Sign in

Ghost writer, essayist, marketer, Zen Buddhist, academic refugee, living in Athens GA, blogging at A Quiet Normal Life: https://www.quietnormal.com/

The counter-Christian game within the counter-capitalist game

Three brown hen’s eggs wrapped with plastic decals featuring cartoons of Jesus and writing in Korean
Korean Easter eggs (photo by Piotr Konieczny)

Note: Spoilers out the wazoo

The 2021 Korean mini-series Squid Game may be the most pointed critique of capitalism this century has yet produced. It’s certainly the most popular.

In the squidverse, a handful of pointlessly wealthy, cartoonishly decadent patriarchs lord it over a caste of faceless middle-managers who eke…


Hard work matters, but it’s not enough

A man in a hard hat bends over a machine in a metal production facility
Image by Jonathan Toler

I like taking vacations alone. In fact, I like places where there’s no internet, no TV, sometimes even no cell phone connections. Forces me to relax.

A few years back, I was spending just such a solo trip on Andros Island in the Bahamas — which is about the size…


If we deny redemption, we’re all damned

A man in a black shirt standing in the street while holding a shield is punched in the face as bystanders look on with mixed reactions, from laughter to distress.
“Unite the Right” demonstrator is punched by a counter-demonstrator in Charlottesville, VA, 12 August 2017 (original photo by Evan Nesterak)

You may have heard of Daryl Davis. He’s a black guy who hangs out with Klansmen. Not because he’s sympathetic to the Klan, but because he believes at least some of them can change their ways.

He says once the friendship blossoms, the Klansmen realize that their hate may be…


Think 2 words: hot and thin

Cast iron pans and stainless steel pans hanging from a ceiling rack
Photo by Ernest Roy

Both my grandmothers lived into their early nineties and cooked with cast iron into their eighties. My mother still uses her pans in her eighties. My father did until he couldn’t get around the kitchen anymore.

I inherited three cast iron pans from my grandparents — a flat #7 from…


Sgt. Pepper’s is still iconic, but Keith has a point

Keith Richards in a green shirt and black headband holding a microphone (and a cigarette) in front of a blue lightboard
Keith Richards, London, May 2018 (photo by Raph_PH)

Perhaps it was the North Carolina summer heat that loosened him up. It certainly wasn’t the marijuana.

June 30th, 2015, was a real paint-peeler in Durham, NC. …


It’s not the heat, it’s not the humidity, it’s the people

A man holds a small alligator on its back on a wooden table, with one hand holding its mouth shut and the other resting on its stomach
Handler places an alligator in a sleeper hold at the Ross Allen Reptile Institute in Silver Springs, ca. 1960 (State Library and Archives of Florida)

Back around 1990, some friends and I had a habit of strolling over to the Red Lion pool hall to watch America’s Most Wanted and count how often our state came up. If the number was ever zero, I don’t recall it.

Yes, my native state is famous for producing…


Fairness demands that anti-vaxxers be ostracized

Boy with short red hair looking angrily at viewer and brandishing a fist
Image by Hanna Kovalchuk

Go around telling people you are all that matters and they don’t, and you can expect to be a social pariah. Because you chose to be.

Yet millions of Americans are now telling their compatriots that their own comfort and convenience matter more than everyone else’s health and lives, more…


They weren’t designed to stop you from catching the virus

A person with gloved hands makes an injection into a person’s right shoulder
Image by Angelo Esslinger

Today I read a breathless, almost panicky article by a popular writer here, spreading paranoia about failing vaccines. The vaccines are not failing.

People are freaking out because vaccinated people are testing positive for COVID-19. So please, be aware, the SARS-Cov-2 vaccines were never designed to stop COVID infections altogether.


It’s no coincidence Confederate flags flew at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021

Trump supporters stand on and around the Ulysses S. Grant monument on 6 January 2021, with the US Capitol building in the background, displaying flags including the US flag, the Confederate navy jack, Gadsden flags, the Bedford flag, and a “Trump 2020” flag.
Photo by Tyler Merbler, 6 January 2020 (public domain)

They say history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. Well, on January 6th, 2021, Trump and his insurrectionists were singing “Dixie” loud and clear.

Old times there, it seems, are indeed not forgotten.

It’s one thing to remember past evils so as not to repeat them. It’s quite another to…

Paul Thomas Zenki

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store