Michael

Rapture revisited

June 8, 2008

I posted last week about the Rapture after finding a man’s suit abandoned on church steps in downtown Portland. Today, I stumbled upon this portentous scene on the edge of a lush Willamette Valley wheat field south of Portland: I had stopped to photograph a long train hauling fresh-cut logs (the tracks are in the […]

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I see her every day, part of the movie flickering past my window. Driving an electric scooter chair, she talks to herself, occasionally gesturing as if stressing a point. The woman is among a cast featuring bicyclists galore, women carrying yoga mats, kids chattering to and from school, a United Nations of leashed dogs, and […]

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My latest landscaping project, completed as Hillary Clinton endorsed Barack Obama:

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The nation’s last charismatic political figure representing Hope was gunned down forty years ago today in Los Angeles. It was one week after I graduated from high school, and I was sleeping late. My summer job hadn’t begun. My brother David burst into my bedroom and woke me with the news. At seventeen, politics interested […]

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Dare I compare atmospheres at different high schools forty years and three thousand miles apart? Such comparison seems sure to illuminate nothing surprising and elicit a chorus of yawns. It would be like examining life on planets in different solar systems populated by different life forms and declaring, “Eureka! They’re not the same!” But after […]

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I don’t believe in the Rapture, though the concept intrigues me spiritually and intellectually. Perhaps that’s why a man’s suit caught my eye yesterday, abandoned on the steps of a downtown Portland church. A fine-looking suit with a subtle glen-plaid pattern. I considered inquiring at the Portland Korean Church, SE 10th and Clay. But if […]

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Whisper in the swamp

June 3, 2008

Florida, 1973: I’m trudging through a Panhandle swamp on an August day with four other guys. Country Boy leads the way. Everyone on the land survey crew calls him this because his molasses twang sounds like gibberish half the time. Country Boy wants to kick my ass. My machete nicked his hand not far back […]

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Our small backyard goldfish pond in Northeast Portland sparkles from its annual cleanup today. The pond is compact: eight feet across at the widest point, thirty inches deep in the deepest spot, and nine hundred gallons. Just large enough that I can zoom in on a Google satellite map and spy its blurry roundness, as […]

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Tom Jones haunts me. The well-preserved and über manly entertainer, whose twitching hips persuade otherwise demure women to part with their panties, has gyrated into the sacred halls of my bedroom. Last night, for the third consecutive day, my wife Suzame sang snippets of “She’s a Lady.” We were in bed. This the woman who […]

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Looking for home

May 31, 2008

How strange to stumble upon photos of my childhood house of the 1960s on a movie web site. I was searching Google images for a picture of Lake Sybelia in Maitland, Florida. Once a quaint hamlet of citrus trees and lakes, Maitland was long ago consumed by the tourist monster that ate Orlando. During my […]

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I’m not a conspiracy theorist. Nor am I prone to paranoia. But I also recognize that we rarely understand what’s happening around us. Those caveats are an introduction to a story that should give everyone pause, no matter their politics. It’s received too little attention, perhaps because the idea seems so outlandish: the Bush administration […]

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Hyperbole was among my mother’s traits, especially when I was a kid. Before issuing a warning or threat regarding my behavior, she would foreshadow her pronouncement with squinted eyes, like a gunslinger telegraphing lethal intent. Then she might let loose with the cliché of clichés: “It will go on your permanent record!” I’d respond with […]

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I learned today that a high-school friend died over the weekend. I last saw Jeff Schofield nearly ten years ago at our thirty-year reunion in Florida. He was frail as a twig, victim of personal excesses that claim so many. The news naturally conjured up memories of Winter Park High, class of 1968. I remembered […]

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