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A Tiny Poem About a Tiny Purple Plant

With spring here, I figured I'd post another short poem—this one about a tiny purple plant. To Lithops Optica cv Rubra Merely two turgid leaves of purple— more haiku than sonnet. Yet, like Caesar’s Tyrian robe, there is grandeur in you.   Note: The Lithops optica cv rubra is a south African plant no larger … Continue reading A Tiny Poem About a Tiny Purple Plant

Paycheck Madness and the Shining City on the Hill

The things you learn on Twitter. A couple of weeks ago, Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton and notable Twitter gadfly, tweeted that “Wall Street bonuses totaled $27.5 billion last year, which is more than 3 times the combined annual earnings of all American workers employed full-time at the federal minimum wage.” Now … Continue reading Paycheck Madness and the Shining City on the Hill

Living Life in the Low Beams

The final chapter of my book Midpoint: Manhood, Midlife, and Prostate Cancer, ends with my nervously checking the results of my first post-surgery PSA test. The news that day was good—none of the antigen was detectable in my blood, which indicated that, for then at least, the cancer was beat back. Since then, I've lived … Continue reading Living Life in the Low Beams

What Equestrians Learn Early About Succeeding in Life

To be honest, I wasn’t enthusiastic when my daughter’s riding instructor convinced us to let her compete in horse shows. Having grown up a middle-class kid in Colorado, I was suspicious of the whole East Coast horse show scene. It all seemed too focused on who had the fanciest horse and where did you buy … Continue reading What Equestrians Learn Early About Succeeding in Life

A Poem About a Huge Toad

So...I've never posted any poetry on this blog before. But before I turned to nonfiction and, more recently, fiction, I wrote a ton of poetry. Animals are one of my primary subjects since they seem so immune to the stressors that plague humans. I figure every now and then I'll post one of my shorter … Continue reading A Poem About a Huge Toad

What Dogs Know About Wonder

It is said that human beings are distinguished from other animals by our knowledge of our own mortality. As far as distinctions go, that one kind of sucks. It does remind me, though, that we can learn a lot from animals—particularly dogs. They lead their doggie lives blissfully unaware they'll be garden fertilizer before too … Continue reading What Dogs Know About Wonder

Can Men Be Trusted With PSA Screening?

My daughter is reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Natural Causes for a sociology course in college. This week she’s been home for Spring break, catching up on her sleep and getting ahead on course reading. Now, my daughter knows I have strong opinions on prostate cancer screening, so it was a significant moment when she set … Continue reading Can Men Be Trusted With PSA Screening?

The Anxiety of Influence and Getting Over Yourself

Mostly I blame T. S. Eliot, though he’s not the only one. There’s Charles Dickens and James Baldwin, too. I could come up with lots more culprits, but there’s no need. The effect is the same. These are some of the writers whose work most inspires me. Yet the same extraordinary talents that produced The … Continue reading The Anxiety of Influence and Getting Over Yourself

“Captain Obvious” Advice for Your Prostate Health

Every now and then I see my wife, a professor of 19th-century British literature, reading a new lit-crit article with a title like "String Theory in Browning's 'Fra Lippo Lippi.'" That's when I remark that everything worth saying about literature was written before 1950. I realize, of course, that's snarky nonsense. Sometimes, though, it seems … Continue reading “Captain Obvious” Advice for Your Prostate Health

It’s Not You—It’s That Hip Injury

You may have noticed I've been a little distant lately. It's not for lack of caring, I promise. It's odd. We've both stayed put but we don't connect like we used to. Sometimes I see you from a distance and it reminds me how long it's been since we spent time together. I get this … Continue reading It’s Not You—It’s That Hip Injury