On the 10th Anniversary of My Father's Death

10 years ago today my dad's body took its last breath, but his spirit lives on in the memories of him that I can call up in an instant.  Memories from my childhood when he played with and cared for us kids, and memories of him growing weaker in his living room chair. And all that lies between. Good memories, bad memories. Happy memories, sad memories. Old memories, recent memories. All of them there for the conjuring into my present, bringing his spirit to life.  So today is not a day for mourning, but a day for remembering my father. There's no need for condolences, thoughts or prayers from anyone; just rememberings.  One year, 5 years, 10 years; none is more meaningful than the other - we just seem to like round numbers, but oh, how they fly by! With each tick of the clock, turn of the calendar, and change of the seasons our bodies age, we move closer to the front of the queue, and then it's our turn to exit, unaccompanied, leaving our bodies to corrupt. Then as we drift

Did he say his name? George Floyd

Yesterday on the occasion of George Floyd's funeral I was interested to know what President Trump might have had to say to us about George Floyd. Did he say his name? To find out I decided to scroll through his Twitter posts from yesterday since that's where he publishes all his grand orations, uplifting discourses, epic insights, valedictories, and the like. The consequential stuff of his presidency that will eventually fill the groaning shelves of his presidential library. Surely there I would find a eulogy to Mr. Floyd that would bring me to tears.  But no, I couldn't find a single tweet from him all of yesterday that even mentioned George Floyd's name. And it wasn't that he was so busy with the affairs of state that he didn't have time. No, there were many tweets, but look as I may, he didn't say his name: GEORGE FLOYD.  But he did announce to the world that he'd hired a polling organization to investigate polls that showed him losing to Joe Biden. M

In memory of James Byrd Jr

In memory of James Byrd Jr, a black man killed by dragging I woke up this morning to messages from several friends in NZ alarmed over the current situation in the US (rioting and looting after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Shauvin) and checking to see if we were safe. So, yes, it's peaceful and quiet in our little piece of American suburbia and we are safe and sound. Thanks for your concern. And yes, there is lots to be done to heal America, and racism is a HUGE problem with potentially deadly consequences for black Americans. Unfortunately it's not new. Remember James Byrd? That horrific lynching by dragging a black man hitched by his feet to the back of a pickup truck happened in 1998, my second year in the US. It was something that shocked me to the core and came just a few months before Matthew Shepard was cruelly murdered. Unfortunately much of America's history is written in blood, but let's not view America just through a narrow l

Conflating the Good with the Bad

Good people, let's be careful not to conflate people protesting a just cause with those who are taking advantage of the situation and looting and rioting. It doesn't even matter which side of the political spectrum these bad actors are from, but claims of them being of the right or the left will also be used to divide us into warring tribes rather than a nation. Don't be played by the rioters and some political leaders who basically want to divide us in a race war. People are right to be angry over the killing of George Floyd. And the desire to protest it peacefully is just and righteous. I am with the protestors, but against the rioters and looters. Just remember that without protests women would not have the right to vote. Without protests, black Americans would not have many basic civil rights. Without protests, gay men would still be criminals and locked up in jail. Without protests, South Africa would still be ruled under apartheid. Without protests we would not be l

Death in the time of COVID-19

“Oh, Death, won’t you spare me over 'til another year?” — American Folk Song by Ralph Stanley It's a hard thing to accept the contrary fact that death is a part of life, that we are all born with a common destiny, an appointment with death. The only thing that is unique about it is the day, the time, and the how of our personal exit. In his book "Homo Deus", Yuval Harari writes of a super-human elite in the near future whose main concern will be with achieving immortality, made possible by advances in medical and bioscience. At that point the exit door will be locked from the inside, except for when death breaks it down from the outside and the immortal elite meets a proverbial bus hurtling towards them. Life will become an obsession with avoiding the bus, the accidental death at 500 years-old from a slip on the pavement. Now and again I guess we can all do with a reminder that old man death is our constant companion. For many of us that reminder might be a personal e