The Rumination’s and Reflections of an Armchair Philosopher


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Armchair Philosophy portrays the human condition, by presenting rumination’s or thoughts on essential needs, such as being and feeling safe. Its goal is to encourage the reader to think and laugh.  Utilizing common sense and humor, this book follows in a long line of works of Armchair Philosophy, written specifically for the general public. An example of Armchair Philosophy is that the only thing evil cannot tolerate is ridicule. Therefore, if we can laugh at evil, it will not prevail. The first work of Armchair Philosophy that I am aware of is Thomas More’s “Utopia,” published in Latin in 1516. More tried to envision a nation in the New World built on common sense and common courtesy. In English the prose is pure poetry, and the humor is magical. Bertrand Russell published “The History of Western Philosophy” in 1946 out of a concern that Western Philosophy had become too arcane and intellectual to be relevant to the general public. Armchair Philosophy is another solution to this issue. While academic, Russel’s book is full of profound insights and humor. The goal of my book is to use humor and wit to explore the nature of being safe.

The “Twins”

Though fraternal and not in any way identical, 

Born, they’d say, at the dawn of time.

One balancing perfectly against the other

Every aspect of one mirroring the caprices and capacities of the other.

One is bold, aggressive, confident,

and dares do what has never been done.

The other quiet, careful . . . . .

a source of calm and stability.

Throughout their seemingly endless life together, 

each is essential, as fear is to love.

Known throughout their lives by many names, 

We know them

                   Speculation and Truth.

Life is short!

peals of laughter, as my father reads his morning paper

memories of my laughs from today's Facebook feed.

betting with my mom on the winner of Project Runway.

my parent’s acceptance of their son's odd attire.

memories of surviving my first open mic,

the sounds of laughter, whistling and applause still ringing 

in my ears.

life is short,

Ich habe genug!


What sort of dynamics does an instrument need

to blend in, 


and match the acrobatic flight of a full string section,

 . . . and then break free, 


      establish itself as a soloist 


        with material of equal fire,


            or sharp contrast?

What sort of dynamics do trumpet fanfares imply?

How could its sound have been mistaken for a

human voice,

Painfully searing one moment, 

playful and dance like the next?

What sort of control did it provide

to support the long melodies that hovered over a

murmuring string band?

For Handel, Bach and Telemann The oboe had enormous power,

it could go suddenly from transparent softness to a blast,

its range supported by many long beatific melodies,

and then,

at a moment’s notice, 

it could whip off fiery cadenzas.

Could this instrument have predated Jazz?


We have a snow storm just starting here in Virginia.

I just got back from an "EMERGENCY" trip,

to the grocery store,

(just 2 miles away),

on icy roads,

with my 90 year old Father,

at the wheel of his car. 

We made it back alive!


we managed to buy all the things,

that were specified,

by my 82 year old Mom,

on a small post-it note,

that only my Father could read.  


that list,

produced 8 bags of groceries,

by the time we were done. 

After my Mom did a complete audit of what we brought back,

(and I helped to put some stuff away),

I thought to myself,

. . . . boy

wouldn’t it be nice

to be held by a man again,

and remember,

what it was like,

to be a boy again!  

And then I realized, 

how amazing it was,

that except for a hug,

my experience was,

what it was like,

to be a boy again,

in this house again,

with my parents again!

Star of wonder . . .

Star of wonder,

Star of night,

Star of royal beauty bright,

Westward leading, still proceeding,

Guide us to thy perfect light.

One afternoon an old man pulled out his string of Christmas

tree lights and      

found just one light burning,

He was alone, a widower with no kin.

Star of wonder,

Star of night,

That same night, Christmas Eve, a young man waited for his first 

shift at a local emergency room,

Having completed his undergraduate work in pre-med, 

he thought nothing could surprise him,

Star of wonder,

Star of night,

Star of royal beauty bright.

Later that night,

after the old man fell asleep with one light burning, 

oh so gloriously bright,

woke up with a start,

and dialed 911.

   Star of wonder,

Star of night,

Star of royal beauty bright.


badly shaken and badly burned the old man looked solemn, 

despondent and alone in that emergency room,

Star of wonder,

Star of night,

That single light that burned so gloriously bright was

now a part of this man’s 


The young man was told to ease the old man’s burden,

to keep him company until the burns could be addressed,

for that single bulb

had warmed the old man

in a place that rarely saw true light.

Westward leading, still proceeding,

Guide us to thy perfect light.

Everyone remembers “the cool kids”. The guy in college that was the quarterback with parallel majors in pre-med and pre-law. The thin blond in chemistry that was fluent in French and was a wiz at Calculus. The stars of the racetrack and the tennis court that also found physics fun. These were the amazing people that did everything with an ease and grace that no one else could match.

Amazing Grace

Where are you?

You seem to be everywhere I look.

Dazzling, scintillating and ever present.

You delight and amaze everyone you meet, 

but not me!

Oh my God, 

why not ME?

I can’t get a glance, 

or see your face, 

but your presence appears to be everywhere I look.

Why won’t you look at me? 

Let me see your face?

Oh My God of amazing grace.


Francis Burke was for many years the rector at St. Andrews Church in Hilton Village. He often took the mundane things in life, like baseball, and transformed them into wonderful sermons. This is my memory of one of those amazing sermons.


Many years ago,

On a Saturday afternoon,

A beautiful spring day,

The rector of St. Andrews church realized he didn’t have a sermon,

For the nine o’clock service the following day.

He’d been fretting and worrying all week long trying to lead his 

flock to the cool green pastures promised in the sacred texts,

And now he was stuck,

Without a sermon for his flock.

The wedding that day was a smashing success,

That he could not enjoy because of his worries.

He sat on the church steps 

after the wedding was done, 

annoyed by the mess he saw.

Bird seed and rice were scattered about,

Which the birds were frantically gobbling up.

“Why don’t we clean this”, he thought, 

“this is awful and must be swept up!”

As his thoughts drifted to developing a sermon,

he suddenly was annoyed again when the squirrels showed up.

How frantic and desperate they all were.

There was plenty of rice, 

and many weddings.

Why all the fuss and fury 

when there was plenty to eat?

And then he realized from God’s perspective, 

how frantic and worried we must all be,

when God ensures there will always be enough!

God bless you James!

Just up from the beach Helen and her friend watched their

grand children playing below.

Helen, no I don’t know what you’re lookin at, may I borrow

your binoculars?

Nope, it’s not a seagull or a heron, it looks like a pelican. 

You know, people they say they are back!

Now what’s that black patch rippling below the surface, is that shad?

Oh your son is in sea-trials Again? Do they really come this

far up the river? 

Well maybe it’s just the shad and not a nuclear sub this time.

No, it’s a clear day, almost no haze, in fact I think I can see 

Surry from here . . . . 

no, they don’t burn coal there. . . I thought your son was in propulsion 

down at the yard. . . . no those are nuclear plants. . . 

oh he’s still in hull design . . .  

well yes I know he graduated from Webb.

Thank you dear, those are truly amazing binoculars!

Now Mantel, what have you dragged up from the beach this time!  

No, don’t flip it over, I just hate looking into those Beady black eyes.

Just put it back.

No, of course I know what it is, don’t you remember?

Ok, so repeat after me slowly . . . it is a hore-shoe crab. Hore-shoe.. 

Ok, take it on back and go play with the jelly fish. . .. 

no your Dad’s still working and your Mom’s not home yet. 

Now shoo!

Yes Helen, no I don't think those things have green blood. Really, really, 

what a positively ghoulish thought…… 

now where did that come from. . . . 

yes they are raising those things in pens now …… 

medical research I guess. . . . .

somewhere over on the eastern shore.

Helen how’s your drink doin? 

Yes, I drained mine about an hour ago. . . should I head up the hill?

Oh Helen looky here, guess who’s headed down the hill……  

it’s James with refreshments!

Oh James what would do with out you……

you are an absolute saint!

you must have read my mind.

I was just about to head up the hill myself….. . .

yes …. that one’s for Helen . . . .  

now is that mine, James . .  . with the two twists of lime? 

   God bless you James!


It always sucks to be someone!

It always sucks to be someone,

And sometimes that’s you,

But until you become someone,

I’m glad I’m not you!

It always sucks to be someone,

And sometimes that’s you,

But until you become someone,

You just got to be you!

It always sucks to be someone,

And sometimes that’s you,

But until you become someone,

You can never be you!

Better Living through Chemistry

How many time have we heard this slogan before,

from companies like Monsanto?

How many grains, 

preservatives and wraps 

have graced our lives with better living?

How many drugs and ointments

have also improved our lives?

How many rounds of chemo-therapy

must we endure,

my friends,

 to pay for a life “enriched” through Chemistry?

About the author

Peter Kelly grew up in Newport News Virginia. Peter helped establish the Lyra Baroque Orchestra after moving to the Twin Cities in 1985. He was the principal baroque oboist with the Lyra Baroque Orchestra for six years. He recently retired as a Senior Systems Business Analyst. view profile

Published on November 16, 2020

9000 words

Genre: Philosophy

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