Michael

Heard but not heeded

September 11, 2008

No one who’s eighty says, “The years have dragged on and on. When is this thing going to finally end?” So I wasn’t surprised to hear my father say on his eightieth birthday, “I’m amazed at how quickly it’s gone by.”

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Dying for tanned hides

September 10, 2008

In the examining room, I waited for the dermatologist. Framed on the wall was an information sheet about melanoma. The doctor entered. Tall, thin, and past retirement age, he shook my hand as one would expect an ex-Marine to shake it.

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Swashbucklers next door

September 9, 2008

Everyone has a bad neighbor story. Few have bad neighbors who are pirates. The people who rent a house two doors down could even be pirate vampires, judging from their cadaver-like skin and habit of emerging only at dusk.

{ 2 comments }

Read the rest...

Tonight south of Portland I saw a young guy wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with “Kill All the Terrorists” in big letters. In smaller letters was the kicker: “And let Allah sort it out.”

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Decades Later, an Answer

September 6, 2008

It took more than a half-century, but I finally learned why we ended up living on a lake in Central Florida during my childhood. Not one house but three as we moved clockwise around Lake Sybelia in Maitland from the late 1950s to 1970.

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

False facade of words

September 5, 2008

Reading for me is breathing. A good story, fiction or non-fiction, is among life’s wonders. I like fiction because it opens another world and allows me to inhabit it. I like non-fiction because if well done, it illuminates truths otherwise beyond my reach. All this brings me to Sarah Palin. The story she told at […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

High water, deep memories

September 2, 2008

Flying into Orlando last week, I see a familiar sight: Central Florida’s abundant lakes stretching to the horizon. But something is different. No sandy beaches. The lakes are brimming over from Tropical Storm Fay’s deluges. Later I feel the land between the lakes squish beneath my feet. The newspaper where I worked is filled with […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Adventures in flying

September 1, 2008

“What’s in the cup?” asks the woman x-raying our carry-on bags at Orlando International Airport. Our cross-country trip home to Portland is not beginning well. “Our little boy’s water. It’s his sippy cup,” says my wife, Suzame. “You say it’s water. But I don’t know it’s water,” the woman says, her tone curt and accusatory, […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Head case

August 25, 2008

Oh, the travails of parenthood. How do father and mother anticipate this scenario: Atticus, newly turned three, begins crying. We find him wearing on his head a rigid cardboard can, his Lincoln Logs container. “Why are you crying, son?” I ask. “It’s stuck!” he wails. We can’t budge it. Suzame pries out his ears and […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Groupie in the making

August 25, 2008

I stand in the rain. The Avett Brothers are about to take the stage in Portland at the Oregon Zoo amphitheater. So miserable is the weather this night that wife and little son fled for home after the opening act. Everyone is soaked and cold. While I wait, tunes from “Emotionalism” play in my head. […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Juncture in the past

August 23, 2008

Four weeks from tonight, I’ll attend my forty-year high-school reunion in Winter Park, Florida. We were invited to write about a memory. I chose not the end-of-school campout of about twenty-five guys. It only lasted a few hours because a Seminole County sheriff’s deputy busted us just as the drunken revelry was cranking up. A […]

{ 2 comments }

Read the rest...

Night of the dolphin

August 22, 2008

Many years ago I worked at Florida Today, the daily newspaper in Brevard County. That’s the county Tropical Storm Fay drowned this week in twenty-five inches of rain. For a while I worked a late-night shift. During a periodic commitment to not hit the bars with the gang after work, I’d run along the Indian […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Votes lost in the ether

August 22, 2008

After reading this account of programming errors plaguing touchscreen voting machines in Ohio, can anyone have any confidence in a free and fair election? Too bad the story doesn’t detail if there’s any pattern to the dropped votes. For example, how do they correlate to the party registration of voters whose ballots aren’t counted? And […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...