Work in Progress

Lee is currently at work on a book of essays titled (facetiously) A Practical Guide to Everyday Living. Herewith a sample.

Introduction

If you’re looking for a book that will lift your spirits and make you feel good about just being you, quick: put this one back on the shelf before

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Presidential Politics

Character does count. But character doesn’t mean compressing all the bad things a candidate has done over the past forty years onto a sheet of paper and toting

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Making Tough Decisions

You’re facing a difficult choice. It could be an ethical dilemma, or a business decision, whatever. You’ve gotten all the input and advice you can, and now

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Whom to Blame

When you feel compelled to start railing against something, screaming and yelling about how things really ought to change, consider for a moment whom you are addressing.

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Degrees of Freedom: Playing Games with Justice

Many of you may be familiar with a game that has been sweeping the Left Coast for about two years called “Six Degrees

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In a Restaurant

You’re in a restaurant with a dozen friends. Your waiter (sorry: your server, Trevor) just finished spending ten minutes taking down everybody’s order. When he’s supposedly all through

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In a Restaurant, Part Two

Are you the kind of person who doesn’t like giving money to street-beggars because they provide no service to you (other than disappearing when you

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Teach Your Children Well

We tend to teach things to children in terms of absolutes. This is because we think they’re too dumb to grasp nuance. That’s why our teachings

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Medical Risk

If you’re like most people, when you hear on the local news report that drinking faloopi juice triples your chances of contracting Schmeckheimer’s liver disease, it sounds like

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Local News

This is a simple one: Don’t watch local television news. Ever. Maybe the weather if you really must, but there are much better ways to get weather without

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God

I don’t believe there is a more profound question than whether or not there is a God. Yet people insist on asking each other this enormously complex question in

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The Ugliest Words in the English Language

I think the ugliest words in the English language are these: “Sometimes you just have to have a little faith.” Offhand, I can’t

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Using Critics

Do you have time to see every movie, read every book, listen to every music album and attend every play? That’s 250 movies, 53,000 books, 6,000 music albums

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Technology

If you’re like most people, you’re probably in a whirlwind of confusion about the extraordinary pace of technology. You might even be afraid to buy a computer because you

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Playing the Lottery

If you enjoy a little gambling, and think it’s fun to buy a couple bucks worth of lottery tickets every week and win five dollars back once

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Intuition

Many people tell you to trust your intuition. Is this a good idea? Listen to this: Suppose you have a sack of potatoes that weighs 100 pounds (not including

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Athletes Endorsing Products

I’ve been doing a lot of mouthing off, so let me ask you all a question: Do you really believe athletes endorse products because they think they’re

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Existential Agony

Did you ever wonder who it was out there who was feeling all those things that we as humans supposedly all feel, except that you don’t feel that

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The Internet

Another easy one. If you don’t yet own a computer with access to the Internet, now would be a very good time to get yourself on-line. This is

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Spin

Pretty much everything you hear out of official Washington, or your state capital or from your Congressman, has on it what’s known as spin. Here’s some evidence: Government officials at

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Operant Definitions

Fancy term. Simple concept. The operant definition is a cornerstone of the scientific method. Its purpose is to prevent spin. It means this: If you do an experiment,

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Objective News Reporting

As long as we’re on the subject of subjective opinions and professional critics, let’s take a moment to look at objectivity as it applies to news reporting. There’s no

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HEROES – Get ‘Em by the Bagful

The brazen manipulation of perception in America is rarely more in evidence than in our cult of manufactured hero worship. We the people

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The Stock Market – Part 1

I no longer invest in individual stocks. This has partially to do with my distaste for the market as a place where people move

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The Stock Market – Part 2

Okay, I have to be honest here. I left out a little something in Part 1 of this piece, only because I didn’t want

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Why Jonesboro Happened

In late March, 1997, a couple of barely pubescent, misguided youths (sorry: “youths in high-risk situations”) pulled a fire alarm in their middle school, and as their

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How Long Does It Take to Write a Book?

This is one of the questions I get asked most often (along with, “Where do you get your ideas?” and “How

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Marriage & Divorce

How Long Does It Take to Write a Book? You’re probably going to hate this one. The institution of marriage has truly declined in the last few decades, but not

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Marriage & Divorce – Part 2

Forget something in Part 1. I said you shouldn’t split the first time you have an argument, or if one of you loses his

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Limiting Your Dreams

I’m getting pretty tired of hearing fifteen-year old gymnasts, figure skaters and tennis players say… Actually, I’m pretty tired of hearing them say damned near anything. But,

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Whatever Happened to the Five Ws?

onsider these recent headlines and the first paragraph lead-ins: “Native Americans in Bizarre Dispute With Ranch-Owners — On a ridge overlooking this seemingly peaceful

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The Moral High Ground

Last week there was a piece on NPR about the high percentage (50%) of the population on Maui that is on welfare. During the discussion, a

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The War on Drugs – Part I

What do you think we’re fighting when we fight the war on drugs? You think we’re fighting the Medellin cartel? Street pushers? Corrupt

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The War on Drugs – Part II

Having made the case that the War on Drugs cannot be won (see THE WAR ON DRUGS – Part I), do we just give

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The Deadliest Weapons

Suppose I appeared one day and told you about a new form of transportation that would allow people to get from one place to another faster and

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Memo: Disaster Coverage Guidelines

TO: KCRAP News Staff FROM: John “If it bleeds, it leads” Rumplemeyer SUBJECT: Disaster Coverage Guidelines We here at KCRAP generally take great pride on our

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If U Cn Rd Ths, U Cn Gt a Gd Jb

A lot of people try to predict the future. It’s fun, and there’s no downside, because by the time

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Healthcare in America

Here’s the thing: I want my doctor to be rich as hell. I hope she makes an obscene amount of money, drives a Rolls and only works

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The Second Amendment

Some problems are so big and so complicated and so drenched in emotion that we forget sometimes to think critically about them. Even opponents of a point

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Bill & Hillary &…An Impeachment Theory

Everybody else has weighed in with their takes on the Bill & Monica musical, so here’s mine, in the form of a little myth-breaking.

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How Powerful are the Media?

Kind of a cliché, isn’t it…”the power of the media?” Several years ago, a book entitled The Bell Curve hit the shelves and raised one heck of

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God, Part 2: The Problem with Prayer

There are two kinds of prayer. One is the kind in which you contemplate your God. The other is the kind where you

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The Florida Recount

I’m writing this on Sunday, November 19, 2000, the day before the Florida Supreme Court hearing on the recount. I’m telling you this so there’s no question

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Thoughts on 9/11/01 (revised 9/23)

Why do terrorists attack us? While I agree that we need to go after the beast hard and fast, I also feel it imperative that

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Anthrax, Sharks & Probability

We’ve already covered the fact that there is no such thing as objective reporting. What’s worse is when the media perpetuate a self-serving agenda because reporters are

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Returning God to Schools and Government

As stated in an earlier essay (On Critics), I believe it is an important obligation for someone who expresses an opinion to disclose the

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Questioning the Question

“Why don’t you like brussel sprouts?” How many kids have sat in confusion and frustration, struggling to answer that question, because they don’t have the mental wherewithal

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The Religious Fanatic

Religious fanaticism comes not from deep faith, but from a lack of it. What is a religious fanatic, at heart? The fanatic is someone who is convinced

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Tort Reform

A movement known as “tort reform” has been underway in America for a long time now. A “tort” is a legal term referring to (and don’t quote me)

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Priestly Power

Whenever you see evil committed on a grand scale and wonder how such a thing is possible, when the world gnashes its teeth and beats its breast trying

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Spam

Don’t get me wrong: I hate spam. I wouldn’t mind if every spammer on the planet was vaporized overnight. But I don’t blame them for spamming. Not one bit.

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The Most Thankless Job in the World

I’m not really going to write about Hurricane Katrina. It’s hard for me to believe there’s actually anything left to say. What I

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Evolution, Creationism and a Theory of Theory

As long as we’re on the subject of science and theology, here’s a quick little lesson in semantics that you might find useful.

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Civil Rights & Terrorism

There is an interesting debate going on in this country. The question is whether or not susected terrorists should be granted the civil rights available to

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How to Solve California’s Immigration Problem

I get a lot of e-mails from people with political opinions. Some of these are very thoughtful and considered, some are foam-at-the-mouth rants, some are logically

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Censuring the President

One of the things I try to do in these little essays is stay focused. I usually have one point to make, and try to make it

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20/20 Retrospective Hindsight Monday Morning Quarterbacking

This is a piece about avian flu. I’ll get to it in a second. We’re living in an interesting time. I don’t mean that

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Nuclear Strategy

Those of you who have been following the stories about Iran’s nuclear program might find yourselves confused about where you come down on the issue. Me, too. Very

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Immigrants, Part 2: Criminals on the Loose

Criminal Immigrants People who oppose immigration — people like Lou Dobbs of CNN — insist on using the adjective “illegal” whenever the word “immigrants” is used. I guess this is

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Why Computers Will Never Pass the Turing Test

What’s happening when we talk is that my words trigger in you memories of sensations and experiences that you have sensed and

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Jerry Falwell: The Terrorists Were Right

After 9/11, Osama bin Ladn claimed that God had ordained the attacks, America being a hothouse of immorality and sin. All of us in

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The Mexican Wall

You know that wall along our southern border that a lot of Americans want to build to keep Mexicans out? If you’re one of those who wants

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Guest essay: The Comments of Pope Benedict XVI

Note: This is the first piece we’ve ever published that wasn’t written by Lee Gruenfeld. The writer is Roland S. Martin of Creators

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How to Lower Gasoline Prices

Gas prices are higher than they’ve ever been. Oil company profits are higher than they’ve ever been. Doesn’t that just make you angry at those

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