October 23, 2017


Bernie Pilarski



[Opinion] [Nonfiction] [Comics] [Short] [Poem] [Essay]

Opinion

Bernie's Wine List (2002-08-31) op_ed

An introduction to wine tasting for those who like wines, don't know wines or even hate wines.

Halloween Hollerin' (2002-10-25) op_ed

Oo, ick! Halloween has pagan roots and is corrupting children's minds! Damn right it has pagan roots. Here's why even god-fearin' Christians don't need to wear "shorts in a bunch" costumes this season.

T-3, A Must See Summer Movie (2003-07-07) op_ed Movie Review

Whether you want them or not, Sand and Bernie give you their opinions on Arnold's new movie Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Still Waters Run Depp (2003-07-14) op_ed Movie Review

Sand and Bernie hit the theater again this weekend, and review Pirates of the Caribbean. Say, sweetheart, who's shivering ye timbers now?

Lack of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Save Your Cash (2003-07-14) op_ed Movie Review

Oh, dear, another day over 100 degrees, and off Sand and Bernie go to the movies again. We love you, Sean, but it's time to put an icepack on your head and cover your ears...

Seabiscuit: A Big Movie That Included the Little Horse (2003-07-28) op_ed Movie Review

Bernie and Sand sneak off to the movies again, to check out the Triple Crown horseraces' hype of Seabiscuit. Was the little horse really that much of a superstar?

Lara Croft Tomb Raider 2: Lara, Please Shoot the Director (2003-08-11) op_ed Movie Review

Bernie and Sand slither off to the movies again to see if Tomb Raider 2 is really as bad as some critics have claimed.

Secondhand Lions: Old Fashioned Fun at the Bijou (2003-10-06) op_ed Movie Review

Sand drags Bernie off to the movie theater again. "Look honey, this one has horses and fish and shotguns in it! I call that a Must See!"

A MUSING: Descartes (2004-07-03) op_ed humor philosophy

Bernie was being open-minded and out fell a, well, a musing about Descartes, soup, and the nature of life.

Notes From the Office 02 (2007-10-01) opinion humor

Staff writer Bernie Pilarski has a few words to say about the lack of laws against stupidity.

Notes From the Office 11: Sign of the Times (2008-12-29) opinion essay

Some thoughts upon entering the New Year ...

Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo (2009-02-23) movie review

Bernie Pilarski watches the moths fly out of his purse, and at the same time, views three movies friends have loaned him.

Dubai Dilemma (2009-03-23) editorial

Bernie Pilarski takes a whack at courts, legalities, marriage, sexual mores -- oh well, we might as well say "just about everything."

The Day the Earth Fell Asleep : DVD Review (2009-05-18) DVD movie review "The Day the Earth Stood Still"

Bernie Pilarski, faced with the prospect of staying indoors during a heat wave, goes to the video store and checks out the DVD, "The Day The Earth Stood Still."

Notes From the Office 17: Warning -- Aliens Are On Their Way! (2009-07-20) editorial Call for Submissions

This just in -- Aliens will land in the Piker Press on August 24th!

Mr. Toyoda's Bastard Children (2009-08-31) editorial "economic downturn"

"You're so good," they told them. "You produce the best product ever! You're so valuable!" Was it only words after all?

NUMMI Apocalypse (2010-04-05) essay NUMMI closure

The workplace of 5000 shut down, and took with it another 30,000 jobs. It's something like the end of the world in California ...

NUMMI Apocalypse 2 (2010-06-07) editorial

What seems like disaster may in fact be a good thing, and maybe we need to remember that more often ...

YOU, TOO, CAN HAVE AN OPINION...At NO COST...With NO OBLIGATION (2010-08-09) essay humor opinion

Ever been at a party and just found yourself at a loss for words? Here's a product that can help ...

"Let This Be Your Sign..." (2011-02-07) essay humor opinion oranges

The foggy winter of 2010 -2011 has even Californians in search of divine assistance ...

Religion Is Not Unreasonable (2011-09-05) essay religion and science

If you can't prove a motive, does that mean all motives are superstitions?

The Novice: A Story of True Love: Book Review (2011-09-19) book review "The Novice"

Bernie Pilarski reviews the short book, "The Novice" by Thich Nhat Hanh.

The Spiritual Combat: Book Review (2011-10-17) book review "The Spiritual Combat"

Bernie Pilarski sheds some light on the 1589 book "The Spiritual Combat."

Immortals: or It's All Greek To Me (2011-11-21) movie review "Immortals"

Bernie has a manly day at the movies with his son-in-law, and sees "Immortals."

Socrates: Book Review (2011-12-12) book review "Socrates"

Bernie Pilarski reviews the Paul Johnson biography "Socrates."

The New Man: Book Review (2012-02-27) book review "The New Man"

Bernie Pilarski reviews "The New Man," a collection of essays about the nature of man, by Thomas Merton.

The Artist: Movie Review (2012-03-05) movie review "The Artist"

A silent film in 2012? A black and white silent film? What can this movie possibly have to attract moviegoers?

Madagascar 3: Movie Review (2012-06-11) movie review "Madagascar 3"

Yes, this movie is worth braving a packed movie theater filled with pop-corn crunching kiddies. And this one is probably worth the extra cost of 3-D.

Prometheus: In Space, No One Can Hear You Suck (2012-06-18) movie review "Prometheus"

Abandoned by his alien-hating wife, Bernie intrepidly goes for a space ride, without even stopping for popcorn.

The Spiritual Life: Book Review (2012-07-16) book review "The Spiritual Life"

Allan Cole, Jr. puts together a series of essays by "poets, prophets, and preachers" in "The Spiritual Life."

The Impossible: Movie Review (2013-01-14) movie review "The Impossible"

A movie about the 2004 tsunami draws the Pilarski duo back into their roles as movie critics.

How Do Piker Press Movie Reviews Stack Up? (2013-06-10) essay movie review "

Ever wonder just how authoritative reviews are? Bernie explains how it works.

RED 2: Movie Review (2013-07-22) movie review "RED2"

This time it's not just Frank Moses who is in the crosshairs, it's millions of unwary citizens -- can the retired spies and assassins creak their way to victory? Bernie and Sand can't resist "RED 2."

The Power of Habit: Book Review (2013-07-29) book review "The Power of Habit"

In "The Power of Habit," author Charles Duhigg leads the reader through an exploration of recent scientific research in the area of habits, and how this knowledge can impact our lives.

Hot Fuzz: DVD Review (2013-08-19) DVD review "Hot Fuzz"

Bernie finds an old DVD, and his daughter and son-in-law talk him into watching "Hot Fuzz."

Last Night: DVD Review (2013-09-09) DVD review "Last Night"

After his Keira Knightley film festival, Bernie presents his findings.

Memoir From Antproof Case: Book Review (2013-10-07) book review "Memoir From Antproof Case"

An old American at the end of his days living in exile in Brazil writes down the story of his grand and improbable life, placing the pages in an antproof case for safekeeping, in Mark Helprin's novel, "Memoir From Antproof Case."

Gravity - Redux: Movie Review (2013-10-21) movie review "Gravity"

What, the cheapskate Bernie coughed up the bucks to see a movie twice? Oh, the 3-D...

Saving Mr. Banks: Movie Review (2013-12-23) movie review "Saving Mr. Banks"

Merry Christmas popcorn! Let's go see some fine acting by Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks!

IMHO ... Evangelization and the BBC (2014-01-13) essay belief evangelization

Dr. John Gray, a British writer, philosopher and atheist, maintains that evangelists have been blight on civilization. Piker staff writer Bernie, who considers himself an evangelist, agrees, and commends the BBC for providing a forum for civil discourse.

Race Matters: Book Review (2015-01-19) book review "Race Matters"

Bernie is using his retirement to catch up on reading, and in this case, his is reading Cornel West's 1993 book "Race Matters." Dr. West looks at the social issues that are plaguing the black community and argues that these are the same issues that threaten the future of our nation as a whole.

Selma: Movie Review (2015-01-26) movie review "Selma"

Bernie takes his grand-daughter to the movies to give her some perspective on the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

Jupiter Ascending: Movie Review (2015-02-09) movie review "Jupiter Ascending"

Oh, get the popcorn and the super-size Coke, it's time for fun and games at the local planetary nebula...

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, WWII, and WWJD (2015-04-13) essay opinion

Pilarski examines the response of Dietrich Bonhoeffer during WWII, when he not only helped Jews escape from death in Germany but also helped plot an assassination attempt on Adolph Hitler.

Gone Girl: DVD Review (2015-07-27) movie review "Gone Girl"

SPOILER ALERT! Do not read this review if you have not seen the movie...but do not spend money on this movie until you do read the review.

Greatest Movies of the Century? Yes, and Emphatically No (2017-01-02) movie review

Hmmm, more questionable choices by people around the world...

Baring It All in Proxies: Essays Near Knowing (2017-06-05) book review "Proxies: Essays Near Knowing"

Exploring a new writing style, Bernie reads "Proxies," by Brian Blanchfield.

Burning With Wood (2017-10-02) nonfiction essay

It's not just a matter of staying warm; it's not just a matter of saving money. The sight draws us, the heat directs us, and there is more still that the flames bring to us ...

Time (2017-10-09) essay philosophy

Take one NaNovel, edit out the rough bits, and boom, you've got "Time." This past year Bernie participated in his first NaNoWriMo. This piece is an excerpt of his unnamed novel. After having removed the 47,000 words that did not really work, he found that there was at least a potentially interesting essay on the nature of life, the universe and everything. That is the way he usually writes, which is why he is an unproductive and unknown author.


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Nonfiction

The Nature of Forgiveness (2005-05-30) nonfiction opinion current events

A reflection on the scandal in the American Catholic Church.

Classic Lemonade (2009-01-12) essay

Let's do a word association: Yellow? Lemon. Sweet? Sugar. Winter? --- Lemonade!

That Bad, Bad Cat: Way Off Broadway (2009-03-09) nonficiton essay spoof

Bernie Pilarski treats us to a report on Studio 80's stage production of "That Bad, Bad Cat."

Re-inventing the Wheel: Bernie's Pot Pie (2012-01-16) food chicken pot pie recipe

Danger, danger, Will Robinson! You are gonna get fat!

Speaking of Turkey... (2013-12-30) food leftovers

Turkey and cranberry sauce -- what shall we do with them after the holiday meal?

Scrapple You Can Serve Your Friends (2014-03-03) food "scrapple"

A delicious version of the Pennsylvania horror breakfast.

Kulfi: Indian Ice Cream (2014-07-21) food "kulfi ice cream"

No, it's not your alarm clock, it's the blender in the kitchen you hear. Go back to sleep and dream of a sweet breakfast...

Raisin D'Etre (2014-09-22) food "raisins"

When Life sends you lemons, you make lemonade, right? What do you make when Life sends you too many grapes?

Raisin D'Etre, Part Two (2014-10-06) food "raisins"

First it was just dry 'em and eat 'em, but now let's see some finesse...

Kiwifruit Jam (2015-03-09) food "kiwi jam"

A funny-looking fruit with an unusual name: what does it taste like and how can you use it?

Baby Pictures (2015-04-27) cover story photo essay

How are you going to feed all those hungry little ones?

Beef Heart Stew: A Culinary Posture (2016-01-18) food

Sounds strange...but there's few tastier, more comforting meals than this on a chilly winter day.

Harvest Season Cookin:' Zucchini Pie (2016-07-11) food zucchini

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When neighbors hand you zucchinis without rhyme or reason, you make Zucchini-Onion Pie!

Goodness from the Garden (2016-11-14) food escargot snails

Well, you CAN try this one at home...

Brussels Sprouts: Who Knew? (2017-02-27) food Brussels sprouts

An amazing yet often-maligned vegetable, the Brussels sprout finds its way into Bernie's yard.

A Scrapple Sandwich You Can Serve Your Friends (2017-05-01) food scrapple sandwich

Ah, that crunch, that lightly smokey flavor -- that Back East treat finds a new way to please...


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Comics

Peek of the Week 020 (2005-12-12) photo art

Portrait of a raven on Highway 1, near Pescadero.

Birds of Ripon 01 (2006-10-09) comics

Bernie Pilarski, expert naturalist, presents a series about the exciting world of the birds of Ripon, California.

Birds of Ripon 02 (2006-10-16) comics

Who knows why the mysterious, dapper junco hangs out with the sparrows? Is it for comfort? Is it something more sinister?

Birds of Ripon 03 (2006-10-23) comics birds

Tall, athletic, gorgeous, the kind who steams the girls' glasses -- meet the noisy handsome neighbor, the Blue Jay.

Birds of Ripon 04 (2006-10-30) comics birds

Certainly there is a valid reason for studying birds -- politics is the Number One.

Birds of Ripon 05 (2006-11-06) comics birds

Understanding the habitat of birds is very important, as well as how to render the habitat in illustrations.

Birds of Ripon 06 (2006-11-13) comics birds

A dapper bird in black and white ... don't be silly, there's not a single penguin in Ripon. It's the amazing, magical Black Phoebe!

Fever Dreams 116 (2006-12-11) comics

Visual commentary on a certain team's record and fan base. Guest art by Staff Writer Bernie Pilarski.

Birds of Ripon 08 (2006-12-18) comics birds

Shy and retiring, the Hermit Thrush keeps to himself and his cabin in the woods, with plenty of munchies on hand.

Birds of Ripon 09 (2007-01-01) comics birds

Polite, attractive, and good tippers, Cedar Waxwings are always enjoyable to have around.

Birds of Ripon 10 (2007-01-08) comics birds

They're here, they're on vacation from regular jobs as corporate secretaries -- yes, now you see one -- the Robin.

Birds of Ripon 11 (2007-01-15) comics birds

Dashing and opinionated, sexy and well-versed in fine dining -- it's time to take a scientific look at The Crow.

Birds of Ripon 07 (2007-04-16) comics birds

The Hummingbird has a custom chameleon paint job and an engine like the dream muscle car ... (Originally appeared 11-20-2006)

Peek of the Week 186 (2009-03-16) photo art

A savannah sparrow visits the bird seed.

Peek of the Week 267 (2010-10-11) photo art

A play of light and shadow in water.

Peek of the Week 303 (2011-06-27) photo art

Bernie's buddy Jay.

Peek of the Week 323 (2011-11-14) photo art

A delectable portrait.

Peek of the Week 329 (2011-12-26) photo art

Tule fog gives an otherworldly air to the forest near the Stanislaus River, California, USA.

Peek of the Week 355 (2012-07-02) photo art

A ghostly "eye" appears in the morning light ...

Peek of the Week 383 (2013-01-14) photo art

Low morning light illuminates sap on the bark of a tree.

Peek of the Week 393 (2013-03-25) photo art

The new addition to the supermarket produce section: Sumo fruit!

Peek of the Week 397 (2013-04-29) photo art

A view of San Francisco, California, and the expanse of the bay.

Peek of the Week 415 (2013-09-09) photo art

A head-on view of a menacing-looking moth.

Peek of the Week 421 (2013-10-21) photo art

A time of harvest, and October is a month for harvesting pumpkins.

Peek of the Week 429 (2014-09-01) photo art

Morning shadows reveal a gardener and her beloved container corn.


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Short

Love and Marriage: A Shinway Tale by Mei-ling Weaver (2006-03-20) cover story short fiction humor

Being wise isn't easy, especially when doling out wisdom about marriage that includes boobs and pit vipers.

Turn Off the Main Road: Lewistown, Pennsylvania (2007-07-16) travel

It's Tony's, it's OIP, it's Laskaris' hotdogs ... you may think Bernie's kidding, but this stuff is worth stopping by to sample the fare.

On the Matter of Being Old: A Shinway Story by Mei-ling Weaver (2007-10-15) cover story short fiction humor

Past your prime? Snow on the ol' mountaintop? Been studying other people's walkers with an eye to which model might suit your lifestyle? Have you said, "Been there, done that," to just about everything that comes up in cocktail party conversations? Perhaps it is time for you to visit the Master and ask his advice ...

Picture This (2013-03-18) cover story short fiction life

A box of old photographs prompts an examination of relationships and beliefs. Is it better to look at them, or should we just put the lid back and cover it all up?

All Things Being Equal (2015-06-08) cover story fiction relationships spirituality

When you're headed off into unfamiliar territory, what you wish most for is a map...

All Things Being Equal, Part Two (2015-08-03) cover story fiction relationships spirituality

"How many fingers do you have?" someone asks you. The answer is easy -- you look at your hands and count them. But what if the questions you're asked lead to an answer that can't be seen?

All Things Being Equal, Part Three (2015-08-24) cover story fiction relationship mistakes

Honesty is the best policy, the old saying goes. But the best -- for who?

All Things Being Equal, Part Four (2015-09-21) cover story fiction relationships spirituality

Can you say that you've lost everything when you didn't understand what it was you had?

All Things Being Equal, Part Five (2015-10-19) cover story fiction relationship life

Too many of the words we say are simply noises we've learned to make. We say they have meaning, but do we actually know what that is?

All Things Being Equal, Part Six (2016-04-11) cover story fiction relationship life

Is it possible to seek something if you don't even know it exists? And do you only know something exists when you perceive that it is no longer there?

All Things Being Equal, Part Seven (2016-06-20) cover story fiction life love

Sometimes everything changes. Sometimes the world looks different. Michael struggles to salvage the relationship that has been torpedoed by Jessica's desire to return to religious practice, and he hopes that Jessica's son might be his ally, but change is never easy.

Anchorite (2017-06-19) cover story fiction spirituality

An ancient spirituality presents opportunity and danger for a bishop who sees his legacy in brick and mortar.


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Poem

Poetry Writ Bad (2014-01-06) poem unrhymed

And yet some of his best friends are poets...

Qu'est ce que je sais? (2016-03-28) poem rhymed

"What if I had four arms? Would you still love me?..."


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Essay

Reflections on Lenten Activities (2014-03-03) essay column spirituality

This Lenten Season, Bernie intends to do something different to remind him of what his life is about...

Reflections on Lenten Activities 2 (2014-03-10) essay column spirituality

Have you grown anything spiritually?

Reflections on Lenten Activities 3 (2014-03-17) essay column spirituality

Hoping for greater spiritual growth, Bernie Pilarski continues his Lenten task.

Reflections on Lenten Activities 4 (2014-03-24) essay column spirituality

Is it possible to take hope from an experience of the dark night of the soul?

Reflections on Lenten Activities 5 (2014-03-31) essay column spirituality

Can Klingons eat meat on Fridays in Lent?

Reflections on Lenten Activities 6 (2014-04-07) essay column spirituality

At least he did not endeavor to shave his head with a mandoline...

Reflections on Lenten Activities 7 (2014-04-14) essay column spirituality

The man growing his hair for Lent is nearing his goal...

Reflections on Lenten Activities 8 (2014-04-21) essay column spirituality

And now, where's that razor?

Aging Gracefully (2015-01-12) essay cars age

Sometimes you've just got to recognize the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Lent and the Pharaoh (2015-02-16) essay spirituality Lent

Mardi Gras this week, and yes, it's Lent already...

Pasta the Point of No Return (2015-04-06) essay food philosophy

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm...those "m's" aren't found in "Manufacturing!"

When Life Gives You A Drought... (2015-04-20) food "lemon kulfi"

California may not have much water right now, but one thing it has in abundance.

Thinking Out Loud (2016-08-15) essay religion spirituality

Something sounds familiar, and good...what if things had been just a bit different?

What Do I Know 2 (2017-07-17) essay life

By what do you know whether or not you're successful?

What Do I Know 3 (2017-09-11) essay religion spirituality

The Third in series of "Unresearched Essays," short, one topic essays, written using only information from memory, that perhaps provide an opportunity to shed a little light on who the author is.

What Do I Know 4 (2017-10-16) essay philosophy

The fourth in series of "Unresearched Essays," short, one topic essays, written using only information from memory, that perhaps provide an opportunity to shed a little light on who the author is.


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Bernie Pilarski
Bernie Pilarski


Bernie lives in Central California with his wife, Sand. He has a degree in psychology and has worked in the automotive industry, both as management and on the line (ask him which he likes better). He has also worked extensively in religious ministries. He writes thoughtful drama overlaid with wry humor. He is also quite the amateur wine expert.



Stained Glass

Stained Glass is a tale of passions and spirituality, of relationships and conversion. Paul's wife has left him, and in trying to piece together his life, he finds himself drawn to the Catholic Church — though less for the teachings than the teacher. Margaret, the beautiful young woman in charge of adult education at the local parish, captures Paul's heart.
Just as Paul thinks he has found God and that God has led him to Margaret, Paul also discovers to his horror that Margaret is a lesbian, a fact that she has kept secret from the rest of the parish.

Feeling trapped, wearied by the subterfuge, and afraid of the prejudices of a community not known for their tolerance of homosexuals, Margaret shares with Paul her story, knowing that she could lose her job if her secret is found out. Paul listens as Margaret recounts in loving detail her relationship with Mei-ling, her first love, tragically killed in an auto accident, and her relationship with CJ, the wealthy and sophisticated San Francisco art dealer who awakens Margaret's desires.

Stained Glass is a fascinating and surprising look inside the Catholic Church. Based in part on the author's twenty years of experience as a catechist, it is a look at what happens when Church teachings collide with the reality of life in the modern world.