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This ‘free-range philosopher’ is signing off for now

Sat., Aug. 23, 2014

Adieu. Farvel. Farewell. Goodbye. When I began writing this column, some eight and a half years ago, I had no expectations of longevity. In fact, I half expected to be run out of town on a rail, tarred and feathered. After all, here in the land of Spokane, full of God-fearing conservatives – good Christians all – what room is there for an avowed agnostic, secular, humanist, liberal, self-proclaimed “free range philosopher”?

“Free range” because I adhere to no school, no strict ideology, and don’t even have any credentials. Oh, a B.A. in general studies, which is fitting since I study everything. So imagine my surprise to learn how broad, wide, and deep the secular waters run in our community. It’s been gratifying to be so well received, even praised and lauded, for my attempts to come a little closer to reality than this sort of column usually does.

And yes, I have also been vilified, damned to hell, and generally told what an idiot I am. Godless heathen and all, you know, but if I can only turn away from the barren desert of humanism and embrace Jesus, I can still save my immortal soul. Otherwise, I’m burnt toast, doomed to suffer eternal torment. Rats. I hate it when that happens.

Au revoir. Ciao. Adios. I’m not being kicked out of this space, by the way, but have decided that I’ve had my say. (At least in this venue.) I think it’s been a good run, and I always told myself that if I ever felt like I had said all that I needed to, then it’d be time to hit the road. I don’t want to just repeat myself, and certainly don’t want to go all Dave Barry on you, unfunny for years before closing his humor column.

Not that I’m a humorist, but I do think that I’ve injected at least a little levity, at times, into what I see as a pretty grim situation. The state of humanity, that is, since we’re essentially mediocre. Also ridiculous. Insane, even. Still breeding like bunnies, while we trash the planet, exterminate millions of other species, and in all likelihood, kill ourselves off as well. Oh, that’s not funny, is it?

So long. See you later. Sayonara. I need a break. I’ve been reading at least 150 books a year forever. Numerous other publications and study-related reading, as well. I figure that, if I haven’t engaged in some serious reading for at least an hour or two a day, it’s been a day wasted. Often much more than that, of course, and I’m ready to turn to something lighter.

Food and cooking is a seriously fun passion of mine and some of you might recall that I had my own food column here in the Review for a few years. What I have in mind next is a foodie blog of some sort, so if you’re interested in that sort of thing let me know, and I’ll contact you when I get it going. Probably some months out; I don’t really have a deadline in mind. I think I’ll call it “The Ferment,” or something like that. I enjoy the multiple meanings there: to stir up, to generate, to brew, to create.

And I’ve been having fun lately with actual ferments, too: tons of kim chi (really, really good stuff, if I do say so myself), naturally fermented pickles, and sauerkraut. (Kombucha is next on my list.) All way better than you can buy. And cheaper. What’s not to like about that?

Bon voyage. Cheers. Hasta la vista.

Thanks for reading.

Contact Donald Clegg at

Tags: Ken Clegg

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