The Colonel Vanishes

Americana

At the age of 65, he is virtually broke. He has been fired from a dozen jobs.  He doesn’t have any formal education beyond the seventh grade. When his first Social Security check shows up, he spends the money to paint a big picture of himself on the side of his Cadillac. He hits the […]

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Coronado Moon

The Sea

Not quite a full moon earlier this morning off Point Loma in Coronado, California.

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Beyond Misquoted

Americana

For years, I have loved this quotation, widely attributed to Calvin Coolidge. Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not:  the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and […]

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Seven Sad Facts About Walmart

Americana

In 2000, butchers at a Walmart in Jacksonville Texas voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.  Less than a month later, Walmart closed 180 meat counters and limited shoppers to pre-packaged cuts. In 2003, the U.S. Bureau of Immigration conducted raids and arrested 250 suspected illegal immigrants who were working on […]

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Artifacts Never Thrown Out

Americana

Tickets to the fights, the track, and hockey games.  Tom Waits opening for Buffy Sainte Marie.  A bar car coaster from a train ride to New Orleans on the old Southern Railroad.  Vegas meal tickets.  Artifacts  that don’t need to be hauled around any more, but I’m not quite prepared to entirely part ways with.

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Paris in November

Europe

Paris in November can be so gray that the sky simply goes away.  There is nothing to take its place, but because this is Paris, nothing needs to take its place. In the morning, when it is barely above freezing, the first dim light arrives with a delicate reluctance. These are sour-looking days of chilly […]

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The Secret Life of Wire Copy

Canada

I still adore wire copy.  It came jerking up out of those big metal machines which shivered and shook and kept clattering away with dispatches from distant bureaus. Those machines were a proud connection to the rest of the world long before the internet, long before CNN, and if you were fortunate enough to spend […]

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Halifax, Hollywood, and The Turtles

Tunes

You know those birthday wishes you get from Facebook friends? I received one yesterday from my old friend Mike Slayter, a mate of mine at the Halifax Grammar School in 1965-6. Sadly, I haven’t seen Mike since 1966.  I would love to see him and need to do something about this. So, in his belated […]

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Grover Cleveland Redux

Politics

I have a hunch that Grover Cleveland is about to make a comeback, and will find himself as America’s most talked about ex-President. In the 1888 Presidential election, Cleveland wound up with 95,713 more votes than Benjamin Harrison.  But losing the Electoral College vote moved him out of the White House. Andrew Jackson, Rutherford Hayes, […]

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Riva del Garda

Europe

Riva del Garda that fall was glistening  just enough. But like all the lake towns I have been in, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. Because little of my life has been spent on lakes, I tend to judge their towns unfairly, and dismiss them as dull substitutes for ocean towns. Kafka […]

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