Would you rather get flattery or gifts?

Doing favors for others guilts them into reciprocating. It’s hardwired, or maybe it’s learned, but regardless, it’s behavioral science.

It leads me to think about my partners’ gifts to me, because their flattery is hard to recall.

One partner left a meaningful book, The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Another left a tiny, gold-plated picture frame with three words simply scrawled in pen on white paper: “I love you”

Another, a heartfelt note.

Another, a battery-powered, vibrating cock-ring…admittedly, that was mutually-beneficial.

The point being…does the sentimental value of the gift matter if you don’t have any memorable compliments?

Which holds more significance?

Why you have a role-model…even if you don’t


(30 seconds to read)

As a representative for the transgender community. Bruce Jenner emerged as ‘Woman of the Year’, from the dysfunctional Kardashian family reality TV series.

As a representative for the disadvantaged black person trying to be successful, Michael Brown becomes a martyr, his parents brought up on stage by Hillary at her campaign rally after their son is  killed by law enforcement when he robbed a store and assaulted a police officer.

And as a representative of the patriotic, working class American, Donald Trump is elected: a mega-businessman who gets into twitter fights with people who challenge him, who observes that a female reporter’s criticisms of him are because of her period, who believes climate change is a hoax perpetuated by China.

Welcome to 2016 America.

Who is your role-model? Choose. Or society will choose for you.

They’re all my trees. They’re all your trees.


“When you go out into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever.

And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.

The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying, ‘You’re too this, or I’m too this.’ That judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”

They’re all my trees.
They’re all your trees.

A year from now…


The days slip by
They never return you know

But you don’t.

Or else why live in delay,

Anticipating the better time?

Why live looking back

In regret

Outside of time
And not in the actual?

Because a year from now, you will wish you would have started today.

Life: His and Hers

“Health insurance is a scam,” he said. “I refuse to purchase this useless farce.”

He set down the enrollment papers and looked at her.

“What? You are not.” she rolled her eyes.

“Nope,” he said. “Don’t need it. I am strong. Like bull.”

“Bull is right” she snapped, then went on. “Now, I don’t think you need it if you’re healthy and take care of yourself-”

He came to attention, his eyes focused on hers, “YES.” He paused, contemplating her. “You know?.. you are so sexy when you make sense.”

She rolled her eyes again: “BUT… you need health insurance in case there’s an ACCIDENT.”

He grew distant. She was no longer recognizing the appreciation he was giving.  “Leave me,” he said simply.

She had a look of confusion. He explained: “Leave me there. At the accident. No hospital, none of that technology that only extends our life into dementia and incontinence. What a terrible place to be, so confused that I’m unable to wipe my drawers after I shit myself!”

She shook her head, “The technology is there to save your young, dumb life. And you can’t refuse care if you’re hurt. They’re obligated to give you care-”

“WHAT KIND OF AUTHORITARIANISM ARE WE LIVING IN TODAY?” he burst out, making her flinch and then look at him, tired and disgusted.

He saw her reaction but rambled on, “A man just can’t be left alone to die? Why are we forcing unwanted medical procedures on our citizens?!”

She sighed, “We live in a society now. So you need to leave the cave and join us in this century.”

“I’ll tell you what all this health care is, at its core…” he leaned in like he had a secret gem he was revealing. She opened her mouth to cut in, but instead of her voice out came his:

“Health care is a system of manipulation…by the owners,” he proclamation.

“You’re a weirdo,” she responded, and started checking her fingernails.

“No, it’s true,” he was adamant. “All the industrialists, you know, the BIG ones. Multinational, international, the powers that be…It’s an elite club. And they want only one thing.” He paused.

She allowed herself to be drawn in: “And what’s that?”

He answered, “To make sure they stay on top, of course.”

She shook her head and took out her phone. She raised it above her head, checking angles on a selfie. He ignored this and went on, “…even those in government. They want to make us think we need them, so they force us to have insurance.”

She had settled upon the optimum angle for her selfie, and conjured up a seductive smile. He continued,  “…across every continent. The leaders in each major sector, they are all synchronized,” and this is where he brought his hands together and interlaced his fingers to put a finer point to it:

“They’re organized into a net, no, a web, that goes across everything, from government to business…They both know it’s far better to squeeze as much capital out of the workers, basically, to keep them busy working….then health care is there to provide them the healthy worker to keep everything going. Bring them in to work, clock in, releasing ownership over their lives. You know… to the overlords. And then they clock out, obediently, because the checks they get are like a bribe, a little treat, like a mouse running in a laboratory maze.”

She finally gave him her full attention and snapped, “Are you serious now?” It was a stern reprisal, like for a dog that peed on a rug…a rug that really tied the room together.

He was brimming with righteousness at the injustices of modern society, and then his face softened, “I don’t want to live past my prime. So, as a preemptive message to you, before I get too old to make my desires clear:” he paused, and then, “I’m dying with my boots on.”

“Your boots…?” she said with genuine wonder at what he meant. She asked, “Who ARE you?”

“What, you’re not impressed by my act?” he said with raised eyebrow. “I’m an entertainer,” he stressed the word, entertainer. A giggle escaped her lips.

“See, I do this because I know you enjoy it,” he smiled and reached out to pull her close to him.

She smiled and let him. “I do like it,” she said quietly.

He brought her face close to his and very slowly kissed her, then let his lips hover just out of reach of hers, so that they felt the heat of their breath on each other’s faces.

He said softly, “Actually… I love doing it. It doesn’t matter who it is I’m with.”

She pulled back, and then leaned in to push him forcefully with both hands. Her eyes were indignant but her mouth twisted into a smile.

“You’re a dick,” she said, and got up and walked away.

“What…?” he called after her. “You’d said you wanted honesty!”

Sides don’t evolve

I don’t like choosing sides
They’re fixed and oppressive,
positioned perfect in their face-off
across space to counter the other.
Separated by sharp edges
sides angled at the other sides.

But I prefer no edges
and instead a happy sphere
Moving easily over the bumps.
A sphere, smooth and continuous,
integrating all observations thoughtfully.
This is how life is made.

What is truly right?
always done, every time?
Few things.
Life is a myriad of situations,
some when selfish force is justified,
some when patience
and turning the other cheek is better.

Yet we find ourselves on some side
because sides are clear and easy
and require only reaction
rather than thought.

Our side has reassuring dimensions,
in a dimensionless world
with infinite variables and contexts.
Sides give us order from chaos
so we may live simply.

But sides don’t work
when you’re trying to move,
when you’re trying to progress.
Sides don’t work when you’re trying to evolve.

Some consideration for the zombies…


The chill came upon us. It was gripping, demanding attention. The Fall…it takes you to

another place…you’re transformed…spirit moved by the cold.

I feel the air, and I get energy from the absence of energy.  I think of hiking through red and orange forests. I think of soft blankets, and cold nights sharing my warmth with another’s body intertwined with mine. I think of sipping dark, boozy beers, huddled around glowing yellow fire pits, staring through clear skies at diamond-like stars which may no longer exist…and wondering when humanity will reach them, and whether I will be alive to see it.

There’s more depth in this season.

The cold stirs you up, it brings your biology to attention, to generate warmth, to take responsibility, to keep you living! In the summer you deflect energy, cooling yourself as you bask in the warmth provided to you. And then it’s gone, and you’re left to create your own fire. And that’s what life is…Generating your own thing.

Putting something forward, making an effort, caring, promoting, motivating, loving. This is your energy going out into the world, communicated honestly, and without fear. This is life. This is our place. Look at where the equator runs, and you can see that society blossomed in the colder climates instead, not where the heat of the equator resonates.

How is it that the Fall is enlivening me while all around I watch the life of the natural world begin to shrivel and fade? As the earth leans away from the sun and we are left to power ourselves, with our own fire, a fire which is always there… if we want to use it…when we find something worth caring about more than ourselves.

The obstacle is the way


(30 second read)

Everyone is desperate for something. And that’s where their weakness is.

Whether desperate for a mate, a job, a car, shoes, sex, or simply control over everything…this is where our weakness is, because this is what lowers our quality of life.

Desperation is anxiety that gnaws at your happiness. It distracts you from the things going on in your life. Anxiety degrades your immune system and ages your body prematurely.

But a little desperation?…That will motivate. It prevents complacency, and poverty, and loneliness. It drives you to GET SOME…to support yourself, to get the income you deserve and the beautiful relationships that make life worth living.

Ryan Holiday said, “The obstacle is the way.” Where is your obstacle…that leaves you wanting, but never satisfied? This is your way to satisfaction. Sounds like a silly paradox, but it’s not.

What’s silly is not addressing what ails you.