CategoryTwo-minute Reads

Grammarly: Not Just for Grammar Geeks

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I’ve been using Grammarly for about three years in Google Docs and Gmail, and now I’ve added it to Microsoft Word. This clever tool catches a fair number of items that require my attention. I know, hard to believe, given that I’m a writer. But I always say every writer needs a good editor, and even if Grammarly isn’t an editor, it can help improve your writing (this is not...

In Praise of My Weedy Lawn

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Although my neighbors—they of the lawn as green and manicured as a fairway at Augusta—might disagree, my lawn is looking its best right now. It’s resplendent with golden dandelions and tiny creeping charlie purple blossoms and delicate white clover flowers. There is a reason for this: I will not put down weedkiller. All those pristine suburban lawns you see can only get that way through the...

They Paved Paradise, Put Up a Parking Lot

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When we moved into our house 25 years ago, we were one of only a few houses in the neighborhood with a gravel driveway. The look was less formal than blacktop. It fit the cottagey character of our house. But I’ve spent all these years struggling with the gravel. To shovel snow, you must master a special technique of carefully sliding the shovel along the gravel so as not to pick up too much stone...

What The Flags We Fly Say About Us

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You probably don’t need to be a fan of the National Football League to recognize the flag flying in my neighbor’s yard. Not the American flag–the flag of the Washington Football Team formerly known as the Washington Redskins. After decades of protests against the name being a slur against Native Americans, and team owner Daniel Snyder saying “We’ll never change the...

He’s Wearing Nail Polish!

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Julia got me into painting my toenails a few years back and I’ve been doing it ever since. Nail polishing was a fun and relaxing activity to do together and painted nails are a lot more attractive than plain ones. I even found myself enjoying, for perhaps the first time, the appearance of my toenails. Shimmering gold is one of my colors The truth is, I’ve always liked nail polish, despite...

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, Erich Maria Remarque

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When I travel I tend to grab a shorter, paperback book that’s easy to pack and easy to read. For my trip to Birmingham, I nabbed a tattered copy of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT out of my Little Free Library. I’ve read a number of war novels and seen plenty of war movies, but this short, devastating novel is among the most powerful. Written by Erich Maria Remarque, a German soldier who served on...

Laura Ingraham and the Big Lie

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In the spirit of knowing thy enemy, I tune into the Ingraham Angle on Fox News at 10 pm the night former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is found guilty of murdering George Floyd. There is something sinister, conspiratorial, even bawdy about Laura Ingraham. Her eyes blaze with grievance, her glistening mouth curls in disdain. Her face is painted to smooth perfection. Tonight, she wears a...

The Motorcycle Days

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Pagans on their way to wreak havoc. Coming up the thruway the other day a posse of the Pagans Motorcycle Club passed us. All of them on Harleys. All of them wearing the club uniform and insignia. When I got home I looked up the Pagans. They’re considered an outlaw motorcycle gang, with their hands sticky in the drug trade and organized crime. And here I thought these fellows were simply...

At Least I’m Almost a Genius

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I need to come up with one more word to be Genius level: overell, pevelon, renovel, lonovore? They should be words, but I know better. I’ve been working on the Spelling Bee in The New York Times Magazine since I picked up the paper from my driveway Sunday morning. I like games with simple rules: words at least five letters long that must include the middle letter. One point each word. Use all 7...

Side Effects

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I’d been warned to expect side effects from my second COVID-19 vaccine. Everyone I knew who’d gotten the second shot had felt punky with some combination of joint pain, low energy, headaches, fever, and nausea. I braced myself. Vaccine at noon on a Thursday. By bedtime I was congratulating myself for feeling great all day. Next morning: all good in the kingdom. I even agreed to meet a friend and...

“Private Life”

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I picked one off my Netflix queue last night: “Private Life.” Richard (Paul Giamatti) and Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) are a middle-aged couple struggling with infertility and desperate to have a child. Why so desperate, we’re not sure. They’ve tried everything as we quickly discover in a number of wry and painful scenes of crowded waiting rooms, specialist visits, drug injections, etc. Not...

Siblings Are My Blessing

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Every day is national something awareness day and I just found out today is Siblings Day. I’d have felt horrible if I hadn’t raised a glass (you know what I like) in love and gratitude. How lucky I am to have this crew on my side. Five of us separated by 6.5 years. What kind of insanity had hold of my parents? These bigger families, it’s a lot of lives to keep track of when...

Hemingway

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I don’t watch much television, but last night I turned on the set. Between checking out Aaron Rodgers hosting Jeopardy and waiting for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final, I tuned into the Ken Burns documentary, “Hemingway,” a 3-part series that is airing on PBS. I thought I’d watch for a few minutes and ended up staying for two mesmerizing hours, missing a good chunk of the basketball game. The...

Let Me Be Crystal Clear

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Georgia’s corporate giants have found themselves in turbulent waters tacking against the winds and political pressure surrounding Georgia’s freshly-minted law, “Election Integrity Act of 2021.” Prior to the law being passed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp, most big corporations didn’t have much to say. Two household-name...

Social Interactions on the Agenda Again

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The New York Times article, “Start Retraining for Social Interactions,” got off to a good start. The writer caught my attention early with “the prospect of readjusting to in-person social engagements may be a daunting one. For many, it provokes a sense of profound discomfort, apprehension or ambivalence.” I might have a touch of that. I’m accustomed to being at home, just Harriet and me, or...

David Klein

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

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