I remember where I was on September 11, 2001. It was clear and beautiful in Santa Barbara that day, with a big blue sky overhead and not a cloud to be seen. My daughter was eight days old. I had just dropped my son off at kindergarten when my wife rang my cell phone to tell me that a jetliner had crashed into the World Trade Center. …
I’m the cult of personality/I exploit you still you love me/I tell you one and one makes three. Living Colour, “Cult of Personality”
I recently read the novel Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. I had been aware of this book since its publication in 2017, and it came back to my attention at precisely the moment when I was ready for a big, sprawling novel. I wanted to take a break from heavy non-fiction and lose myself in places and characters. Pachinko perfectly fit the bill. The novel travels from Korea to Japan across several decades of the twentieth century…
“People do not go to war for abstract theories of government. They fight for property and privilege.” W.E.B. Du Bois
After largely ignoring it for years, the American corporate media has rediscovered Afghanistan. Suddenly, American “credibility” is on the line. The situation would be amusing if it wasn’t so dire for thousands of Afghans. It’s as if some of the talking heads have just awakened from a 20-year slumber and cannot for the life of them understand how the magnificent and all-powerful American military failed so dismally. Predictably, some in the GOP are cravenly attempting to hang the failure around…
“I was reminded again how the men who start wars invariably live through them to justify the behavior that has left millions maimed and dead.” Jim Harrison
Saigon, 1975. Kabul, 2021. The motif of the limits of American military power is that of helicopters evacuating personnel from embassy compounds once thought to be impregnable, and permanent.
I was opposed to the invasion of Afghanistan from the beginning. While the American reaction to the 9/11 attacks was understandable, it always struck me as an overreaction, misguided, out of proportion. I place the Patriot Act in the same category. The folly of…
-Did you hear about Richard?
-What about him?
-He died. Two weeks ago in Italy. Are you still there? Can you hear me?
-Yeah, wow, that’s awful. How?
-In his sleep, apparently. Went to bed like everything was right with the world and never woke up. Natural causes. Sixty-six years old. I just got off the phone with Diane.
-She called you?
-She thought I’d want to know. He was one of my oldest friends.
-How was she?
-I always liked Diane. She had a way about her, calm and classy in every situation. She handled…
Shame: n. The feeling of humiliation or distress arising from the consciousness of something dishonourable or ridiculous in one’s own or another’s behavior or circumstances, or from a situation offensive to one’s own or another’s sense of propriety or decency. Oxford English Dictionary
You might think a man with three daughters would be hyper-sensitive to issues facing women in the workplace, including unequal pay and sexual harassment, but in the case of Andrew Cuomo, the embattled Governor of New York, you would be wrong. Having three daughters hasn’t curbed Cuomo’s penchant for hitting on women, groping them, kissing them, and…
“I have come very late to the pleasure of sitting still with little or nothing on my mind.” Jim Harrison, The Road Home
Coming to the end of my first month of retirement. My Freedom Summer, the first time in twenty-two years that I haven’t been yoked to someone else’s schedule. It has been brilliant. A run of days of cool mornings and lovely sunny afternoons. I’ve been writing, reading, walking or riding my bike up Garcia Road, doing my training sessions, drinking wine, and watching TV in the evening with my wife. We’re into Dr. Death and The White…
“It was a loving crowd too by the way. There was a lot of love. I’ve heard that from everybody.” Former President Donald J. Trump on January 6.
So, January 6, 2021 was a love fest. The Capitol police were ushering Trump’s people into the building, handing out cut flowers, bottles of water, canapes, wetnaps. It was like an outdoor picnic in the middle of winter, an outpouring of patriotic spirit, a red, white and blue day of celebration. And then Mike Pence fucked it all up.
Jesus Christ. I listened to some of Trump’s absolutely bat shit interview with…
In a previous life I think I was a farmer.
Up before the sun, to bed soon after it set.
Frugal and practical, happiest with my hands in the dirt,
Plowing behind a mule, planting and hoping for the harvest,
In tune with sun and rain, the change of seasons, and the cycle of
Renewal and fallow. The farm in my head is in France or Italy, never touched
By war or pestilence, drought or famine. My imaginary farm from an imaginary life.
I have three faithful dogs that follow me everywhere, pigs and chickens, too.
“After the rise of Barack Obama, large numbers of white Americans became convinced not only that racism was a thing of the past but also that, to the extent racial prejudice remained a factor in American life, white people were its primary victims.” Adam Serwer, The Cruelty Is The Point: The Past, Present, and Future of Trump’s America
Today I experienced a significant DIY accomplishment. All by myself I installed a bidet called a Tushy. For a competent man installing a Tushy would be a tension-free breeze, but when it comes to plumbing, tools, measurements and the like, I’m anything…