Starbucks and Mocha

The New York Times’ recent piece Melville’s Whale Was a Warning We Failed to Heed is actually a quite serious look at human nature, racism, the environment… but here is a fun selection from it that belies its erudition:

Melville had read Jeremiah Reynolds’s violent account of a sperm whale “white as wool,” named — for his haunt near Mocha Island, off the coast of Chile — Mocha Dick. It’s unknown what led Melville to tweak Mocha to “Moby.” Good thing he did, and that Starbuck was the name he gave his first mate rather than his captain. Otherwise the novel would follow Starbuck’s obsession with a Mocha.

Courtesy the New York Times


There’s so much to gripe about I can’t decide which gripe to blog about so instead I’ll just share this…

According to this article, which is a derivative of this article, which leans heavily on this study, creative people literally see the world differently than us lesser than creative types, as is illustrated by the following video…

Some of you may remember this similar titillating* exercise in awareness I shared in days past.


*The word “titillating” was added for clickbait purposes only; although, some may in fact be titillated by brain teasers. Who knows…


THE KINDNESS IN YOUR SMILE – A Relating to Humans Moral Issues Feature

As I have recently welcomed two kind, loveable, and addictively cute kiddie canines into my family, I feel especially drawn to this telling insight into our unpredictable human nature, as revealed through the predictably happy nature that dogs seem to possess. I would call this short life lesson a morality tail of sort, and it is my pleasure to share it with you.

by kimscaravelli

By its simplest definition, “kindness” is just a synonym for friendliness. And I like to believe that I am a friendly and therefore “kind” person (also funny, lovable, uber-smart and modest). I have been known to help little old ladies shove grocery carts across parking lots and I almost always offer up a sympathetic smile to parents wrestling with crying toddlers. But I recently came to notice that my kindness has a certain ‘shallow’ quality to it that is not flattering. You know what little old ladies and crying toddlers have in common? Cuteness. And apparently my willingness to offer up kindness may be in direct proportion to the cuteness level of the recipient.

Homeless girl strumming guitar and sitting with cute dog will definitely get a smile and a couple of bucks but smelly homeless guy … I’m more inclined to start looking up at the clouds or out into traffic until I am well past him.

If you want to really learn about true self, may I suggest that you start walking around the streets with a four-legged companion. Your hairy friend will have no problem offering up kindness to every person you pass. He will wag his tail (or, in the case of my poor, tail-less schnauzer, maniacally shake his entire back end). He may even pull on the leash a bit, in an effort to get a little closer to the object of his affection. This is where the truth will be revealed…

When that tail wag (or maniacal shake) is directed at a sweet little old lady or a toddler, you will feel the corners of your mouth turn up. You might even offer up a quick nod of the head or some inane comment about the weather as you pass. But what happens when the person you are sharing the sidewalk with is the smelly homeless guy? Will you share a kind, friendly moment with him too? (Two-thumbs up if you can confidently answer ‘yes’). Or will you give the leash a little tug and hurry past?

The more I walked the more I noticed my reactions to people, but you know what else I noticed? Once I really looked at smelly homeless guy (which was unavoidable because you can’t tug a 45 lb dog past anything he is interested in sniffing) I came to see that he was far more sad than scary. And when I smiled at him the first time, he smiled back, and it was a beautiful smile.

Kindness happens naturally when you really look at someone. That’s what my dog taught me.


Somewhere Between

Somewhere Between

in betwixt I am
the ascendance and the fall
the light and the dark

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Another rainy day

rain drop

Another rainy day
Yet as
As it is
In all its
Low Pressure
Depression —

A Cause to
And to
Celebrate Life
And all its many
Vagaries —

All I can do is
Sit here and
7,000,000,000 of
Are out there
Some in the
Some not
But You are out there
7,000,000,000 of
As I sit


by Jonathan Franzen

RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★

Jonathan Franzen
Jonathan Franzen

In 2001, after reading all the hype and controversy, as well as the fawning reviews of Jonathan Franzen’s THE CORRECTIONS, I thought to myself that I need to read this new It Author and made plans to rush out and buy the book. But for some reason I never did and I soon forgot about both the book and the author. I must confess, I’ve always had a hard time keeping up with literature’s contemporary writers. Heck, I have a hard enough time just trying to chip away at all of the classic literary must reads that are out there and, because I never really feel like I’m reading enough, I live with a constant feeling that I’m always a bit behind in life. Perhaps I need some couch time with Dr. Phil.

I do remember thinking to myself somewhere around mid-decade that there was once some writer that I really wanted to read, but I just couldn’t remember his name no matter how hard I tried. However, after reading the gushing reviews of Franzen’s long-awaited book FREEDOM, I finally remembered that it was his book THE CORRECTIONS that I had wanted to read so long ago. So, with that euphoric feeling of finally remembering something that had been on the tip of my tongue for a decade, I immediately rushed out to get a copy of THE CORRECTIONS before I forgot about it once again.

I got it, I read it, and yes, I agree Jonathan Franzen is an amazing writer. He deserves all of the hype he has received. And, perhaps because he has been placed in a category of elite writers few have or will every reach, maybe he even deserves the hostility and parodying that he has also received…or maybe I’m just jealous. Man, woman, or beast, whoever can write like Franzen can deserves to be the It Author of the decade in my opinion.

There are many better reviews about THE CORRECTIONS out there than I could ever write so all I’ll say is that the book is a sad, funny, and often psychologically wrenching story about a dysfunctional Midwestern family where, like the inevitable and often unexpected, and sometimes shattering, corrections that stock markets suffer from when they become unnaturally distorted or bloated, each member of this scattered and failing family is in need of his or her own life correction.

Coupled with his fluid writing style, perfect dialogue, and his ability to weave into the story his broad knowledge of the general mechanics of life in general, Franzen continually blew me away with his deep understanding of all the many different flavors of human nature and personality types. You will have to read the book to understand what I’m talking about here. He’s good.

The biggest fault of the book is perhaps a result of just how good Franzen is. He had so much to say that at times the story overwhelmed me with too much background and too much delving into the whys and hows the characters had turned out like they did. From time to time, I had to take a break from the book and walk it off.

Okay, so I’m ten years late to the party but I finally read THE CORRECTIONS and I’m glad I did. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend that you do. And once the massive hold queue for FREEDOM thins out at the library and my turn finally comes up, I plan on reading it, too. I just hope it doesn’t take me another ten years and having to overcome a bout of forgetfulness before I finally do.


Rating System:
★ = Unreadable
★ ★ = Poor Read
★ ★ ★ = Average Read
★ ★ ★ ★ = Outstanding Read
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = Exceptional Read