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A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma...

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    Bedside and the Lord’s Prayer

    Bedside and the Lord’s Prayer

    Those who had a chaotic childhood often have vivid memories of going to bed. There was relief from the confusion and fear of an out-of-control parent but also the silent terror that the combustive anger would continue past being tucked in. For my poor mother, this ritual of bedtime meant that she could legitimately absent herself from the dinner din of my raging and drunken father. For me, it meant feeling her push the sheet and blanket under my mattress, lightly swaddling my tiny form.

    The room was already dark when she arrived, and sometimes an older sibling came…

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    The Gift of Profanity 

    The Gift of Profanity 

    Chris Pratt is as cute as a button, and I thought about as deep. He was in Parks and Rec, lead roles in every cheesy commercially killer movie you can think of from Guardians of the Galaxy to Jurassic World. He married a similarly “perfect” starlet, Anna Faris who spoke openly of her devout feminism and total coolness of her implants.

    But I found out last night Chris Pratt is a human.

    On Saturday he was awarded the “Generation Award” (what?) on this year’s MTV Awards amid hundreds of screaming teens in the audience. He could have done the hip glib troll of…

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    Violence & Faith

    Violence & Faith

    LeBron and Curry are crushing the NBA Finals. The never-anything Washington Capitals and never-before Las Vegas Golden Knights are a Dream Fantasy of Stanley Cup legendizing. Even baseball has some sex appeal amid a Yanks/Sox Genetic Superiority Grudge Match.

    But if you are a sports monogamist like me, and you love football, this is the lamest time of the year. At every level, last season has faded into anecdotal irrelevance. Those who are coaching or playing know that spring practice is either over or is soon to be over. NFL followers are so over the draft and the kneeling (or not), and…

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    …Mistakes Were Made…

    …Mistakes Were Made…

    Some of us are so scared of being outed as human that we go to extreme measures to avoid any indication that we make mistakes. Architects, like me, are especially loath to admit error.

    You could say architects are conditioned to have ‘ego on steroids’ since the job is to manifest complete confidence in the unbuilt. Hence, we are conditioned to project belief in the unknown. For me, fully flawed, I consider design an act of faith, not hubris. But for most of my peers, design is living out their truth, as revealed by their genius.

    No, really, that is the ethic….

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    A Letter of Recommendation

    A Letter of Recommendation

    When you reach a certain age, you begin to get requests to write letters of recommendation. For college applicants, for award seekers, and, in my case, for those seeking to become a Fellow in the AIA.

    These letters can devolve into a formula: state your bona fides, recount the seeker’s, and give a pithy, defendable, honest endorsement.

    What do you do when someone asks you for a letter to endorse his effort to become an agent of faith in God in Chaplaincy, when you are a profane jackass rustic in the ways of Divine understanding?

    Well, without a name, I did this. And…

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    Nothing Means as Much

    Nothing Means as Much

    It’s the Super Bowl, 2018. Perhaps a billion humans are linked to it. In the stands, 80,000 humans are next to you in full expression. Real things happen, and some are unheard, despite the billions of ears and ears.

    11 men stand alone on one side of a ball, while on the other side another 11 men gather. Those first 11 men have done this many times before. They have won this game many times before. They have been better than those in the other cluster many times before. This group is led by a person who is older than everyone else…

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    Prohibition (Mostly) Does Not Work

    Prohibition (Mostly) Does Not Work

    Being one of those Baby Boomer antiquaries, I was caused by (and witnessed) a unique cultural evolution. No, not the 60s. It began with Prohibition, which was tried on my parents’ generation and was an epic fail — its genesis was unassailable and its failure inevitable.

    Before the Industrial Age, hard cider was relatively safer to drink than well water, so many were drunk soon after waking. Drinking (and smoking) were just things people did amid the chaos of our 19th century culture, until it became clear that drinking simply killed people. Then, Prohibition became the cause of Saviors. And their…

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    Snow Blowers Are Of The Devil (Blue Jeans Too)

    Snow Blowers Are Of The Devil (Blue Jeans Too)

    We live in a time of raging technology. Everything is changing as the microprocessors are taking everything over. A couple of centuries ago a group called the Luddites simply rejected technology beyond what they knew back when the microprocessor was called the steam engine. Luddites smashed machines to retain control. It didn’t work. Technology won. Everything changed.

    In a similar way, I think technology has become a public crisis once again. Not since the advent of The Machines has our culture convulsed as it is now with the advent of the pervasive robot. I know this personally because I…

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    Yule Is Not About the Virgin Birth

    Yule Is Not About the Virgin Birth

    ‘Tis the season of Yule: a season that has become, for many, filled with nihilistic self-debauchery set to the fraudulent timing of Jesus’s birth.

    Yay.

    It’s bad enough that we feel powerless amid a cascade of moral, political and cultural ambiguity of the last few years, but this time of year there is a delirious “Party On” wave as well. Whether a Wiccan Yule or a Hipster SantaCon, the Solstice Season doubles these days as a kick-off for our latent human cynicism amid Christmas. Maybe part of all the ennui is the simple truth that Christmas is not really a birthday, it’s…

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    THE Game

    THE Game

    Football is in High Season right now. It’s become enmeshed in headlines: kneeling, concussions, NFL attendance are all loudly flamed. But it’s also the time of championships, pro playoff debates and season-ending “rivalry games.”

    I find an odd connection with the sport of football and faith in religion. Quite personally, for me, there is an intimate connection to the sport. I played, coached, and one son played all the way through college. The scale and hype of Big Time Football leaves me cold. But similarly, for this Cradle Episcopalian “Churchman,” church and churchiness leaves me cold, too.

    However, the love I feel…

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    Holidaze and the Prime Directive

    Holidaze and the Prime Directive

    ‘Tis the season. The crush to sell-sell-sell for Thanksgiving starts the swirl of marketing that’s a buzz kill for many, if not most of us.

    I look at the Starbucks cup on Nov. 1 and I cringe.

    The essence of our humanity is distorted when it’s objectified in order to market product. The new Starbucks cup is simply lame. It only gets worse for many of us. It’s a boring cliche to moan about the WalMartization commodifying the Holidays, but assumptive pandering to our base instincts to sell this year’s Pet Rock is depressing.

    Perhaps it’s because our tender parts are grotesqued by…

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    When Death Happens To The Unknown Next Of Kin

    When Death Happens To The Unknown Next Of Kin

    My 67 year-old brother-turned-sister had retreated into work over the last 15 years. She was a bus dispatcher, but was, by all accounts, totally dedicated to being “at work”. No friends outside of the office, no hobbies.

    So when she told her co-workers that she was going home after a morning shift to return for the night shift to “Do some things at home” it was unusual.

    She never returned. They found her body, in bed, on Monday morning.

    I wish it was a surprise. I wish I could say I now will miss her. But we had not spoken since I was…

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