Monthly Archive: August 2012

God Save the C.T.A.


As we prepare to observe the national holiday honoring the roles working men, women, and children have played in building our nation—which too many of us will spend doing everything but that—I’d like to offer a little prayer. God save the California Teachers Association (CTA). I do this for both intensely personal and public-policy reasons. …

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Four-legged, Bi-winged Karma

If you’re anywhere near Face in a Book bookstore in El Dorado Hills tonight, before 8 PM, do drop in for the book launch party of The Dog with the Old Soul. (Don’t worry if you’re a little tardy; we’re mostly very fond of the grape, which will be served, so we’ll likely stay until …

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Empathy: Vice or Virtue?


Last Friday morning, KXJZ, our local National Public Radio outlet, aired Episode Three of Season Two of Radiolab, where—in their words—“the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.”  I was half-listening, as I’m wont to do when also working, until something grabbed me. First, a confession.  When it comes to NPR news, I’m decidedly …

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You’re In?


Today, I’m going to perform a public service by attacking an issue that’s moved in and out my consciousness at least four times in the last half-century and could very well become a national crisis—“A Sleeping Giant at Our Doorstep,” as Reader’s Digest might call it—if not confronted squarely. The problem?  Urolagnia. The first was in …

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It’s “Ashley Alert!”

Just posted a new video, in which I explain what motivated me to write “Ashley Alert,” the first story in my short stories collection, Matters Familiar, and I read an excerpt .  You can view it here. As I say: You can sample “Ashley” and any of the other stories here; You can also preview the …

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Go Get You Some ‘Sun’

The Sun Magazine - July 2012

  Interested in access to the greatest, single mental decongestant I’ve ever come across? Subscribe to The Sun. The Sun came to me a couple years ago, through a mailing list or another that brands one as “progressive,” I think.  The initial offer made it clear that it emphasizes “personal writing.”  (That set off alarms …

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Shut Up, Pay Up & Let ’em Learn

"Washington School"

My oldest grandchick left the nest today.   Because both his parents are schoolteachers, I was given the honor of escorting Jonas to his first day of Kindergarten today.  He’s a wonderful boy—of course—and I’m being overly dramatic; this was not as big a step as it might have been.  He’s been in day care …

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Mayor Pascal’s Father’s Watch

Putting together last Friday’s post, I remembered that my pal, Dr. Barry Pascal, had written a touching and memorable remembrance of his father a while back.  I got in touch and he has graciously agreed to permit me to reprint it here.  It was originally published in the North Valley Community News on May 24, 2011. …

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Hello, It’s Me

UPDATE: First effort really was too scary.  Here’s the sophomore replacement.     Just posted my inaugural video to YouTube last night. (Invoking the principal of early childhood trauma–e.g., in-person encounters with clowns and Santa Claus–please avoid exposure to children under 3.  Too late for my grandsons.) Comments?  (Please be kind.) Check back occasionally for …

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Eight Reasons the Olympic Movement Can Save Us

U.S. Capitol & Olympic Rings

As London’s 2012 Summer Games come to a close—well done, Brits!—I’m more convinced than ever that the global Olympic movement, if pushed forward and nourished properly, can be our nation’s and this planet’s salvation. I wrote a two-part essay a half-dozen years ago about our family’s experience with the Olympic movement through our younger son, …

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Getting Past “Passed”

"Griefwalker," a film by Tim Wilson

“I hear no one gets out alive.” Thirty-five years ago, I shared an office in the Cannon House Office Building with another young lawyer, Jay Turnipseed. He had two young daughters; I had a two-year-old boy, with another on the way. Jay had been diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma which, at that time, was …

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Let Us Begin (Again)

Track Blocks

Welcome to my new world! I’ve been on hiatus since last Christmas. There’s a reason–I spent almost all my time caring for my older sister, Kathryn, at home through her last illness; helping our family and friends remember and celebrate her life; and winding up her affairs. This experience changed my perspective forever.  Standing up for what …

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