CategoryTwo-minute Reads

Something Must Change

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I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about change and I’ve reached an obvious conclusion: change is inevitable. It is the defining factor that proves we are alive. There is an endless number of illuminating quotes from experts, writers, and gurus about change, but one I came across I’ve known forever; it appears on the ceiling in dentists’ offices. I’m now looking at it from a new angle—the...

Little Free Library, Version 2

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Six years ago I launched my first Little Free Library. I was one of the first free libraries in town. Since then, these libraries have been sprouting up all over the place. There must be at least a dozen, maybe fifteen, just in Delmar. It’s hard to keep track of all the competition. So I’ve upped my game and built a new version. My original library had been showing signs of fatigue. One of the...

EVERYMAN, Philip Roth

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Philip Roth, toward the end of his writing career (and life; he battled many health problems), wrote a number of short novels. Everyman, which focuses on aging, sickness, regret, and death, is one of the grimmest. The novel opens at the protagonist’s funeral, then cycles back and tells the story of his life: he gave up the dream of being an artist to work as an advertising man. He was married...

Water Investigator Reported Missing

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The aqueducts originate in three locations: Duluth, on Lake Superior; Milwaukee, on Lake Michigan; and Sandusky, on Lake Erie. Each system of pipelines, tunnels, and open-air channels transfers water east to west. The  Duluth pipeline feeds the Sacramento River, the Milwaukee line empties into the Colorado River, and the Sandusky sector ends at the Rio Grande. A half-dozen 1-gigawatt pumping...

GREAT CIRCLE, Maggie Shipstead

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This is one of those epic 600-page novels I don’t pick up very often and in this case, I couldn’t put it down. GREAT CIRCLE begins in dramatic fashion early in the twentieth century when Maggie and Jamie Graves, infant twins, are rescued from a sinking ocean liner by their father, the ship’s captain. The father, dubbed Captain Cowardice, is sentenced to prison for not going down with the ship...

Where to Draw the Line

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If you’ve been reading this blog, you know Ask Dave has had some back and forth dialog with Andy about the sexual harassment allegations against him. I have not gone easy on Andy and suggested he resign, which he has done. In announcing his resignation, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said: “In my mind, I have never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn’t realize the...

California Dreamin’

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August 12, 1989, SANTA CRUZ, CA. The morning begins like most August mornings here—cool and muffled, the fog a layer of insulation over the town, the horn at the harbor tolling a deep note every ten seconds. By midday, the fog has lifted and the beaches are filling up. Monterey Bay is flecked with whitecaps and the glint of sun. The temperature will reach 74 degrees today. As my friend says...

Dear Dave: Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears the Crown

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Dear Dave: I really have nowhere else to turn at this point, so I’m writing to you again. Everyone is abandoning me—I mean everyone. My most trusted confidantes are like rats deserting a sinking ship, my executive secretary has quit, and even my old friends Nancy and Joe are calling on me to resign. The media is calling me a power-crazed misogynist. Me of all people! Okay, I’ll admit to a bit of...

FALLING

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Although it’s been almost seven years since my father died from Alzheimer’s, I’m only now researching on a deeper level how dementia is portrayed in the arts. Years ago, I read the bestselling novel depicting dementia—Still Alice. I also highly recommend the film, The Savages, with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney as adult siblings dealing with a very ill parent. It’s got both humor...

WHITE FRAGILITY, Robin Diangelo

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Dear White People: White is the status quo. White is the norm. White rules. White perspective is assumed to be universal and is imposed on everyone. White supremacy is a system we are all socialized into from the moment we are born. White schools are better than Black schools. White neighborhoods are better than Black neighborhoods. White health care is better than Black health care. White wages ...

The Swim

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(from a work in progress) The water is flat as glass which he shatters with each stroke, his arms operating like mistimed pistons, his strokes short and choppy. His legs barely muster a kicking motion and his feet hang low like sinking weights. He breathes in awkward gasps. He gulps mouthfuls of water. His splashing and coughing upset the silent morning. It is the start of a long June day, the...

Does the FDA Have a Drug Problem?

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It’s not a good look these days at the Food and Drug Administration. Former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams was quoted in Forbes saying the “quickest path” to herd immunity against COVID-19 in many U.S. communities is “organizational vaccine mandates, but lack of FDA licensure leaves schools, colleges, businesses in a legal quandary.” In other words, organizations that might mandate the...

Dear Mom:

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I think of you on July 9, and today I was digging through my box of family artifacts and remembering that period of time we were writing letters to each other. I might have been recently graduated from college. I’m not sure how we got started, but in a few of my letters I was trying to explain some life decisions I’d made. Where to live, what kind of job to take, some relationship matter. Maybe...

Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words?

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Here’s my relationship to photography these days: I point my phone and tap my screen. With reckless impunity, I tap and tap and tap. The photos get stored in the gallery app on my phone, then backed up to the cloud, and every once in a while I scroll through my gallery and cull the photos that are poor quality or meaningless or redundant. The rest stay in the gallery where I’ll see them the next...

A TIDEWATER MORNING, William Styron

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Someone had left this slim book in my Little Free Library and I snatched it when I saw on the cover the name William Styron, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Sophie’s Choice and a devastating memoir about his battle with depression among other works. The three tales in “A Tidewater Morning” are fictionalized accounts from his youth. In Shadrach, a 99-year old former Black slave...

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, journalist, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.

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