Twenty and two years, it was staring me right in the face,

the 80s paneling on the walls of the apartment octo-plex

where my friend lived believing conspiracy theories

and not thinking of how her kitchen smelled

of overnight pasta and bad pipes.


Continue reading


The 11 Parental Logics

I teach EFL students planning for debate to attack arguments that rely on the 11 logical fallacies. When asked where they might use debate skills, we talk about politics, the UN, and even business meetings…
But today it occurred to me that my parents pretty much used all of these to dodge my childhood questions.
  1. Ad populum: “Everyone is doing it.” —”Well, visiting your cousins is what people do.”
  2. Ad hominem: “You’re flawed, so the argument’s flawed.” —”You’re only twelve.”
  3. Appeal to authority: “The boss said it’s okay.” —“If Mom says it’s okay, you can play outside.”
  4. Appeal to ignorance: “No one can prove it’s not true.” —”If you keep making your face, it’ll stick that way.”
  5. Confirmation bias: cherry-picking for only favorable evidence. —”I always did my chores and I’m a happy adult.”
  6. Equivocation: deliberately using fuzzy meanings or words with double-meanings. —”Your mother and I need some alone time.”
  7. False dichotomy:There are only two choices (usually both extremes). —”Well, if Santa doesn’t exist, then where do the toys come from?”
  8. Hasty generalization: stereotypes, inadequate samplings.“Piercings get infected; the answer is no.”
  9. Red herring: going off-topic. —”Look, cookies!”
  10. Slippery slope: “One thing inevitably leads to another…” —“But if you don’t finish your homework, you won’t be ready for the test, and if you’re not ready for the test, you’ll fail, and if you fail, you’ll stay back a grade, and if you stay back a grade you’ll never make it into college, and if you…
  11. Straw man: badly defining the opposition so it’s easier to attack. —“You’re just upset because he’s mature enough for a driver’s license and you aren’t yet.”
#writing #RJEddystone #logicalfallacies #debate #TheRealLife #parenting

Aside: Scheduling Note

For all of you closer to the epicenter and the tsunamis, stay safe.

Next post is scheduled (yay, productivity), but since things are a bit scary here geologically, I wanted to leave a note that the next blog post might be a bit delayed if the earth doesn’t go back to sleep.  Hopes are, my neighbors and I will be well away from any severe danger, but we wait with baited breath and well-packed emergency packs just in case.

Take care, everyone!



Let’s not talk about that.

That was two thousand years ago

Let’s talk about something that happening now

Like the grass.

It’s everywhere.

Look at it.

Like hair, like the hair on my head.


The problems is people don’t talk about it.

They’ve got fear everywhere.

They run and they get themselves alone all the time.

Sorta like me.

I’d like to talk.

I’ve things to say,

But my family doesn’t talk, they don’t talk.


You know there’s times I wish I had a friend,

But nobody out there’s gonna be my friend.

All my girlfriends had boyfriends when I was with ‘em,

And they beat me up,

Then the girls leave me alone

Just like that,

That’s life and sometimes I get angry at it.


You know I don’t like to get angry.

My father was angry.  I want a daughter,

A little girl to look after, a kid, but no,

I’m forty-one.

I’ve still got hair.

My father was bald.

But who’s gonna look at a man who’s forty-one?


No job, no place to stay.  Over at the mission,

They teach me I gotta get a job.

I can’t get a job.  I got so mad, I tore all my papers up.

So there you go.

Here I am.

You can give me food,

But I’m concerned about what you’ll eat today.


If you hand me that juice or that sandwich, or lunch,

I’m gonna have to split it with you.

If you won’t take it back, I’ll split it.

Look at you,

You’re so thin,

Out here on the street,

Helping people.  Here’s a dollar.  Let me be able to help you back.


I never had a friend before.

No one ever listened to what I’d say.

And I wanna hear what other people say.

Go on, talk.

People don’t talk these days,

So talk, go on tell me.

I never had a friend before and you’re a nice person anyway.



The Real Life: Blue

My father is home.

It has been a year, but he was finally released.  He and my mother went out to celebrate with friends at their favorite haunt of Dunkin Donuts.  He still must watch his weight, but he’ll allow himself the coffee, the donut, for the celebration of freedom.  Diet and exercise are not enough to survive diabetes.  You need friendship and joy, and coffee. Continue reading