Tag Archives: USA

Sans frontières

“The more primitive a man is, the better he believes himself to be…Doubt and tolerance are the characteristics of civilised man.”
— Marill to Kern, in Prague

East Berlin

In January, 1984, one of the few places you could cross into East Berlin was at the Friedrichstrasse station, a transfer point for the U– and S-bahn, subway and tram. There you went through East German passport control, had your passport stamped, were several times informed that you could only stay for twenty-four hours, and last, but most important to the government of the ironically named German Democratic Republic, the required currency conversion from a Western currency (dollars, francs, lira, etc.) to the Mark der DDR; since I travelled with West German Marks, I converted those. The coins of East Germany felt so cheap that I could easily snap a coin in half. Continue Reading

A Tale of Two Fingers….and One Tendon

November, 2009 – Belmont, California My Japanese garden machete is from Soko Hardware in San Francisco. Soko is one of those urban hardware stores where in addition to finding screws, toilet plungers, and extension cords, there’s a large selection of white paper lamp shades, pottery in dark blues, greens, and golds; metal teapots, and craft… Continue Reading


On Thursday, November 30, American Public Media (APM) emailed all subscribers that today was the final newsletter edition of “The Writer’s Almanac” – the program would no longer be distributed by APM, which was terminating all contracts with Garrison Keillor and his private media companies after allegations of inappropriate behavior. Continue Reading

April was not the cruelest month

April was not the cruelest month

We were due. I had not been back since 2014. Catherine and Annie had not been back to the United States since we moved to France in 2011, and therefore had not seen any of my family. Catherine had the first two weeks of April off for Spring break, and because this summer we had… Continue Reading

There and Back Again

There and Back Again

The title has been used before, but happily titles are not subject to copyright. Unlike Bilbo, I did not run into any dragons, wizards, dwarves, elves, or trolls, at least in their literal form. Nor was there any treasure to be had, although something close to that was a part of my decision to visit the… Continue Reading

The real football

This is about  the other game, the one that does not have a 100% injury rate and leaves a considerable portion of its players with lifelong, debilitating injuries, or otherwise forces players to retire early because of concussions. In my days of watching football, both Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers and Troy Aikman Continue Reading