No One Like Alice


I think Springsteen said once that the only time he’d used a rhyming dictionary was for Blinded By The Light. Similarly, the only sentiment behind these lyrics was to play off the Robert Service–esque rhyme scheme.

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The Good Old Days


Sad how easy it is to update this song, by switching “Syria” for “Lebanon.” Although not many WWII vets are left to fill the shoes of the first protagonist. Still, there must be another justified war to reference instead. Right?

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On Morality

OK. Let’s start with basics: What is right? A few centuries ago, the above question would have been enough to start the search for an ethical system. Modern philosophy, of course, is much more devious, and back steps to an even more basic question: Is there such a thing as “right”? That is, an absolute…

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Ethics Esthetica

Diamond-shaped logo representing Truth, Love, Freedom, Art, and Hope

In the beginning—as far as we know—there was nothing [Note 1]. And then, roughly 15 billion years ago, the greatest event in the history of the universe happened. This occurrence was so important and so wonderful that humans call its cause God and often ascribe intelligence to it. We may never know the truth of…

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On Nobility

To the Right Highly-Esteemed Misunderstood Undoubtedly-Noble Maharajah of Meaning and Ameer of Angst— Dear Steamy: Someday our correspondence will constitute Appendix A of one or both of our Collected Works. (Properly edited, of course.) While it’s always nice to get mail, there’s no adventure quite like reading an S. Williams epistle. Just wanted to let…

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Constitution 2.0


In 1976, I celebrated my 6th birthday while my native country celebrated its 200th. It was many years before I realized that one of us had been somewhat premature. The truth is that in 1776, the United States was only an idea. The legal basis of government—the Constitution—would not go into effect until 1789. It was in that latter year also that the first regular session of Congress met, that George Washington was inaugurated as our first president, and that the Supreme Court was created. Surely, then, the United States should consider 1789 to be its year of birth. Yet there was no bicentennial celebration in 1989.

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On Government


The framers of the new United States knew exactly what the country should be—or at least not be; the Declaration of Independence is, in fact, a long list of grievances the Colonies had with England. Mixed with a few recent political ideas of the Enlightenment, their vision led to a brilliant experiment in democracy that…

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The Difference Between “That” and “Which”


“The movie which I saw last week was terrific!” “The movie that I saw last week was terrific!” You might think the sentences above are just two different ways of saying the same thing—but only one is grammatically correct. The distinction arises because words, phrases, and clauses can be restrictive (essential to the sense of the sentence) or nonrestrictive. It’s really quite simple. (Cue sadistic, maniacal laughter in background.)

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