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less is more (formerly The Scoop)
is a  more or less monthly newsletter from author Ken Kuhlken
.
The Brand

A friend who would likely prefer to remain anonymous commented on the cartoon image that used to top the less is more header. He said something like "You're not that ugly." Which, coming from this fellow, is a high complement.

So, when I came upon the photo above, I chose to use it to replace the cartoon.

But later, for about the tenth time, I decided to pay more attention to my "brand", and asked myself what image the new header photo presented.

Maybe, I thought, a banker on Halloween or a pharmaceutical salesman.

Anyway, it's not the right brand. I'm not selling loans or opiates, but books that deliver mystery, suspense, human drama, history, and occasionally memorable wisdom, all set in the wilds of the urban and rural Californias.

So I'll keep looking for the right image.
My Favorites

I wrote many dozens of stories for the San Diego Reader, but none lately. So I was surprised when publisher Jim Holman emailed and asked for a short piece about how I started writing for his magazine and for me to note some of my favorite Reader stories. 

Here is a link I hope you will follow, and then read a story or two.
Bo, Chickens, and Church
 
My cousin Patti is such an innocent and lovable person, I used her as the inspiration for Bo, a hero in The Very Least. 

Recently Patti delivered a sympathy card to Zoë and me because our chicken Rocky bit the dust, claimed by a coyote. Rocky was a good chicken, but as I’m not accustomed to getting cards when our livestock or even our pets die, I was deeply moved by that kind gesture. 
 
Yet Patti sometimes angers me. She is one of those evangelicals who votes for politicians whose values and behavior she would find appalling if she allowed herself to think about them. But long ago, I suspect, she turned at least most of her thinking over to the church. 
 
So I have no call getting angry with Patti. My anger should rightfully be directed at the church. 
 
Churches and I have a complicated relationship. I grew up alternately bored and appalled by the churches I knew, and even after I became a follower of Christ, I avoided churches for some years. But when I started attending, I discovered that (1) some preachers convey a whole lot of wisdom and (2) many if not most church people are kind and goodhearted. 
 
For a dozen or so years that was enough, but lately I catch myself seething because churches that do the thinking for many kind, goodhearted people rarely take seriously enough the responsibility for applying Christ's principles to living in the world. 
 
I consider Journey Community Church in La Mesa, CA as one of the best, and pastor Ed Noble to be wise and thoughtful. But lately, I sit in church wondering about stuff like why we’re not praying our government would help the poor and hungry camped out at our border, only fifteen miles south, instead of turning them away. 
 
I know church people do plenty to help the poor and troubled. Still, I imagine them as the providers of band-aids to those who suffer from gaping wounds of the body, heart, and soul caused by the greed and callousness of people who run or influence governments all over the world, including ours. 
 
In a dream, I hear the pastor say, “Come on people, just try to imagine Jesus building a big, beautiful wall.”
 
Sure, maybe two-thirds of the congregation walks out. Maybe the church goes broke, or needs to rent a smaller, shabbier place. 
 
Likewise, maybe two-thirds of the subscribers to less is more will now unsubscribe. 
 
I hope not. But In the memorable words of novelist Kurt Vonnegut, “So it goes.”
Should you, rather than unsubscribe, chose to help readers discover less is more, please inform your friends they can subscribe here
Blessings to you, one and all.

Ken
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