We’ve lost Paul Curran, our master guest columnist and prolific comment-leaver

Paul was a wise man and I had hoped to pay him a visit this December for an actual cuppa. I just hope he’s in a place of peace now.

Mark Bialczak

Those of us who’ve grown to love the lively words that bounced from the head and fingers of Paul Curran will never be the same.

The writer from Canada has died, according to his neighbor Steve Watson.

I received this email on the contact tab from my blog:

With great sadness I have to tell you that Paul Curran has passed away. Paul passed last week.

Our guest blogger, Paul Curran. Our guest blogger, Paul Curran.

Your Barrista -- Paul Curran Your Barrista — Paul Curran

Now Your Barrista – Paul Curran Now Your Barrista – Paul

A series of the column head shots Paul sent me since 2013 to just a month ago.

I found the email this morning. I arrived yesterday. Steve Watson was listed as the photographer in the If We Were Having Coffee Sunday column Paul had me post here on Sept. 11 after his emergency operation.

I could not find an obituary through search engines.

Paul lived in Ottawa, Ontario…

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Population Control Daily Debate 6.12.14


There are a lot of people inhabiting this planet right now, more people are born than are dying and as populations increase, resources are decreased. Eventually we’ll either need to find a new way to procure the supplies we need, a new planet to live on, or accept that we must be more responsible in regards to reproduction.

Years ago, in a college class, there was an assignment where we were asked to come up with a possible solution to help curb the growing population. Some people suggested another big war to kill off people, others talked about instituting legal limits on how many children you could have or forced birth control for all women and then there was me, with a solution that literally made the professor cringe.

I had suggested that all males are given a vasectomy when they are old enough to impregnate a woman. Vasectomies are reversible and a fairly…

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A.I. Advancements or Human Devolution Daily Debate 6.10.14


A chatbot turing test proved that an AI could successfully impersonate a 13-year-old boy. I don’t know if I should clap at technology’s advancement or ponder if we’ve just lowered our standards for what passes as conversation these days.

Having had only brief interactions with 13-year-old boys since I was 13 I have to say that there hasn’t been much level of sophistication going on with the short nonsensical statements I’ve heard uttered from their mouth, or typed into their phones, tablets and computers. Did they program the chatbot to mistype words, have questionable grammar and enjoy lowbrow humor? If so, is that really an advancement for AI?

I’m not claiming all 13-year-old boys are incapable of holding intelligent conversations, or employing proper spelling and grammar when communicating electronically, but if I was going to chat up a typical 13-year-old boy (not that I’m prowling the internet in search of them) I would…

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Manners, or Lack Thereof Daily Debate 6.9.14


Inevitably you will encounter people you don’t like. From grade school to graveyard you will be surrounded by people you’d rather not have to interact with but will be forced to spend time around. How you choose to handle it is up to you. I choose to be polite to others, it seems I am the exception, not the rule.

I’ve noticed in general that the concept of manners has been on the decline in public over the course of my life. People merge without blinkers or adequate room on the roads, causing you to swerve and slam your brakes. People cut in lines or grab items you were reaching for in stores. The concept of holding doors for others is all but gone. Guests in a home no longer show their host respect. Kids sass their teachers and refuse to pay attention in class. College students don’t even pretend…

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Sometimes Abortion is the Answer. Daily Debate 6.6.14


Who determines the value of each life? Why would you allow someone to defend their life on their own property but ask them to forfeit that right when it comes to the topic of abortion? How can you judge a person for having an abortion when you have no idea the circumstances that went into making that decision?

Not a week goes by that I don’t see some argument for why all abortions should be illegal. People spout off their moral outrage that a woman would dare to terminate a life only weeks in existence. A life that hasn’t properly started, a life that doesn’t yet process thoughts and complex feelings. A life that, if terminated, only really affects the mother and no one else at that point. These women are called selfish, murderers, sluts and made to feel guilty for making the choice to end their pregnancies early. All…

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The Perks of Persuasion Daily Debate 6.5.14


Ever notice that you can tell someone something and they ignore you, but then someone else tells them the same thing and they fawn all over them in gratitude as if the words spoken were so profound and undeniable as to be considered a gift?

Ever post a valid, well-crafted, article and no one likes or comments, yet a similar topic is posted by someone else, or fresh pressed, and there are hundreds of people lining up to chime in on it?

Ever host a party, one you spent time organizing so that there would be amazing food/drinks, entertainment and numerous pleasant options for your guests, and then only a handful of people show up, yet some dick down the street pulls their grill out with a bucket of cheap beer and suddenly the whole block is full of people laughing and joking?

You find yourself thinking, “I’m good enough…

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Who Decides the Trends? Daily Debate 6.4.14


It seems like every week or so there is a new trend, be it a way to exercise, some fancy new phone and of course the fashion trends are never-ending. What I want to know is who decides what is considered “trendy” in an age where everyone has an opinion?

As I wandered Grand Ave in St. Paul over the weekend, surrounded by thousands of people (many drunk) checking out the vendors, I noticed several trends which made no sense to me. Even the husband remarked about one in particular which happened to be a fashion trend.

Over the course of 12,000 steps we saw no less than 100 women wearing short shorts and almost knee-high rubber boots of all colors and patterns. These rubber boots looked very similar to the $6 pair of rain boots I own, except these were not being worn over other shoes to protect them from mud…

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Apologizing for Opinions… Daily Debate 6.3.14


Every week it seems like I hear about another celebrity or public figure apologizing for some comment they made about something, a comment that was just them expressing their opinion about a situation or person. I always wonder why they need to apologize for having an opinion.

Now, if they legitimately do something wrong, yes apologize. However, why are people expected to suddenly have no opinions as soon as they become a public figure? If I voiced my opinion about something no one would ask me to apologize, probably because most people don’t care what my opinion is, so why do we place such importance on the opinions of celebrities?

I especially fail to grasp why celebrities are expected to apologize for opinions they share privately. Who would want to be a public figure if they can’t even tell their friends a joke, vent about something that bothered them or share…

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