Archive for Personal/Family – Page 2

The Great Escape…

When I was 19, I ran for sophomore class president at the University of Washington. The night before the election there was a convertible caravan through the campus ending at a bonfire and outdoor stage where we candidates were to give campaign speeches. Great theater. The only complication was that I was a patient in the University Hospital. I had a classic case of mononucleosis – the kissing disease – and with swollen neck glands and a small fever university doctors thought it was serious enough to keep me in the hospital for a few days. read more

Edgar Allan Poe’s Playbook…

As November 3, 2020 approaches, I’m reminded of Edgar Allen Poe’s horror story The Cask of Amontillado in which one character exacts revenge on another by enticing him into a wine cellar chaining him to the wall and then bricking up the entrance. I feel like the guy chained to the wall with William Barr, Louis DeJoy, and Mitch McConnell wielding the trowels and mortar.

Morbidly, I think Poe is the perfect author for this election, and whether it’s The Cask of AmontilladoThe Pit and the Pendulum where the prison walls close in on the helpless victim, or The Masque of the Red Death in which a plague (the Red Death) visits Prince Prospero’s masquerade ball there are a series of doomsday scenarios. Think Rose Garden super spreader! read more

Scrap All Vanity Projects…

In the chaos of the moment, many of us are asking what we can do to right the ship of state. We talk. We read. We watch. We give money if we can. We “like” things on Facebook. We email our friends and urge them to support candidates – and vote. But, somehow it doesn’t feel like enough.

I write a weekly blog, like this one, and because of the president’s actions and the abundance of low hanging fruit I’ve become more political than I wanted to be. It’s satisfying to some extent but not wholly so. read more

RICO Time…

Civilization’s veneer is paper thin. William Golding showed us how thin in his novel Lord of the Flies. Given that thin veneer, it’s all the more astonishing that wild-eyed Americans aren’t storming the White House, tearing down its walls, and chasing Donald Trump and his posse of grifters down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Nevertheless, while the veneer is cracking, the center is holding. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter, Putin’s bounty on US soldiers, a Post Office scandal and virtual political conventions, “civilized” Americans are hanging on to the belief that their institutions are durable enough to withstand the swirling shit storm. They believe, we believe, November 3rd will bring America a new president (and Senate). read more

My CIA Interview…

Once upon a time there was a clear-eyed, wet behind the ears, 24-year-old who believed national service was honorable. He was a liberal arts college graduate and Marine Corps fighter pilot about to finish his active duty obligation.

He never planned to make the military his career as much as he loved the flying, but he wasn’t sure what was next. Life was open ended. He thought about graduate school in English and a college teaching career. Tweed jackets with leather patches and all that. But that might be too tame.  read more