Archive for Uncategorized – Page 2

A Different Contagion…

You could have held the tight little nest in your cupped hands. The mother bird had chosen a potted cedar on our back deck for safety. We’d been out of town for a month when I discovered the bowl of fine twigs with four tiny eggs in the bottom close to the cedar’s trunk. Almost simultaneously, I understood why a group of crows is called a murder. Dozens of them were lurking in the trees behind me, as intent on living up to their collective name as I was in keeping them at bay. War was in the air. read more

No Smell, No Taste…

Granny

My restless brain is in overdrive search now that I have all this time and nowhere to go, so when I heard that one of the symptoms of Covid-19 was the loss of smell and taste, I free associated back to a bar of the same name (No Smell No Taste) in the West African country of Liberia. As Jerry Jeff Walker said about going to jail “I wasn’t there on a research project.” No Smell No Taste was a shanty bar, part wood, part corrugated tin, dirt floor on the road from the airport at Roberts Field to the capital, Monrovia. Big fun. Heineken beer preserved and fortified with formaldehyde (not unlike Trump’s injection of disinfectant) and a favored watering spot for Pan Am crew members. But, that’s another story. read more

Sliding Tiles and Memory…

With the dual contagions of Clovid-19 and Donald Trump in the air, I’ve been looking for an escape from the news cycle. It’s exhausting, but after combing the Netflix, Amazon Video, and Audible libraries while rereading The Plague, The Andromeda Strain, and Love in the Time of Cholera I think the solution is to go back to work. Writing as therapy.

Most writers carry a notebook where they jot down snippets of dialogue or the elements of a scene, so they have material for a story or article, but I was always a lousy notetaker. Back in college, when I was studying for an exam, I had a hard time making sense of my notes. Nothing stood out. I’d look at them and see nothing but “the” or “and” as if they were the important facts in a lecture. I was hopeless. It didn’t take long to learn I’m an oral and visual learner which is why I love the iPhone camera and why I never wanted to miss a class lecture. read more

Is This It for Us?

As of today, April 24, 2020, there are 2,736,979 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide and 192,125 reported deaths. Of those, America has 870,468 cases and 50,031 deaths. Here in Washington there are 12,282 confirmed cases and 682 deaths.

“April is the cruellest month” (T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land)

The world is on lockdown. Our streets are empty. Essential businesses are permitted. Nothing else is open. In New Orleans, rats are swarming in the streets, because the restaurants are closed, the dumpsters are empty, and there’s nothing to eat. read more

Where’s My Alan Mullaly?

Seattle’s horse left the barn in 1997 when Boeing acquired its sickly competitor McDonnell Douglas. Little did anyone suspect that a company on life support could hijack the culture of its acquiring giant and precipitate a corporate tailspin that would drive the company into financial bailout territory.

The public could be forgiven for believing Boeing’s problem is the 737 MAX safety issue compounded by the Covid-19 crisis. The truth is more complex and the problems, including those related to the 737 MAX, derive from a cultural change that began with the McDonnell Douglas merger.  read more