The Cousins Lunch

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Cousins Brian and Rita at lunch in New York

“Let me get this straight,” said my husband as he dropped me off at our local Metro station. “You’re going to New York to meet a guy you met on the internet?” We laughed. What he said was literally true, but it wasn’t quite as foolish as it sounded. I did meet Brian on the internet but it was on ancestry.com, not Tinder or some such shady meeting place. Though I suppose statistically a long lost second cousin is just as likely to be a serial killer as any random stranger. But Ancestry declared us a DNA match and we have nuns in common on our family trees. Surely a sign of divine favor. So I waved goodbye to Continue reading “The Cousins Lunch”

Church and State, Skirt and Flag

For the benefit of new readers who did not follow me in my Dabbler days, this is the first in a series of favorite posts from the Dabbler Archives.  This piece first appeared in The Dabbler on August 31st 2011.

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I could not have chosen a more eventful time for my first visit to America than the summer of 1969. Americans were still reeling from the assassination of Robert Kennedy and the disastrous Democratic Convention the year before. Richard Nixon was President and the word “quagmire” was being used about the Vietnam War. There was an edge of danger in the air. I felt as though I had departed a world of smudgy grays and entered a vivid Technicolor movie. Los Angeles was all bright, searing light and straight lines dissolving into a yellowish smog. Everywhere enormous, garish plastic creatures loomed, the icons of consumer culture, making the city seem one vast Disneyland. Baking heat Continue reading “Church and State, Skirt and Flag”

Follow the Money

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“Follow the money,” the famous words whispered by Deep Throat in an underground garage during the Watergate scandal, can be usefully applied to any number of ills afflicting American society. To take just the two main scourges of the present day, gun violence and opioid addiction, you can be sure there are people somewhere raking in huge profits on the backs of the victims. Continue reading “Follow the Money”

Fall on your Knees

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When you google the words “Christian iconography kneeling” the first image that comes up is Fra Angelico’s Annunciation painted on a wall of the Friary of San Marcos in Florence. The Angel Gabriel appears before Mary in a loggia. He kneels, bent forward on one knee as a sign of respect and reverence towards the woman chosen by God to bear his Son. I googled these terms out of confusion that the current national debate concerns the act of kneeling viewed as a sign of disrespect. For most of recorded history the exact opposite has been the case. Continue reading “Fall on your Knees”

We’ll Always Have Pittsburgh

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Americans used to love Paris. There’s even a song about it, something about springtime and fall and drizzles and sizzles. George Gershwin wrote a whole musical on the theme. He thought Paris ‘S wonderful! American literary types used to hang out in Paris and get inspired to write Great American Novels. Paris was on every American’s bucket list. It was the epitome of Romance. But no more. President Trump broke up with Paris bigly. Continue reading “We’ll Always Have Pittsburgh”

The Impeachment of Hillary Clinton

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Perhaps the most shocking thing, out of all the shocks that have battered us since the inauguration of President Trump, is the complete lack of responsible reaction from Congressional Republicans. Beyond a few bleats of “troubling” and “concerning” there is only evasion, excuses, or silence from those charged by the Constitution with checking and balancing the Executive Branch. Many commentators have drawn comparisons to Watergate when Republican leaders acted as patriotic statesmen, putting country before party. Today’s Republicans make us wonder, how would they have reacted if Hillary Clinton had been elected and behaved in precisely the same way as President Trump?

To find the answer I enter the British Police Box in my basement armed with a “subtle Continue reading “The Impeachment of Hillary Clinton”

Gambling on Trump

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The boardwalk was deserted on this bright spring day, a solitary security guard with nothing to do staring out to sea. Behind her an enormous empty building loomed. We were in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where my husband was attending a Credit Union Association conference. Quite why credit unions, known for encouraging saving and financial responsibility, should choose to meet in a casino resort is a bit of a puzzle. But when I learned where we would be going I had one goal in mind, not playing the odds, but making a pilgrimage of sorts to the Continue reading “Gambling on Trump”

The Sexy Seniors of Anacortes

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Anacortes, Washington

Anacortes is a lovely little town on the shores of Puget Sound in Washington State. It looks like the kind of place where, depending on your viewpoint, either nothing ever happens or dark secrets lurk beneath the placid façade. My sister has lived in Anacortes for many years, recently retiring from the Public Library, a perfect perch to hear the old-fashioned kind of tweets of town gossip. She seems to know everyone in town and they know her, at Continue reading “The Sexy Seniors of Anacortes”

Braggart in Chief

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It has come to this. Among the cacophony of opinion pouring forth from editorials, blogs, columns, and endless TV chatter this Presidential Election season, the one that really seems to get to the heart of the matter comes from a primatologist. Yes, Jane Goodall, famed for her studies of chimp behavior, is now the foremost political analyst in the land.

In the October issue of Atlantic James Fallows writes that Goodall told him “Trump reminds me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals.” What, I wonder, made Fallows seek Continue reading “Braggart in Chief”