Welcome Home You Blue-Haired Freak

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Twenty-five years ago — I came home from Sweden with blue hair, much to my parents’ shock and my sister’s delight. At least I think she was delighted. Kind of hard to tell in this photo. Certainly I was glad to be back home. It was a great experience, my year abroad, but it was […]

Family Portrait

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Inspired by my old compatriot Joe Nickell, who is now an arts writer out in Montana, I commissioned local artist Jane Brewster to paint a family portrait. It’s based on a snapshot (above) taken by a random passing neighbor. The painting (below) captures the magic of the original moment and inscribes it to a deeper […]


Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Property tax bills are coming out in New Orleans right now. But this is not about that. I finally beat my father-in-law at Scrabble. The key play for me: MILLAGES, a triple triple bingo for 158 points. This is a word I only learned upon living in New Orleans; it’s another word for property tax. […]


Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

In addition to Xy’s birthday, we’re also celebrating Persephone’s 25,000th hour of life today; but how to explain this number to a toddler?

Thirty-Four Months

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Dear Persephone, You’re thirty-four months old today, but there’s a lot of other things going on as well. For one, there was a full lunar eclipse last night. I explained how the moon would fall into the shadow of the earth, and you’d seemed to understand. I even got you out of bed for it […]

Two Dozen

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Here’s two sets of a dozen pictures each. For maximum enjoyment, view each slideshow in fullscreen mode. (A button will appear in the lower right corner after you click play.) The first batch is over 40 years old, the second batch was collected (from our refrigerator) over the last three months, but both were scanned […]


Monday, November 29th, 2010

I was searching high and low for turkey drumsticks. They’re normally available in most local stores, but suddenly, the weekend before the holiday, we couldn’t find them anywhere. We visited seven groceries. Plenty of whole turkeys, turkey breasts, turkey thighs, ground turkey — but no drumsticks. Finally we found them at Rouse’s on the second […]

My Sister

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

I had my phone turned off from Saturday night when I went to bed until after noon Sunday. When I fired it back up, I got a volley of three text messages from my sister via Twitter. U still up? Txt me from ur personal. For some reason she doesn’t have my phone number. She […]

Easter Surprise

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Guess what I was doing 33 years ago today? Well, actually I don’t know. But I know what my mother was doing. She was posting a letter. I know this because the letter was recently unearthed by some relatives, and Mom just sent it to me. It’s an Easter card to my Grandpa Sid. And […]

Honoring My Mother

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Today’s the birthday of a very special woman in my life. I call her Mom. Over the years I’ve come to realize that I owe Mom for whatever sense I may have for the importance of ethics, morality and social justice. I don’t know if it was learned or simply inherited, but I’m pretty sure […]


Sunday, March 7th, 2010

I just wanted to take a quick minute to salute my parents. They just finished another week of volunteer work, helping to rebuild New Orleans. As per usual they stayed at Camp Restore and kept busy, but I did manage to visit with them a couple times. This time they brought some friends with them […]

Dancing with Beautiful Strangers

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Our first plan was to reprise last year’s costumes which we didn’t really get to employ last year. But then it became clear that this Mardi Gras would be unseasonably cool, and perhaps downright cold. Costuming as Olympian deities seemed like it would be uncomfortable, and so I scrambled at the last possible minute to […]

A Tale of Two T-Shirts

Monday, January 4th, 2010

I spent the last week recovering from my family reunion. We have one every five years, and this was the tenth such event. The family is spread around the country pretty well (except for the northeast) so we have been rotating the location ever since my grandmother sold the farm. This time we were in […]


Monday, October 12th, 2009

Here is a mix we listen to in our house when someone passes on. We listened to this last night after getting news that Xy’s grandmother Pauline had finally slipped away after a protracted struggle. My notes indicate Pauline appeared only in a single episode of our TV show, namely “A Day in the Life,” […]

Song My Parents Taught Me

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Apropos of nothing at all, here’s a mix of songs my parents taught me. Mostly these are songs I remember hearing my father sing while he did dishes or what have you. I think of my parents as pre-rock’n’roll but that’s not exactly true. You’ll hear some early rock hits here as well as the […]

Three on the Fourth

Monday, July 6th, 2009

We used to purchase thousands of flags for International Flag-Burning Day [anthem] and build huge bonfires. It was so thrilling to watch the colors of every nation go up in flames. But who can afford that in today’s economy? Besides which, we realized we were subsidizing the flag industry. That’s no way to end to […]

Twitter Bridges the Gap

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Twitter has become such a faddish phenomenon it’s almost embarrassing. Amidst all the hype of celebrity tweeters and whatnot, it’s easy to lose sight of the flexibility and just plain usefulness of this tool. This was driven home to me when I was recently visiting with my sister. She’s not very cyber-wired and wasn’t really […]

That Was Fun

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Parties are strange affairs. People gathering together for no other purpose than to celebrate life and enjoy each other’s company. What an ephemeral proposition! And also how wonderful. It’s almost enough to make one suspect that gross material possessions are not the most important things in life. Hmm. We had a great party here yesterday. […]

Persephone Meets Persephone

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Here’s Persephone (my daughter) with Persephone (the float): Also pictured: Persephone’s father and grandparents. In fact, this morning we got a tour of the Rex den from the very kind Dr. Stephen Hales, who also took the photograph. It’s my parents’ first Mardi Gras as well, so this is all new to them. I think […]

Spirits of Spring

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

It’s three weeks until Mardi Gras. I’d been meaning to post something here about masking on Mardi Gras, how it’s pretty much essential to the spirit of the day, how it differs from Halloween, and so forth, for the benefit of my parents who will be coming down for their first Carnival ever. But I’ve […]