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.

I will miss her keen, acerbic observations and spare prose, but most of all I will miss her cultural commentary. For a writer whose work is packed with insights into political intrigue, she was curiously silent on Trump and the ramifications of his political legacy. In Political Fictions she commented on the Clinton years, and how a “handful of insiders (who) invent, year in and year out, the narrative of public life”. And, in Salvador she wrote of her terrifying awareness that death squads were stalking the country while she wandered the aisles of a shopping center that offered imported vodkas and foie gras.

As the year-ends, I’m acutely aware that Ms. Didion’s death marks another kind of passage. Her voice won’t be around to remind us of the importance of family, the pain of personal loss, or the global consequences of ignoring political terror.

The past two years have been a trial. Americans have seen 800,000 fellow citizens die of a rampant uncontrolled virus, were forced to confront their country’s history of racism, watch an attack by domestic terrorists on its nation’s Capital, see the outgoing president attempt to overturn a legitimate election, and suffer the humiliating withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan after a 20 year war it couldn’t win.

Life changes fast.

Life changes in the instant

You sit down to dinner and the life as you know ends.

The question of self-pity

Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)

It seems appropriate to give her the last word.

Some of it’s Magic…

Yes, today’s the day, and I’ve been getting happy birthday emails, text messages, phone calls and cards from all over the world. I’m grateful to have shared time with so many interesting people over the years. We’ve enjoyed books, music, good food, long runs, wooded walks, powder turns, bike trips, sunny beaches, funny stories, and much, much more over the years. It feels great to have such good friends and memories.

I’m happy to be alive and well, even though the world is a mess and smart people who should know better are bickering over insignificant things while the planet is melting down, burning up, and blowing away under the pressure of climate change, Covid-19 is ravaging its population, billionaires are flaunting their wealth in space, grinding poverty is endemic, and there are tribal wars, insurrectionists, and racists in mainstream politics. In 2016 I characterized myself as an optimist. Today, I’m less sure. I worry for for my children and grandchildren. What kind of a world will they have?

Regardless, I’m living in the moment. I love my life –my wife, my kids, my friends, my home, and the interests that still consume me – but I know my future is not as long as my past. I love folk-rock and I often hear lyrics that catch the moment and speak to me perfectly.

One of my favorite songs of the last 40 years is Jimmy Buffett’s He Went to Paris that tells the story of an American who went to Paris, lived in London, lost family members, got sick, and eventually returned to the US. It isn’t exactly my story, but it’s not too far off. Jimmy is telling the story and the last two verses sum it all up…

Now he lives in the islands

Fishes the pylons

And drinks his green label each day.

He’s writing his memoirs

And losing his hearing

But he don’t care what most people say


Through eighty-six years

Of perpetual motion,

If he likes you, he’ll smile and he’ll say,

“Some of it’s magic,

And some of it’s tragic,

But I had a good life all the way.”


He went to Paris

Looking for answers

To questions that bothered him so.

It’s close. I’m two years short of eighty-six, and tequila, not Scotch, is my drink of choice, but like the old guy in the song I’m writing my memoirs and losing my hearing, and don’t care what most people say. Still, I agree; “Some of it’s magic and some of it’s tragic, but I had a good life all the way.”

You can listen to Jimmy sing it at La Cigale Concert Hall in Paris:

To all the friends who have made my life so rich – thank you.

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.

Ishi means “rock” and “expression of desire” in Japanese, and though he tops out at just 1.77 inches tall he is a powerful presence and messenger for good.

His is an extraordinary story. From the beach in Kanagawa, Japan to Park Slope, Ishi has traveled thousands of miles and made thousands of friends. He has his own Facebook page with nearly 7000 followers, and a book about his life, Ishi: Simple Tips from a Solid Friend has sold more than 61,000 copies in 19 countries. Check it out; you can be Ishi’s friend as well.

His backstory is equally eclectic. Akiko was born in Japan but moved to New York City when she was 11. George is a second-generation Vietnamese American from Seattle. M and I met the two of them in Saigon where George was the managing director of an advertising agency. Aki  had agreed to leave her job as a content developer at Sesame Street in New York City to accompany him to Vietnam and a new adventure.

There, Aki, feeling lonely and out of place, traded on her Sesame Street experience and found work developing content, script writing, and consulting on all aspects of production for a preschool television program (52 episodes), called “Let’s play with Color” in HCMC, Vietnam.

Ishi is no beach bum slouch. He has a message, a simple message. Aki explains it “When I was having a series of bad days, I met Ishi on the beach. Ishi cheered me on, reminding me that happiness was quite simple. I just needed to choose happiness.” I might put his message differently. I’d say it’s “Get over yourself. Share your smile and see how it affects those you meet and much better your day can be.” Ishi says it better. His smile is infectious and his wisdom profound.

I’m a big fan of naptime and so is Ishi. After the pasta course at our house he disappeared and this is where we found him. He likes Persians. In fact, he likes all things beautiful and everyone he encounters – people, dogs, cats, and the fish who swam above him in his earlier life.

Theirs was a pre-Covid weekend trip, but we hope Ishi and the gang will come back soon. They sent us a nice thank you note. Good manners. Ishi thinks good manners are always in order.

Back home he likes to hang out in Prospect Park. That’s Aki’s dog Pono swimming in to see his friend. Pono missed him a lot when he was away.

Ishi’s instructions, just behind the title page of the book are:

  1. Enjoy the book thoroughly yourself.
  2. Find someone who you want to share this book with.
  3. Pass it on and make someone smile

M and I have passed many on to friends of all ages.

If you’d like to order a copy to pass on, or for you to keep, please email me at

I don’t know about you, but between Covid-19 variants, Stop the Steal, the Texas anti-abortion law, Russian troops gathering on the Ukraine border, the Build Back Better/Joe Manchin fiasco, Jeffrey and Ghislaine, insurrection deniers, and the debt ceiling, I find that hanging out with Ishi brings with it a breath of fresh air and refreshing change in attitude.

Addendum:  Akiko reports that the ISHI book is currently sold out but the publisher says they should be available soon… Until then, she made this pouch to remind someone to use these items as a reminder..

Pillow – so you remember to get good rest
Glasses – to remind you to look for the good
Shell – Nature has magic, so go outside every day! 
Glass bottle – to remind you to collect memories, not things
Balloon – so you can let go of what you can’t control 
Letter G – to remind you to have gratitude for what you have
Candle – to celebrate every small victories 
Staw – to help you take deeeeeep breaths 
A list – so you remember to write down 3 things that made you smile today
Cotton Candy – so you remember to have something yummy every day! 
Rock – so you know you ROCK! 

Baseball Memories…

When I was a kid, cameras had become common and affordable. Brownie box cameras were the rage. My parents bought one, but rarely took pictures. There are a few of me as a baby, a gap of a few years, and a few more from my elementary school days.
When my mother died, I inherited the scuffed leather photo albums, pictures yellowing under acetate, that had been gathering dust in her bookcase. Now, they’re in a box under my desk along with more personal history – journals, notebooks, old letters, and other memorabilia.
As an only child, I’m always alone in those early pictures. Most were taken behind our house on Capitol Hill and might be seen as a posed series because of their similarity – all taken against the hedge backdrop in a corner of our backyard.
In one photo I’m dressed as a cowboy with chaps and sheepskin vest, six-guns, boots, and a cowboy hat. In another I’m a soldier with a helmet and rifle and yet another shows me in a baseball uniform with long socks and a choked-up bat.

As a kid, I was crazy about baseball, and I was certain, as only a kid can be, that one day I would play in the majors. Baseball was the “national pastime” and my father and I played out my fantasy almost every night when he came home from work. 
He was the catcher, and I was the pitcher – much more important than the catcher. We used a stepping-stone set in the lawn as home plate. I was the Yankee’s star pitcher, and he was Yogi Berra. It was always Game 7 of the World Series against the Dodgers. I’d take the mound, and he would crouch down behind “the plate” to receive my best 9-year-old fastball.  A big wind up and leg kick, then I sent it blazing down the pipe. “Ste-e-rike One” he would call out. I would pound the mitt, lean forward again, checking for the sign, nod my head, check the runner at first base, then wind up, kick my leg high, and fire another one. The whole ritual lasted about half an hour. It was never enough. I always wanted more, but he was tired, and mom was waiting with dinner. Playing catch with my dad on summer nights is one of my favorite childhood memories.
I’ve always wished we had done more things together. Looking back I’m wistful, but he was a quiet reserved man who was better with people outside the family than he was with me and mom. On one occasion, in a rare opening up, he told me he ran the mile in high school. It was a surprise to me because I don’t think I’d ever seen him run.
Then one night not long after that I waited for him at the bus stop, and we raced each other home. The memory is still vivid, him running in the street beside me, holding his fedora in one hand, his briefcase in the other, his long stride, the coattails of his overcoat flying out behind, and a smile on his face. He looked great, but it was a one-time thing. I never saw him run again, and except for playing catch we did almost nothing together.
Back then, when he was at work, I spent hours throwing a tennis ball against the brick wall of the church across the street. I visualized a strike zone on the wall, threw hard, then fielded the returning ball like Phil Rizzuto and threw the runner out at first.
In those days my dad and I were loyal fans of the Class AAA Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League and a couple of times each summer he took me to Sick’s Seattle Stadium to see the Rainiers’ play and hopefully collect player autographs before the game. We always sat in the bleachers (left field was the Rainiers’ side), ate hot dogs, drank Cokes, and talked about the team – who was likely to make it to the majors, who was on his way down – but he never talked about anything personal or asked me how I felt about things.
I loved those trips to the ballpark. It was the only other activity I remember doing one on one with my dad. I never made it to the majors, never even made the high school team, but the memory of those backyard pitching duels and Rainier games were high points of my childhood.
Today, when I look at the photos in those scuffed up old albums, there is a sadness that creeps up on me. There are no pictures of my dad. There are only the ones of me with a ball and mitt or a choked-up bat.
I never knew my dad as a person, never knew what he thought or how he felt about so many things. He never once told me he loved me, and I never saw him show affection to my mother. He was a quiet man, reserved and much respected in the community, but not demonstrative.

Years later my mother told me they made a conscious decision to withhold affection from me when I was three years old. He thought I cried too easily and showing affection was turning me into a “sissy.” Withholding affection, he told her, would “toughen me up,” and she was compliant. I guess it was his way of loving me. I see now that playing backyard catch was the only way he could show it.
It took me awhile to understand these things. I know he was proud of me later, and maybe my becoming a Marine Corps fighter pilot was proof to him that his withholding strategy worked. After all, there are no sissies in the cockpit of a supersonic fighter.

I feel sad when I think my dad wasn’t able to share himself with us. To think of how much he and I and mom missed out on.  Regardless, my own wife and children will never have to wonder whether they’re loved. I tell them every time we talk or write.

Leaving the Comfort Zone…

The A/C and ceiling fan at 95D Nguyen Van Thu Street are white noise and always there, but the clock alarm’s frequency is different and pulls me back from a deep slumber. I hit snooze and wrap the sheet tighter, hoping to catch another minute of sleep. The oppressive heat of the Saigon night has diminished. At 5:15 a.m. the street outside is quiet except for an occasional motorbike.

I peel back the covers and sit on the edge of the bed. The walls are sweating and there’s a faint hint of mold. Heavy condensation on the front window makes the streetlight a yellowish blur. I step onto the cool tile floor, turn on the computer and link to the Seattle NPR station. There are tornados in Oklahoma, floods in Texas. In Seattle, it’s the usual November rain.

I turn the A/C down and open our hallway door. A rush of stored heat hits me along with the faint aroma of Indian spices. My wife and I look at each other. Curry and cumin at 5:15 a.m.? Our Indian neighbors are already cooking. I pad barefoot to the kitchen, get yoghurt and two small Asian bananas, and return to the bedroom.


I first came here during the “American War,” an ex-Marine turned commercial pilot, flying troops in and out of the country for R&R. Marilynn and I returned in 2007 for a bicycle tour. Once back in the States, I told a friend how impressed we were with the industry and hospitality of the Vietnamese. He asked me to help his organization raise money for projects in Vietnam and now I’m managing its Saigon office.


At 5:45a.m. we close the door behind us. We’re on our way to the gym. It’s as cool as it will get today. Stepping onto the landing we’re met with a blast of even hotter air, stronger Indian aromas, and rising cigarette smoke. We look at each other, nod toward the stairway and take it instead of the elevator. Two floors below, the apartment door stands open. Suspicions confirmed. The Indian family doesn’t like air-conditioning. They manage the heat by leaving the front door and all the windows open. They’ve spent their entire lives on the sub-continent in temperatures like these. We wonder if strident voices are part of the same heritage? I suspect it’s an arranged marriage, a commercial contract between families. A business deal. They don’t seem to dislike each other but their strident voices make me wonder. Judging other cultures is tricky business, but my guess is they’re in it for the long haul.

Our building is modern but typically Vietnamese – tall and narrow. Six apartments stacked vertically above the lobby entrance. All six are occupied by expats. In addition to the Indians there’s a nondescript Belgian couple, a sexy 50-ish Frenchwoman whose young Vietnamese boyfriends deliver her to the door on the back of their motorbikes, an Australian who gets sideways with the houseman whenever he brings a Vietnamese girl in for a sleepover, and two Australian pilots who use the apartment as a crash pad between flights.

On the ground floor Mr. Vinh, the houseman, in a ribbed undershirt, khaki shorts, and flip-flops puts his cigarette down to summon a taxi for us. He never looks us in the eye or has much to say. He steals small things and uses our washer-dryer when we’re out of town. We step out the gate to avoid the smoke and wait for the cab as the sky begins to lighten.

Mrs. Van, our landlady at 95D Nguyen Van Thu, likes expatriates. She especially likes the monthly wire transfer of US dollars into her bank account. She accepts only dollars or euros – no Vietnam Dong. She is close to our age, overweight for a Vietnamese, and always dressed in black. She lives next door but often sits in our lobby where she can watch her cash flow come and go and gossip with Mr. Vinh.


 Despite the North’s victory in 1975, Vietnam is still divided. Dialects and attitudes differ. Northerners claim linguistic and cultural superiority, and there is plenty of North-South animosity remaining. After the “American War” the victors celebrated by renaming Saigon Ho Chi Minh City. Officially, it is HCMC, but expatriates and local Vietnamese refer to the old city as Saigon while acknowledging the greater urban area as HCMC.

Eight million motorbikes, nine million people, 30,000 taxis, rolling food carts, curbside grills, sidewalk tents and open-air cafes. Sidewalks are crowded. Walking in the street is both mandatory and dangerous. In our four years here, my wife still doesn’t cross the street without holding my hand. I always remind her – “Walk at a steady pace, eyes forward, without stopping. They’ll make the adjustments.”

At all hours of the day and night the sidewalks are crowded with men in their undershirts sitting on children’s plastic chairs. In the morning they drink tea or coffee, in the afternoon they switch to beer. In the evening it’s more beer and later it will be karaoke, sometimes a prostitute…and more beer.


This morning it’s relatively quiet. After our workout at the historic Hotel Rex, where General Westmoreland delivered his infamous press briefings, Marilynn and I walk up Dong Khoi Street to our favorite café, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Its terrace, across from Notre-Dame Cathedral, offers the best people-watching in town. Cathedral Square is now the social center of the city. Notre-Dame, and the ornate Saigon Central Post Office just behind it are two great examples of 19th century French-style architecture.

Because of their colonial history, the Vietnamese have no reverence for the French or their architecture. Many of the wonderful old buildings have been torn down and replaced with shopping malls and high-rise apartment houses. The cathedral and post office are exceptions. Built during the late 19th century French Indochina period, they are magnificent examples of its architectural influences. The Romanesque-style Basilica is built of bricks and other materials imported from Toulouse, and the Saigon Central Post Office, with its bright yellow exterior framed with white trim and domed ceilings, incorporates Gothic, Renaissance, and French Colonial elements.


There is no better place than Cathedral Square to catch the morning scene. Between 7 and 8:30 a.m. shoeshine boys fight to polish my flip-flops. Old women roam the terrace selling lottery tickets. Nike employees lean against the wall waiting for a company van to take them to their factory in Bien Hoa. An old man sits on the curb clutching helium balloons, and I fantasize they will carry him quietly away while we sip our lattes.

The square has become one of our social centers too. We see the same people most mornings and have made friends with several – both locals and expats. It’s not unlike a neighborhood bar in the States.

Modern Saigon is on its way to work, and we watch the parade from our table on the terrace. The office building on the corner is the HSBC Bank headquarters. Even with daytime temperatures close to 100° the Saigonese dress professionally – suits and dress shirts for the men, skirts, scarves, and 4-inch heels for the women. Traditional, upscale, business-like, and aspirational. No casual Fridays here. Everyone wants to be seen as a player.

Across the square, Saigon brides in rented wedding dresses arrive to have their pictures taken against the cathedral backdrop. The groom sweats in the Saigon heat as the photographer poses his bride. The wedding is months away, but this day is almost as important. Photos are taken, curated, placed in a white leather album with gold lettering, and delivered to the bride. I try not to be cynical, but for many this day and the photographs may be the highlight of her life. 

After the wedding, she will likely be scrubbing floors at home while he sits on a little plastic chair drinking beer with his buddies. The wedding album will remind her of happier times. She’ll cover it in plastic and place it in a prominent place near their at home shrine. It will remind her of the day by the cathedral when she was a princess.


At 10° north of the equator, there are only two seasons–hot and wet – hot and wetter. Days and nights are almost equal in length – regardless of season. Sometimes it’s the only consistency we can count on.

By 8:30 both temperature and humidity are beginning to climb. Cumulus clouds are building and will continue to billow upwards until midday—then unload. The city is built on a swamp next to a river, and the central business district is all below mean sea level. Saigon rainstorms are legendary. Within an hour the street will be ankle deep then just as quickly be dry. Every motorbike has a plastic rain poncho stashed in the seat compartment. They go on quickly and come off just as quickly.

There’s no rain yet, but it’s time to finish our lattes and get going.


Marilynn heads back to the apartment at 95 Nguyen Van Thu where she works remotely with her US healthcare clients, and I head for the office.

As I walk, I see need everywhere. Men sleeping in doorways. Maimed beggars. People in rags. A woman seated on the curb selling single cans of Coke. Another with a small hibachi roasting small pieces of some kind of meat. A man in a Tommy Hilfiger T-shirt sits like a statue and watches me every day with an expressionless stare. This is not the downtown financial district of upscale boutiques and skyscrapers. This is District Three, close to downtown but an area where rents are cheaper.

Arriving at the office, I’m greeted warmly by Nga, our perfectly groomed receptionist. At 20 years-old, this is her first real job. She lives with her mother in a modest Vietnamese apartment, and though I don’t know the extent of her education she is up to date on current affairs and her English skills are passable. It’s a mystery how she manages on the $500 per month we pay her, but she has an Apple laptop, the latest iPhone, and a fashionable wardrobe.

Nga is aspirational, and studies Marilynn’s manner closely. She has Western tastes and an interest in floral design, but she’s caught in a double bind. Her culture doesn’t value women. Most of her boyfriends are not as well educated and likely headed for those little chairs and beer in the afternoon. My fingers are crossed that her fate will be better than the Saigon brides at the cathedral.

Like other offices, large and small, our people bring their motorbikes inside and park them in the reception area. It’s all about security. No chain or lock will prevent their theft if left outside. At first, it’s jarring and incongruous to see Nga at her desk, art on the walls, copies of Persian rugs on the tile floor, and a couple of motorbikes parked just inside the door. Soon, it seems normal.

I believe what we do is making a difference, but sometimes it feels like we’re shoveling against the tide. A pregnant woman, about to deliver, may have to ride 30 miles on the back of a motorbike to get to the hospital we built in her province, but it’s 20 miles closer than the nearest one last year.

I feel like I’ve gotten as much or more from the Vietnam experience than the people we serve. I came with assumptions, went through a honeymoon period where I only saw good in the people, then a dark period when everyone seemed corrupt. Lately I’ve come to the realization that, for most Vietnamese, life is about survival. There is overwhelming need and limited resources. There’s never enough.

Today I’m having lunch with Jack Howell, the CEO of Prudential Insurance. Jack and his wife, Jennifer have become friends. Right now, he and I are working together to get Prudential to underwrite the purchase of light therapy machines and other equipment for neonatal wards in hard to reach areas of north Vietnam and the Mekong Delta. We’re close to a deal but philanthropy is not a high priority at Prudential headquarters, and I need Jack to put push the corporate bureaucracy.

Jack and Jennifer are two of our friends who’ve decided to remain in Asia. It’s not for everyone, but expats are well compensated and international schools offer their children an excellent education. They rotate through a sequence of capitals, here for 3-5 years, then someplace else for another 3-5. Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Manila, Bangkok, Saigon, Singapore, and Jakarta are all in the rotation.

There are also a handful of Westerners have found a home here, learned the devilishly hard language, married locally and made the transition, but most of us are outsiders with special skills who rely on staff for language, business practice, and cultural guidance to accomplish our missions.

I try not to think about what America did here in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but it’s always there. Americans have given generously to rebuild the country they nearly destroyed, but good intentions without an understanding of the culture are not enough. Almost every month I see a well-intentioned church group or small charity bring in sophisticated medical equipment that ends up rusting in a corner of the hospital, because it couldn’t withstand the humidity, the surges in electrical power, operating instructions only in English, or no parts or people to make repairs.

My lunch with Jack is, as always, a mixture of business and pleasure. We’re both endeavoring to do well by doing good. After lunch we shake hands and lament the absence of Jennifer and Marilynn. The bun cha (Vietnamese meatballs) was tasty, and they would have enjoyed it as well.


At the close of the business day, Marilynn and I meet at The Refinery, an old opium factory turned watering hole that serves Western fare and Carlsberg draft. It’s 5:30 and already dark.

We find a table in the restaurant’s tented foyer and swap stories about our respective workdays. It’s wind down time, and the small, close knit, expat community is gathering in places like The Refinery. It’s collegial, refreshingly egalitarian, and communal. Expats in other parts of the world seldom enjoy the same small-town feel. Here, faces are familiar and there are nods of acknowledged commonality even if the names are unknown. In the expat tropics there is little social hierarchy.

On the ride home we sit back in the air-conditioned comfort of the cab. The skyline is awash in neon – Mercedes, Prudential, Dai-Ichi Life, Gucci, BP, Citibank, HSBC, Nike. Ho Chi Minh would be horrified, but international companies are homogenizing most of the world capitals. Saigon is no exception. Banana Republic and H&M bracket a local Pho restaurant.

Mr. Vinh slips the latch and greets us when we arrive at 95D. In at least one sense we’ve adapted. Our comfort zone has expanded so that we no longer notice the locked gate or see the barbed wire on top of the wall. As we enter, we catch the familiar whiff of cigarette smoke mingled with Indian spices spiraling down the stairway. We’re back in the cozy, warmth of 95D. This is home for now.

It’s 10 p.m. and the temperature is still over 80°. Tomorrow will be similar. Every day is an adventure, and an opportunity to make things better. The cause is worthy, but beyond that we’re beginning to understand why so many of our friends have chosen this life despite the noise, downpours, smells, sticky heat, and inconvenient power failures.

Will the country overcome its obstacles—the corruption, inefficient bureaucracy, hesitant foreign investors, poor infrastructure, and bankrupt banking system? The jury is still out, but I wouldn’t bet against the Vietnamese. Remember the “American War?”


The walls are sweating. The AC cranks up. The ceiling fan circles above us. I turn out the light and pull the single sheet over us. A motorbike breaks the silence. NPR reports an early snowfall in Boston. Tomorrow is another day.