The Human Miracle

Humanity is an amazing thing.

One thing that humans can do which is nearly miraculous is look at pictures and see them as hat they depict. Most species, including apes, are not capable of looking at a photograph and putting two and two together, like, “Oh, that’s a ball,” or, “Oh, that’s a toy.” Not only can humans look at direct representations that looks exactly like the object, like a photograph, and recognize the object, but we can also look at things that only vaguely look like the object and recognize the object. We see a stick figure and think, “Oh, that’s a person.” A stick figure does not look like a person at all, but we still recognize the scarcely alike features, and those tiny similarities click together in our brain.

Another thing that humans do which is amazing is building things. Apes can build tools for breaking rocks and coconuts, and that’s about as advanced as it gets for a non-human species. But humans an make little grooves on a black piece of vinyl sound like Elvis Presley. We can make words, sounds, and images into numbers and put those numbers onto tiny strips of metal so that they can be transferred and then again viewed as words, sounds, or images.

It’s really amazing, once you think about it.

There are so many things that humans can do that we can barely understand ourselves. And it’s fascinating, astounding, beautiful, maybe even miraculous.


Good Morning, Everybody

Does this look anything like the bed you woke up in this morning?

I really do hate waking up in the morning. I mean, I was having a pleasant dream, where I was with my friends on vacation. In the Bahamas.

But there have been mornings where I was glad I woke up. Once it saved me from being eaten by a bear. And once it pulled me out of a nightmarish post-apocalyptic world where most everyone was a walking corpse. But not this morning. No, this morning I was reluctant to pull myself from under the covers. Not that waking up can be helped. But it still stinks.

But we, those who woke up this morning, we are the lucky ones. About 89,000 people did not wake up this morning. Any number of those people could be children, or parents, or lovers, or students. People just like you and me, they went to sleep last night but did not wake up this morning.

Now every morning when you wake up, you can feel lucky that you have had this overnight rescue. Let every day you wake up be another chance. Because you, for whatever reason, were chosen to live today. And you should make the best of it. No matter how great the dream you were having was.

clouded horizon

this is my front porch.

there is a little bit of rain

and it drizzles

down to the ground.

there are about

five of us here

and we are all keeping our

papers dry

by hiding under the awning.

there are sporadic


clouds overhead

like a few cotton balls

dotting the sky.

but combined,

and further back,

they create the monster

a thunderhead

booming in the distance.

i know that this cloud

will bring rain

and fury and might

but looking at it i can’t help

but realize

it is my friend.

the horizon is pink and gray

and not a natural


but it is beautiful.

and i cannot wait for the nighttime rain.

but i must wait for the legerdemain.

My Bucket List

1. Go to a 100th birthday party

2. Fill an entire wall with doodles

3. Get a book published

4. Change someone’s mind, for the better

5. Get/give a hug from/to everyone I know

6. Paint my ceiling

7. Learn to dance and play the piano

8. Learn to speak up when something isn’t right, and sit down when all is

9. Count all my blessings…literally

10. Get married in every state (to the same person)

11. Visit every continent

12. Eat a waffle in Belgium

13. Paint a huge, huge picture

13. Cross this off the list because everything else is gone

Rethinking My Life

The other day my friend told me that she doesn’t like Oreos.

Shocked, I blinked.

The world seemed to cease its rotation around the sun.

Everything I thought made sense no longer made sense.

My mind became a fuddled mess.

Slowly, I began to breathe. I tried to regain my sanity.

I stood up slowly, explaining, “Excuse me. I have to go rethink my life.”

I went to the bathroom, closed the lid on the toilet seat and sat on it, with my arms wrapped around my knees.

The people standing outside the bathroom had no idea what was going on. None. They didn’t know that life as they know it, or rather, knew it, was ending.

I took a deep breath. It smelled like air freshener and toilet bowl cleaner. Yup, it was definitely a bathroom. That much, at least, hadn’t changed.

But still, things could never again be as they were. They just couldn’t.

I took another deep breath.

I thought about all of the stupid mistakes I had made in my life, the intentional and the not so much. I saw how they were all connected and found the problems inside me that caused the mistakes. I vowed to myself to resolve these problems.

The world began to spin again. I could just feel it.

Maybe days would no longer be 24 hours, or years 365 days. But there was a positive effect.

I had become a better person.

And all because my friend doesn’t like Oreos.

The New 1-10 List

How many times have you been asked, “On the scale of one to ten, what do you think of this?”

What if your answer was no longer limited to numbers, but you could use real representations of things with equal goodness?

Wouldn’t that be cool?

Here is a proposed 1-10 list, where 1 is the best thing that could possibly exist, and 10 is the worst thing that could possibly exist.

-3: Glitter

-2: Harrison Ford

-1: Chocolate

0: Love

1: John Williams

2: Waffles

3: Unicorns

4: #2 Pencils

5: Highlighters

6: Venn Diagrams

7: Literary Analysis

8: Paper Cuts

9: Newt Gingrich

10: Serial Killers

11: Hate

12: Evil Military Dictators

13: Half a Worm in Your Apple

14: The Holocaust

Let me know if you have any appropriate changes.

Ciao for now,


peace from scratch

despite the obvious human impact


on the world,

where there was once a rolling farm, and a

farmer who made his profits

off this land

and cows and horses that ate the

green grass

that sprung from the most fertile

soil in the world,

there is


cars and bricks and outdoor lights

and swimming pools and child-sized

tables and chairs and

all of these consumer goods which

didn’t even exist back when

the farmer was

farming here.

despite all this, there

is a gentle wind tousling my hair


an okay-sized garden i can look at



which are silhouetted by the

running rainbow of the

fleeing sun.

and despite the visible loss

of what was once pure,

and despite the depressing thoughts

that i can see with my eyes

of more terrible things to come,

despite all this,

i am at peace.