Michael

Tidal Pull

March 23, 2010

Today is World Water Day, an event intended to draw attention to serious problems but for me evokes nostalgia. That’s what happens when a childhood is spent immersed in a Central Florida lake back when the water was clear and clean. Some days my brothers and I would swim so long that I imagined gills […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

No Hugging Allowed

March 19, 2010

Two years ago, I was waiting in the hallway of a small Portland high school. I was there to interview students and a teacher for a story. As kids milled about in the din between classes, many hugged each other. Some embraces looked like reunions between dear friends who hadn’t seen each other for years. […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Best Movie Scenes

March 17, 2010

Post image for Best Movie Scenes

I’m no movie critic but love the medium. That’s why my wife and I yearn for a three-movie day. We squeezed in three on the Friday and Saturday before the Oscars. (Each received a top award: best actor, actress, and movie.) Thus my interest in “The greatest movie scenes ever shot,” touted on the eclectic […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Spinning History

March 16, 2010

Post image for Spinning History

Thomas Jefferson loses, Jefferson Davis wins. That’s my headline from the Texas State Board of Education‘s preliminary approval last week of changes to textbooks. The board voted to delete Thomas Jefferson from the list of luminaries who contributed to the Enlightenment, the period in the 17th and 18th centuries when ideas like revolution, democracy, and […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Beneath the Heavens

March 14, 2010

This time-lapsed video perfectly punctuates a morning of snowshoeing with my wife, along the glacier-fed White River on Mount Hood. Shot 2,600 miles away on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i, the video reminds me of my insignificance in the universe and, at the same time, the wonder of being part of its grandeur. The photographer had this […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Yesterday’s Tomorrows

March 11, 2010

In the 1980s, I tacked up a poster in my newspaper office. It promoted an exhibit at the Smithsonian: “Yesterday’s Tomorrow’s: Past Visions of the American Future,” which I never saw. The poster gripped me in ways I didn’t understand. Maybe it was the fanciful and futuristic scene from a world that never came to […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Old house vs. earthquakes

March 10, 2010

I’ve been thinking of “The Big One.” Long before earthquakes devastated Haiti and then Chile, I wanted to have our 1920s Craftsman house bolted to its foundation with steel plates. That’s enough protection to qualify for earthquake insurance. The work begins tomorrow, ten months after I arranged for an estimate. Waiting until my wife and […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Art on the streets

March 9, 2010

Despite Portland’s reputation for attracting artists, I’ve yet to encounter an abundance of street art depicting this level of flair and creativity. Maybe I don’t get around enough, but I mostly encounter incomprehensible graffiti. Much is gang messaging, a defacement uglier and longer lasting than cats peeing to mark their territory. Some people are trying, […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Tall in the Saddle

March 6, 2010

Few blog posts for many months means I’ve been crushed with work. But that’s a good thing in these trying economic times. The heaviest load has come from serving as guest curator for a just-opened exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, called “Tall in the Saddle, the Pendleton Round-Up at 100.” In May […]

{ 6 comments }

Read the rest...

Space between life and death

January 29, 2010

I’d been told that an acquaintance’s son had arrived home safe from Iraq, his first overseas Army stint. When I asked the acquaintance today about his son’s experience, he filled in the story with details, details that remind me of what we all know but rarely ponder: inches and seconds often add up to the […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Unfettered and alive

January 23, 2010

“I felt unfettered and alive.” That lyric from Joni Mitchell’s song, “Free Man in Paris,” sprang to mind during this video. Then came this thought: would I dare be an eagle for a day if given the chance? [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lswBDZuL-8w&feature=player_embedded[/youtube] Like most people, I’ve had dreams of flying. Even more vivid are dreams of jumping as […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Dressed for hire

December 3, 2009

Maybe the unemployment picture is brightening. A very helpful sales clerk at Macy’s told me yesterday that there’s been a rush on men’s suits. Why? “Guys are suddenly getting job interviews, and they want to look good,” she said. “And they want the alterations immediately.” I was trying on a suit for a different reason. […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Best one-liners

October 17, 2009

The term “one-liner” evokes comedians and jokes. Lately the one-liners that stick with me are from songs. Here are two that keep bouncing around in my head long after the music has stopped, courtesy of the Avett Brothers’ newest CD: There’s a darkness upon me flooded in light, and I am a breathing time machine. […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...