The Secret Step to Success: The Art of Delegation

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It’s the bane of every author. No, it’s not writer’s block, writer’s cramp or carpal tunnel syndrome. Sure, all these things exist, but they pale in comparison to this single great curse: perfection.

They say “the perfect is the enemy of the good” and, when it comes to writing, this is all too often true. Diligent writers weigh every sentence, every word, every syllable. Good writing is not merely a collection of coherent thoughts, but a flowing melody of music.

Think of your favorite books. Whether they be fiction or non-fiction, they all possessed the Continue Reading “The Secret Step to Success: The Art of Delegation”

Ode to a Once Mighty Oak

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And in that brief moment, its reign ended.

We don’t know how old it really was, but the centuries had exacted their toll. Despite the efforts of the valiant few, the rot that builds with age had eaten its way through the internal fabric that once supported its mighty infrastructure.

When that final gust rushed through, the great citadel had fallen. It had stood for so long that those closest to it, stunned by the fatal reality before their own eyes, could only muster an anemic disbelief.

All that incredulity could not suspend the finality that was. It was gone. Not really. But really.

*          *          *

The Seneca tribe was a fierce warrior tribe. They had to be. They guarded the “west gate” of the Iroquois Confederacy. From that position, they both protected one flank of their Continue Reading “Ode to a Once Mighty Oak”

Welcome to the New Age of (Virtual) Exploration

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Following the fall of Rome, the European continent went dark. Although the term “Dark Ages” has fallen out of favor, we have no problem referring to the nadir of that time – when the Bubonic Plague – decimated Europe’s population as “the Black Death.”

Shortly after this tragic pandemic, Europe finally emerged from its thousand-year cocoon. Today, we call this the “Renaissance,” and it is aptly named. Side-by-side with the flourishing arts and sciences was the advent of something greater, something that, without it, we would not exist.

It’s called the “Age of Exploration.”

It was a time when everything came together for Europe. It was a time we forever remember as a simple mental image of a dandily dressed mustachioed man in a shiny helmet planting his Continue Reading “Welcome to the New Age of (Virtual) Exploration”

Are You Trapped In An Echo Chamber? (And Why You Must Immediately Find The Nearest Exit)

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We’re building a detached garage. Since the time I bought my home, I had dreamed of building a detached garage. It was a dream Betsy quickly adopted, if only to create a massive storage vehicle for a lifetime of research, source material, and memories that have consumed much of the living space in our house. Soon, we will have a living room again. And a dining room. And maybe a couple of other rooms (and closets), too.

While the garage isn’t yet complete, we do have a roof and the building is adequately enclosed. A few weeks ago, we had Catarina’s birthday party in it. This weekend, we held Cesidia’s birthday party there.

Both parties were excellent. And instructive.

We had bare studs-and-plywood walls for Catarina’s party. By Cesidia’s party, the insulation had been installed (but not the drywall).

For Cesidia’s party, the garage was a nearly perfect sound room. The paper backing of the insulation absorbed all ambient noise. That didn’t mean it muffled our voices. No. When everyone was talking, it sounded like everyone was talking. You could hear each voice very clearly, but when the voices stopped, there was a dead silence.

It really perked up your attention. It also made you quite aware of everything around you. It was a full-bodied experience. Ironically, at the same time you were more attentive, you Continue Reading “Are You Trapped In An Echo Chamber? (And Why You Must Immediately Find The Nearest Exit)”

Beyond the 4th Dimension

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In the beginning, we had the Stone Age. This was characterized by the use of simple handmade tools for cutting and pounding. While eventually perfecting them through polishing, tribes and chiefdoms used these roughhewn implements primarily for hunting and gathering.

Next, we experienced the Bronze Age. Technology evolved from what existed in nature to what could by fashioned with natural elements. City-states melted and molded soft metals like copper and bronze into much more durable and more efficient utensils, as they settled into urban areas where crafts thrived that were supported by surrounding farms.

The use of man-made metals ushered in the Iron Age. Kingdoms and Empires collected raw materials, mixed them into a molten recipe to cast iron into not only tools, but structural supports. The required a larger and more fixed organization that led to a network of roads connecting larger cities within individual states.

After these relatively long eras, we quickly advanced through Industrial Age into the short Information Age until we find ourselves where we live today: in the Age of Content.

That media – the form of communication we use most – has rapidly evolved alongside Continue Reading “Beyond the 4th Dimension”

My Grandfather’s Garage

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More than a half century ago, at the dead end of a not quite rural road, a garage was built. It was a plain but sturdy garage. Made of concrete block. With a solid concrete floor. And a peaked roof high enough to form a spacious second floor. Perfect for storing planks, loose building materials, and a few other odds and ends that existed in that limbo somewhere between trash and treasure.

It was my grandfather’s garage. My father and his father built it the way you’d expect bricklayers to build something. More masonry, less wood. They used concrete block because it was less expensive than brick. It also took less time and work to build with Continue Reading “My Grandfather’s Garage”

Two Wrongs Still Don’t Make A Right

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I weep for my city. I weep for my country. I weep for our ancestors who worked so hard to overcome the obvious frailty that is all humanity.

I cry for those swept aside by events. My heart bleeds for the bystanders who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. I grow sullen, knowing the damage done cannot be quickly repaired.

It’s a sad commentary on the state of our citizenry that a noble cause has devolved into a self-inflicted chaos. Surely, no one believes it’s fair to punish innocents. Yet, clearly, we enable those who feel justified in doing precisely that.

None of this should have ever been allowed to happen.Continue Reading “Two Wrongs Still Don’t Make A Right”

Which Way To The After-Party?

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Following the last show of a performance, everyone involved in the production gets together and celebrates. The “cast party” has long been an entertainment tradition – from high school musicals to Saturday Night Live. It’s an opportunity for all to release the tension and anxiety that comes with acting in front of a live audience.

Other events have a similar tradition. It’s called an “after-party.” As the name implies, it’s Continue Reading “Which Way To The After-Party?”

When Did You Start Your Rosebud Quest?

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In the opening scene of Citizen Kane, the titular protagonist breathes his last breath. “Rosebud,” he whispers as he releases his last grasp of a snow globe that falls to the floor and shatters.

We then spend the next two hours reliving the life of Charles Foster Kane as reporters vainly search for the meaning of his last word. Why would the world’s richest man, a collector of antiquities galore, a prominent citizen, say “Rosebud”?

What did “Rosebud” mean to Charles Foster Kane?

More importantly, what does “Rosebud” mean to us?

In the interest of avoiding revealing a movie’s ending, I won’t tell you what “Rosebud” represents in Citizen Kane. If you’re one of the rare people who have not seen what many Continue Reading “When Did You Start Your Rosebud Quest?”

The Dog Days Of Coronavirus

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On April 21, 2020, the New York Post ran a story titled “Dogs could get extreme separation anxiety when quarantine ends, experts say.” That was four months ago. Back then, we expected the whole matter of Covid-19 to have been a memory by the summer.

We were wrong.

And the dogs of the world rejoice. (For those asking, cats don’t care. If anything, our physical proximity tends to grate on them.)

It’s almost as if this master/pet thing has been turned on its head. The dog is now king of Continue Reading “The Dog Days Of Coronavirus”