Category Archives: SPIRIT

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

SLOW-MOTION MIDLIFE CRISIS

In an interview before he died, songwriter John Prine described his old age, his daily life, his relationships with others. “I’m good at hiding,” he said, laughing. He meant hiding from loved ones, from professional obligations. He meant slipping away … Continue reading

Posted in CHILD REARING, COURAGE, LITERATURE, MOVIES, MUSIC, MY CHILDHOOD, SPIRIT, UNIQUELY AMERICAN BULLSHIT | 34 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

BOOMER THE INCONTINENT

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But I’m learning that an old dog can teach an old man new tricks. My 14-year-old goldendoodle Boomer has deployed three strategies simultaneously to retrain me — senile barking, separation … Continue reading

Posted in CHILD REARING, DOGS, DUMB SHIT I'VE DONE, SPIRIT | 26 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

A VERY GOOD DOG

People ask me all the time, ‘Is your dog friendly?’ My dog is a lot of things — old, lazy, mostly blind and deaf, senile. Friendly? Sure, if you lie down next to him and pet him for 45 minutes. … Continue reading

Posted in CHILD REARING, DOGS, SPIRIT | 21 Comments

MINI BOOK REVIEWS

One silver lining of lockdown was that I started reading books again. Below are short reviews of a somewhat random collection, in case you’re looking for something to pick up. THE OVERSTORYThis 2018 novel by Richard Powers follows a handful … Continue reading

Posted in LITERATURE, SELF HELP, SPIRIT | 9 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