Friday, September 30, 2011

Self Esteem and Acceptance

The original introduction was bookended with these two paragraphs:

I was once a volunteer news reporter for the University of Calgary student newspaper, the Gauntlet. We did not allow columns. In fact, for sensible reasons, columns were explicitly banned in the Gauntlet constitution. Years later the ban was lifted without, as far as I can tell, anyone asking what those reasons might have been.

Back in my day I got around the ban by occasionally writing "essays to my editor" for the letters section. This meant effort and risk: Any column worth doing meant not merely sharing my perspective but the risk of sharing myself- and my mistakes. When I did my Self Esteem piece my editor shook my hand: obviously I was speaking to a concern of many students.

Self Esteem and Acceptance

Weight-loss through self acceptance? An aerobics leader told her diet class to put their hands on their fat parts and think loving thoughts. Everybody was amazed: Didn't they need a fierce hatred of their body, a hatred of themselves, in order to be motivated to lose those tenacious pounds? No. Self acceptance is a far, far better motivator.

Too many of us depend instead on a sort of self esteem to get us through life. But it can kill us. In the last days of 1929 well dressed businessmen were throwing themselves out of office windows. Their "self esteem" involved a sort of mental ledger where they could feel good about themselves only if their credits outweighed their bad points (debits). When they no longer had "enough" money... How sad, especially when many of their peers, equally devastated, went on to recoup their fortunes.

A friend, Jackie, once explained "self acceptance" through an example. It seems that when a baby is born it is covered with an ugly white coating that serves as a protection against infection. Jackie told me, "You accept the baby not despite the white stuff but along with it." I just looked blank. She said, "You don't get it, do you?"


"Just go home and ponder the words literally." So I did, and finally it sunk in.

Today I can be accepting of my world and the people in it. My body, my life, my essence... all are imperfectly beautiful... along with, not despite, my imperfections.

And I know now, with a peaceful finality, that I will never commit the spiritual equivalent of diving out the office window.

Sean Crawford

coping with the US-led world recession,
but staying off any ledges,
January 2009

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Smokers and World Peace

A lion-hearted colleague asked me if I was going to write about the latest harsh and ludicrous anti-smoking laws. “I suppose I could,” I said “I’ve been thinking about aggression and lies.” ...Sometimes people write into the newspaper to say, “I don’t care if people smoke; I just don’t want them smoking around me.” Are they truly carefree and good-natured about smokers? Or is there something nonpeacefull down in their spinal brain stem, something primal that wants to rise up and get out?

(Thought experiment)

Let’s do a thought experiment. Let’s suppose that, close to the university, there is a Foothills Medical Centre (there is) that includes a hospital and a university medical school. (It does) You would expect to see patients just outside the doors smoking. (I have) But here on the prairies…Brrr it’s cold! You might expect some starving student to show some enterprise. He could drive his old VW van in a loop around the huge parking lot picking up and dropping off patients.

But if the person who claims he doesn’t care about free adults smoking were in fact just “blowing smoke,” then you would expect him to somehow thwart the student. Here are the facts: I no longer see patients with their loved ones smoking. The entire huge parking lot has been ruled nonsmoking by the hospital. Coincidence? Maybe so. My point is that “good” people do indeed care about aggressively thwarting innocent smokers. “Good” people once burnt witches. “Good” Muslims today give silent support to youthful terrorists, rather than organize the community to roundly condemn terror.


Aggression extends through space and time. There’s something I’ve never understood about colonial (pre-1947) India. Something about the British wives of officers and administrators. In the summer they would escape to their little hill stations, in the winter they would be down in their little neighborhoods, and always their fellow housewives would be precious few in number. So how to explain the intense feuds, the obsessive hatreds that went on for years? Boredom? I wonder: maybe their aggressions had no other outlet?

In the U.S., after the cold war, many were taken by surprise. Nuclear peace—at last!—did not mean peace but lots of little wars such as in Yugoslavia. Why the surprise? Partly because people are mostly innocent of social studies. To paraphrase George Santayana,  “Those who don’t know history are condemned to be surprised when it repeats.” Partly because during the cold war very little money was spent on research for peace. At the time I was miffed at the lack of funding but I guess it’s understandable. If indeed we all have an aggression gene, well, who wants to know?

Speaking of research, I recently read that the earliest studies into the danger of second hand smoke were rubbish. I don’t expect this fact to be widely publicized, nor do I expect the public to demand to know how such flawed research ever got so widely publicized in the first place. I offer no answers as to whether or not the later research was equally flawed. Some questions are not for the faint of heart…nor for hospital administrators. (Speaking of later research, here's the very latest, Dec 2013)

I remember a roommate of years ago. She was both a communist and wanted world peace... under world-wide communism, naturally. One day she came home all jazzed up from seeing a James Caan movie, Rollerball. She eagerly told me the whole plot with special relish for the part where the worker/athletes used violence to rebel against the capitalists. I can still hear the line from the TV commercials. “In the future there will be no war… but there will be… Rollerball!” Some one back then noted that I was sensitive but not fragile. True. I would want to know if I have an aggression gene. And not because I could bring in world peace through Rollerball!


There are so many theories, some crackpot, about the cause of war. Here’s another: maybe there would be fewer theories if we weren't each afraid to look inside our own heart.  Maybe—here’s a glum thought—maybe we can’t cure war but can only cope? If so then I’d welcome all the research we can get, however unpleasant.

I remember Captain Kirk talking to some faint hearted leaders. Their planet, in Balance of Terror, was facing Armageddon. Kirk said something like, “Yes, I'm a killer ape, but I choose…not…to kill…today.” Then he told those leaders to start talking.

You see, war is caused—Never mind, I’m not a crackpot and I won’t sound risk sounding like one either. But I will say I believe in Dialogue. And Science. Only with science can we navigate a starship or steer our society along past Armageddon to a better world.


James T. Kirk will always be my hero, while lately I have found inspiration through the example of a living person, Michael Crichton. Maybe he’s crazy, because even though he (presumably) is a millionaire, he doesn’t spend his time idly on the beach. Instead he slogs through thick wordy UN reports and reads oodles of UN footnotes while finding time to write his big novels. I never knew how some capitalist scientists were betraying Science, and blindfolding the workers, regarding things like tobacco smoke and climate. I learned from Crichton doing a speech, complete with charts and graphs, to the National Press Club. (His tobacco bombshell was from a science speech at the California Institute of Technology)

Many reporters pride themselves on being hard boiled. I wonder if any felt faint as Crichton rocked their world-view? The speech is on his web site, entitled The Case for Skepticism on Global Warming. I would recommend it to anyone who wished to be crew, not passenger, on spaceship earth.

In summary: We need to know our hearts, and dishonest science is very uncool.

And now I can either ponder nuclear terror or I can focus on the absurd. No one could have imagined, at the start of this essay, that I’d be led to one inescapable conclusion: that a step for smoker’s rights is a step for world peace.

Sean “I’m merely a social smoker, honest!” Crawford,
Calgary, 2008


Iraq, anyone?

There was a consensus of scientists and experts for the existence of weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps anyone who disagreed with the consensus (can you name even one?) was labeled a "stooge of big oil" for "trying to keep the oil fields stable."

As for Climate Change, if only M. Crichton is reading the "actual U.N. reports," if even journalists aren't reading them, then what are the world's national policy makers reading? Easy: U.N. Summary for policy makers ...This disturbs me because the invasion and occupation of Iraq was made possible in part because all those self-important people in the white house only read the summaries, not the actual reports... The actual reports had expressed doubts about the data, about the reliability of sources, and so forth.

This I learned from reading Chain of Command by pulitzer prize winner Seymour Hersh.

Peace, anyone?

...Update: Shades of Franz Kafka! This summer I bought a book, still unread, that says that UN climate reports are written so that the body agrees with the summary: the summary is written first! When I find the book again I'll report here. (Unhappily,  my storage-and-retrieval locker is now so full it is storage-only)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blair, being Smart

I’ve been thinking about my buddy Blair lately. Before he passed on, he symbolized to me how there are certain pitfalls to being real smart, pitfalls that he overcame.

He was brilliant.

Here in Calgary Blair Petterson is known as the guy who comes down from Edmonton for the annual science fiction and fantasy convention, CON-Version, wearing a business suit. Stout, blond and bearded, he’s well known at the con. He adds so much value by proposing ideas for panels, sitting on panels and chairing panels. He told me he was pleased at getting the audience to participate. It helped that he was so quick with humorous quips. As for me, I would seldom be up on the panel myself, since I didn’t know enough, but I would be in the audience putting up my hand to say things like, (All this talk of funding a moon base by mining H-3 is fascinating, but) "Inquiring minds want to know: What the heck is H-3?" (Helium-3)

Since CON-Version is a science and literary con, there are always several panels to choose from. Blair told me he was touched that I showed up so often at his panels, because I knew they would be well run: I said, "I'd get good bang for my buck." He valued how my comments were always so interesting and concise. Naturally: One of my hobbies is “meetings,” and long ago as a volunteer journalist I learned to be concise.

For Blair, one of the joys of going to cons was how he met so many brilliant sf writers. He treasured how they would engage him in long conversations, as he was brilliant too. Naturally, most sf readers, just like the computer guys in Silicon Valley, tend to dress in jeans and T-shirt. The reason for Blair’s business suit, I learned at last, was he would come straight down from Edmonton, where he was a trial lawyer for Alberta Family Services.

I was not surprised to hear how, when arguing before the judge, the man I knew from panels would speak at great length with unusual power and conviction… because, unlike the other family lawyers, he didn’t need to use notes.

Working in family law, he believed, as I do, that women deserve equal rights. I’m sure he made the connection, which always goes unspoken, that those who would abuse children start by devaluing women. Blair didn't devalue any minorities, in fact, he had troubled himself to get a good grasp of two Asian Languages and two European ones. Once I asked him about Canada’s most populous province flirting with bringing in Muslim sharia law: He had nothing but outrage and contempt.

Perhaps Blair was being modest when he explained how he was able to propose to a judge a useful change to family law, a change that is commonly used now. He explained that the Edmonton law school is “like a strobe light” showing law today, while his school in the Maritimes had given him a background in how law developed. Maybe so, but my smart friend had to apply himself in order to envision any change to the law.

In person he was a decent, good-hearted, earnest man. Never mind the pathetic US slogan, “If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” I think Blair preferred to make less money than he would as a corporate lawyer because he could have such immediate effect on vulnerable people who needed help.

A common pitfall, I think, for smart young people, for whom success in anything is so easy, is to go chasing money without considering what they truly want to do. 

For the really smart people, I think the real danger is not falling into a pit of snobbery —which Blair avoided as surely as he avoided devaluing women— but the almost unavoidable bitterness of being in a smart minority.

I’m thinking of poor guys like Mark Twain. Remember The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? Huck slowly journeyed down the Mississippi river while having the mental “adventure” of slowly coming to reason that all of his friends and all of his neighbours —in other words, an entire society— were wrong. Huck came to realize that Nigger Jim deserved to have a life, even if this meant Huck had to break the law about helping runaway slaves and, therefore, go to hell. Poor Twain: surrounded by people who believed in various prejudices only because, willfully, they would not take the time to think things through. Twain's life must have been a daily hell.

Like Mark Twain, Blair Petterson was smart and curious: They both thought things through.

Unlike Twain, Blair avoided falling into bitterness at human folly. Me too. Here in Calgary, a decade or two ago, only a few miles from the university, I curiously wandered into a hotel lobby and then into a meeting room. Quelle Surprise. I found a large meeting of people, most of them up from High River, nearly all of them members of the “short haired older generation,” having a meeting for a dark purpose: being anti-gay. On some six-foot tables —that’s “tables” plural— at the back were a number of books, presumably published before the war, about how horrible the Jews are. I only wish I had my camera, for I might have put the Jewish defense league onto those homo-haters. Meanwhile, at the University of Calgary, many not-so-bright students with library cards continued to believe that being gay was a "choice." Were these university students simply not smart enough? Or were they being willfully ignorant?

Not long afterwards, an acquaintance managed to get a human service worker job in High River. At a community center one night here in Calgary, at a dialogue group meeting, as soon as we had a break, she sped across the room to ask me what I thought of her getting a job in that town. I said, “Well, when I go there I feel like I am in enemy territory.” It would be so easy to feel as Mark Twain did. But I won’t do bitterness.

My buddy Blair, in his legal work, had seen a lot of the seamy side of humankind. Accordingly, his meetings with his clients would never be held at the courthouse tower. This was to lessen the chance of him being spotted or identified. He half expected, nevertheless, to be murdered one day. For this he had fear and acceptance, but not bitterness.

I never asked him about the worst pitfall really smart young people face, an existential choice: "Should I lower my consciousness, dial down my smartness, stop learning so much?" Not everyone makes the same choice... a choice I find is talked about more in science fiction than in real life. For example, in the sf novel Atlas Shrugged, in a flashback where  Dagny Taggart is a child, she wonders aloud if she should try to be more popular by not being so smart and capable. Her friend slaps her.

In boyhood Blair and I enjoyed sf writer Robert Heinlein’s young adult novels where heroines have to hide their light under a bushel basket. In Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy a crippled old beggar, Baslim, adopts a boy. They beg together, living in a caste-ridden society where all their peers are illiterate. Nevertheless, Baslim teaches his son reading and mathematics. Sometimes, late at night, Baslim has doubts about his decision to educate the boy… Today I think parents working over in the Arab world must have similar self-doubts, because they say if you send your son to the international school he will be at a disadvantage for trying to chat up/hit on Arab girls, since he won’t be overly macho.

I remember once, I was reading over the phone to Blair an essay about Sarah Conner, in which woman don’t punch hard, when he immediately interjected, “Learned helplessness.” Yes. A fictional example of learned “not-so-smartness” would be in Bio of a Space Tyrant, by Piers Anthony, where the narrator’s sister is really beautiful. She is not method acting: She has genuinely made a long-forgotten decision, before the story opens, to live her life at far, far less than her potential. C’est domage.

George Orwell, the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four, came of age during the rebellious years in the aftermath of the Great War. In an essay he once reasoned, in accounting for the horrors of two world wars, how an entire ruling class could have dialed down their smartness. I’m no time traveler, so I can’t directly judge Orwell’s findings, but it makes sense. Here in the present day, from certain regions, I have often encountered rich young people. I find a much larger proportion of them to be frivolous, and status-oriented, than can be accounted for by mere chance.

I first began meeting rich people in college. There I happily found non-frivolous students who were into the college-personal-growth thing. This was when I was first decompressing from things I had seen, first able to process meaning-of-life questions. Should I dial down? Hide my light? I dimly recall using an example of Ming vases, and asking a pretty Chinese girl “What should I do if the person I’m talking to knows nothing about such vases? What’s the point?” She said brightly that I could bring them up to my level, telling them about vases. Yes.

Forget trying to walk a fine line: I believe it’s best to be expecting too much knowledge, rather than too little, from others. In my last three-person shared house I lived with two much-less-educated sex trade workers. One said grandly how she saw me as “knowledge.” They didn’t feel the least bit intimidated by me: I believe it’s best to be without arrogance.

My buddy Blair, good-hearted, never arrogant, must have believed the same things. When I was with him around restaurant staff, store clerks or his cleaning lady I was amused, charmed, even a little embarrassed, at how he would cheerfully expect people to know things, or cheerfully expect people to welcome his enthusiastic explanations. I treasured that aspect of him. I think that, avoiding all pitfalls, he made a splendid accommodation to his being so smart.

The only glimpse he ever gave me of the flip side of his life was one day when we were watching the dubbed version of my anime series Elfen Lied. I said I had checked and found the dubbing was wrong: What the students were living in was not a vacant restaurant, it was an inn. Out of the blue Blair said he really appreciated me because, like his fiance (wife), I never bored him. That was a nice thing to hear, but— a world of boring people? I  pushed the thought away.

We were watching the anime dubbed, although true fans insist on watching anime with subtitles, because a) I seldom do subtitles, because I have VHS, and b) Blair’s failing health. His vision had weakened. No books, no subtitles. So, being Blair, he became an enthusiast for audiobooks... A few years ago he had to stop attending conventions.

In September, in the year of our Lord 2011, Blair passed away.

I never asked him what it was like to live in a world of boring people, and now I never will.

Sean Crawford
September 2011
~On Amazon, the best (top) review (687 of 707 liked it) of "Firefly--The Complete Series" is by Blair.

~My computer statistics feature shows that today someone was on my site, someone using the search term “Blair Petterson,” (Blair is in a democracy essay footnote) so I am posting this essay right now, instead of holding it back for editing and second thoughts. The searcher was from either the UK or the US, not Canada. Blair had friends everywhere.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Excellence, Students and the Olympics

And I should know,  at my age, that any statement that starts with, "I really ought to..." is suspect, very suspect.

Introduction- The original introduction ended with these three paragraphs:

Nancy Green attended university in Nelson; I took a U of Calgary night school class in law: I learned how the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies not only to citizens, but, by federal Supreme Court ruling, to anyone under Canadian sky. Now I find how oppressors can get around that ruling if the orders to oppress are issued from offshore.

The B.C. Supreme Court (provincial) has finished hearing the case of the Canadian women ski jumpers. "There will little solace to the plaintiffs in my finding that they have been discriminated against; there is no remedy available to them in this court." This was in the Calgary Sun, Saturday July 11, 2009. The Sun, reminiscent of my other essay, has buried the story 15 pages into the sports section.

Those who expect excellent student protest will be disappointed. I can predict this because excellence, for students, is hard, even in an Olympic city during the Games.

Excellence, Students and the Olympics

With the 20th anniversary of our city's winter Olympics, it's time to ponder how hard everyday excellence was for me back then... and still is today... At the time of the games I was part of a happy band of volunteer university journalists. That year, at our weekly University of Calgary student newspaper, the Gauntlet, we eagerly sought to share the Olympic flame... only to discover that the spirit of excellence is hard to catch.

I say "we" but actually two of us, one of the co-editors and I, told our peers months ahead of time, to their complete bafflement, that no, we would not join them in their Olympic project. I tried to help pierce the "hype." Unfortunately, to any of my keen probing questions, I received the reply, "But it's the Olympics!" "Yes, but why do we want to—" "It's the Olympics!"

I was a little older than the other students. At their age I had arrived, down-at-the-heels, in the big city clutching my new manual typewriter. It was so tiny, not like the clunky ones on desk tops. Such a wonder of teeny precision machinery, with Eatons on the enameled steel cover. I'm sure typewriters never got any smaller. I also had a glossy new book called something like, Teach Yourself to Type. But... the typewriter gathered dust. A few seasons later, not so down at the heels, I decided to fork out for a night school course in Beginner's Typing. The "for fun" course was all filled, so I had to take the "for credit" one. With secretaries. I remember we learned to count characters and divide by two so we could center our headings on the page.


So everyday at home I'd excellently practice my typing assignments. I quickly—bang!—got so I could guide the silver return lever—ching!—with my eyes closed. Then I got so I could touch type. Hurray! I passed the course—I even raised my college grade point average!—and then... my typewriter gathered dust. I knew I really ought to practice for half an hour every day, and do a full hour every Sunday. Just as I had read in all those inspirational self-improvement magazine articles. Yes, I knew what I should do but... only dust.

Then I joined the volunteers over at the university. I was doing at least an article a week, requiring two or three drafts, with vigor and purpose... then home to the dusty machine. Except for my actual writing, I still didn't practice my typing. I still don't. I confess: to this day I can't type in numerals without looking at the keyboard. My typing speed has probably even declined since that long ago course—I know I really ought to excellently practice my typing. And I should know, at my age, that any statement that starts "I really ought to..." is suspect, very suspect.

I am steadily learning that excellence is not easy. I first found this out in junior high when I found myself the only boy in a beginner's typing course. This was just not natural and my classmates let me know it. At least it was not as bad for me as trying to be a girl in the chess club. She lasted only one day. And me? Read on...


At this time in my youth all of the male students and even some of the male teachers had long hair. The hair symbolized something. There was a sense of freedom to take new risks, try new innovations and boldly seek empowerment for all. Class timetable registration, that year, followed a "new improved" format: the students would choose their own courses, meaning: choose their own teachers. Logically things would sort themselves out: Smart students would take the more competent harder teachers while the more challenged students would take the easier ones. The academically gifted students, in other words, would pursue excellence.

Due to my personal issues, not my I.Q., I was a glum and struggling student. Nevertheless I eagerly grabbed all the hardest teachers. Turns out I was a minority of one. All those academic golden students? They all chose the easiest ones. They told me so. After only one day of classes the registration fiasco had to be fixed overnight by the teachers.

And so I lasted only one day in typing class. I was never able to fit in another one. Years later, long after my night typing class, I was able to briefly touch excellence: As a working "man" and "college graduate," I excellently scribbled my way through not one but two books of writing composition exercises. I am pleased with that, although I feel "I really ought to be doing more writing exercises these days."

But what of my Gauntlet university peers? Were they closer to excellent college graduates or closer to "take-the-easy-way-out" kids in junior high?... The Olympics were a big deal. When the torch relay passed through our town my roommate was so excited he ran alongside for a long ways in his street clothes. Then he ran home to tell me.


Months before the games were to arrive my fellow Gauntleteers had an exciting vision: They too would aspire to Olympic excellence. At our energetic crowded staff meetings this vision seemed noble and do-able. Putting out a weekly newspaper was hard enough. Now they aspired to twice or even thrice weekly. Even if the paper was thinner, and it surely would be, they would thus be required to rise to a much higher level. Like athletes, they'd reach for excellence...and be more like an efficient paper in the real world. Obviously we are talking about better organization, as in meeting with editors, and productivity.

...Note: When editors guide and edit the first draft submitted (before handing it back) or advise on stories they don't yell- only Spiderman's editor, J. Jonah Jameson, does that....

Crank out issues? How? I thought of what I had seen, or read, about things in the working world and spoke up with equal excitement. "Sure guys, our editors could have a board where they posted what time they'd return (and excellently keep to their commitment)." Some students (two or more) instantly scorned that idea, saying, "What if he wants to stop off at the A&W?" I suppose at that very moment the writing was on the wall but nobody had realized it yet.

As noted, I was not to be part of the Olympic issues, but others were. About a score of them had made a written commitment on a sign up sheet. Maybe Tony Sabo suspected something. A night or two before the games Tony called every person on the list and they each gave their word again. ...All classes were canceled: students were evicted and their residences were turned over to the Olympians. This meant students needed a little more effort to drop by the Gauntlet office. This meant too that most of the Gauntlet readers, by default, became the athletes.


I recall that in the student union food court, near the olympic oval and residences, there were massage tables staffed by volunteers from all over the continent. Since I too had a massage background I enjoyed chatting. I remember answering a lady from Chicago that no, our city wasn't cleaned up for the games; it was always like this. She was amazed and I wondered what the heck Chicago must look like.

Then I wrote up an article on athlete massage and filed it for use when school came back in session: I cared a lot about my student audience, but athletes? Not so much.

Tony and a couple others got a paid job doing stories for a periodical for the athlete's village; they had to wear fluorescent red berets. Gauntlet folks said, "Great, you can get past security and drop off copies of our Special Gauntlets for the athletes."

But... by the time they were preparing the second Special issue... things had gotten desperate. My embarrassed editor asked me if he could use my article. I said "Yes." As for those who gave their word on the list, I'm pretty sure not a single one showed up. A student later said sadly,"It was too easy to go off skiing." This was after the Gauntlet Olympic dreams had bit the dust.


Yes, excellence is not easy. And now I know: The average university man is not quite as bad as a junior high kid, but he's no better than a frat boy, either. As the Klingons would say, "They have no honor." But of course Tony did, and I treasure that.

I still see some old classmates once a year at writer K.M. Tratt's all-day Saint Patrick's party. Bruce, a university art professor, attends, and some years Bruce and I get to talking about how hard it is for art majors to keep making art after graduation. I think that whether it's painting or typing or jogging or anything else you're "s'posed to" do you probably shouldn't be too hard on yourself. It's OK to use tricks to encourage your effort such as registering for a marathon, or for next year's gallery showing, or joining a local club or whatever it takes. I once read about a nerd who could have made a nice living as a computer guy. Instead he became a millionaire because he kept finding a succession of increasingly harder little problems to solve. Whatever trick works, eh?

In my own case my art is my essays, an art that appeals to my absurd Right brain. Hence my dearth of Left brain up front topic sentences. I am driven to make art, and I wouldn't do so without using the trick of a "real" web site for essays. A mere blog (web log) would not be enough to trick me into being productive. A blog, to me, is something done carelessly with no second draft, something that unsettled Left brain people are going to frantically skim/rush/click right through.

I care a lot about readers who settle in with a nice cup of tea, but unsettled readers? Not so much. A mere blog is not enough to keep me polishing my pretty little prose.

I suppose, in conclusion, I really ought to quit reading self-improvement articles... but I do like them so.

Sean Crawford, SNAG,
sensitive new age guy,
with lots of growth potential,
Spring 2008


You might also like two Olympic essays archived in February and March of 2013 regarding reform and feminism.

Update: This is now on a blog because a blogger, Little Rivkah, has advised me: A blog has a better chance of being read than a web site. My old site was read, or at least commented on, only be those who knew me in real life. It remains to be seen whether my blog will be read enough to attract comments by strangers...

Update: Now, instead of judging readership from comments, I can go by my blogger statistics feature.

For those who came in late: My old web site has been discontinued, and so the links on this blog, with essay-introductions, are now broken. Hence I am doing "re-runs" using no more than three paragraphs of the original introductions.

New pieces, such as the previous post, Citizenship After 9/11, are still being written amongst the re-runs. I am still committed to my art.