Author Archives: chamclowda


I wonder if all of civilization could be dropped onto a finite set of floating stairs, of which at every moment there is an upward-leading step that is in a state of construction, and with the rather inconvenient caveat that all new construction material must come from that same staircase’s bottom step.

For some the primary debate would then be over how much time to give to society’s “stragglers”, those having the most difficulty ascending from that one bottom step before we make the decision to destroy it. And I for one would not envy the messenger tasked with notifying these folks, that their time – has – run – out.

For others, priority would center upon the reallocation of a few step engineers into the construction of noiseless headphones. Their hope would be to provide their fellows (and themselves) a reliable method with which to filter from their lives the screams of those who plummet.

Still others would boldly claim that there should be NO reason to do anything but wait. Wait then wait, for the entirety of civilization to advance at the very least to the second step from the bottom. Now, in a finite population some might agree that such an argument has merit. But inevitably, other types of others would point to the incoming babies and immigrants, just then parachuting onto this finite staircase. Occasionally, some might start to ask why they’re insisting upon coming here, without quite realizing that their arrival never was artificially planned or predicted. Gravity tends to draws in those who seek safety, like a mother’s embrace.

Tragically, one day, some unfortunate soul will parachute in, onto the bottom step, and accidentally “bump” another equally unfortunate soul off of the staircase. At this point, I could imagine nearby witnesses panicking briefly, then taking stock of their own position on the stair. Many of them will begin to look upward, to see who they might themselves displace in order to protect themself. The ones on the second step will look upwards themselves, and so and so forth, until finally I give up trying to make sense of the madness infecting our world these days, and go to bed.

Special Day

Me: What do you feel like for lunch today?
Wife: I don’t know, what do you feel like?
Me: Anything you like, it’s your special day!
Wife: Ooh there’s that new Italian restaurant…
Me: The one that opened near the coffee shop on Main? Fantastic idea!
Wife: Oh no I meant a different one, near the Safeway.
Me: Hmm, well are you SURE you want to try something that might not be that good, on your special day? Maybe we should stick with something that you know you’ll like…
Wife: Good point, how about that sushi place I love?
Me: Ooh great idea, the one right across from Main, right?
Wife: Uh, that’s omakase only, and the kids can’t handle omakase.
Me: That’s true, that’s true. Well, how about if I run out for some poke, maybe run an errand first, and then bring it home? That way you can relax at home with the kids.
Wife: Um. Well I was thinking the sushi near the haircut place, that we usually go to…
Me: Well that’s not really S-P-E-C-I-A-L, and you deserve special. What about that Mediterranean place on Main, the one right next to the coffee shop?
Wife: Doesn’t our son hate hummus?
Me: Well it’s YOUR day, not his. I say we go.
Wife: I don’t really feel like getting into a two hour standoff with our kid today. What about Korean BBQ?
Me: Well there’s no good Korean BBQ places near…oh wait what about pizza?
Wife: …which pizza did you have in mind?
Me: Maybe the “make your own pizza” chain, you know the ones the kids love?
Wife: …you mean the one on Main?
Me: Oh that’s right, they have one right in that plaza, don’t they?
Wife: …it’s next to your favorite coffee shop.
Me: That is true. I hadn’t thought of that!
Me: …sound good then?

Beautiful Smile

The true joy of a smile isn’t in the smile itself, but in the transition to that smile from a neutral state.

That’s why my son’s requests for cookies are always met with a firm “No”, followed by “OK OK stop whining!”

Brain surgeon

If I were to be told today that I’m now a brain surgeon, and then also told that I won’t get to be anything other than a brain surgeon for another four years, then I suppose the first thing I’d do is procrastinate. A lot.

First I’d brag about how I somehow bypassed all formal training and education to get to here, until one of the nurses finally tells me to shut up, then literally drags me to my first operation.

Then I’d yell something like “I’m good at this!” (hoping it’s true) before flailing around aimlessly in an repressed state of panic. Maybe turn some knobs on the anesthesia equipment. Maybe hold the defibrillators to my chest and make an inappropriate joke. Maybe surf the news or tweet from my phone until someone asks me why I’m bringing unsterilized devices into an operating room. I might lash out at that nurse for speaking to me, the brain surgeon, in such a rude way. You know, to buy myself more time.

Then, after seeing that others are still watching, and waiting, I might pitifully whisper that “surgery is a lot harder than I expected,” vainly hoping for someone to come over with a hug. And maybe hope for that someone to say “aww, well then let me take over for you.”

Eventually, it’ll become fairly obvious that I just can’t pick up that scalpel, not when a precious life is at stake. So I’d probably wind up nobly apologizing to the room, before resigning from my position. Everyone would applaud me for having the courage and conviction and self-awareness to realize my own limitations.

Afterwards I’d celebrate my decision with a glass of scotch, and then maybe hit the links.

Daniel Tiger fanboy

Just wanted to mention how much I’ve appreciate all of the invaluable social and problem-solving lessons that Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood has brought into our modest household. Lessons like (cue music):

1. When your kid won’t stop yelling, then let’s watch Daniel Tiger!
2. When your kid won’t eat veggies, then let’s stop watching Daniel Tiger!
3. When your kid says he loves you, then let’s watch Daniel Tiger!
4. When your kid says he hates you, then let’s stop watching Daniel Tiger!
5. When your kid wakes you up at 6:00 AM, then let’s make believe we’re still asleep!

Cheers, an original sitcom

Setting: A bar in Boston


• Bill Malone – Owner and bartender of Cheers. Laid back and notorious for smooth-talking women. But deep down, his kind and generous heart makes him tremendously loyal to both his friends and his bar.

• Hilary Chambers – Sophisticated, upper-class academic with an on/off relationship with Bill Malone. Has initial difficulty identifying herself with her bar patrons due to her somewhat snobbish personality. Leaves the bar scene to pursue other interests, but not before her tremendous heart affords her a terrific fresh perspective on life.

• George “Coach” Pantusso – A slightly senile co-bartender, easily deceived and let into undesirable situations, which often put the bar at stake. But deep down, his tremendous heart endears him to his friends, and his terrific love for the bar can only be described as amazing.

• Ronald Peterson – A bar regular, popular and always ready to engage difficult situations with a perfectly timed quip. His tremendous, terrific heart makes him so classy and amazing that everyone yells his first name whenever he enters the room.

• Jimmy Clavin – Often ridiculed for his honest yet unwelcome observations, this know-it-all bar regular is often found reciting facts that nobody wants to hear. Though fellow bar patrons will never admit it his bigly, beautiful nature makes him a classy and tremendously amazing member of their terrific inner circle.

• Barack Crane – The bar’s resident psychiatrist with a soothing voice and an analytical mind, he is the calm, ever-present voice of reason that his friends rely on for guidance. But though his fantastic, tremendously terrific advice might sometimes lead to bigly shenanigans, beautiful and amazing people still love him for his classy heart.

• George W Boyd – Somewhat clueless bartender with close ties to Coach, his predecessor. Often misunderstands conversations in the room, but has good intentions overall. Similar to his beautiful, classy predecessor, possesses a tremendous, bigly heart that is fantastically reflected in his amazing, terrific faith in friends.

• Donald Colcord – Multi-millionaire industrialist, plotting a hostile takeover of the company which owns the bar.

• Ivanka Howe – Strong and independent. Has an initial relationship with Donald Colcord, but in light of Donald Colcord’s eventual arrest and prison sentence, realizes that she’s in actually love with an American plumber. Discovers an amazing willingness to reach hugely across class divides in a tremendous way, to give her fantastic, bigly heart to a classy lower-income American, thereby proving that she’s a tremendous member of the beautiful, terrific Cheers family.

Wall budget

Can we all agree that $2 billion just isn’t enough to build a truly effective wall, considering the extraneous expenses? Here’s possibly a better breakdown of what’s needed:

  • $5 billion for wall construction
  • $2 billion for moat construction
  • $1 billion for longbow archers recruitment + training
  • $500 million for research into hot pitch defense technology
  • $500 million for research into catapult counter-measures
  • $500 million for secret underground dungeons sustainable organic vegetable gardens
  • $100 million for Trump tower remodel discretionary spending