Memories

Recently I stumbled upon old snapshots of unidentified people I can’t get out of my head. The photos are on two web sites, waiting for someone to give names to faces. One site features more than 500 color images from film found in cameras at flea markets and second-hand stores. The other site consists of […]

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Clueless Time Traveler

February 27, 2009

A writing professor I know often uses time travel as a plot device. His novel about Abraham Lincoln involuntarily appearing in Chicago in the 1950s bring him to life in a unique way. More intriguing is the professor’s unpublished story imagining himself as an adult occupying his boyhood body and mind. That’s a journey I […]

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Fate of Printed Pages

February 26, 2009

I spent a long time on the print side of newspapers and a good number of years starting and nurturing their online offspring. These days I’m online much of each day and night but still have this thing for the printed page. It began, like many things, with a childhood ritual: plodding barefoot to the […]

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Man with a Chimpanzee

February 18, 2009

News of the chimpanzee nearly killing a woman in Connecticut delivered a memory. About fifteen years ago, during chitchat before a late-starting meeting, a colleague at a Florida newspaper mentioned that an elderly chimp lived with him. There was an uncomfortable silence. Then this man, friendly but blandly reserved, came to life as I questioned […]

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Love on the Menu

February 17, 2009

“Table 25 is a table of two…” So begins a restaurant owner’s account of a most romantic Portland spot. Not because of the setting at Andina’s but what Mama Doris calls magic at work. She describes celebrations of love playing out at the table, events sometimes so intense that they rivet the staff. Maybe her […]

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Iceland Beckons

February 3, 2009

Too much of my life is spent living vicariously through what I read and watch, through people I think about. This trait hardly sets me apart. But recognizing it as I did today feels notable. The trigger was a post on one of my favorite blogs, Boing Boing, from guest blogger Gareth Branwyn, who writes […]

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Naked Artist at Work

January 28, 2009

Someone might question a father who posts a photo of his naked toddler online. But I’ve cropped it tastefully, which helps focus the viewer on Atticus’ intense gaze as he loses himself in shower-time “drawing.” I captured the image last night not with my expensive Nikon but wimpy iPhone camera. Besides the photo’s unusual quality […]

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Another Holiday Rule

December 28, 2008

I drilled into our little boy today another of my dead mother’s irrational holiday rules: everything Christmas related must be taken down before the new year begins. Otherwise, the most dire bad luck will ensue. Atticus accepted the rule as if our very existence hinged upon it, and we did mom proud. As a bonus, […]

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Christmas Day Humiliation

December 24, 2008

A newspaper photo published this week shows a “Leave It to Beaver” family posing next to a Christmas tree in 1956. The family includes a boy holding his new shotgun. Except for his well-coiffed hair and fancy bathrobe, the boy reminds me of what I might have looked like six years later when I turned […]

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Dental Chair Confidential

December 20, 2008

While having a tooth wrenched from my mouth the other day, I squirmed in the dental chair as if trying to escape the oral surgeon’s maniacal array of implements. I had assumed the procedure would be quick. It wasn’t. What helped me through the prying, splitting, and yanking was a simple gesture: a young dental […]

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Christmas Tree Rules

December 18, 2008

I’m a dictator when it comes to decorating our Christmas tree. Blame my mother. As free-wheeling and independent as she was in most aspects of her life, Joanie had rules and regulations aplenty this time of year. The most rigid of all was this edict: big ornaments on the bottom of the tree, smaller ones […]

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Snow Lessons

December 14, 2008

Snow in downtown Portland is rare and scant enough to incite giddiness. Decades ago, however, blizzards buried the city. Doing historical research, I’ve come across microfilmed newspaper clippings from early in the last century that describe snowfall measured in feet, not inches. In some instances, the city was so paralyzed that food shortages occurred. What […]

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Never Forgetting

December 2, 2008

Who hasn’t wished for a chance to remember their distant past. Not just details but emotions dulled or lost in time. And remembering events so intensely that they feel relived. Such a chance would be a priceless gift. Call it limited immortality, an oxymoron but accurate description of vividly experiencing one’s mortal life over and […]

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