Refuse to be angry

national puppy day

All these people working hard to make us angry and outraged and offended – it all just makes me, well, angry.

But when I feel that “mad” boiling up in my gut, I realize I’ve fallen into the trap. Continue reading


The roar down below


The wind roars up from the bottom of the hill behind our house

– or is that the bay shouting out its lungs?

water crashing into white caps of fury, or

a beast roaring at the heart of the world,

bouncing off itself joyfully to scream “Life! Live! Love!”

Be angry or be alive.

Laugh or cry.

The choices present themselves every day.

Choose life.

Choose joy.

It’s lighter on the soul.

A dose of reality jumps off the page

dejah and newspaper

Every so often a character in a book will make an observation that you have to believe is coming from the author. And so it was as I was reading The Burning Room by Michael Connelly, in a scene where detective Harry Bosch is researching a horrific fire at a child care center that he is now discovering was a homicide.

Harry is reading an extensive report in the Los Angeles Times that covered several pages the day after the 1993 homicide. On one page is a box listing all of the journalists who worked on the story.

Bosch counted 22 names, and it made him miss the old Los Angeles Times. In 1993 it was big and strong, its editions fat with ads and stories produced by a staff of some of the best and brightest journalists in their field. Now the paper looked like someone who had been through chemo – thin, unsteady, and knowing the inevitable could only be held off for so long.

While Connelly was writing about Harry Bosch’s hometown paper, the description fits almost every publication in the U.S. news business – and, frankly, not only those outlets that still employ a conventional press. Ever since some bean counter somewhere decided that newsrooms must turn a profit, it’s been heading downhill.

My first boss said the news department was a public service, not a profit center, and he expected the other parts of the radio station to raise the money to support the newsroom’s expenses. You don’t hear that in the boardrooms that control most journalism enterprises these days.

Why you must do it now

Why you must do it now

Reading an essay about the legendary rebel Malcolm Reynolds, a thought occurs to me about war and rebellion and human nature.

“I must write about that,” I says to myself, I says, “after I finish reading.”

But when I finish reading, the insight eludes me like the plot of a memorable dream. I scan through the essay again, hoping the words will re-ignite my imagination, but the thought is gone.

Next time, I guess, I’ll leave pen and paper nearby.

But I always have pen and a pad in my shirt pocket.

Next time, I guess, I’ll stop and pull out the pen and paper.

Stop what you’re doing and memorialize that random thought, else it returns to wherever it came from.

Colored lights can hypnotize

colored lights can hypnotize

He looked around and saw that everyone was mesmerized by the glowing lights in the palms of their hands.

“It’s time to avert my eyes from the glowing box for a while,” he said to no one in particular. “But how do I do that, when I work in this glowing media all day, making things for people to see while they’re staring?”

It came to him.

“Wake up!” he shouted into the camera for all his digital friends to see. “You’re being hypnotized! Mesmerized! Tell the box to sparkle someone else’s eyes! Don’t you see? Avert your eyes before it’s too late!”

Thousands of people clicked their agreement, and hundreds shared his message with their friends, and kept staring.

From book to screen and back again

vintage TV

I have been keeping track of the books I’ve read for more than 20 years. It’s interesting to review what has tripped my trigger over the years. This year, with a 45-50 minute commute three days a week, the audiobook has taken greater prominence in my “reading.”

This is the first year that I’ve averaged more than one book a week. I’ve already absorbed 61 books this year, which is more than I read the previous two years combined.

And book series that have made the transition to the small screen have had a lot to do with that burst. Almost one-third of the books have been by Michael Connelly, creator of detective Harry Bosch and his half-brother, the Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Schaller. I was drawn to the books by the brilliant Amazon TV series “Bosch” with Titus Welliver.

Recently I’ve been entertained by the Longmire books by Craig Johnson, as read by the wonderful George Guidall. I thought Robert Taylor did a marvelous job of bringing Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire to life, but Guidall is a great reader, and I may see Taylor’s face when I envision the sheriff, but it’s Guidall’s voice I will hear from now on.

“Longmire” recently completed its six-year run on Netflix, and its series finale was one of the most satisfying I can recall. In a different way, the series finale of “Inspector George Gently,” available in the U.S. (so far) only on Acorn TV, is an absolute gem and honest to the great story it has told for eight seasons.

Once upon a time when you missed a TV show, you missed it. In today’s world of on-demand viewing and streaming and all that, we can make TV series recommendations with the same casual air that we recommend books or good music. And so I recommend “Bosch” and “Longmire” and “Inspector George Gently” to anyone who enjoys mystery stories and police procedurals, a little wistfully because two of those shows have run their course now. But there’s still season 4 of “Bosch” to look forward to …

A day that will live in perspective

dejah and shoeJack was a crusty old guy, mostly sweet and with a wicked sense of humor. He had retired but still did an afternoon sports show at the small-town radio station where I worked.

I only remember one time when he was seriously angry. It was the day John Lennon had been shot, and everyone was in a state of shock. Jack wasn’t so impressed.

One of the younger disk jockeys tried to put it in perspective for him by saying that to our generation, the killing of John Lennon might have the same jarring impact that the bombing of Pearl Harbor had had the previous day, Dec. 7, 39 years earlier.

This did not sit well with Jack, who erupted with fury. We had no idea what that day was about, he said, if we really were going to compare that day with the shooting of some young punk on a New York street. Oh my, Jack was mad. And he was right. And, in a lesser way, so was our ill-advised colleague. It was a big deal. Just not that big.

It’s hard to believe that it’s now 37 years since that day – nearly as long as Pearl Harbor had been for Jack when the conversation took place. Now I know what it feels like to remember something that happened almost four decades ago when I was a young adult. If I dig into the memory deep enough, I can still feel the shock, tempered by the passage of time, with the biggest shock perhaps being how much life has happened in the meantime.