The False Narrative: Good Guys and Bad Guys

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 07:  Yulia Efimova of Russia celebrates winning the first Semifinal of the Women's 100m Breaststroke on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 07: Yulia Efimova of Russia celebrates winning the first Semifinal of the Women’s 100m Breaststroke on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

I watched a press conference this morning in which “journalists” interviewed Yulia Efimova and Lilly King about their now high-profile Olympic spat.

Except it’s not a spat.

It’s just storytelling, good, old-fashioned storytelling.

But it’s a false narrative, something the Russians excelled at when maniacal tyrents wanted to keep the populace fearfully paralyzed or reactionary enough to turn against their own.

And something that demagogues still use to manipulate our deepest fears and our irrational desires.

Yulia Efimova is not a bad guy.  Continue reading The False Narrative: Good Guys and Bad Guys

How the Olympics became so small

Olympic Rings by ZEVS
Olympic Rings by ZEVS

For the record, I did not plan to have surgery wherein the two-week, doctor-recommended recovery period would perfectly coincide with the Olympics.

I actually find watching the American Olympic coverage to be rather cloying, like beer that’s too sweet or warm sushi.

Much has changed since the last time I had the time to sit down and watch the Olympics in their entirety.

Continue reading How the Olympics became so small

The Costs of Coming Home

Eight-Year SojournTurns out you can come home again.

But it will cost you.

What it will cost you is a matter of what you put in to the decision to leave home in the first place.

Did you leave home out of fear? Fear that you’d never amount to anything there. Was it too small to contain you? Constantly running to the edges of town like a Bruce Springsteen song. Was it wanderlust? The kind of wanderlust seeing all the home towns on earth can’t cover.  Continue reading The Costs of Coming Home

Hambling in Reno

IMG_9698Hambling only because my iPhone corrected gamboling to hambling, so this post is hambling in Reno.

I’m not much of a gambler. But don’t get me wrong, I’d dearly love to be.

There’s something about slouching over the craps table casually doling out chips on those ciphers on the felted floors of the table.

Or the way the roulette players never seem stressed, at least not like the black jack players.  Continue reading Hambling in Reno

Sliver: Intro (History as a parasite)


NGC 5907 galaxy
NGC 5907 galaxy

2120 – Somewhere in the Pacific Northwest region of what was once the United States of America.

Only shards of history survived the cullings.

And by shards, I’m being generous.

We passed history down from one person to the next in small groups around burning wood with the flames casting shadows on our surroundings for ten thousand years.

We marked the rocks with the images in our mind drawn by flames. And pounded reeds flat and bleached them in the sun and made up words to describe the images and the actions around them in complex relationships that became written language.

And then we maximized efficiency and built printing presses to make short work of storing our history in volumes in libraries.

But war, as it does, burns away the words with fire and rhetoric.

We digitized history and made the whole thing accessible to every human being in small, hand-held computers. And we shrank it, until millions of volumes could fit onto the tip of a needle.

History compounded is a radioactive element biding its time until transmutation releases energy and blows itself into shards and larger chunks.

And so we’re left to tell our story one generation to the next, to pass along the DNA of our existence, sometimes in rich detail and sometimes in shards too small to understand why we keep repeating our mistakes.

I pieced this all together from the slivers of information I have gathered over my lifetime, which evenly spans the turn of the 22nd Century.

I inherited some of it and found most of it, extracting it willingly or unwillingly from its hosts. Oh, yes, history is a parasite. Or didn’t you know that?

History periodically blows itself up, so we must pick it up in shards or larger chunks and piece it together and determine that we will never kill each other in large numbers again for resources. But we can’t fight history’s innate need to repeat itself, and so we become willing hosts, corrupted and finally destroyed as the shards and larger chunks to be pieced together by a future generation.

In this way we have eked out our existence on this rock for this brief moment in time.


Sliver by Timothy Alex Akimoff copyright 2016

A dragon of our own



My son Carson has a dragon. He likely inherited his dragon from me, and there’s a good chance I inherited my dragon from my father.

We each carry scars from our battles with our dragons, but more remarkably, we carry our stories, especially our inability to defeat our dragons, as banners rather than shame.

My wife and I had to go meet with counselors at Carson’s high school this week. He’s a freshmen, attending a new school in a different state for the fifth time in his academic life.

Carson’s ability to reason, his affability and an enviable dose of empathy caused his early teachers to miss his dragon completely.

He wasn’t diagnosed until a specialized test caught the discrepancy between his reading comprehension and math scores in Alaska.  Continue reading A dragon of our own

Strong at the broken places

Lake Alva
Lake Alva

They are like brothers to me, this band of disparate men in various stages of repair.

We are doctors, diesel mechanics, purveyors of coffee, psychiatrists, students and writers, at least by lines denoted on our resumes.

But when we’re together, we’re bigger than our titles, those small words that encompass so much of our lives.

We have climbed mountains together, paddled into wild lakes, floated rivers, drank deeply from what surrounded us. Continue reading Strong at the broken places

Is the west still wild?

Birds take flight at Malheur Lake.
Birds take flight at Malheur Lake.

If you were to judge Oregon based on the fact that a bunch of angry militants took over a wildlife refuge demanding the government return the land to the people, well, I wouldn’t blame you.

Of course I’ve been following this.

Over the last six months, I’ve become incredibly fascinated with Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the ill-fated scene of the hostile (silly) takeover.


It was the first waterfowl sanctuary created west of the Mississippi. It was created, in the most simplified way I know how to explain this, when one William L Finley took photographs of the birds there and traveled to Washington D.C., where he showed them to Theodore Roosevelt, who said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Well, bully, let’s create a bird sanctuary for the protection of native birds.” Or something similar.

What you might not know is that there was a chicken egg shortage on the west coast in those days, and people, desperate for their eggs, as we tend to get, were raiding the nests of wild birds and wiping out native populations all over the countryside.

Continue reading Is the west still wild?

People watching the gym-rat race

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 10.25.30 AMIt’s the second day of January, and I can barely walk.

No, this is not a two-day hangover.

It’s the residual effects of starting over gym for maybe the fourth or fifth time in the last 10 years.

This last break from the gym was due to long-lasting rehabilitation effort for a dislocated shoulder during a rousing game of 16-inch softball in Chicago.

By rehabilitation effort, I mean avoidance of anything and everything that caused even a hint of pain to my right shoulder.

Continue reading People watching the gym-rat race