Columns 2012, pictures

Rummage Sale and New Book – a bonanza

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Don’t forget the Bird TLC rummage sale on our property off Old Seward above Potter’s Marsh. It runs from 9 to 3. Lots of birds to amuse you and lots of goodies to buy.

And as if that’s not enough, my newest book Coming Into the City is officially out for sale. You can order it online at http://www.alaskabooksandcalendars.com

Note to family… yes, you have to pay for it. My birds need me to pay for their kibble so you have to pay for the book.

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Columns 2012

2012 Hall of Infamy

I usually create a Hall of Infamy for my last column of the year. This year I realized what an almost impossible task that was unless I had a book length space to fill. Otherwise I would surely do a disservice to some worthy idiot who annoyed us all in 2012.

The Republican nominees for president alone could take up veritable Dickens’ length chapters detailing their idiocy, bumble footedness, ineptness and inability to not say something so horribly insensitive that it left most of America looking dazed and confused.

Of course, the candidates at least were paying their own way

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Columns 2012

It’s hard to find the Christmas joy this season

I’ve been staring at a blank page for about thirty minutes. It’s supposed to contain a happy holiday column but somehow the happiness eludes me. For starts, I realize that simply using the term “Happy Holidays” is fraught with danger. Despite the fact that for many of us it represents a cheerful greeting to friends of all persuasions, to others it apparently represents some sort of war on their religion.

Given that the radio station my birds listen to all day has been playing nothing but Christmas music since the day after Thanksgiving, I’d suggest that those folks not waste

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Columns 2012

Glimpses of NYC

I recently spent two days in New York City remembering why is was the greatest city in the world for my youth and the worse city in the world for my extremely advanced middle age. If you want to really know what feeling out of place is like, go into Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue in New York City wearing your $15 winter coat from Value Village and your lovely aqua wool gloves and sweat suit from Costco. The entire time I wandered around the various display cases I could feel the eyes of the security guards on me.

So much

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Columns 2012

The only Christmas concert you’ll ever need

It’s not something I ever thought I’d be suggesting. But I am. If you want to experience the true spirit of Christmas, and the true extent to which the human spirit can rebound from any depth, then go to the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center this Saturday and listen to the Women’s Prison Orchestra.

This will be the first year in many that I will miss the concert because I won’t be in town. Between missing the Nutcracker and this, I’m not sure how I’ll ever generate any Christmas spirit this holiday season. Because all the lights and canned music and

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Columns 2012

After Sandy

Across from my sister’s house sit two white trucks. Emblazoned on their sides is the sign, “Boos – Cleaning, Hauling and Demolition”. Welcome to New Jersey post Sandy.

It’s morning and the sun is shinning so brightly I’ve had to lower the blinds to see the computer screen. The weather is just about perfect. Sixty degrees. Cool breeze blowing off the bay. Birds from the preserve across the bay flying overhead. If it weren’t for the constant sound of hammering, trucks and men at work, even on a Sunday, you’d be hard pressed to believe that Sandy roared through this

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Columns 2012

A Thanksgiving rumination

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I get to eat a wonderful meal with my family without the stress of gift shopping first. No trying to guess if Junior wants some specific video game that makes you blush to pick up. No attempt to figure out if Sissy wears see through tops that also make you blush. Nope, just a wonderful day of overindulgence in food followed by tryptophan induced naps.

This year I’m spending the holiday with my East Coast family. Given the devastation that Sandy created, I’m very grateful to have everyone in one piece with homes that, if

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Columns 2012

We can’t be bought

It’s over. No more lying ads. No more fake smiles. No more polls upon polls, each insisting the other poll is biased. No more giant heads – think Dick Morris, Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh – explaining to us how they won when they lost. No, for just a very brief and blessed moment, there will be silence.

I’m not hiding from reality here. I’m aware that the Twitter universe continues to abound in statements best suited for the trash heap, written by people best suited for that same destination. Think Donald Trump, a man whose borrowed and indebted millions

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Columns 2012

The Jersey shore

I’m writing this before Tuesday’s votes are tallied. I’d been worrying for weeks about creating a column the day after a presidential election that wouldn’t refer to an outcome I didn’t know before deadline but still be relevant enough for people to want to read. Then Sandy happened and I realized that while on a macro scale the election held great portent for my country, on a micro scale, nothing mattered as much as my family’s safety.

The picture that made it most real for me was the one of the reporter standing in thigh deep water in the middle

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Columns 2012

Gay marriage rights are not about religion

We had a tragedy in my family this week. My cousin’s son was killed in a motorcycle accident as he rode to school. He was a sophomore in college. Someone came out of a driveway as he passed and hit him. He never had a chance.

This young man and his brother had started out life in some of the worse circumstances imaginable. They were adopted from Brazil as abandoned babies. But their luck changed when my cousin and his partner adopted them.

These two babies went from the dimmest of futures to the brightest of futures. They were raised

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