No, you can’t be neutral in a debate about your own humanity

When Lewis Wallace first showed up in the newsroom where I was the digital manager a few years ago, I had no idea how much I would learn from someone with very little journalism experience.

For many years, my horizons had been expanding beyond the fairly white-bread missionary world I was raised in. Oh, I knew many people from different cultural backgrounds, and, for a while, I considered myself to be well cultured. The problem was they all shared the same ideology.  Continue reading No, you can’t be neutral in a debate about your own humanity

January Roads

It’s easy to not like January. It’s bleak, it’s past the grand family holidays of December, it has 31 days, and it represents the coldest, hardest, deadest part of winter.

No flowers will bloom until late February, and the daylight, while remaining infinitisimally longer each day, is dulled by steel-grey skies in the long and relentless march to Spring.

I made a playlist for myself but with her in mind. She likes to sing in the car, so I picked every other song to be one she could sing along to.

Continue reading January Roads

Thoughts on Barack Obama

I’m watching my president, Barack Obama, give his final speech tonight.

All the while, I’m thinking back to my first impression of the man I met in Missoula in April, 14, 2008.

I’m re-reading my first impressions. The way he captured the University of Montana crowd. The way my kids were completely jazzed up to wait in a line for two hours to hear him speak.  Continue reading Thoughts on Barack Obama

The Theory of the Wolf

The wolf is an extraordinary creature.

At once man’s oldest accomplice and his oldest nemesis.

There is some evidence that ancient man used ancient carnivores, some distant relative of the wolf, to help him corner large and unruly sources of food, like woolly mammoths, the protein from which, in turn, increased the size of our brains, which led to more improved hunting techniques and eventually the idea to domesticate wolves into more predictable hunting partners.

As species, we traveled two very distinct pathways through history. Continue reading The Theory of the Wolf

Your ancestors were great women warriors and other stories I’ve told my daughter

My grandmother, Pearl (top center) at the end of one journey. The beginning of another
My grandmother, Pearl, at the end of one journey. The beginning of another

My grandmother, Pearl, walked halfway across the world, from the Soviet-Ukraine of her birth, to the Ural Mountains of her youth. She came of age traveling across what was then Turkestan, the tattered remnents of the Golden Horde and into Uighur-controlled Northwest China, where she fell in love, married and began her own family.

Sixteen years later, she walked across parts of Mao Zedong’s China with my infant father and his brother to Shanghai, where she and her family sought religious asylum in the Phillipines. After four years in a refugee camp, she made her way to America with three children on her lap aboard a U.S. Navy vessel.  Continue reading Your ancestors were great women warriors and other stories I’ve told my daughter

Art in a time of darkness

marvel-dc-and-the-art-of-darkness-8I have been frustrated for a long time.

As long as I can remember, in fact.

In my youth, I listened to angry music to feel something.

In my early 20s, I rebelled against the politics of the evangelical conservatism I was raised in.

In my 30s, I was too tired to remember what I was frustrated by, but it was there underneath the surface and in the music I listened to with my headphones in the garage on Saturdays when I had a few minutes to myself.

Now I’m in my 40s, and the frustration is out in the open, where I wear it plainly.  Continue reading Art in a time of darkness

Gym Notes: Priviledge 

Something splendid happened at the gym this morning. As I got myself situated on the treadmill, I looked up to see that one of the televisions on the wall of televisions in front of me was tuned into an episode of “The Simpsons” instead of Fox News.

I watched, read the subtitles and listened to my music during what turned out to be a blissful first 20 minutes of my run.

It was an episode about behavior drugs for kids, wherein Bart tests a new drug that is supposed to help him concentrate.

As always, the animation and satirical brilliance shined, and I laughed at the silliness of society.

And then society struck back.  Continue reading Gym Notes: Priviledge 


I looked up into the thick Havana air at the brightly-lit poster on the wall of an old, stone government building.

Viva Fidel 80

The old revolutionary was somewhere in this town in a compound contemplating his retirement announcement, which would happen just a few days later on my last day in Cuba.

The old man didn’t really even make it out for his 80th birthday celebration, and his thin and frail image on television barely registered in a country where his black-bearded and green fatigues image is as ubiquitous as the Cuban flag.  Continue reading Fidel

The Sky is Falling

nero-on-throneIs this what America’s life looks like as it flashes before its eyes?

Like opening and closing my eyes to reveal the chaotic scene of The Great Fire of Rome and Nero dancing and singing as the flames spread from the Circus through the narrow streets below.

Or maybe I’m tired and it’s later still, the middle 400s, Rome has no emperor. Only enemies. Enemies it has hired or enslaved, who now destroy the city in their cold revenge.

Are we on a precipice? Eternally compared to the greatest Empire the world has ever known. Twins unable to escape eachother’s orbit or trajectories.

You can almost hear the echoes of their voices off the marbled walls through time itself.

“Let’s make Rome great again.”  Continue reading The Sky is Falling