Recent Writings

Here are the latest original writings published on the site. If you'd prefer to read on Medium or Substack, see the list of Cross Posts.

Love and Danger Album Cover

Whenever Kindness Fails

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this song by Robert Earl Keen first recorded by Joe Ely for his Love and Danger album, released in 1992. This is a song about the importance of showing care to others, through our words and our deeds. And about the implacable consequences of failures to do so.

18 Nov 2022 · Appreciation

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Woman blowing bubble with a pink bubble gum, and Pop! speech bubble

The MAGA Bubble Finally Bursts

Back on 7 Apr 2021 I wrote a piece titled “The Decline of the Republican Party - First Gradually and then Suddenly.” Well, for those who haven’t been paying attention lately, the suddenly part has now finally arrived. So what will the Republicans do now? They face a number of significant challenges.

13 Nov 2022 · Essay

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rocket launching next to big head cutaway showing internal gears

An Overdue Update from The Practical Utopian

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything from The Practical Utopian, so I thought it might be time to give everyone an update on what I’ve been up to over the last couple of months, including: updates to my Mac App Notenik, the new website LexiconOfSong.org, and the reborn site PortableWisdom.org.

10 Oct 2022 · Essay

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Network of connected people, with lines and circles

We Are Multi-Tribal

I’ve been reading a lot lately about human tribes. And all of these works make good points about our basic need to be part of a small, supportive community. But here’s one observation that seems to me to be getting too little consideration, among all this interest in early human tribes: We modern humans are multi-tribal. That is, we tend to belong to, not one, but to many tribes.

01 Aug 2022 · Essay

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Shower of fiery sparks

Thinking about Abortion(s)

Along with many others, of course, I’ve been thinking a lot about the abortion issue of late. And I’m reminded of the classic album by Graham Parker, Squeezing Out Sparks, as well as other personal and cultural reference points.

21 Jul 2022 · Essay

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An atmospheric portrait of a Ferruginou Hawk, native to North America

The Widening Spiral of Modern Society

As was true for Irish poet W. B. Yeats a century ago, we seem to be watching things fall apart, without a dynamic center to hold us together, and with the monsters at our door: are we willing to do anything about it?

28 Jun 2022 · Essay

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Mechanic working under the hood at the repair garage

Popping the Hood with the Notenik App

My dad was a mechanical engineer. His first car was a Ford of some ancient vintage, and he grew up working on engines, knowing he could always “pop the hood” to see what was going on underneath, and adjust it if necessary. But the trend in most modern app development is to discourage hood popping. That’s where Notenik is different.

18 Jun 2022 · Essay

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hands on the keys of a typewriter

Playing with Language and "Settin' the Woods on Fire"

I was reminded of language as playground again this week while listening to Delbert McClinton’s latest album, Outdated Emotion. The work consists primarily of covers of material that Delbert learned to love while growing up, and I was already familiar with many of them, but one in particular caught my ear, called “Setting’ The Woods on Fire.”

23 May 2022 · Essay

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Silly stock photo showing silly stock notion of team meeting in office

Why Mandating 'X' Days a Week in the Office is a Stupid Idea

If execs cannot mandate the same corporate attire for everyone, what makes them think that mandating a certain number of days per week in the office is a good thing? The same flaw lurks in both approaches: every employee is not the same. Every situation is not the same. Every team is not the same.

11 May 2022 · Essay

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Poster map of United States of America with state names

Welcome To The Autonomous States of America

Every state will once again be empowered to set its own rules on abortion, and we will have taken one more step away from the United States of America, and towards the disjointed, discombobulated, and largely autonomous fifty states of middle North America.

04 May 2022 · Essay

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