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A veteran journalist's take on such diverse subjects as religion and religious violence, democracy, freedom of expression, sociology, journalism, criticism, travel, philosophy, Southeast Asia, politics,economics, and even parenthood, the supernatural, film criticism, and cooking. Please don't hesitate to participate by starting a comment thread if you have an interest in any of these subjects...or anything else, for that matter... p.write@gmail.com

Sunshine and Lollipops


It’s not in my nature to be all cheerful and optimistic. My experience, as anyone who has read my writing is painfully aware, has provided me with a cynical, somewhat jaundiced view of mankind and the world he has created. (I, after all, coined the aphorism: “a cynic is only what an idealist calls a realist”.)

Nevertheless I think fundamentally I am an idealist. I think my outrage at abuses of rights, man’s essential unkindness to fellow human beings, and other evils in the world stems from an unshakeable belief in humankind’s perfectability.

This all comes to mind at this time, as I break with form to explain, because I am now a father.


Yolanda and I, after weeks of discussion, tears, anxiety, and moral qualms, now have a baby boy. His name is Jake, he’s about 5 months old and I’m going to pick him and Yolanda up tomorrow in Manado.

I suddenly find myself happier, optimistic, and determined to make the world I will one day bequeath to my son a better place.


So here I am…all rainbows and unicorns and thinking about teaching my son to love Mozart, but to be passionate about Beethoven.

To respect and enjoy the Beatles but that the Rolling Stones kick ass.

To know that Bob Dylan was the father of all music that came later.

To want to read philosophy, to think critically, to enjoy solo sports like swimming and hang-gliding, but to engage in team sports like hockey and football.

To recognise that the word “liberal” is a complimentary term.

To like broccoli, and to try oysters even if they look like snot.

That steaks are better very rare.

That there is an aesthetic pleasure in using a fountain pen.

That a dry martini is to be preferred over a Harvey Wallbanger on general principals.

That Ayn Rand is NOT philosophy.

That Groucho WAS a philosopher.

That compromise is not failure, but that betraying principles IS.

That The Three Stooges were geniuses, and Woody Allen tends to be full of himself.

That conensus doesn’t equal correctness.

That Jane Fonda’s greatest achievement was her work in Barbarella.

That Marshal McLuhan really did make sense.


Holy shit, there’s so much to do!

Please wish me luck with tackling the job of parenting for the first time as most of my peers are relaxing into gradparenthood!

We’ll be back to our regular programming next week, when I’m back in town and living in a house that is full of people and even more love!

Patrick, in an out of character moment.

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Comments

  1. I wish you the best joys of fatherhood. Can there be a greater joy? I think not.

  2. Thanks, John. I agree.

    I've never felt as profound and fierce a love for another human being. I find myself aware of every nuance, every detail and every ripple on the surface of my son's existence.

    I'm in grave danger of becoming one of those dweebs who subjects everybody to an endleass series of photos and anecdotes about the baby. I finally understand that drive. Go figure.

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