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Some Impressions of Japan

  A short trip to a foreign county is hardly enough exposure to develop a well-informed understanding of the culture.  But impressions require no such universe of knowledge.  Here’s what I found remarkable during our family’s 12-day trip through the land of the rising sun.  My reflections on Japan are based on a limited sample…

Reflections on Tom Landis

Tom Landis died suddenly 13 years ago today.  This is the eulogy I read at his funeral a month later.  A few months before I’d seen Tom Landis at a funeral, never thinking that some weeks hence I’d be speaking at his. “Everyone has a story to tell.”  That was Tom’s Facebook page motto.  This…

Ten Album Turning Points – Desert Island Discs

In Tom Stoppard’s play, “The Real Thing,” the lead character, Henry can’t figure out which songs to pick when he’s slated to appear as the castaway on Desert Island Discs.  The problem is Henry likes mindless pop music, but he’s a snob who’s afraid to admit he like pop music, so struggles to find songs…

Alone Again, Naturally

Fifty years ago, a schmaltzy song by an Irish balladeer topped the pop charts for six weeks.  Gilbert O’Sullivan’s surprise hit, “Alone Again, Naturally” ranked number two on Billboard for the year 1972.   Because it doesn’t fit into the classic rock genre, the tune soon faded in popularity and is generally unknown to anyone born…

Back in the Summer of ‘69

I didn’t get my first real six-string.  And Enumclaw’s five-and-dime was the last place this teenager wanted to be.  The allure of candy cigarettes and cheap toys had long since passed.  They may have been the best days of Bryan Adams’ life, but for me the Summer of ’69 was a middling byway on a…

Come Saturday Morning

One’s 15th year of life is particularly fraught with change.  Childhood dreams give way to adult realities.  Adolescent collections such as baseball cards, coins, and comics sadly fall out of style – better left to tweens and those still trapped by out-of-fashion obsessions.  Jobs and college take center stage.  College prep means growing loads of…

Epistle for Mr. McGreen

Have you ever wished you’d said “thank you” but never did?  For me, it wasn’t too late.  This essay was adapted from a letter* sent to my favorite teacher.  I just learned Mr. Wally McGreen passed away on March 19, 2022 at age 83, so share this essay as my parting tribute.  Dear Mr. McGreen: …

Poetry by Pauline

A photo album Pauline assembled during high school years yielded two of her poems.  Her first was brash and bawdy  while the second reflective and self-assured.   “Boyfriends” likely dates to her junior year (1944) judging by who’s mentioned in the poem and her album photos that year. The second, “This world that we’re livin’ in”…

‘The Greatest Game Ever Played’

Some say it was ‘The Greatest Game Ever Played.’  I was there but have no memory of its magnitude. All I can remember is a box of Cracker Jack and a burning desire to own a bobblehead. Allow me to explain. On July 2, 1963, San Francisco’s Juan Marichal faced down Warren Spahn’s Milwaukee Braves…

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