CategoryTwo-minute Reads

Artifacts Turn Up in Strange Places

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When I hear the word artifact I picture a shard of pottery or a primitive tool that gets unearthed during an archeological dig. Collection of objects was found by divers in the Tollense River in Germany and is probably the contents of a personal pouch of a warrior who died 3,300 years ago on the battlefield. Credit: Volker Minkus But I knew this wasn’t the definition of artifact that began to...

A Moment of Praise for These Two

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She’s 22, he’s 21. Both are completing their last semester of college, set to graduate in December. In their level of intellect, emotional maturity, and self-awareness, they’re light years ahead of where I was at that age, exposed to so much more, in some ways forced to grow up a lot faster, yet better protected in others.   He reads more than 50 books a year and approaches life with curiosity...

Night Visitors

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They came for me during the night, ringing the doorbell as if they were polite visitors. I’d been expecting them. I kept my clothes by the side of my bed so I could dress quickly. I raised the bedroom window, straddled the sill, and stepped out onto the steep gabled roof, steadying my balance. From there I could just reach a limb of the sugar maple and swing myself into the thickness of its...

Gruden was a Hit Job

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Las Vegas Raiders Coach Jon Gruden resigned yesterday. After a few middling years with Gruden at the helm, his team was pretty good this season, with a 3-2 record, but he was the victim of an obvious yet well-executed hit job. Brief background: The NFL has been investigating the Washington Football Team (nee Washington Redskins) for sexual harassment and verbal abuse of female employees, a...

DUNE, Frank Herbert

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I revisited this novel I first read in college because a new movie will soon be released. I’ve never been an avid sci fi or fantasy reader, but I remember Dune having a big impact on me. It’s the story of the teenage Paul Atreides whose family is sent by the Emperor to rule the fearsome desert planet Arrakis, the universe’s single source of mélange, a highly addictive spice-drug that prolongs...

The Day He Died

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If my sister hadn’t texted me last night I wouldn’t have remembered it was the date my father, Bob Klein, died in 2014. The day has slipped my mind the last few years. That’s never the case regarding my mother, who died on July 9, 1983, when she was only 58. Almost 40 years ago, yet I see that day approaching every year like a dark cloud on the horizon. I think it’s because I was young—and so was...

The Battle of Work vs. Fun

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Are you one of those people who was raised to be an achiever? To be productive and useful above all else? If you are, you might experience angst when it comes to leisure time. Dr. Laurie Santos, the Yale professor who taught a class I took last year called “The Science of Happiness,” admits to filling most of her time with work-related and product activities and that she worries that “fun is just...

Our State Motto is “Frienship”

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Do you know what the Texas state motto is? Friendship. One simple word that says so much. It says empathy and nurturing. It says welcome and goodwill. Many of us non-Texans are confused. We would understand if your state motto was “We Control Women’s Bodies” or “We Love Voter Suppression” or even “Guns for Everyone!” Those mottos would make sense given the recent passage of extreme abortion...

Rainmaker

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Sweat patterns darkened his white shirt along the neckline. Dust stuck to his summer wool suit. A rainmaker who wears a business suit. He stood at the flinty edge of the diminished reservoir. The barren, naked rock walls were bleached and parched, the remaining water glinting in the sun like moving mirrors. “Are we actually taking this guy seriously?” someone in the crowd said. The rainmaker held...

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...

David Klein

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

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