Category Archives: HEROES

ON CULTS, COURAGE, AND PERSONAL BLIND SPOTS

Something in me loves a TV show about cults. You name the group, I’ve watched the documentary — Scientology, NXIVM, The Family, Heaven’s Gate, the Rajneeshees, Branch Davidians, the Moonies, The People’s Temple. Why am I interested? On the one … Continue reading

Posted in CHILD REARING, COURAGE, HEROES, SELF HELP, SPIRIT, UNIQUELY AMERICAN BULLSHIT | 24 Comments

GOOD-BYE, SWEET BOOM

I woke up around 4:30am today to the sight of an owl swooping into the branches above me and taking away a rat, which protested loudly as it departed. The owl, huge and gray, vanished as quickly as it arrived. … Continue reading

Posted in CHILD REARING, COURAGE, DOGS, HEROES, SPIRIT | 74 Comments

SOMETIMES IT TAKES A GHOST

Shakespeare’s Hamlet is considered one of the greatest plays ever written. But it’s also a ghost story. The king is killed by his brother, who then marries the widow and takes the crown. The dead king re-appears as a ghost, … Continue reading

Posted in COURAGE, HEROES, LITERATURE, SAYINGS, UNIQUELY AMERICAN BULLSHIT | 5 Comments

WE’VE BEEN GIVEN HEARTS TO KNOW THE INCREDIBLE

I thought of Ray Bradbury today while reading about the NASA helicopter on Mars. I thought of him not because of his first book, The Martian Chronicles, which he published in 1950. Instead I recalled the day 30 years ago … Continue reading

Posted in CHILD REARING, COURAGE, HEROES, LITERATURE, SPIRIT, UNIQUELY AMERICAN BULLSHIT | 8 Comments

BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE

Adam Braseel was wrongfully convicted of murder 14 years ago. Though he hasn’t been officially exonerated, he is out of prison now and beginning to put his life back together. The wrongful imprisonment was caused by sloppy police work, prosecutors … Continue reading

Posted in COURAGE, HEROES, SELF HELP, SPIRIT, UNIQUELY AMERICAN BULLSHIT | 6 Comments

PUT RESPECT ON HER NAME

Much has been written about The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, and with good reason. It’s an excellent show. For me, one notable feature was the stories it chose not to tell. I’m so accustomed to certain plot lines. Each time … Continue reading

Posted in CHILD REARING, HEROES, MOVIES, SPIRIT | 31 Comments

FIRST DO NO HARM

The influence of Gandhi on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is well known. But Gandhi himself owed a debt to the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, who had written on the same topic of nonviolence. And Tolstoy, in turn, learned from … Continue reading

Posted in COURAGE, HEROES, POLITICS, SPIRIT | 19 Comments

ONE HELL OF A READER

After years of deteriorating vision, my mother finally reached the point last week where she can no longer read. I can think of no one else who will miss reading as much. Whether Scandinavian detective novels or Téa Obreht’s Inland … Continue reading

Posted in HEROES, MY CHILDHOOD | 14 Comments

MIKE KONRAD

It was sad and frustrating to learn that my old newspaper editor Mike Konrad died today of Covid19. Earlier in the pandemic, the deaths of songwriter John Prine and Los Angeles-area family practitioner Dr. Paul Constantine hit me hard, but … Continue reading

Posted in COURAGE, HEROES, UNIQUELY AMERICAN BULLSHIT | 14 Comments

THANK YOU, MISS KOPP

Yesterday I wrote about a bad teacher. Today I write about a good one — Janice Kopp. Miss Kopp was my 6th-grade teacher. She was strict, scary, a grammar fanatic, and … utterly heroic. She remains one of the two … Continue reading

Posted in CHILD REARING, COURAGE, HEROES, MY CHILDHOOD, POLITICS, SAYINGS, UNIQUELY AMERICAN BULLSHIT | 31 Comments