Loch Ness in Scotland ("Loch" is the traditional Scottish word for "lake".) spans nearly the width of the nation, flowing diagonally between the Northern Highlands and Southern Highlands. The lingering rumor that a prehistoric creature that lives in the Loch, an aquatic monster of the Dinosaur-type--nicknamed "Nessie" by the locals--has supported a lucrative tourist-trade for generations, based on mostly discredited photos from the 1930s.

Few people believe in the creature now, or worry that a visit to the Loch poses any danger to them, other than the wind and the cold. Mythical creatures help the tourist-trade better than real ones do. People tend to sweep the risk posed by real monsters under the rug, in order to avoid confronting them. Americans prefer safe, paper monsters to real ones.

So I borrowed the popularity of a paper-monster, "Nessie," to lend credence to a real one, an American monster I've dubbed "The Stuck Ness Monster." Stuck Ness works like spiritual quicksand, limiting the nation's response-readiness to important problems, causing hesitation in the face of real danger, and drawing us into an intractable depression that hinders our creative initiative.

If we analyze the "mud" of the Stuck Ness Monster, we will find it contains interesting ingredients: a dictatorial herd-mentality that drains the personal initiative from a person, infectious timidity, and cowardice-infused inertia. It turns people into cattle. They give up and lie down in mud, too tied to group-think to venture out of it.


September 30, 2022

Rolexes and Wealth

I remember the day my eighth-grade teacher arrived at school wearing his new wrist-watch. We saw this guy for the 180 days of the school-year and knew him pretty well--as well as anyone did. We noticed that, among his other mannerisms, he tended to look often at the watch during class. We thought he was keen to know the time on a regular basis. Now, I believe he was just admiring his new watch.

September 28, 2022

Family-life is not a Democracy

I ran into a problem yesterday when I returned to Germany. On my first evening, I wanted to slake my thirst for German beer, big-time! So I ordered a liter-serving right off the bat; but I knew I also wanted some wine and ordered a carafe of it, as well. Shamefully, I have to admit to not finishing either. I slaked my thirst, but had to leave some of it undrunk. I hate wasting anything, but I had work to do and wanted to operate on all my cylinders.

September 24, 2022

Violence in the Real

This article appeared last July in the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, by the newspaper's expert on hip-hop music, Florentin Schuhmacher. He regards gangsta-rap, and its sub-genre Drill, as a legitimate art-form. He can understand the reservations that law enforcement, parents, and teachers have toward music that glorifies gang-life, describes the rush of killing one's enemies, the pleasure of drugs—as a source of wealth—and demeaning women; but Schumacher also says the police cannot simply censor it. They must distinguish between art and criminal acts, shooings, and robberies.

Lloyd Bowers


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