Michael

I would have stopped there if I had been a few decades younger and still reckless and easily thrilled by mega-fireworks. It was one of three stores on the Nez Perce Reservation in tiny Lapwai, Idaho, competing to sell the really good stuff for the Fourth of July. I passed it ten times during a […]

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Blissful Ignorance

July 3, 2009

Seeing the world through the eyes of four year olds must be like looking through a peephole. This narrow, constrained view also bestows them with blissful ignorance. Take as evidence an exchange today involving our little boy and his friend: NPR, soundtrack of our life, blares in the kitchen. Michael Jackson’s name is mentioned, again. […]

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Rarely is anything as it appears. How’s that for an overused truism? But it’s one I keep learning again and again. Take the case of this abandoned house. During a seven-day research trip last week, it was first on a long list of places and people to see on the Nez Perce Reservation near Lewiston, […]

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Obsession as Elixir

June 27, 2009

News that Farrah Fawcett died this week at age sixty-two conjured a memory. I was a young reporter in Thomasville, Georgia. It was 1975 or thereabouts. I wrote a story about a boy afflicted with a terminal disease, a boy whose only source of joy was his obsession with Charlie’s Angels.

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History Repeating

June 17, 2009

In 1978, when I was a young newspaper reporter in Melbourne, Florida, I covered a protest march by a few dozen Iranian students. Carrying placards and shouting slogans, faces flush with anger, they looked as if they had wandered onto the wrong movie set. I didn’t know much about the target of their rage: the […]

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Revolution in Real Time

June 15, 2009

If you’re interested in following a revolution for freedom in real time, one in which people risk their lives to stop oppression, follow what’s happening in Iran via Andrew Sullivan’s blog. The response to the hijacked election is among the most moving news events I’ve encountered, largely because much of the coverage comes directly from […]

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Dueling Gardens

June 9, 2009

I’m afflicted with vegetable garden envy. Sure, we have many things growing and gracing the dinner table. Way too much lettuce in fact. But our urban bounty has come to harvest slowly because no part of the yard has day-long sun. And there’s one raised bed in which everything seems frozen in time despite the […]

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Isn’t the appeal of this photo the immediate emotional response it triggers? And that response, different for every viewer, likely has nothing to do with the moment captured or starkly beautiful landscape or its inhabitants. I guess that’s why it ranked first in this contest.

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Finally, a Leader

June 4, 2009

I don’t agree with everything President Obama does or doesn’t do. But too many people miss his essential, rare quality: he is a real leader, a leader unafraid to take on difficult and complex problems by confronting them with blunt yet uplifting language, language that holds up a mirror, a mirror reflecting truth. From his […]

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Musical Bridge

June 1, 2009

Is the banjo’s sound a pleasure genetically shared? My grown son, Zachary, told me again today how much he loves Sufjan Stevens‘ rooftop rendition of “Lakes of Canada.” Part of the appeal is more than the banjo, however. It’s the way Stevens is filmed by La Blogotheque, coincidentally in my city of birth. Funny how […]

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Sacrificing scenery

May 31, 2009

Until the last few days, I hadn’t traveled through the Columbia River Gorge and seen the new price of protecting the planet. For several miles east of The Dalles, the bare ridge lines that for eons had starkly demarcated earth from sky now are scarred with wind turbines. Aligned like robotic sentries, they look like […]

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Alone

May 30, 2009

South of the tiny hamlet of Pilot Rock along a lonely road, I saw an ancient barn. One end had collapsed. No one lives close enough in the desolate hills to have heard it. The rest of the building looked ready to fall in the next big wind. I ventured inside. Sunlight poured through holes […]

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At the bus stop

May 28, 2009

Mother: What are you so angry about, bitch? Daughter: I’m not angry. Mother: It’s all over your face, bitch. Daughter: What are you talking about?

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