Shooting a Chickadee

George Orwell wrote an essay, set during his days as a policeman in colonial Burma, about having to shoot an elephant, a beast that, by the time Orwell arrived with his gun, was doing no one any harm.  Orwell, as the armed white man representing the Crown, knew he must do something.  He fired, repeatedly, … Continue reading Shooting a Chickadee

An Undelivered Speech at the Turkish Friendship Dinner–Along with What I Did Say

In a couple days, the Turkish Cultural Center in Manchester, NH, is giving me an award.  This is very gratifying, if undeserved.  They offered me three or four minutes to speak, and I will likely use that time.  I don’t often speak from a script, so any remarks I make will be extemporaneous, entertaining and … Continue reading An Undelivered Speech at the Turkish Friendship Dinner–Along with What I Did Say

Silence is Golden; Slumber is Final

The first time I went fishing with my grandfather was the last time I did anything at all with him, except for avoid his gaze, composed as it was of anger and disgust.  I was about four, although physically I looked much younger.  As a child, one of my goals was to be a midget … Continue reading Silence is Golden; Slumber is Final

Wouldn’t It?—Notes on the Texas Church Terrorist Attack

I write this with shame radiating from my body and soul.  As an American, as a veteran, as a human being, I’ve just committed an act I’d never ever pictured myself doing.  Living in the Great North Woods in a Tiny White Box, I don’t have running water, so I can’t take the shower I … Continue reading Wouldn’t It?—Notes on the Texas Church Terrorist Attack

“But He’s a Muslim”

Next month I’m being awarded a prize, the Community Service Award, from the Turkish Cultural Center in Manchester, at their annual Friendship Dinner.  I’m honored.  I’m pleased.  I’m flabbergasted.  My first thought was they had the wrong man, but since they’d sent the invitation to my post office box in Pittsburg, that seemed unlikely.  According … Continue reading “But He’s a Muslim”

A Fable

A certain man was a gardener, specializing in beautiful perennial gardens.  Discarding modern, efficient techniques like fertilizer, irrigation and rotation, the man instead relied on intuition, caring and a search for perfection.  For miles around, people came to see each year’s garden, observing the beauty of both change and continuity.  The man was pleased to … Continue reading A Fable

A Vietnam Veterans Death–“And of the dead, speak only truth”

How do you say goodbye to a drunk who didn’t get it?  How do you pay proper respect to a man whose life seems to have been devoted to telling lies and manufacturing more lies to provide evidence for the first round?  How do you miss a man whose corpse you discovered 10 months ago, … Continue reading A Vietnam Veterans Death–“And of the dead, speak only truth”

A Scientific Theology of Lucky Pennies

This morning, Sam (is a dog) and I went out for our usual walk—three or four miles through the forest, sheets of orange arranged on us to ward off stray shot from bird hunters and arrows from would be deer slayers.  During the plague years, folk wisdom suggested certain amulets would keep away the Black … Continue reading A Scientific Theology of Lucky Pennies

Tiny White Box Profiled in Vagabond Monthly–Libel Suit to Follow

I’ve always wanted to be interviewed by Rolling Stone, the New Yorker or, even, Foreign Affairs Quarterly.  (In this last, I’d hoped to outline my vision for a future Myanmar that would begin with changing its name to WeUsedtobeBurma.)  Instead, the home I live in is now featured in another, less well-known magazine—Vagabond Monthly:  The … Continue reading Tiny White Box Profiled in Vagabond Monthly–Libel Suit to Follow

Art Fights Back: Chuck Palahniuk and Me

Life imitates art, but it’s not often art gets a chance to fight back.  Here’s the true story of this picture. Chuck Palahniuk (pictured above in glasses) has written a number of books I (pictured above in terror) think are pretty great, including Fight Club (yes, THAT Fight Club), Choke and my personal favorite Survivor, … Continue reading Art Fights Back: Chuck Palahniuk and Me