By Bob Vickrey
None of us standing on the shore should have been surprised when a large pod of dolphins surfaced near the paddle boarders who had formed a circle just offshore.
Our friend Ben’s ashes were being scattered in the emerald-green Pacific waters less than a half-mile from his home. We had assembled for a modest memorial service at Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades, California to remember and honor a writer who had left a deeply felt legacy of not only his written words, but also for the impact he had made on the lives of those who knew him. Read more
By Bob Vickrey
The cute girl sitting in the row of seats directly in front of us suddenly turned around and began hugging me in the wild jubilant celebration that ensued after our star running back crossed the goal line for the winning touchdown.
That moment more than 50 years ago is as vivid to me now as if it had happened yesterday. The combination of the thrilling playoff victory and a beautiful classmate whirling me in triumphant revelry was almost too head-spinning for a 17 year-old boy to fathom. Read more
There are certain moments in history where many different and amorphous threads coalesce into a hitherto unanticipated shape. The accession of Augustus Caesar in 27 BC ended the 482-year-old Roman Republic and ushered in the Empire. A similarly historic metamorphosis seems to be taking shape in the United States, though it marks the decline of an empire rather than its inauguration. One symptom of that transition, both as outcome and mover, is the disturbing evolution of the Republican Party into an engine of obstruction within the American government as well as an increasingly extreme and belligerent theocratic combatant on sexual mores.
This marks a sharp reversal of the widely shared communitarian attitudes that shaped American politics in the first half of the twentieth century. The dominant ethos was the Progressive movement. It campaigned for women’s suffrage, instituted the ill-considered Prohibition, sought to curb the power of the large corporations, regulate banking, prohibit child labor, promote the right of workers to unionize, impose government-backed workplace health and safety standards, and institute a social safety net through unemployment insurance, minimum wages laws, and a government-run pension system. Republicans, though generally anti-union (not nearly so strongly as they are today), were almost as likely as Democrats to share the rest of these goals. Insofar as religion was part of the motivation it was the social service ideals of the mainstream Christian churches, drawing on the Sermon on the Mount rather than the gospel of self-enrichment preached by the televangelists. Read more
By Lionel Rolfe
Now that they’ve found the “God particle,” maybe it’s time to solve far lesser but still deserving and perplexing questions of existence. Perhaps it’s not exactly parallel, because the discovery of the God particle answers more about how the universe came into existence than the far more tangental question of how life was born.
Still, most people would say the universe be damned. If we’re not sleep deprived or hungry, romance remains the foremost thing on most people’s minds. Romance plunges us into emotional maelstroms at the mere glimpse of cleavage. The joys, the ecstatic moments, merge with the mundane in the construction of the bonds with which people are bound. Read more
By Honey van Blossom
(Honey is a Belgian Marxist former strip-tease artiste.)
Honey van Blossom
Juan Morales thinks those who were born in the United States are the white people except for those he grew up with. Those who took him to Virginia from Guatemala when he was eighteen are the Mennonite people. Whenever Mennonites come to California, he drops whatever he’s doing and goes to visit with them, and sometimes he already knows them.
When he removes his cap, black hair as thick as brush sticks up, and then he smashes his cap back on his head. Juan siempre esta allegre. Nothing perturbs him. Whatever is wrong or broken, Juan will fix it. He fixed our leaning chimney with fourteen men who made chimneys without scaffolding, when it was our house. He fixed the ancient washer and dryer. He fixed the ceiling when a rat chewed through a hot water pipe. He found my engagement ring in the large descending back yard he had planted for me – this was before my husband took back the ring and my wedding band. He cannot fix my broken heart but he can drive the U-Haul through the Central Valley and fix the car dolly along the road without tools. Read more