CategoryTwo-minute Reads

One Window is Opening, Another is Closing

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Another autumn hike in the mountains. On our last hike in the Adirondacks we showed up early for peak fall color. This week in the Catskills we arrived a little late. Still, these mountains around me are breathtaking under any conditions. The three Catskill peaks of Blackhead, Black Dome, and Thomas Cole are familiar sights to me. An ascent to Windham High Peak, followed by meandering through the...

“You’re Not Too Smart, Are You? I Like That in a Man”

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“You’re not too smart, are you? I like that in a man.” So says femme fatale Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner) to inept but cocky lawyer Ned Racine (William Hurt) when they first meet in Lawrence Kasdan’s 1981 directorial debut, the steamy noir film Body Heat. Matty’s pronouncement on Ned’s intelligence sets the stage for what’s to come: she convinces Ned to help her murder her husband so she can...

Dear Gillette:

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Dear Gillette: I remember a time not that long ago Harriet would tell me how good I smelled after I shaved. Now? Silence. And for that, I am turning in my loyalty card to your Gillette Foamy shaving cream. I gotta tell you, that stuff stinks now. Whatever you did to the formula, you messed up badly. In case you think I’m simply a disgruntled old drip who’s resistant to change, I’m not the only...

Why Read a Sad Story?

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I have a friend who doesn’t want to read books or watch shows or movies that are sad or involve tragic circumstances. It’s a form of curation: she doesn’t need that negativity in her life, doesn’t want to be exposed to those feelings because it interferes with her happiness. I’m the opposite. I find sad, depressing, painful, tragic stories to be essential to my own quest for well-being. These...

The Cut-Up Poem

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Last weekend at the Albany Book Festival my table was next to the Adirondack Center for Writing table. It’s an organization that’s building a community of writers and readers in the Adirondacks region, offering classes, workshops, events, and more for writers of all ages. They had one of those old-fashioned gumball machines at their table, this one offering (for a free turn of the handle)...

What Midlife Crisis?

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I’m tabling at the Albany Book Festival when a woman walks by my display and picks up a copy of In Flight. She immediately flips the book to glance at the back cover copy. Two seconds later she puts the book down. She says in a tone that can only be heard as snarky, “Why would I want to read about a man’s midlife crisis?” “It doesn’t say midlife crisis,” I tell her. “It says midlife transitions.”...

My Favorite Mountains

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Back when I was focusing on hiking all 46 Adirondack high peaks that reached over 4,000 feet, that singular mission kept me focused on the biggest mountains and the most grueling hikes. After checking off about half of the high peaks, I abandoned my quest. I realized there were too many mountains that required more than a single day’s hike to conquer, meaning I would have to carry camping...

The Sugar Maple One Year Later

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About a year ago I wrote “Long Live the Sugar Maple,” about our imperiled tree. This is an update. First, a bit of background: it must have been about twenty years ago that we had the sugar maple planted out front. I’ve always loved the sugar maple’s shape and iconic fall colors and the sweetness of its syrup.  It’s the official tree of New York State. I’ve planted plenty of...

“Marketing Executive” Barbie

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We went to see Barbie the other night. There’s a reason the movie is breaking all kinds of revenue and attendance records: it’s highly original, visually compelling, and a lot of fun. Margot Robbie (Barbie) and Ryan Gosling (Ken) deliver outstanding performances. And it had me smiling a lot. In some ways, I’ve never seen a movie like it—the way it depicts Barbie’s perfect, plastic fantasy world...

Schools are Open, and Taxes Due

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I’m having an eye exam and the optometrist and I are talking about Bethlehem, the town in upstate New York where we both live. She says she likes Bethlehem but where she lives in a newer development she can’t really walk anywhere. And there aren’t many good restaurants. But most of all what bothers her are the high taxes. She says she just became an empty nester with her second child off to...

No Cell Phones in School

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My kids are long out of high school (one in grad school, one working within their profession), but their alma mater—Bethlehem High School—has a new policy starting this year: no cell phones. Have you ever once seen a teenager without a phone in their hands? It’s going to be an interesting experiment. Upon arriving at school each day students will need to turn their phones off and lock them in a...

Drag Queens on Giant Mountain

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When you’re hiking up one of the high peaks in the Adirondacks (Giant Mountain, 3,000 feet elevation gain), you can’t spend the whole time whining and complaining about the steep pitch, the huge rocks you have to walk over, the hands-and-feet-scrambles, or your sore feet and legs. Because—this hike was a choice you made. You have to spend time talking about other things, and because I was with my...

What a Twitshow

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You might have heard that the social networking platform formerly known as Twitter is now called X. Owner Elon Musk executed the name change along with a new logo is less than forty-eight hours. No bothering with months of brand research and focus groups for this guy! Not being a Twitter (X) user, my interest is from a branding standpoint. Is this a good business move? The Twitter brand is...

A Little Pretending Along the Lake

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It’s early morning and I’m walking along the Lake Erie shoreline in an area of private beach-front homes. These are big windowed structures built on high slopes and protected by rock walls from the destructive force of Great Lakes storms. I sense I’m being watched and I look up and see someone on a screened porch. Maybe it’s someone who sits every morning with their coffee enjoying their view of...

Decide, Commit, Succeed

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Many companies invest time, energy, and resources into defining their core values. They look deep inside their own teams, they talk to customers, they evaluate their business goals. From this research, thinking, and collective brainstorming emerge a defined set of values. Maybe there are three of them. Maybe five. Hopefully not more than that because who could live up to so many values? Once...

David Klein

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

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