and wet tropical forests to the cold arctic tundra and everything in between. Continue reading “A Nice Climate is Good to Have”
I admit that I can sometimes be a curmudgeon. On some matters I can be quite conservative. I think the designated hitter is an affront to the game of baseball, for example. But I am especially curmudgeonly about language. One of the things that grinds my gears the hardest is made-up words. Continue reading “Stop With The Made-up Words”
The images of Americans waving Nazi flags and giving sieg heil salutes in my state of Virginia sicken me. Our nation sacrificed the blood of hundreds of thousands of its sons and daughters fighting fascism, and we prevailed. Would our grandfathers be proud to see these racist shitbags parading around in their make-believe Nazi costumes today? Chanting Hitler’s slogans? Continue reading “Not so fast, fascists”
My hero and favorite author, Edward Abbey, sometimes referred to himself as a redneck philosopher. Abbey was born and raised in Appalachia, but lived most of his life in the Southwest. He was a Fulbright Scholar and attained a Master’s in Philosophy, examining the relationship between anarchy and morality. He did a post-graduate writing fellowship at Stanford and published over 30 books in his lifetime. Not bad for a hillbilly kid from rural Pennsyltucky.
Rednecks have a poor reputation in modern American society, and deservedly so. Stereotypically, rednecks are under-educated, insular, bigoted, xenophobic and narrow-minded. But that’s just the stereotype. Of course there are exceptions to every stereotype. It’s interesting to see what happens when the redneck rises above the stereotype. Continue reading “The redneck awakening”
For nearly 100 years, the land that is today the Bubye Valley Conservancy (BVC) of Zimbabwe was not wilderness. The land was a cattle ranch. Wild animals were intentionally wiped out, for fear of disease transmission, and to eliminate predators that would kill cattle. For nearly a century, the land hosted a cattle monoculture, devoid of wildlife; and elephants, rhinos, leopards and lions were completely wiped out. For a century this land was the furthest thing in the world from wilderness. Continue reading “The Myth of Wild Africa”
There’s a quote I heard recently that was represented as Taoist, but I can’t confirm its origin. It certainly sounds like something Lao Tzu could have said. It goes: “A man who desires to be miserable will find plenty of reasons to support his cause.”
This quote perfectly represents for me the current state of politics within the Republican Party in America. Donald Trump panders to people who desire misery through his platform of pessimism and gloom. Continue reading “The Politics of Pessimism”
For no particular reason I’ve been thinking about gadgets lately. Those inventions that claim to “make life easier.” If a gadget could truly make the trials and tribulations of life easier, then I’d be all for it. But I’ve never seen a gadget that could mend a broken heart, or deal with the horrible attitude of a surly employee on a Monday morning. If only there was a gadget that would pay my mortgage, that would make my life easier.
Here are five examples of inventions that I could live without: Continue reading “Most Useless Inventions”