Ska Hammer

27 posts
Skahammer started his career in politics, and has been moving more or less laterally ever since.

How To Reach Enlightenment (a Fable)

Katahdin Peak (15_pct)During the Fourth of July holiday I wanted to get out of Boston, away from fireworks and especially crowds. There was the recent Marathon bombing to consider, of course. And simply being around people can be very time-consuming, on occasion.

So I drove up to Maine and hiked Mount Katahdin. I’d heard there was a guru up there dispensing bits of wisdom in exchange for small tokens.

(Actually I’d heard that the guru was Lyle, late of the Enfield Tennis Academy here in town. He had left that gig after irregularities were discovered in his supervision of the boys’ locker room.) Continue reading

Brother Dick’s Traveling Salvation Show

2_Lecter_4396426518_3321db4057The troupe travels slowly across the countryside. Neither desert nor marsh nor twin rivers halt its advance. But still the traveling party proceeds with exquisite deliberation. It never skips over a single town or hamlet, no matter how small.

In the cool of the evening the troupe members gather at the nearest suitable venue: The community center, the mosque, the empty schoolyard. And there they put on a show of sorts. There are jokes. Magic tricks. Possibly karaoke, if there is electricity and enough young people attend.

But the closing act is always a man — the same elderly, frail man — speaking in English. About the war.

Iraqis by now are accustomed to foreigners appearing in their country to discuss the war: journalists, aid workers, government men, freelance do-gooders and general dingbats of every stripe. But this battered creature truly knows the story of the war. He pulls no punches in his remarks: Mistakes were made; sacrifices were demanded; savagery was met with greater savagery. He also has opinions about the current government, and about neighboring Iran — but heh-heh, he says, he’ll save those for next time. Continue reading

How To Break Up With Someone (and Leave Them Smiling)

640px-SixFlagsmagicMountain (crop)Celia was the most beautiful woman I ever got close to. She grew up in Cambodia and loved to wear elegant clothes. She was always exquisitely put together — way overdressed for the bank job we both had.

I also never heard Celia laugh. Not once — she just wasn’t a mirthful person. Think of how unusual that is: to not know the sound of your partner’s laugh. Continue reading

The Misunderestimation of George W Bush

George_WFor the first time since 2005, more Americans view President George W. Bush positively than negatively. A new Gallup poll released Tuesday found that 49 percent of people view the former president favorably and 46 percent unfavorably.

George W. Bush is taking a shower. Suddenly he pauses in his ablutions; even the water pressure seems to slacken, steam ceases to rise. He gazes downward: His male organ has vanished. It appears to have retracted into his body. Neither mirror-reflection nor desperate loofah-scrubbing reveals the missing unit. It is simply gone. Continue reading

How to Break Down a Door (and Take a Punch)


Doors — they can seem pretty tough. Monolithic, even. But in fact doors do have weak spots, just like any other formidable opponent.


If you absolutely need to break down a door, first consider attacking the area near the latch. However, many doors have this area reinforced, precisely because builders know it’s a weak spot. Also, a large doorknob can block your attempts to apply serious force.  Continue reading