How to tell a story

How to tell a story

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Football hype ...

... gets worse every year. Not sure how long I can keep watching games, except of small schools out of media attention. Shades of lions and gladiators sanitized by technology.

Last batch of 2015


Creationism evangelist: God put contradictions in the Bible to ‘weed out’ the atheists:

At last


A tough year, adjusting to post-heart attack realities. But H made progress and, the bottom line, is still with us.

My personal highlight, a birthday gift from the gods, waking with an entire play in my head, which I wrote down (a secretary) in six days ... one of my better ones, I think. Entered it in a Big Contest. A Eugene director already interested, it will have a life, and eventually get published by TS at Round Bend Press.

Brooding about how to express Berman's monastic alternative as a story on stage.

Future security: I have a viable exit strategy if/when needed. In a culture with no support for individual integrity, where the medical establishment becomes an enemy, this is essential for peace of mind in old age.

Wishing for a better 2016!

Morris Berman

The conclusion of The Twilight of American Culture:

I leave it up to you to decide if the glass is half-full or half-empty, or whether that even matters. For the “monk”of the twenty-first century will not be pursuing his or her activity for grand, heroic outcomes, but for the sense of worth and meaning that the activity itself contains. The work may lead somewhere; it may not. Our job is only to give it our best shot. Lew Welch, a San Francisco Beat poet of years gone by, put it this way:

What strange pleasure do they get who’d wipe whole worlds out, ANYTHING, to end our lives, our wild idleness? But we have charms against their rage—must go on saying, “Look, if nobody tried to live this way, all the work of the world would be in vain.”And now and then a son, a daughter, hears it. Now and then a son, a daughter gets away

As an old Quaker saying puts it, “Let your life speak.”In the end, that’s the only thing that really matters.

Berman's future

..." the general outlook, it seems to me, is one of slow rather than sudden disintegration, for this country seems to be very good at crisis management. That is to say, it tends to deal with serious problems at the eleventh hour, thereby staving off disaster, although not accomplishing much else. We might call this the “muddle through” option, in which the basic goal is just staying afloat."

SF foreshadows Pdx?

From the Chronicle:

" Driven by the tech sector, rents in San Francisco have soared higher and faster than the Blue Angels during Fleet Week. Affordable housing isn't. It's nearly impossible to find a burrito on Valencia Street in the heart of the Mission District anymore, although you can find a $5.75 cup of designer hot chocolate. The response has been ballot initiatives, City Hall bellyaching, dirty looks, the occasional lawsuit and feverish honking at the double-decker buses that ferry the young six-figure set from San Francisco to their Peninsula ports of call."

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Those we lost in 2015


I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Freak storm has pushed North Pole to freezing point — 50 degrees above normal


How are you?

Outside looking in:

Old. Obsolete. Invisible.

Inside looking out:

Blessed. Thankful to have been raised before television and computers. In awe of great literary/artistic work, favorites with which I am reengaging. Satisfied with a possible exit strategy. Blessed!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Question of the day

By Morris Berman:

How is it that in the U.S. excellence in sports is celebrated while excellence in scholarship is considered elitist?



Rereading my favorite cultural historian, Morris Berman, THE TWILIGHT OF AMERICAN CULTURE at the moment, and then going to some of his sources - all of which engages and challenges the mind, and gives my day renewed purpose.

Plus I feel good about deciding on what I'll call an emergency exit strategy, an existential insurance policy. 2016 may become a great year for me!

Monday, December 28, 2015



Concussion: doctor who fought NFL says 'no equipment can prevent' such injuries

Women's BB

Oregon State v. Notre Dame, both ranked, today. Rooting for underdog Beavers.


I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Fighting climate change requires more than soothing fantasies

Future possibilities

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
The A.I. anxiety

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Easy answer

There's A Way to Save Our Future. So Why Aren't More People Talking About It?:

Sunday afternoon


The Internet's failed promise

"Taylor is a 21st-century digital dissenter. She’s one of the many technophiles unhappy about the way the tech revolution has played out. Political progressives once embraced the utopian promise of the Internet as a democratizing force, but they’ve been dismayed by the rise of the “surveillance state,” and the near-monopolization of digital platforms by huge corporations."


Year of reckoning: Police kill nearly 1,000

Another use for biscuits


In the age of Amazon, used bookstores are making an unlikely comeback

Saturday, December 26, 2015


I need a project, something to structure my time. Not hot for a writing project, however. Nor a music project.

The blanket


Building a better college athletic department is a never-ending task

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The long journey

One family’s journey from Aleppo to Austria

The old year before the new year


Would Syrian Refugee Baby Jesus Be Allowed to Immigrate to the U.S.?:

Climate gets crazy

Forecast high temperature for NYC's Central Park today is 74F, just 1 degree below high temperature on July 4th - @NWSNewYorkNY

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


US homes use more electricity on Christmas lights than some countries do in a year: researchers:

Too late?

Santa needs to bring us some sanity before rage consumes our Christmas spirit.


Americans are drinking themselves to death at record rates

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Missing the mark

Neither of my two old man fantasies has come close ... 1. to be a respected retired writer living in a hotel, holding court with younger writers during happy hour - a writer I met at the Daniel Boone Hotel in Columbia. 2. Lowkey habitual life, breakfast at same booth, same waitress, afternoon coffee, routine and reflection, my favorite teacher's life in Honolulu (passed some years ago).

Instead I never know what (manufactured) crisis is ahead. Not my idea of fun.


Not doing it this year ... except for H gifts to family, esp grandkids. But no decorations, no meal. Xmas day a movie, probably Star Wars.

Whole wheat

How we are?

"In a country that has become not just polarized, but also atomized; in which we root unwaveringly for our own political “teams” composed of those who look, think, vote and raise children exactly as we do; and in which we treat opposing viewpoints as motivated by malice or stupidity rather than honest disagreement, perhaps it is not so surprising that so many Americans have come down with a serious case of dictator envy, a longing for a political strongman (such as, say, Donald Trump) who will put our neighbors in their place and skirt the pluralistic niceties and nonsense of democracy."


Half of American voters in new national poll say they would d be embarrassed to have Donald Trump as president - @QuinnipiacPoll

Monday, December 21, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

The playing field

Media’s Near Blackout on Bernie Sanders Keeps Many Voters in the Dark:


UN: World's Refugees And Displaced To Exceed 60 Million -

Fear rules

Arabic calligraphy assignment forces closure of schools in Virginia county

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


40 Years On, the Vietnam War Continues for Victims of Agent Orange:

Life threatened?

Penn. cop shoots and kills lost cat after owner’s neighbor finds it in his yard:

Sketch's heritage

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
The East Asian origin story of man’s best friend

My God trumps your God

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? College suspends professor who said yes.

Ta da!

The UN Sent 3 Foreign Women To The U.S. To Assess Gender Equality. They Were Horrified. -


This month’s full moon falls on Christmas for the first time in 27 years


This is what happens when the Arctic warms twice as fast as the rest of the planet

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Home sweet home


... of six- day wonder from director I've worked with:

"I read the environment play and was very moved. It's tight, to the point, relevant."

Setting up new theater company, would like to do it down the road. She has considerable talent and experience, significant support.

Rye bread

Muslim boy scouts going strong

"Here’s what I found amazing. Although the Boy Scouts of America struggled with accepting gay members and leaders, the organization welcomed Muslim boys decades ago — and has never stopped including them."

Cold buttermilk ...

... is still ambrosia. Incredibly delicious, putting commercial version to shame.


The unbearably brilliant ‘Son of Saul’ is a cinematic breakthrough


Decline in over three-quarters of UK butterfly species is 'final warning', says Chris Packham

Sunday, December 13, 2015


James Hansen, father of climate change awareness, calls Paris talks 'a fraud'

“It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”

Football tradition

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Navy holds off Army, 21-17, as Keenan Reynolds piles up more NCAA records

Friday, December 11, 2015


Water issues all over the area ... but so far we've missed them. Knock on my wooden head.

Rain rain rain

Damp damp damp chilly chilly chilly Portland Portland Portland

Germany leads refugee welcome

"In any case, it is Germany taking leadership in the cause of human dignity, and taking the risks inherent to leadership. This was the way the United States once imagined itself, which seems like long ago."

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Spent most of the day watching favorite TV drama. Now baking bread to west coast jazz. What else is new?

A NW tornado today, that's what.

Dec. 30, hot damn!

A new season of Mozart In The Jungle begins!

Hear, hear! HEAR, HEAR!

Academics: forget about public engagement, stay in your ivory towers

"We must recognise the value of the esoteric knowledge, technical vocabulary and expert histories that academics produce."

Tragic (a great place)

Climate change could leave Chesapeake Bay island uninhabitable in 50 years


Gun rights activists to hold ‘fake mass shooting’ at Univ. of Texas

Muslims in military

"“We used to be a balanced people. We used to be true to our values, but now we’re willing to betray our values because of a sense of fear? That’s not American,” said Hadzic. “What the hell happened to that America I immigrated to?”"

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Far out

Stunning full-court buzzer-beater lifts Minnesota high school to miracle win

The story continues

Mudslide on U.S. 30 brings traffic on St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Ore., to standstill - @Oregonian

Chairman of the board

Frank Sinatra – 10 of the best from the Capitol years

The last tradition

Making blackeyed peas for the Army-Navy game is something I've been doing for a long time. And even alone, I'll do it Saturday and shop for it today.

I used to make oyster dressing and shrimp aspic for the holidays but stopped some time ago (lost my appreciative audience). And I had booze rituals in my drinking days.

It's down to this, the last tradition.


More than 16,000 PGE customers left without power in Portland, Ore., following night of intense rain - @fox12oregon


The storm did its thing last night but drifted north of us. Good fortune here, knock on my wooden head.

High tech

BBC radio doc on what's ahead: not sure if celebration or depression is proper response. Life has become so layered. No clue here of planetary emergency. So much goes on as normal. Powerlessness breeds habit. Or diversion.

All I know is, No way do I want to be younger.

The future

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Climate change is going to make inequality even worse than it already is

Back to bed

So far, so good.

Chronicle fun to read during this

Golden State Warriors improve to 23-0 with 131-123 win over Indiana Pacers - @AP_Sports Golden State Warriors improve to 23-0 with 131-123 win over Indiana Pacers - @AP_Sports

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


What I like a lot is that he doesn't wear the blinders of American Exceptionalism and looks to other countries for better ways to do things. But he also is too traditional a hawk in foreign matters.

I think Hillary is our next president. I think she is less slimy than Bill and can grow in the job. Wishful thinking?

Looking to the future

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Once again, California leads the way

The Age of Fear

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
France’s triumphant far-right and the echoes of Donald Trump

Existential melancholy

Been reading some Mailer ... reminded that no one writes better about the darker moods than he does. He and Baldwin are the great American giants of prose during my lifetime, digging into the inner life.

Ah me

The suspense regarding fate of basement has me in a funk. Tired of jazz, try classical piano. Read? A movie? Go to bed? Cook something?

Miss my friends.

Off my butt

Shelf #4 downsized. I may leave #5 so H can see the difference.

A storm tonight, another tomorrow, then out if it. I've done all the prep I can do.

Danger ahead

Donald Trump shows hate speech is now out and proud in the mainstream


Light rain falling in drenched Portland and more rainstorms expected through Wednesday evening - @AP

Mysteries of life

2 theaters in NYC will read FAMILY VALUES, wanted to mail scripts before arriving storm. Just made it. A mystery: post office a zoo, long holiday lines, so I drove a mile to Thriftway with p.o. inside ... no customers!

Checked basement. So far, so good.

Time for banana cream pie.


How does Trump do it? Understanding the psychology of a demagogue’s rally:


Should downsize shelf #4 today but feeling an after breakfast crash. Listening to west coast jazz, existential melancholy.

More Bernie support

Washington Post

No, you don’t have an absolute right to own guns

"Volunteers feed hungry migrants as winter sets in"

CNN headline and story.

The world is full of good people. Important to remember. But good people are powerless at the moment, compared to greedy people. Can this change with numbers and mass action?

Flood? What flood?

Staying dry!

Drama continues

Rescue crews in Portland, Ore., assisting with voluntary evacuation at apartment building due to flooding creek - @PDXFire

Monday, December 7, 2015


Photo: Firefighters use rafts to rescue residents in Milwaukie, Ore. - @KGWNews

And the worst is coming?

Crews working to repair large sinkhole in Gresham, Ore., as heavy rains continue to hit area - @MikeBennerKGW

Pullling for the longshot

Heisman Trophy finalists announced: Alabama's Derrick Henry, Standford's Christian McCaffrey, Clemson's Deshaun Watson - @HeismanTrophy

Sanity in an insane world


My mother believed that ignorance is bliss. I don't laugh at the notion the way I did when I was younger. Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living - but he never went on to say that the examined life is any better.

Calm before the storm

My sense of the day ... Baking bread, listening to 1930-40s music.

Unheralded heroes

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
‘I Got You:’ San Bernardino victim shielded female coworker during shooting, saving her life

About time

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Less pomp, more art for 2015 Kennedy Center Honors


With the possibility of a flooded basement ahead, I need to exude positive energy ... hence, bake bread!

Our turn

Major flooding in area, worst yet to come ... Minor flooding in basement ... Getting ready for something worse.

I knew mellow days were too good to be true ha ha.

Something constructive

Downsized shelf #3 of 5.

What a cover! (Dec 14 issue)

The Guardian

With the Timbers' MLS Cup win Caleb Porter showed he is the real thing

Uphill battle

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Sanders’s focus on inequality drowned out as guns and terror grab headlines

So what?

The Chronicle gives the great Portland Timbers MLS Cup victory a scant two paragraphs in a kitchen sink sports story.

Bowls and bowls

The Pac-12's complete bowl lineup:

Rose (Jan. 1): Stanford vs. Iowa
Alamo (Jan. 2): Oregon vs. TCU
Holiday (Dec. 30): USC vs. Wisconsin
Foster Farms (Dec. 26): UCLA vs. Nebraska
Sun (Dec. 26): Washington State vs. Miami
Las Vegas (Dec. 19): Utah vs. BYU
Cactus (Jan. 2): Arizona State vs. West Virginia
New Mexico (Dec. 19): Arizona vs. New Mexico
Heart of Dallas (Dec. 26): Washington vs. Southern Miss
Armed Forces (Dec. 29): Cal vs. Air Force

Dec. 7

My mom lost her brother, to whom she was very close, at Pearl Harbor. Hence this was a major day of remembrance growing up.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


"Columbus Crew supporters hurled more than a dozen cans onto the field afterPortland Timbers winger Rodney Wallace scored in the seventh minute of Sunday's MLS Cup Final.

The poor sportsmanship by Crew fans came as the Timbers players were attempting to celebrate the goal near the corner flag. The players had to quickly run back to midfield to avoid getting hit by the cans."

The Guardian

Portland Timbers hit Columbus Crew SC early to capture their first MLS Cup

Portland wins!


I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
The kinds of people who confuse total nonsense for something really deep

I should bitch ...

... I'm warm and dry ... I made biscuits and gravy for breakfast ... I am drinking the best iced coffee in America ... I am listening to Gerry Mulligan, who feeds the soul ... I have a loving wife and a best buddy dog ... I have a literary work print that makes me proud ... I am old enough to have experienced a far better America ... I am old enough to likely pass before the food and water riots disrupt civilization ... I have no children to worry about ... I feel blessed each and every day ... in a zero sum universe, I try to focus on the positive counter balance to all the madness.

So I shouldn't bitch. However ...

West coast jazz

Keeping me sane today. Barely. May the gods bless cool jazz!

Boy are two recent works right on about America today: my novel SODOM, GOMORRAH & JONES and the 6-day wonder of late. Very similar themes.

Belching in the wilderness, I suppose.

And another thing ...

... New Year's Eve is a time honored tradition in good health ... so let's change the focus and have the playoff semis then!

Yak yak yak

A 30 minute selection show stretched to FOUR HOURS! Exactly what is wrong with college/all sports today. Bitch bitch bitch.

Pdx soccer

Playing for championship at 1 ... will avoid the city madness and watch here ... maybe while doing chores.

Also football playoff day ... only the Rose Bowl really interests me. Nerd nation v Iowa or Ohio St?

7 days of rain ...


I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
‘The world is becoming a safer place to live in.’

America, the laughing stock

A BBC radio documentary on climate change skewered without mercy the substantial number of deniers here, enough to lead a major political party. This makes us more a part of the problem than of the solution.

But how do you backtrack and educate the uneducated? How do you make the likes of Trump and Palin, with large numbers of followers, historically and logically and scientifically literate?

I'm afraid you don't. I hope I'm wrong.

On a brighter note, NPR had a story about an alliance formed by former enemies about gun control. They found common ground in a passion to keep their children safe.

How do parents stay sane today?

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Nerd nation!

The Stanford Cardinal win the Pac12 Conference with a 41-22 win over USC - @CBSLA

Football players

Once upon a time, when a player made a good play, he kept cool as if to say, No big deal, I do this all the time. Old school.

Now a player prances around like God's gift to football. Modern hype.

I prefer old school.

What progress?

Once upon a time, a football game was a football game. What a concept!

Then football became a corporate business, an over-hyped, over-produced entertainment extravaganza. A!l this comes to mind waiting for the Mich St - Iowa kickoff, trying not to puke.


Wise words on writing

By Paul Schrader:

"Sooner or later, the kind of work I do will be acknowledged. It's nice to have it happen while you're still alive. But when you do this sort of thing, you have to believe in history and you have to believe in the ancestry of art. You have to believe that you're filing things in the archives. Maybe they will be appreciated in your lifetime and maybe they won't. It doesn't really matter."

Lunch: Paella

O man, this came out great! 3 servings for lunch, couldn't help myself.

A fan in New Mexico

"After reading many books on and about screenwriting I found yours [Practical Screenwriting] in a pile of free books after an abandoned yard sale and scooped it up.   I figured one more couldn't hurt and I was getting ready to embark on a rewrite of the love of my life project. What a find!  I now tell people to purchase the book.  

As a retired educator I appreciate how you address different styles of learning and performing.  Good screenwriters know good screenwriting.  Good educators know good education.  They are not one in the same.  One of my duties as a board member for New Mexico Women in Film is to keep stead on a screenwriters group in Albuquerque.  I find myself using your example of tree vs forest people often in the group."

The book, of course, is the linear "light" version of my digital tutorial, now free online:

Mellow day

Downsized a bit, got paella on, football, should be low key day. 2 of 5 kitchen shelves in order ... do another tomorrow.

Vacation! Man, do I need it.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Glory, glory

Man, I haven't felt this good since before H's heart attack. And when she called today, I heard joy in her voice for the first time in over a year: from enjoying grandkids. I hope she can bring that attitude home.

Knock on my wooden head ...


Paella tomorrow

Why the hell not?


Finally in vacation mode. Watched a favorite film, CRASH, probably best film ever made on race in America. Admire artistry of it, top to bottom.

I'm not modest

My 6-day wonder is a fucking fine play! Who knows what if anything will come of it but I engaged my seasoned craft and personal sensibilities damn near to their limits. Truly a birthday gift from the gods! Never expected it.

Yes indeed

Our world can be bleak, but it’s crucial to find sources of joy every day

I call it dancing on the Titanic.

Couplet of the day

King Christ, this world is all aleak
and life preservers there are none

==e. e. cummings

Good question!

What The Hell Is NBC Doing Inside Attackers' Apartment?:

Appearance and reality

More than a theory about literature ... at the very foundation of shared human experience. Read Shakespeare.

Of course, our culture learns nothing from literature. If the foundation surprises you, you're trapped in Plato's Cave.

7 days of rain

Indoor chores and amusement.


Nice to have my toys back! Easier to divert attention from the sinking ship.

I am not surprised by the recent terrorists. More cynical about humans, more direct experience with the hallucinations of daily life.


The Common Denominator in Mass Shootings: Guns:


SO NICE to have streaming music back. When I cut the cord, everything became wireless/internet based.

The error all week was minor but essential, of course. I was given wrong directions! Confirmed on net. Then tonight found contrary directions. Re what cab!e goes where.

An Amazon film, surprisingly enough

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Spike Lee takes on gun violence with passion and bold creativity in ‘Chi-Raq’


I got inspired and got everything working!!!!! Details later.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Strange doings

UCLA upsets No. 1 Kentucky, 87-77, snapping UK's 40-game win streak against unranked opponents - @SportsCenter

Miracle in Westwood

A mediocre 4-3 UCLA beat #1 Kentucky by 10 pts!

I only saw closing mins after checking shocking score. I figured Ken. by 20 or more. No mood to watch the slaughter. Now I'll look for the replay.

Low tech

Week like this makes me want to go back to a manual typewriter ... almost.

Tech nightmare

Finally got our DSL working ... but no luck bringing network up, which most of our stuff uses ... burned out ... try to forget until next week, try again.

When in doubt ...


We should not rationalize the tragedy of San Bernardino but we will. Again

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Earth has lost a third of arable land in past 40 years, scientists say


Modem arrives Fri, not tomorrow. Ah me.

Problem in a nutshell

Head of Senate environment committee: If the climate is changing it’s because of God, not man:

Sinking islands

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Obama vows to help island nations threatened by climate change

Among the threatened are the Marshalls, where my dad was stationed after WWII, running a Naval supply ship. Many stories, home movies, memories. How sad if they get sunk by rising ocean.


At last ... I don't know how the homeless hang in ... I think I'd call it quits. Takes great character to survive.


These hassles are nothing in the larger picture.

Bad to worse

Lost power last night around midnight, out for hrs, got so cold Sketch and I went into car to use heater. Back on now.

New modem tomorrow, try again.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hiss boo

Rest of day became nightmare, starting with new modem being defective. Back to zero. And then ... but what's the point? The day sucked after a great start.


Feel like I've already put in a day's work ... working on downsizing ... waiting for modem, get network back up.


With the home network down, Prime music is down, Echo is down ... but with a one device temp connection, my Jazz radio app works ... salvation!

Students fight back

Early start

Monday, November 30, 2015

Get the spirit

Enjoying Thomas Marriott - Winter Solace on the Holiday Jazz channel by

Today's best


Pope Francis says climate situation is 'borderline suicide'; deal 'now or never' - @AFP

New world

Home from the airport ... and for the first time in over a year, my focus is not caring for H. Maybe I can learn how to relax other than in the wee morning hours.

First up, a couple of home projects I couldn't do with her constant Monday morning quarterbacking. Downsizing!

Health concerns I play close to the vest. Doing no new projects helping anyone. Not sure if I have more to write, not fretting about it.

The 6-day wonder is timely, needs to be done everywhere. Needs a visionary director who sees this. Need a last bit of good fortune.

This will be a revealing two weeks, I bet.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Heroic work

No teacher lets them suffer: inside the German schools taking in refugees

Intelligence, which is in short supply

What will it take to stop Donald Trump?


Discontinued a couple of "luxury" expenses, including belonging to Ukulele Underground. Wonderful group! But I'm not using the resources enough. Tightening the belt for winter.

Expect a very stressful day as H prepares to leave tomorrow. Her packing anxiety will be major.

Bought week of online access from other carrier just to do necessary chores without driving to hotspot. Only good for one device, no other hardware online. New modem due Tuesday.

Actually, alone, I might go this route. Sports not as interesting to me as it once was ... character of jocks different, corporate bullshit everywhere. Leisure could use downsizing, too.

No present energy to return to novel project. May change. No further idea about Ukulele man. May be done or inactive for a while.

The 6-day wonder sitting well. Damn good work ... deserves fine tuning in rehearsal. Not counting on it. If nothing happening by summer, will put together book. Probably my last hurrah. I've said that before.

I do look forward to two weeks without stress of H's crises. Though she can get in trouble east as well as here ... ah me. Maybe it never ends.

Nerd nation!

No. 9 Stanford drills 45-yard field goal as time expires to defeat No. 6 Notre Dame, 38-36 - @SportsCenter

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015


Modem at home crashed ... astounding what an Internet household we have ... TV, music streamed from online ... replacement won't arrive until Tuesday. Slumming until then.

Dum de dum dum

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
The Great Thaw: As temperatures rise, the melting of glaciers is accelerating

The day after

A good low key Thanksgiving ... Meal in a chain restaurant, watched a few movies at home, calls from kids and grandkids cheered up Harriet ... Much better holiday than I feared.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Post turkey evening

An old strategy

Spike Lee urges women to go on sex strike to protest campus rape and harassment:

Good question

Can Trump do ANYTHING that would alienate his supporters?

(And I naively thought Palin was as stupid as politicians get.)

A new low for Trump - but no surprise

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Trump blasted by New York Times after mocking reporter with disability

Worse than Trump ...

... are his many supporters. Living evidence of what James Baldwin called the unadmitted failure of the American experiment. Very depressing so many back him.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


No plans tomorrow ... I'd like to hang out, reflect, give thanks, maybe a movie, maybe turkey somewhere not requiring reservations ... but how the day goes depends on how H goes ... I can't predict that. But a mellow day would be so nice!


Good thing Native Americans didn't treat the Pilgrims like we treat Syrian refugees


H goes east Monday for 2 weeks. I'm sure it will feel like a vacation without the daily crisis.

Coming soon

Chi-Raq review: Spike Lee's urgent, angry – and very sexy – midlife masterpiece


Broken treaties, cultural genocide and murder: Here are 5 ways the US has ‘given thanks’ to Native Americans:


hobbling to the bathroom at 4 a.m.
I see Sketch stretched out on the divan
and envy him the clarity of his life

if I had more instincts, fewer ideas
my life might have great clarity, too
(right after I win the lottery etc.)

the villain of my old age is Socrates
convincing me the unexamined life is bankrupt
forgetting to add that the examined life is hell

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

End of an era

"Dear Charles,

As you requested, we have cancelled your "orelitrev"
account. As of today, all Web site files and e-mail addresses
associated with the account have been taken offline and no 
further charges will be processed."

The archive is now managed by the Eng Dept at PSU. Direct questions to them.

Our history

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Anne Frank and her family were also denied entry as refugees to the U.S.


I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Einstein’s General Relativity at 100: Put that in your pipe and smoke it


My best Thanksgivings were from the mid 1960s to mid 1970s, when the Deemers, the Crooks, the Bradleys, the Fuquas and the Richardsons would gather at an alternating host household. These were 3 day affairs with great food and drink, great homemade music, and non stop laughter. Incredible celebration of friendship! I was the hub, Crooks and Richardson were Army buddies, Bradley and Fuqua I met at the Ash Grove, fellow folk musicians. Man, could we throw a feast!

Nothing close since.


No sooner the last post than a theatrical character enters my brain: a street musician, ukulele, political songs of his own composition ... title, Ukulele Man ...


Still glowing with an appreciation of good manners in drama profession: thanks for sending this, look forward to reading it! Almost never get this courtesy in the film industry unless at small powerless indie level. Power embraces rudeness, I suppose.

What will I be writing next, if anything? A return to Dancing on the Titanic (an image used in the play)? Reworking another old play? Something new?

I think nothing for a while.

Hear, hear!

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Republicans need to stand up to Trump’s bullying

"Just in the past few days, Mr. Trump has repeated the lie that President Obama intends to admit 200,000 Syrian refugees; the correct number is 10,000. He spreads the lie that thousands of American Muslims openly celebrated the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center; in fact, there were no such celebrations. He tweeted a false statistic that blacks are responsible for 81 percent of murders of white victims; in fact, 82 percent of whites are killed by whites."

Ugly in America

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Attacks on American Muslims are growing uglier by the day. It must stop.

"Why are we degenerating so quickly and so far from our country’s founding values? Because it’s an election year. And political leaders — egged on by the grandstanding and lies of Donald Trump — are peddling fear like it’s a miracle drug.

In communities across America, we are turning on each other, on the very neighbors who have been part of the fabric of our country for decades."


I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
NPR is graying, and public radio is worried about it

Monday, November 23, 2015

Orwell understated our nightmare

...I.e. candidate Trump. Lies are now "facts."

An old play of mine ends ...

What the people expect, they deserve.
What they deserve, they get.


I'm reminded (sending out a play) what better manners you find in the theater profession than in the film industry. I'd forgotten.

Hump the blanket

Not bad for an old man!


Wish I could go back to bed.

So long ...

Report: Mariners second-baseman Robinson Cano is reportedly not happy in Seattle and would love to return to New York - @SNYtv


We have one ... Helps H's memory loss

Goodbye privacy, hello 'Alexa': Amazon Echo, the home robot who hears it all

Bohemian Pdx died in the 90s ... Hip sucked

Is hip Portland over? How the rent crisis is displacing the city's creative soul

Long day

Housekeeper day, never my favorite ... staying out of the way etc ... but H insists.

Front runner

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Donald Trump’s outrageous claim that ‘thousands’ of New Jersey Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Trouble with being a morning person is that the day invariably gets worse after a typical great start. By nightfall, it can suck.

Letter to Nation magazinr

...I am a novelist. Every year, I spend a great deal of my time giving readings or lectures at which, almost unfailingly, I am asked about Islam and Muslims and the wars now consuming the Middle East. I try to explain and contextualize, to remind people about history and politics, to bring some art and culture into the mix. But every couple of months, when another terrorist attack happens, the work I do seems to be for nothing. What chance does someone like me have when compared with the power of well-funded networks? The beheadings, the crucifixions, the destruction of cultural heritage that ISIS practices—none of these are new. They all happened, and continue to happen, in Saudi Arabia as well.

This year, the government of Saudi Arabia has beheaded more people than ISIS. It persecutes Shiites and atheists. It has slowly destroyed sites of cultural and religious significance around Mecca and Medina. To almost universal indifference, it has been bombing Yemen for seven months. Yet whenever terror strikes, it escapes notice and evades responsibility. In this, it is aided and abetted by Western governments, who buy oil from tyrants and sell them weapons, while paying lip service to human rights. I have no patience anymore for people who claim that Muslims do not speak out. They do, every day. Muslims are the primary victims of ISIS, and its primary resisters. It is an insult to every one of the hundreds of thousands of Muslim victims of terrorism to lump them with the lunatics who commit terror.

The truth is that ISIS unleashes its nihilistic violence on anyone—Muslim, Christian, or Jew; believer or unbeliever—who doesn’t subscribe to its cult. I wish I could do something for the victims of terrorist violence. But I am a writer; words are all I have. And all I know is that I want, with all my heart, to preserve and celebrate what ISIS wishes to destroy: a multiethnic, multireligious, multicultural life.

Laila Lalami is the author, most recently, of The Moor’s Account , a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. She is a professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. ■


The extremist anti-Muslim views of today’s GOP makes George W. Bush look like a progressive:

Sun records

I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
The man who brought down racial barriers through music


I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
Even beer skeptics can enjoy Oregon’s craft-brewery mecca


I thought you might like this story from The Washington Post.
There are far more Muslims ready to fight for the West than against it

Buttermilk rolls

2015 in America

A reservation town fighting alcoholism, obesity and ghosts from the past

Olive bread


Marveling at the good timing of my professional life ... beginning my writing career when the arts were not slaves to the marketplace and grants were numerous ... then when the pendulum began to swing in the 1990s, suggesting a new financial challenge, the phone rang and Portland State's Eng Dept invited me to start a screenwriting program. Perfect timing! and two decades of $tability. Amazing good luck.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

French national anthem

One of the best, musically ... can't hear it without seeing the wonderful scene in Casablanca.

Changing times

'Americans saved my life': former refugees from Iraq perplexed by US fears

Portland #3

Early start

Got household chore done before six this morning! Been putting it off.

Football Saturday. Big game for underdog Bruins.

Friday, November 20, 2015


My store for headcheese stopped carrying it some time ago .... but I found a new source! Highlight of the day!


'Beyond terrifying': Muslim Americans shocked by Trump and Carson quotes


Hemingway's Paris memoir rises to No 1 in France following terror attacks


Today I hope to do absolutely nothing. Past 3 weeks exhausting! Wrote a new play and rewrote a 20 year old play. Both off on first searches for a life. Ace in the hole, both will be published eventually at RBP, says the publisher.

But another round of good luck to wrap up a career would be sweet. So would a sane world. Crapshoots, both.

Nothing today, not even cooking. Vegetate.


Syrian refugee shames Republicans: We are not terrorists — we are fleeing from them:


Pope Francis: Christmas festivities ‘a charade’ in a world filled with ‘war and hate’:

Bipartisan bigotry

47 Democrats Join With House GOP to Refuse Suffering Refugees:

Dancing on the Titanic

'Our melting, shifting, liquid world': celebrities read poems on climate change

The future

Pacific Ocean temperature data shows El Niño is gathering record strength

Some are more equal than others etc

Saudi court sentences poet to death for renouncing Islam

Thursday, November 19, 2015


I've spent more time in hospitals in past year than in all years prior.

Defining himself in tradition of FDR

Bernie Sanders defends his politics as authentic face of American democracy

Hospital waiting room

H hand check up re dog bite