Untethered Dog

You Never Know Where He Will Go

Ideas

Expand the Problem

I have been drawn of late to the remarks and writings of certain politically conservative intellectuals — contemporary critics guided by principles rather than power or policy agendas. People who do or did identify as Republicans all of their lives but who at this critical time are willing to speak truth even if it means […]

Preparation Not Procrastination

Looking for something to listen to as I dosed off — something that didn’t involve Trump news — I stumbled last night upon close to the opposite: “Roy’s Writing Tools,” a “podcast” version of the Poynter Institute’s Roy Peter Clark’s book, Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. Exactly eleven years ago today tool […]

Attention!

Mindfulness is all the rage right now. Maybe it’s the contrarian in me, but for some time I have noticed a mild but adverse reaction arise inside when I hear that word. This even though I know — even though I have seen in my own life — that locating oneself in the present brings […]

Two Lists

“Character is destiny.” I had heard those words before. Last night I read that they were attributed to Heraclitus, a Presocratic philosopher who was said to practice social distancing several thousand years before it was cool. He was a hermit. There is a lot of wisdom in that view. Character is not a word you […]

Inputs, Outputs

Time takes on new dimensions in quarantine. Some people have time to kill. Others feel urgency — a reminder that time is short. For no one, it seems, is the relation to time the same as it was pre-pandemic. This weekend, I did well with my time. I read a lot. I engaged in multiple […]

Grilling

If a man has frequent intercourse with others either for talk, or drinking together, or generally for social purposes, he must either become like them, or change them to his own fashion. For if a man places a piece of quenched charcoal close to a piece that is burning, either the quenched charcoal will quench […]

Happy Endings

I want to get better at ending my days. I have gotten pretty good at starting my days. I know the things I need to do in order to don my metaphorical suit of armor. Writing. Workout. Dog care. Go. I am less good at follow-through in the final hours. When fatigue has set in. […]

Judgments Are Like Knives

It’s good to have them. Try living without them. Be careful how you wield them. They can hurt. You. Others. Both promote — bring about — separation. Both can serve to protect. Both can be used to harm. They are, in specific times and places, both essential. It’s a good idea to have a place […]

Hear the Silence

Scientists have known for decades that noise — even at the seemingly innocuous volume of car traffic — is bad for us. ‘Calling noise a nuisance is like calling smog an inconvenience,’ former U.S. Surgeon General William Stewart said in 1978. In the years since, numerous studies have only underscored his assertion that noise ‘must […]

The Answer Is There Isn’t One (Or Is There?)

On those mornings you struggle with getting up, keep this thought in mind — I am awakening to the work of a human being. Why then am I annoyed that I am going to do what I’m made for, the very things for which I was put into this world? Or was I made for […]

That’s The Fact, Jack

In September, Bill Murray will turn 70. I suggested to a movie theater owner with whom I have a relationship that he should hold a Bill Murray Film Festival in honor of this occasion. This was some months ago — back when movie theaters were, you know, open. The idea didn’t go anywhere but I […]

Identity, Politics

I have been trying to understand what makes people abandon their principles/beliefs in order to stay loyal to a knowingly corrupt politician — specifically, why they would continue to support that politician (you can guess which one) as ardently as ever even after he has committed a long list of illegal/immoral/ unethical/racist acts and statements […]

Weird Is Good

I don’t have a microwave or a television. I’m not on Facebook. I don’t have a Venmo account. In other words, yes, I am weird. I grew up in the suburbs. I drive a Honda Civic. I am six feet tall. I eat a lot of chicken. In other words, no, I am not all […]

Almost Famous

So I am mentioned by name in Season 3, Episode 3 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, “Panty Pose.” Wait for it.

Truth

“When someone says something, don’t ask yourself if it is true. Ask what it might be true of.” That is Ross Levin, an executive in the local financial community, quoting author Michael Lewis quoting Nobel economist Daniel Kahneman, as found in an article titled “Nuanced Thinking Can Help You Plan” in the business section of […]

Blah, Blah, Blah

One of the constants with expression is that you don’t have much to say if you are talking all the time. Put another way, you do not have much in the way of outputs if your inputs are minimal or uninteresting. It’s the same for a writer as it is for a growing boy or […]

Every Dog Has His Day

You put your head down and do as well as you can. Not perfect. Certainly. But well. And it’s not always fun. And it’s sometimes stressful. And there are moments when you wonder if you are right to spend your time that way but, since you are committed to the bit, most of the time […]

The Hemingway Way

Leave something in the tank. That is another parallel between writing and lifting. Both the writer and the lifter benefit when she or he learns just how hard to work. This means two things: (1) starting and (2) knowing the right time to stop. Let me explain what I mean by that. I carry with […]

Shoulder to Shoulder

Like most people, I made a birthday wish. Unlike most people, my birthday wish involved the voluntary exhaustion of my deltoids. I cross paths nearly daily with Calvin, Ed, and Nayo, three bodybuilders who train together at our gym during the early morning hours. The three of them are like synchronized swimmers, constantly moving between […]

Beginner’s Mind

Yesterday I was thinking about resistance training and the beginner’s mind. Later, in bed, I read my horoscope and that phrase, beginner’s mind, was in the first line. I like to look at things as if for the first time. There is simplicity in stripping away conceptions about how things are, where we are, and […]