Archive for Friendship

The Art of Politics…

The Middle East is a stewpot of millennia old resentments – tribal envy, ethnic animosity, and territorial covetousness – historic sites, beautiful people, extreme poverty, oil fortunes, and political intrigue with an underlying stench of greed and desperation.

The grisly, murder, dismemberment, and disposal of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is the latest iteration of this ages old situation. It usually takes years to give us distance from real life events, like the Saudi murder, in order for them time to become the subject of artistic expression. Such is the case with a play now on stage at ACT Theatre in Seattle. The issue is still current, though the play is about a 1993 attempt to address the “Palestinian problem.” read more

Tangled Roots…

Do you ever wonder about your ancestry? Do you know how and when your family came to America? Is there any strange fruit hanging on your family tree? Einstein? Al Capone? Sarah Bernhardt? What do you really know about your family’s history?

Are you a true American? Probably not; Elizabeth Warren’s recent DNA test confirms that she is, because her ancestry links back to those who inhabited North America before 1600. They’re the only true Americans. The rest of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Even Donald Trump’s tangled roots are buried in one of those “shithole” countries in Africa he likes to disdain. read more

“So It Goes”

On September 2, 1945, when the Japanese surrendered to General Douglas MacArthur on the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, there were huge victory celebrations across the country (Seattle above).

It was the end of WWII, and Americans saw it as the triumph of democracy over fascism and good over evil. The nation was ready to party on one of the most important of days in American history. My parents were excited and wanted me, their 7-year-old son, to see and feel its importance too, so late that afternoon we hopped a bus to join the melee in downtown Seattle. My blurred memory of the scene is chaotic. The streets were a teeming, noisy, confetti-filled sea of humanity, and I remember watching it all from under the awning in front of Byrnie Utz Hats, Seattle’s iconic purveyor of men’s hats. read more

A Real Fighter Pilot…

“We just love our pilots.” Marine Sgt. Major TC Crouson (VMF-323 Reunion)

History’s most famous fighter pilot, the “Red Baron,” Manfred von Richthofen, offered the following description of how a fighter pilot approaches his job:

“Fight on and fly on to the last drop of blood, the last drop of fuel, to the last beat of the heart.”

Since the death of Senator John McCain last weekend, a number of journalists have seized on his days as a fighter pilot to describe his personality and character. The conventional wisdom is that fighter pilots are aggressive, competitive, work-oriented, cocky, conscientious, extroverted, risk takers. Looking back it’s clear that the life and career of John McCain was faithful to both the Red Baron’s and conventional wisdom’s summary of attributes. read more

Preserve and Protect…

“There is a delight in the hardy life of the open. There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value.” — President Theodore Roosevelt

The timing is coincidental but today is the 102nd anniversary of the National Park Service, the federal agency founded by Theodore Roosevelt to manage the national parks, monuments and other natural properties designated for conservation and preservation. read more