Archive for Books – Page 2

Once Upon a Time…

Many years ago, Joe Biden and Clarence Thomas were above-the-fold front page news. Thomas was accused of behavior unbefitting a Supreme Court nominee. It was a political sideshow. Thomas called it a “high tech lynching.” Democrats called him unfit. The woman accuser was sacrificed on the alter of expediency, and Thomas was confirmed by a Senate vote of 52-48.

Today Biden and Thomas are back in the headlines, Biden as POTUS and Thomas as the Supreme Court’s senior Justice. And once again, Thomas is at the center of a political firestorm regarding his fitness to serve. read more

Teaching the Truth…

Several high profile lightweights are throwing their weight around these days. A podcaster, a primetime “influencer”, the son of a dead president’s dead brother, and a scraggly bearded QB who misled teammates and the NFL about his vaccine status. All have contributed to the spread of misinformation and the disgraceful manipulation of audiences hungry for the truth in these perilous times.

Yes, Joe Rogan, Tucker Carlson, RFK Jr. and Aaron Rogers are pedaling misinformation about the efficacy of the coronavirus vaccine. Never-mind them. Forget Spotify, Fox News, and other fringe podcasts. Something even more dangerous is happening at school board meetings across the country. It’s about books. It’s about teachers. It’s about parental and social responsibility. read more

C’mon, Stop Pimping Your Elders…

I have an abiding dislike for people who make fun of others. I never liked Don Rickles whose act was an avalanche of insults, or Donald Trump who chooses to demean or slander those he disagrees with rather than engage them in debate. Remember Crooked Hillary, Little Marco, Sleepy Joe, Crazy Megyn, Pocahontas, or the disabled New York Times journalist he mocked.

Lately it’s Stephen Colbert, one of my favorite comedians, who is getting under my skin. He does an impersonation of Joe Biden that’s not about his politics. He’s mocking Joe’s affect as an out of touch old person. read more

Give Her the Last Word…

She’s been leaving us since 2003. She invited us to watch, and today she took her final breath. Joan Didion was the consummate detached observer. In the beginning, her strength was cultural commentary, reporting on-site in the Haight-Ashbury during the 1960s flower power/LSD days (Slouching Toward Bethlehem). Then we were allowed to ride along while Maria Wyeth aimlessly roamed LA’s freeways and mentally unraveled in Play It as It Lays. But her writing didn’t become painfully personal until the sudden death of her husband and writing partner John Gregory Dunne and the subsequent death of her daughter Quintana Roo. It was as if she couldn’t help scratching the open wounds of loss (The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights). Since then, we’ve morbidly watched as Parkinson’s Disease shriveled her body and flattened her once animated face. read more

The Wisdom of Ishi…

In 2013, M and I were living in Saigon when we were introduced to Ishi, a visiting writer from Kanagawa, Japan. Our friend, Akiko Yabuki, found Ishi lounging on a beach four years earlier. Since then, the two of them and Aki’s husband George have traveled extensively. Today the three of them and their 5 year-old daughter, Emi, live near the center of the hipster universe in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with their Labrador retriever, Pono.

In 2014 we were thrilled to have Aki, George, and Ishi visit us in Seattle. We cooked dinner, all in agreement that sharing food with friends (or enemies) is the way to the heart and an avenue toward peace. I made pasta, which Ishi found restful… even soporific. read more