Cool River Pub is a safe place, a community. Those who gather here are invited to share the honest expression of ideas, impulses, and inspirations. And, the house rules invite (and enforce) good humor, respect, and generosity of spirit. 

Radical Insignificance

Did you know that April 11, 1954 was the most boring day in history? It was according to a Cambridge University project. They fed 300 million historical details about people, places, and events into a computer. And the computer calculated that the only things that happened that day were an election

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Shovel Friends

Most friendships really soar in the big moments. We celebrate, laugh, eat, drink, mourn, and travel through the milestone moments together – we never forget the embraces at the ER, the tinkle of wine glasses in the wedding toast, that message at her funeral, or those transcendent times when Heaven touched earth.

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We all ride a ball that is 8 thousand miles in diameter and moves 67,000 miles an hour in its perfect orbit around the sun. Our whole solar system is traveling about 45,000 miles per hour through our galaxy, a galaxy that is 100,000 light years wide and contains about

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Circles of Life

I grew up in the middle of Kansas, in the middle of America, in the middle of the 20th century. Naturally the racial attitudes in our home reflected our time and place. But over time I came into personal friendship with several African-Americans. I didn’t seek them; they didn’t seek

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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski (Harper-Collins, 2008) is a grand American novel that swept me away to a land I’ve never seen (northern Wisconsin) and dropped me into a story I’ve never read. For days I couldn’t work, think or sleep very well; I could only read

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Living Life in all the Ways it Might Come to Us

Growing up in the farm country of south central Kansas, I quickly learned that agrarian life could be brutal. I saw the long days (and sometimes nights) of very hard labor; watched farmers cope with tornadoes, blizzards, livestock diseases, and volatile market conditions; and we all knew the sickening thud

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Remember Who You Are

In “The Lion King,” after Mufasa, the King, died, his son Simba was forced to run away and hide in the jungle. Eventually he totally adapted to a much different place and to a carefree life (“Hakuna Matata”). In reality, he became a different creature. And there, in that alien

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Do We Suffer Spiritual Allergies?

According to the “hygiene hypothesis,” the fact that we live in sanitized and airtight environments means that our immune system no longer fights germs as it once did. Being “underemployed,” it has apparently shifted its resources over to picking fights with innocent bystanders – like dust, pollen, or pet dander.

I wonder if that could also explain cultural or spiritual “allergies.” Something sure seems to make people fight fairly harmless stuff in the environment.

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The Authentic Swing

Most books about art and artists focus on the person…the tortured life, the courage to reach past convention, and the ultimate rejection and crucifixion by a world not nearly good enough for her. We’ve all seen that movie.

But Steven Pressfield’s new book, The Authentic Swing, uses writing and golf to look beyond human shoulders to consider the mysterious realm of our design. He — the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance — can see that artists (or golfers) are merely the point where heaven and earth kiss. He takes us up above the smog of lower altitudes to consider the possibilities that hovered over our design and birth.

The book does not embrace any religion (although it is respectful toward Hinduism and Christianity), but it does take a surprisingly transcendent view. It speaks to anyone.

If you are a writer, singer, actor, dancer, or any other artist, or if you are a golfer, you will find The Authentic Swing to be a fast, enjoyable, and ultimately helpful book.

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The Little Way of Ruthie Leming

The real beauty and power of The Little Way…is the compelling twin portraits of Ruthie and St. Francisville, Louisiana. Ruthie was a very full-spirited southern woman. She always manifested a serious, even sacrificial, approach to life. But she also dropped her bra at a Hank Williams Jr. concert, swung it like a lasso, and cast it on the stage (Hank draped it from the neck of his guitar).

In time, Ruthie settled. She became a teacher; “Listen, sweet baby, you can do this,” she pleads with a student. She was a true community spark plug. Everyone in town knew and loved her. Ruthie comes right off the pages in full throbbing color.

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