Worldwide Ace

Because a true Ace is needed everywhere…

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June 17, 2015 (8:56 am) | Philosophy, Politics, Social Commentary

It seems so easy for me to recognize inequality.

I glare at it, letting it foment in my self-righteousness, until such a point that it’s out of sight or I explode. I’m not alone in this. There isn’t that pause of, “Hmm, ok, now what?” The formula is simply See it, Get angry, Act; a visceral emotional reaction.

This is not one of those times.

It must suck to be Rachel Dolezal right now. Her statement stepping down as president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane listed off some of the things she and the organization feel she accomplished in that position. Unfortunately, her accomplishments and the work she’s done for equal rights is a footnote to the conversation, much in the same way the public’s strange and divided reaction is a footnote to the conversation, one which is more worthy of examination than Dolezal’s identity.

For all the discussion about her actions and how they pertain to race, equality, privilege and America’s shifting sense of social justice, what we’ve really been given is not another scandal to rail against, but an opportunity to examine our own motives and reactions to race, identity, and equality. The conversation has hardly been as divisively divided as many others to which I’ve been party, nor have the arguments and discussions been full of the angry vitriol indicative of political and racial discussions in the past. The civility is a good sign, indicating that all sides feel conflicted and confused, and most people are unsure whether to be angry, sympathetic, or simply indifferent.

Perhaps I’m reading too deeply, but I see a lot of other reactions, ones I didn’t expect, hidden beneath the surface. Some supporters of Dolezal, who argue that she should be able to choose her identity or, to a greater degree, her race, have smatterings of hope: hope that race is on its way to losing its significance; hope that people can be accepting of all lifestyle choices; hope, selfishly yet reasonably, that they can rise above their own societal hurdles. On the other side, detractors show elements of caring and preservation, often arguing not exclusivity, but a culture of respect.

What’s most fascinating to me is that both sides, despite differences in what they say on the surface, are arguing for equality.

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Throw your hat in the ring.

Certainly, Madame

May 30, 2015 (6:48 am) | Women

The first time you broke up with me, it caught me off guard.

It didn’t really register at all at first. Not in the moment. You said the words—kind, sweet, logical words that cited equality and fairness—but I wasn’t really listening to your words. I heard you, your words seared into my subconscious, but I was too busy holding you, feeling your hands on my body, kissing you, crying with you, and our hearts pounding.

I nodded and agreed, too distracted by everything I was seeing and hearing and feeling to listen. I kissed you goodbye, letting our lips linger too long, letting my hands flow magnetically toward you as you pulled away, letting my eyes follow you as you drove away. I walked back inside and began searching my room. I caressed the silhouette you left lying there, feeling the still warm outline of your body as I made the bed. I missed you immediately, even though you hadn’t truly left yet. And then I replayed your words and I realized how stupid I had been to nod and agree, to not really listen.

I listened then, as you boarded a plane and flew away. I listened as I went to work and ate and did all the things that were expected of me. I listened, though you were no longer speaking and I could no longer argue and the moment had passed.

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Throw your hat in the ring.

Magnetic Mummery – Psychedelic Sky

May 29, 2015 (6:00 am) | Magnetic Mummery, Poetry

Magnetic Poetry 3

Psychedelic sky:
an orange canvas full of
shimmering purple smoke;
a flood of sable mist
in an enormous blue aquarium;
a soaring forest of light
that leaves delicate color silhouetted above.

See the other poems here.

Throw your hat in the ring.

Magnetic Mummery – Only Words

May 28, 2015 (6:00 am) | Magnetic Mummery, Poetry

Magnetic Poetry 2

I write,

and through language
paint a symphony electric,
elaborate rhythms,
raw surreal honey.

By experiment, I perform passion,
create vision,
whisper power,
produce monuments.

And yet my art is only ink and metaphor…

See the other poems here.

One hat in the ring.

Magnetic Mummery – A Beautiful Spirit

May 27, 2015 (6:00 am) | Magnetic Mummery, Poetry

A Beautiful Spirit

Never did she lust after his repulsive form,
how ugly, old and weak he appeared.

But through watching him,
a sweet angel,
wild and free,
it pleased her.

It incubated beneath an eternity,
lathered under moments of bitter beauty.

It did not make sense.
Why him? Why then?

She’d never before felt a love like this.
Was it true love?
Could they be together at all?
Or must she suffer the fiery ache of passion always?

See the other poems here.

One hat in the ring.

Magnetic Mummery – Introduction

May 26, 2015 (6:39 pm) | Magnetic Mummery, Poetry


“I think you may the only person in the world who can claim that a refrigerator is your greatest tableau,” he says.

“Umm, thanks?”

“I mean, seriously,” he says, turning to the rest of our cohort. “You need to check this out. He’s a wizard with magnetic poetry. We’re not talking the hackneyed innuendo most people slap together. I mean honesty good poetry.”

The masses filter into the small aisle of my galley kitchen, hovering around the inset icebox. I avert my eyes, at once proud and utterly embarrassed, staying huddled in my chair at the table.

“I mean, isn’t this good? I think you missed your calling, Ben.”

“Perhaps,” I say, trying to dismiss the uncomfortable attention.

“You have a gift for rearranging preexisting words on cold, white metal,” he says.

“Imagine what he could do with AlphaBits cereal,” one of the peanut gallery chimes in.

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2 hats in the ring.

The Gravity of the Situation

May 13, 2015 (8:23 am) | Creativity, Women


I am a comet.

I hurtle around and around, my orbit static, the same, over and over, past brilliant stars, beautiful plants, incredible belts of asteroids and nebulae that paint a rainbow so full of every color the human eye can’t perceive them all. And then I start anew, passing brilliant stars, beautiful planets, and the same old same old until I stop noticing how amazing the universe is, every revolution pretty much identical.

The universe, however, is not static. The stars and planets and nebulae and asteroids are all hurtling through space, all rotating at their own rate. And though things may look identical to me, there are small changes, the minutiae of time, that make every pass just a little different, a little closer to this planet, a little further from that one.

I don’t know how it happened, how my orbit and yours ended up passing close enough that our gravity intertwined, but there I was, minding my own business, just orbiting peacefully, when I crashed into you. It could’ve been a moment or an eternity we were there, together, so close that we seemed almost binary, spinning apart and together again and again. And then suddenly, I was back, spinning through space on my own, a lone comet on a new and unknown orbit.

The planets look different now. The stars, the distant galaxy clusters, the asteroid belts, they all seem strange and foreign and not at all the familiar hum drum norm. The Doppler shift is different, colors twisting and ebbing, signals bouncing off me in new and strange ways, each novel, wonderful, scary.

You’ve left me spinning out of control, a celestial body whose influence I didn’t see coming and couldn’t avoid. I don’t know where I’m going anymore. I don’t recognize the landscape, though in many ways its familiar. And I keep hoping that on the other side of the next planet on the left, I’ll find myself spinning close to you, sucked in by the gravity of the situation.

Though I know you don’t want to believe it, you’ve changed my trajectory forever.

4 hats in the ring.

The Impurity of Sport

October 13, 2014 (7:52 am) | Media, Politics, Social Commentary, Sports

Last Spring, I quit football. To be honest, I quit caring about professional sports altogether. I decided I had better and more productive ways to use my time than researching, watching, and discussing institutions that provide me no benefit besides easy conversation fodder.

It wasn’t until the third week of the NFL season that someone actually tried to converse about football with me. “Hey, check out how my fantasy players are doing,” was the gist of it. It wasn’t until midway through the ALCS that I even knew baseball had reached the playoffs. For the most part, my exodus from sports was thorough and perfect. Of course, given the domestic violence scandals in the NFL and the rape scandals in college, it’s not as if professional sports has fallen completely off my radar.

Enter last night. A friend of mine, with whom I used to play fantasy football, passed along this article in the New York Post tying the cover up of domestic violence to Spygate, the 2007 cheating scandal by the New England Patriots.

The story strikes me as unfortunate. Not only does it draw attention away from the domestic violence issue rather than toward it, it tries to pin the origins on Spygate.
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3 hats in the ring.


October 9, 2014 (5:55 pm) | Social Commentary

I think I’ve finally figured out why I can’t recycle: my roommate doesn’t like to see how much she drinks.

When I get home after work, she tends to vanish at the sight of me, jerking upright from the couch with wide, deer-in-headlight eyes, something clutched to her chest as she scurries in the opposite direction. Before I can take off my shoes and set my things down, her bedroom door is closing or she’s outside in the darkness on the porch where cigarette butts and old cans get hidden away. Some nights, she reappears a minute or two later, talking rapid fire as if I’m the audience for her verbal diarrhea. Some nights, she acts like a prairie dog, her head popping in and out of her room, seemingly waiting for me to settle in my own.

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2 hats in the ring.

A Pressing Engagement

September 22, 2014 (12:08 pm) | Beer, Travelogue


“Yeah,” Josh laughs. “That’s some serious bite, huh?”

I take another sip of his hard cider. To be honest, it isn’t so much cider anymore as it is an apple wine. The potency is through the roof, the flavor divine, and I can only think about how awesome it would be to try to make my own.

“So how’d you make this?”

“A community cider pressing. Want me to let you know next time we do it?”

“Umm, yes!”

It takes a village to make an incredible cider.
A panoramic view of the entire pressing operation.

See all my photos from the pressing here.

My eyes dart back and forth, looking for the yellow barn.

“It should be around here somewhere,” Brad says as we tool down the little highway through the north of Longmont.

“You mean that one?” I ask, spotting the small army toiling away. “With all the people, loads of apples, and strange-looking machines?”

“Oh, it’s right there,” he replies, stepping on his brakes to make the turn.

We pull in with an SUV loaded with empty barrels, gaskets and airlocks for the fermentation process, knowing that Brad, Erin, Josh, Laura and friends had picked a mass of apples the previous weekend with cider in mind. None of the 900 pounds of apples laid out in row upon row of bushels are theirs, meaning this is a larger operation than I had anticipated.

I snap a photo or two with my phone, a less than stellar, but ample alternative to bringing a mass of equipment, and weave my way through the heart of the operation to find Josh.

“Hey!” Josh calls as I approach. “Want to tag in and take over at the press so I can find my lovely wife?”

“Umm, sure,” I say, unsure of what I’m getting myself into. “Just show me what to do.”

And just like that, I join the fray.

My Six Degrees of Cider Separation starts with my good friend Josh. Josh, who grew up split between Colorado and Vermont, is a virtual homesteading renaissance man. His family owns a quarry in Lyons, and he’s slowly rebuilding his flood damaged log cabin home by hand with the help of friends and family.

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One hat in the ring.

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