Kim Pederson

Kim Pederson has been a freelance writer and editor since 1996. Prior to that, he was Senior Editor with Charles River Associates, an international economics consulting firm. Kim earned a B.A. in English (Honors) from the University of Montana and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop. His plays have won awards and been produced in Seattle and other locations; his screenplays have won awards and been optioned, and he has done work-for-hire scripts for film production companies. Kim lives in Key West with his wife Kalo and two Maine coon cats, VeuDeu and Pazuzu.

Dec 092016
Icelandic Pentameter

by Kim Pederson……. So I was thinking about some reasons to move to Iceland today. One, Donald Trump would not be president there. Two, they have polar bears. Oh wait. They eat people. Scratch that one. Two, they have Jacuzzis everywhere (better known as hot springs). Three, they have Norwegian roots, as do I. Four, they have the Icelandic Phallological Museum (better known as the Penis Museum). Five, according to the island’s official website, “thanks to the Gulf Stream, Iceland enjoys a cool, temperate maritime [continue reading…]

 December 9, 2016  Posted by at 1:13 am Issue #196, Kim Pederson 1 Response »
Dec 022016
Our New Blackbeard

by Kim Pederson……. In 1853, an American named William Walker took forty-five men to Mexico, “conquered” the city of La Paz on the Baja Peninsula, declared his conquest to be the Republic of Lower California, made himself president, and instilled the laws of Louisiana, where slavery was still legal. The Mexicans said “Don’t think so” and eventually kicked Walker back to the United States. He was tried there for violating the Neutrality Act of 1794 and acquitted in eight minutes. About a year later, Walker [continue reading…]

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:36 am Issue #195, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Nov 252016
Never Fear. All Is Well...Sort Of

by Kim Pederson……. Not surprisingly, many people here in the United States have been searching desperately for silver linings since November 8 (as many others celebrate finding theirs unexpectedly). So I went looking for TTCMUs (things to cheer me up) the other day and came across some news that, while not exactly good in nature, might be considered to have a silver hue by those desperate enough. Just to give you a clue, the title of the article I stumbled on is this: “One in [continue reading…]

 November 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #194, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Nov 182016
To Whom the Finger Points

by Kim Pederson……. Since Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the presidential election, there’s been mucho finger pointing. Hillary and her senior staff were too arrogant and overconfident. The Democrats ignored/shunned the locals in all the wrong places. The gobsmacked media gave DT too much free attention and Hillary too little. The FBI director deliberately torpedoed the Dem’s chances at the last minute. No one (except DT perhaps) saw the outcome coming and everyone (except DT perhaps) was shocked by it. But, as I’ve discovered, we [continue reading…]

 November 18, 2016  Posted by at 12:58 am Issue #193, Kim Pederson 4 Responses »
Nov 112016
Mind Your Own Petard

by Kim Pederson……. Admittedly, it’s kind of a wonky catchphrase. We have Shakespeare to thank for it, as we do many other cliches that were not cliches when he wrote them but rather snarky little gems of intellect and wit (or more laconically, SLGIWisms, pronounced “sill-geh-wiz-ems”). What am I talking about? See if this rings any bells. Let it work; For tis sport to have the enginer [military engineer] Hoist with his own petar[d]; and ‘t shall go hard But I will delve one yard [continue reading…]

 November 11, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #192, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Nov 042016
Want to Do Better? Bring More Brains!

by Kim Pederson……. So in the previous blog I mentioned that the bright side of the Higgs doomsday ball of instant death (BID) that may eradicate us at any moment (either that or 10 to the 100 years from now, which would be better since Medicare and Social Security would have run out by then) was that the BID would “save us” from the space brain threat. More specifically, it would “do away with a paradoxical menagerie of disembodied intelligent beings that shouldn’t exist.” At [continue reading…]

 November 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am Issue #191, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Oct 282016
The Power of Positive

by Kim Pederson……. I came across an interesting term recently: Pygmalion effect. Of course today I cannot remember the context of our chance meeting but, what the heck, I recalled the phrase itself and will cling to that as some small evidence that my mental capacity has not deserted me altogether (yet). The PE, also known as the Rosenthal effect, is a phenomenon in which higher expectations lead to an increase in performance. To put it in Rosenthal’s words, “what one person expects of another [continue reading…]

 October 28, 2016  Posted by at 12:44 am Issue #190, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Oct 212016
Why Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin Should Read "The Great Gatsby"

by Kim Pederson……. More years ago than I like to admit, I was a graduate student at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. I was also a teaching assistant and, since I was in the English Department, our assignments were to teach first-year English classes. At times in those courses, I would ask students to read aloud from whatever piece of fiction or nonfiction we were studying. At times, I was shocked to see some of them read very haltingly, even sounding out unfamiliar words [continue reading…]

 October 21, 2016  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #189, Kim Pederson 1 Response »
Oct 142016
It Warn't So. I Tried It.

by Kim Pederson……. The September 2016 issue of Scientific American features an editorial titled “The Tweets We Hold to be Self-Evident.” The op-ed subtitle reads “The US presidential election shows how far the political conversation has degenerated from the nation’s founding principles of truth and evidence.” The editors go on to quote Huck Finn saying “It warn’t so. I tried it.” and call this “one of the most powerful lines in American literature because “a respect for evidence is not just part of the national [continue reading…]

 October 14, 2016  Posted by at 12:40 am Issue #188, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Oct 072016
Getting Plotto

by Kim Pederson……. Everyone looks for guidance. Some things, many things, in fact an innumerable number of things are too hard for us to figure out on our own. We are all “dummies” in one way or another and, given how much there is to know, that’s not a surprise nor a slur. We can’t know it all, even though some people like to give that impression (no names will or need be mentioned here). Fortunately, there always seems to be someone willing to help [continue reading…]

 October 7, 2016  Posted by at 12:51 am Issue #187, Kim Pederson 1 Response »
Sep 302016
One Millionth of One Percent

by Kim Pederson……. “We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything.” This quote from Thomas Edison appears in the lead paragraph of The Book of General Ignorance. In that same paragraph, authors John Mitchinson and John Lloyd make this observation: “There’s an idea going about that the human race basically understands how the universe works…. Regrettably, that’s not the case.” They then go on to ask and answer 230 trivia-jewel questions like “What’s the name of the tallest mountain in the world?” and [continue reading…]

 September 30, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #186, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Sep 232016
Beware the Croc in Beach Clothing

by Kim Pederson……. There are times when I don’t believe the old saying “there’s a word for everything.” That’s usually when I make up a word to fill the gap, a process I call “partermition.” There are other times when I’m not so sure there’s not a word for everything. I had this thought the other day when Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day popped up as “eclogue.” An eclogue is a poem in which shepherds converse. That’s right. There’s a word made up just to [continue reading…]

 September 23, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am Issue #185, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Sep 162016
Time for a Galactic 911 Call

by Kim Pederson…… Reading another SF story the other day (“The Thing on the Shelf” by David Gerrold), I was introduced (or reintroduced perhaps given my usual memory issues) to the concept of “chronosynclastic infundibulum” (CI). Gerrold refers to the CI in his tale, noting that it comes from Kurt Vonnegut’s novel The Sirens of Titan. A CI, as defined by the website Verbotomy, is “a place, or a moment, where all the different kinds of truths fit together, and where there are many different [continue reading…]

 September 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #184, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Sep 092016
There's a Light, Over at the Chicken-Legged Place

by Kim Pederson……. One of the characters in Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire (of Wicked fame) is Baba Yaga, the supernatural being (a.k.a. witch) from eastern Slavic folklore. (She’s in Russia in the novel.) Baba flies around in a mortar carrying the attendant pestle and lives in a house (called “Dumb Doma” in Maguire’s book) that stands on chicken legs (sometimes a chicken leg). In Egg & Spoon, Baba invites, or rather has a large cat chase, a young girl named Cat into her [continue reading…]

 September 9, 2016  Posted by at 12:47 am Issue #183, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Sep 022016
We're Off to See...

by Kim Pederson……. August 25 marked the 77th anniversary of the 1939 film Wizard of Oz opening in theaters. August 25 wasn’t the world premiere, however. That happened fourteen days earlier in, of all places, Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Why bring this up now? Because, in an online note about the anniversary, NBC’s Today show reminds us there are still seven lessons to be learned from the film today: Dream big The right shoes can pull a look together Don’t be afraid to ask [continue reading…]

 September 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #182, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Aug 262016
The Indestructibility of Art

by Kim Pederson……. Confluence is an interesting word. In strict terms, it means a place of coming together (which reflects, confluentially, on the blog I posted yesterday). The word appears most often in “confluence” with references to rivers and streams but it can apply to other things as well (meaning us). Yesterday, I experienced a strange confluence. I saw the video clip of the former ISIS member confessing at his trial at The Hague to destroying historical buildings in Timbuktu in Mali. Also yesterday, I [continue reading…]

 August 26, 2016  Posted by at 12:29 am Issue #181, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Aug 192016
Hi, Anxiety

by Kim Pederson……. Apparently if you were to ask most Americans today “What, You Worry?” the answer would be yes. In his New York Times article “Fifty States of Anxiety,” economist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (SD) tells us that, based on the Internet search count for various types of anxiety, Americans are 150 percent more worried today than they were in 2004. Some of the subjects of these anxieties are what you would expect: travel, separation, work, school, home, driving to name more than several. Some are [continue reading…]

 August 19, 2016  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #180, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Aug 122016
What the Dickens?

by Kim Pederson……. My new word for today is “corpus” (plural: corpora). According to my good friend Merriam-Webster (or is it my good friends Merriam and Webster?), a corpus is the whole body or total amount of writings of a particular kind or on a particular subject, such as the total production of a writer, e.g., the Dickens corpus. Seeing this reminded me of a Roger Rosenblatt essay in The New York Times called “To a Writer, a Body of Work Is a Taunt.” Roger [continue reading…]

 August 12, 2016  Posted by at 12:31 am Issue #179, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Aug 052016
The Othello Method of Energy Conservation

by Kim Pederson……. The concept of scale–the proportion of one thing compared to another–is a tricky thing. Take, for example, our solar system’s largest planet, Jupiter. If you put a solo NASA picture of Jupiter along side one of the Earth, your eyes would tell you that these two worlds appear to be about the same size. And then you, or me to be exact, would engage in a little research and the ridiculousness of that interpretation would become readily apparent, as the image below [continue reading…]

 August 5, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #178, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Jul 292016
Why Have One Face When You Can Have Two?

by Kim Pederson…….. People face choices every day. Each time they likely weigh the pros and cons and come to a decision about which choice wins out over the others. Sometimes, though, they are not able to choose, hence the expression “being of two minds” about something or someone. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about these occurrences. Being of two minds becomes more of a challenge, though, when someone really is of two (or more) minds. Such individuals suffer from dissociative identity disorder (DID), [continue reading…]

 July 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:32 am Issue #177, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Jul 222016
Just Messiahing with You

by Kim Pederson……. We attended the staged reading of a new play the other night called The Return. In it, a world famous newscaster announces he is Jesus Christ and has returned out of concern for the sorry state of, well, everything. Thinking about the idea of a second coming took me to a memory of a Roy Buchanan song entitled “The Messiah Will Come Again.” Buchanan is an amazing guitarist who, sad to say, should have all microphones immediately cut off at the slightest [continue reading…]

 July 22, 2016  Posted by at 12:28 am Issue #176, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Jul 152016
Wake Up and Smell the Sugar Browning

by Kim Pederson……. Just a few blogs ago, I wrote about how complexitional coffee is, that is, about the intricacy of its potpourri of elements. I left out the aroma side of the story, however, for which I now make amends with this blog. In having a wee look at this topic, I discovered, with the help of the Serious Eats website, that “once you start to equate flavors in coffee with other things you taste all the time, unlocking the brew’s mysteries becomes a [continue reading…]

 July 15, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #175, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Jul 082016
Who Knows What Shadows Lurk?

by Kim Pederson……. On the PBS NewsHour recently, they were discussing the difficult housing situation in San Francisco, difficult as in no one without an insanely large income can afford to live there. In 2014, the US median income was $53,657. If you lived somewhere else in the United States, say Miami, and earned $100,000 per year, well above the median, you would have to increase your earnings nearly 50% to $147,818 to live at the same level in SF. The average rent for a [continue reading…]

 July 8, 2016  Posted by at 12:28 am Issue #174, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Jul 012016
Time for a Steaming Cup of What???

by Kim Pederson……. Joe, dirt, mud, java, brew, cuppa, go juice, jitter juice, bean juice, brain juice. By whatever name, much of the world runs on coffee and not all of it Dunkin Donuts. But how many of us have ever paused, difficult when caffeinated I know, to wonder what the heck is in it. Not me certainly. Not until this moment, that is. Thanks primarily to the caffeine it contains, coffee is a psychoactive drug, which means it alters brain function and causes changes [continue reading…]

 July 1, 2016  Posted by at 12:28 am Issue #173, Kim Pederson 2 Responses »
Jun 242016
The Eyes (and Ears) in the Machines

by Kim Pederson……. Across the pond in England starting in 1811 and and ending roughly in 1816, a group of textile weavers, employed by others or self-employed, rebelled against the machines. The particular devices were stocking looms, spinning frames, and power looms developed as part of the Industrial Revolution. The weavers feared they would lose their jobs to lower-paid, less-skilled workers because of the new technologies and went on a region-wide machine-breaking rampage in the northwestern part of the country, one that had to be [continue reading…]

 June 24, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #172, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Jun 172016
The Backside Story of Art History

by Kim Pederson……. Sadly, The Toast will itself soon be toast. If you’re not familiar with this “American anthology, humor, and feminist writing website,” you still have time to check it out (start here perhaps) before they fold their digital tent on July 1. I went to the site today after one of my Facebook friends posted a link for this article: “The Toast Looks Back: The Best of Western Art History.” While providing a number of intriguing story links there, writer Mallory Ortberg starts [continue reading…]

 June 17, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #171, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Jun 102016
Ignorance Is...Well...Ignorance, Right?

by Kim Pederson……. The word “nescience” came up as word for the day recently. I’ve mentioned this word in passing in a previous blog (“Doorways to Nescience: Mind the Gap“) but never really explored it. The primary meaning for the term, which you might think of as “no science” based on the Latin roots, is lack of knowledge or awareness. Ignorance, in other word. That seems simple enough. But, as I should have known, nothing is ever simple. In this case, ignorance is not simple [continue reading…]

 June 10, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #170, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Jun 032016
Some Musings on the Towel of Babel

 by Kim Pederson……. Is it just a slip of the tongue? I sometimes wonder what goes on in our brains when we write or speak a word that’s different from the one we intended to write or speak. Case in point. Yesterday, while blogging about “The Unconfusion of Tongues,” I intended to type “Tower of Babel” and instead typed “Towel of Babel.” I must have read through the entry three or four times before I noticed the mistake. But was it, I now ask, an [continue reading…]

 June 3, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #169, Kim Pederson No Responses »
May 272016
As the World Turns (or Not)

by Kim Pederson……. “We did not notice right away. We couldn’t feel it. We did not sense at first the extra time, bulging from the smooth edge of each day like a tumor blooming beneath skin.” So opens Karen Thompson Walker’s novel The Age of Miracles. The major characters in this fictionocalpyse, Julia and her family, wake up one day and discover the earth has begun to spin a little bit slower and is slowing down more every day. Although it’s described in the book, [continue reading…]

 May 27, 2016  Posted by at 12:44 am Issue #168, Kim Pederson No Responses »
May 202016
I'd Rather Not Have One

by Kim Pederson……. Everyone needs help sometimes, especially with regard to putting the spark back into relationships teetering on the edge of gutteringdom. Guttering is a great word, isn’t it? It acts as a gerund for the verb “gutter” that denotes the melted wax that runs down a candle. The intransitive verb “gutter” means, in turn, to flow in rivulets as in wax down a candle, to incline downward in a draft or wind as candle flames do, or to burn feebly as again in [continue reading…]

 May 20, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #167, Kim Pederson No Responses »
May 132016
In Favor of the Mutually Assured Smack Down

So who is Edith Garrud and where does she tend bar? If you had asked me this yesterday, I would have first given you a blank look. (I’m very good at this, believe me.) Then after the requisite ten-second minimum it takes for my mental gears to turn, I would have shrugged and said something like “Search me.” Thanks to the May/June 2016 issue of Mental Floss, however, I now know who Garrud is along with the fact that she does not tend bar. What [continue reading…]

 May 13, 2016  Posted by at 12:36 am Issue #166, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Apr 292016
The Coming Desperatora

by Kim Pederson……. So what to do if Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination and becomes the next POTUS. (He would no doubt change the acronym to TRUMPUS with his first executive order and the White House to Casa Trump with his second.) Fortunately, for all of us who soon may be adopting the expatriate lifestyle, Business Insider has just published an article titled “14 of the most affordable places for Americans to retire [feel free to substitute “flee” here] outside the United States.” We [continue reading…]

 April 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:36 am Issue #164, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Apr 202016
Say Hello to Our Little Friends

by Kim Pederson……. I’m sure it’s been a burning question in many people’s minds for centuries: “What really happens when you drop food on the floor?” Or put another way, is the five-second rule myth or fact? Since you may not be familiar with the FSR (a 2003 survey noted that 56% of men and 70% of women queried knew of it), the rule is simply that food dropped on the floor is safe to eat, i.e., not chowdaminated, if picked up before five seconds [continue reading…]

 April 20, 2016  Posted by at 2:46 am Issue #165, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Apr 152016
Let's Get Sidereal

by Kim Pederson……. More often than not my word for the day email from Merriam-Webster chooses mundane terms known even to me (or maybe I should say “ultramundane” for those instances). And sometimes not. One of the latter was “sidereal.” When I saw it, I wondered what the heck “side real” had to do with the sinoprice of tea. That was my first mistake. It’s not pronounced “side real”; it’s pronounced “sigh DEER ree al” and it means “of or relating to the stars or [continue reading…]

 April 15, 2016  Posted by at 12:46 am Kim Pederson No Responses »