Friday, December 28, 2012


Who says our national leaders won’t act on global warming!

The Republican Party, still stinging from its major national rebuke way back in 2012, has announced a nationwide initiative to combat the economic impact of global warming. Unlike leaders from industrial nations that have created laws regulating the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, the Republican Party has decided to attack the side effects of climate change head-on.

That’s why they’re asking the youth of America, and anyone whose job might be threatened by environmental disaster, to answer these three critical questions:

Are you ready for a ground-floor career in the world’s next major growth industry?

Are you fed up with gloomy scientists predicting climate change, melting ice caps, rising seas and sunken coastal cities while nobody seems to do anything about it?

More to the point, are you ready to do something about it yourself?

If you are, then the career specialists at the Grand Old Party can show you how to turn the planet’s continuing series of cataclysms to your profitable advantage.

No longer deniers of reality, we Republicans  now see there is much to be gained by reaping the winds of Climate Change, so to speak. Sign up with us today, by tomorrow you’ll be preparing for a rewarding job in one of the world’s hottest emerging employment specialties—Global Warming Cleanup.

As the polar ice caps melt, sending oceans to new heights and water temperatures soaring—spawning catastrophic hurricanes and tornadoes—you’ll be sitting pretty. While others scramble to survive, you’ll be enjoying the high paying rewards that come with providing disaster services everybody is screaming for.

Even as you read this, thousands of new careers are being fostered by America’s steadfast refusal to reduce its rampant and filthy consumption of the world’s finite energy resources.

Let America’s intransigence be your greatest opportunity. No other civilized nation can match the Good Old USA in creating the rising need for these hot emerging specialties:

• Flood Rescue
• Skyscraper Salvage and Demolition
• Underwater Funeral and Cremation Services
• Missing Persons Investigations
• Corpse Identification and Shipment Services
• Rooftop Residential Construction
• Extinct Species Cataloguing
• Displaced Persons Management and Control

In the Republican Party we believe Global Warming is a tragic occurrence of the highest order, but we also believe every depleted ozone layer has it silver lining. Take Rooftop Residential Construction, for example. Only developed after the City of Boston washed away in last year’s Great Storm, the Republican Party Career Institute is trying to inject a little more sanity and predictability into the work marketplace, even during time of Global Warning. One of the most promising technologies to come out of all the catastrophic storms—Katrina, Rita, Irene Sandy and The Great Storm, of course—Rooftop Residential Construction by itself has been responsible for creating thousands of new jobs in storm-ravaged communities.

Out Of Destruction,” our Republican motto says, “Comes Construction!”

Developed in joint participation with the Paul Steven Stone Career Institute, under the watchful eye of political appointees and the usual party hacks, our new GOP Global Warming Career Center just might be the fresh start you, and the rest of the country, has been waiting for.

So, sign up today, because…who knows what tomorrow may bring?

Please note, according to Republican preferences, these Global Warming career opportunities are not available to undocumented immigrants unless nobody else wants them.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

On This Island In Space

I believe we have much to be hopeful about as we enter 2013, though on the surface of things it may appear otherwise.

I believe more and more of us are learning to look beyond the surface of things, however, and what we see is more meaningful to the life of our global community than today’s news, tonight’s sports scores or tomorrow’s weather.

I believe we have been brought here—to this lifetime, this moment in time, this island in space—to accomplish something. Each of us on our own separate mission that somehow relates, through the unfathomable meshing of the Universe’s gears, to the greater purposes of life.

I believe we are singers in a chorus whose combined song has the power to lift darkness from the face of the land, if we would only awaken to the true song within each of us.

I believe we are all journeying on the same road, leading up the same mountain, to the same summit. The only difference is some of us have been traveling longer and have learned to avoid obstacles that delay and ensnare travelers with less experience.

I believe suffering and pain have purpose in our lives, often forcing us to grow into stronger, better human beings and to explore horizons that would never have called to us otherwise. I have seen parents who have lost children find meaning in their lives by dedicating themselves to protecting and enriching the lives of other people’s children. I have seen victims use their victimhood to alert and save others from the same tragedies. Such is the serendipitous alchemy of disaster and despair.

I believe the greatest obstacles to happiness are those inner demons that keep us isolated from each other, whether they be hunger or avarice, fear of our neighbors, envy or rank malice. Once we allow ourselves to separate from the rest of mankind, we act like creatures deafened by the volume of own petty desires. No longer able to hear the cries of others. No longer affected by the tides of calamity or misery that uproot those around us.

I believe we live in a world where noise and movement too easily overwhelm thoughtfulness and purpose. From the earliest age we are taught to fill the spaces in our lives with sound, activity or moving images, as if a quiet home or a quiet mind were unwelcome oddities. As we progress on our life’s journey, I believe we will learn to welcome these spaces rather than fill them, to drink from them rather than run from them, to make room for them in our lives as we would any healing or sustaining nourishment.

I believe we are learning to overcome superficial differences between ourselves and others, no longer allowing diversity to automatically breed fear and distrust. I can’t say if we’ve become more tolerant because the global media web has shrunken our planet, or because fear, lies and ignorance inevitably shrivel under the constant glare of media attention. Whatever the reason, the veils and superstitions that have fueled intolerance across millennia, sending countless soldiers off to countless wars, are now being lifted. The arc of the universe, I believe, is bending towards justice and brotherhood as more and more travelers make their way up the mountain.

I believe we have been brought here—to this lifetime, this moment in time, this island in space—to accomplish something. Each of us on our own separate mission that somehow relates, through the unfathomable meshing of the Universe’s gears, to the greater purposes of life.

I believe one of the reasons I am here—in this lifetime, on this island in space—is to open my heart and reveal what I find there through my writing.

And I believe this was written for you.

I came across this essay written seven years ago and felt it’s message was not only timeless but somehow impeccably timed for today, given recent events. It’s message of hope, I felt, was no less strident or believable in light of those events, but perhaps more urgently needed. And so, after a few minor edits, I decided to share it with you.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Tragedy comes in all sizes and weights. We who count ourselves lucky when we hear of someone else’s misfortune pretend the distance between their world and ours is far enough to keep us safe. But we are fooling ourselves. We can’t cut our boat adrift so easily. We can ignore the smaller ripples, but there are some of such magnitude we occasionally find ourselves holding onto the gunwales with feverish intensity.

Such a tragedy occurred days ago in a Connecticut town that could have easily been any of dozens here in Massachusetts. It was a tragedy that knocked on every door, and louder on those behind which a child could be found. A child thankfully alive, aware perhaps of the looming presence of the holidays but of little else. Behind those same doors you would also find parents stricken by their own form of grief; a grief ironically tied to treasures they still possessed, which now seemed so at risk. Parents now painfully attuned to the vagaries of Fate that could so cruelly—and so quickly—take precious children from their lives.

All of us share the grief of the families, witnesses and survivors, and of the broken lives left behind in the wreckage of one young man’s unfathomable expression of rage. And if there was anything we could do to lighten their burden, we would do it in a flash.

The Newtown shootings was a tragedy of boat rocking proportions. It reminded us—as Sandy did in a much less personal way—how vulnerable we are, and how dependent we are on one another to make this world a better place in which to live and raise our children. But ripples travel both ways on the surface of the pond. Who can say, but perhaps this tragedy might have been averted, had one human being scaled the shooter’s walls, touching his life with ripples of love and healing vibrations. Offering him a better role model than the kill-crazy heroes in video games. Offering him love and kindness to offset the hate.

All that we do—all that we are—send out ripples in the pond. Tragedies send out their own ripples; and there is no way we can avoid being touched by them, nor should we want to.  All we can do is steer a true course, and keep our eyes focused on those who rightfully share the waters in which we live. 

And, yes, keep sending out ripples of love and kindness.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Secret Life of the American Leaf

NOTE: The following is an excerpt from Paul Steven Stone’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Occult Home Sciences.

Honored Dignitaries and Members of the Swedish Academy:

Much has been written about the drop pattern of the American Leaf (see Stern’s “Up To My Sternum in Autumn,” Windblown Press, 2003) but prior to my research it was firmly believed Leafus Americanus fell but once a season.

Tdoay of course, we know each leaf falls not once but on many occasions. Ironically, it was a casual remark by my lovely lab assistant and wife at the time that ultimately led to my breakthrough discovery. She was lying on the living room couch, if I recall rightly, examining oval blisters on both her lovely palms. Upon my suggestion that she return to our yard and continue raking leaves, she replied, “You should live so long. I’ll wait till after they refall.”

“Refall?” I said to myself. “Refall?” The word echoed and re-echoed through my mind. “Was it possible?” I asked myself. “Could leaves actually fall more than once?”

Within minutes I organized a press gang of laboratory assistants (my three children) and together we began the torturous process of marking all the remaining leaves in our yard with my name. Afterwards, leaving my assistants to dispose of the test specimens in the woods behind our house, I went inside to pursue a parallel investigation I’d been conducting on the National Football League.

The first returns on our efforts were quite dispiriting. Although a voluminous colony of leaves did reappear on my property, and the trees above remained as starkly bare of their leaves as before, none of the new arrivals bore any of our test markings. Chagrined, I went into the woods and measured the piles of our marked specimens, surprisingly discovering they had diminished quite dramatically in height.

Here then was a double mystery. Not only could I not account for the new leaves on my lawn, I was at a loss to explain the apparent disappearance of many of my test subjects.

A week later both mysteries were solved with a single phone call, the first of many I would later receive.

“You Paul S. Stone?” the caller asked; he appeared to be breathing heavily and short of breath at the same time, which produced a most ominous sounding intake and release of air. Assured that I was indeed Paul S. Stone, he began displaying a limited vocabulary of expletives, most of which he was forced to repeat once or twice in the length of that brief phone call. He ended the call with terse suggestions as to what I might do with all the leaves I had dumped upon his property.

At last the breakthrough I had been seeking! And it was more startling than I could ever have hoped. For not only had my leaves fallen again, as my wife suggested they might, but they had actually travelled two and a half miles to do so. Later phone calls confirmed the discovery, revealing migratory patterns that ranged as far away as six miles from the test site. The threats and foul language I endured from my callers, however, were far more limited in their range, a sad testimony I fear to the failings of our educational system.

You’ll be pleased to hear my research continues, and before long I expect to publish preliminary findings that will cause all of us to reassess our beliefs about the sex life of Leafus Americanus.

All I can say at present is that the little fellow is surprisingly promiscuous.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

They Do The Hokey-Pokey

Will somebody please show John Boehner how to negotiate in good faith! If I have to look at that flap-mouth crybaby accuse President Obama of not playing fairly one more time, I’m out of here. Perhaps to Russia or the Middle East where leaders really know how to kick ass and take names.

John, it’s just like that kid’s dance, The Hokey-Pokey; first you put your right hand in…but, what…? Yes, John, you snatch it back in the song, that’s true, but we’re negotiating here, not really dancing. Okay, now put that right hand back in again. And tell yourself, “I can do this. I can compromise.” Okay, John, now you shake it all about! Only instead of just shaking your right hand you shake someone else’s right hand. Come on, John, really shake it! As if you were out fundraising, rattling upside-down millionaires for the change in their pockets.

Almost there, John. All that’s left is to say, “Yes, I agree,” and look like you mean it.

And now you get to sing, “That’s what it’s all about!”

Enough with the shaking, John. Perhaps if you moved closer to the bargaining table you might actually be able to reach someone else’s hand. You just have to accept the fact Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan really did lose the election and that taxes will definitely have to go up for all your rich friends.

Sorry, John. Yes, the Koch Brothers may need to shut down one of their many soup kitchens, or reduce their annual contributions to the Sierra Club and PBS once they starting paying those additional few million in taxes.

Good thing this is finally happening, John. If we wait any longer we might have to start killing off the poor, the elderly, the infirm. Which I guess is just the Grand Old Party's way of doing the Hokey-Pokey. Now, instead, you get to reach out and grab yourself a chunk of responsibility for doing what’s right, John, and what’s obviously been right for a long time. Talk about turning yourself around!

If you don't mind my saying it, John—That’s what it’s all about!