As with most Americans I have moved several times in my life—from Oklahoma, where I was raised and went to college to San Francisco where I lived for three decades. I left San Francisco in 2005, having grown weary of the congestion of the Bay Area and the challenge of living in a city fraught with balkanized politics, rampant homelessness, and growing economic inequality. After … Read more

Labels and tribalism

The other day, a close acquaintance of mine, whom I like despite what I know of his political views, used the term “damned liberal” in an insulting description of a Democratic politician. I know he is an avid Trump supporter, having heard so from mutual acquaintances, a few of whom are reluctant to associate with him due to some of the things he has posted … Read more

Memorial Day 2020

For a century after its inception, Memorial Day was observed on May 30 as a way to remember the dead, particularly those who had died in service to the country. Originally called Decoration Day, people traditionally used it as an occasion to decorate the graves of loved ones with flowers. The date was changed fifty years ago when Congress moved it to the last Monday … Read more

Fish and Whistle

The songwriter John Prine died recently at age 73 from the novel corona virus. His death marks the loss of an American treasure. I have listened to him for four decades and I think many of his songs have a universal quality that touches on the human condition. He was not just a song writer and performer but a poet as well. In fact, when … Read more

Rules for living

Self-help advice has long been a staple of American society, addressing many aspects of our lives. Bookstore shelves, Amazon recommendations, and Google search results are littered with books on things like success (“How to Win Friends and Influence People”), relationships, investments, losing weight, and even assisted suicide. The internet has only exacerbated the situation, and we are inundated with book reviews, inspirational posters, and Facebook … Read more

People of Amazon

A common meme in recent years has been “People of Wal-Mart.” It has manifested itself most commonly in photos of Wal-Mart shoppers who look, dress, or act in ways that are outside the norm. We laugh at the ridiculous photos often with a smug attitude of superiority. These photos have two underlying themes. The first is to ridicule the people in them. The second, less … Read more