The sun is shining on this lovely March day in Nairobi–a rare occasion lately, as we have had seemingly nonstop rain for the past 10 or 12 days. But the rain has restored the color green to nature’s palette and the sun is being photosynthesized by a legion of happy plants cranking out rich, luscious oxygen by the bucketload. Continue reading “For the Birds”
Driving in Kenya is a very interesting experience. In theory, I won’t have to take the driving exam to get my Kenyan license, as I hold a valid US license and an international driving license from AAA. But if I did, here’s what I imagine would be on the exam. This is just a taste of what I deal with on my 15 minute commute in the morning. Continue reading “Just a peaceful Sunday drive”
As a white guy, my whole life I have heard comments about white “chicken legs” when shorts make their first appearance of the summer. Comments like “Jesus man, don’t those legs ever see the sun?”
Well no, they don’t, actually. All winter long I wear long trousers to stay warm. And in the summer, I’m careful not to intentionally expose my legs to the sun too much because they burn easily. So no, I don’t expose my skin to the sun just to darken my coloration. Because melanoma is no laughing matter. Continue reading “The Color of Normal”
The human species is incredibly adaptive. We have exploited essentially every ecological niche thanks to our large brains and tool-making abilities. In colonizing various habitats, humans have shown remarkable resiliency to a variety of climates, from hot and wet tropical forests to the cold arctic tundra and everything in between. Continue reading “A Nice Climate is Good to Have”
I admit that I can sometimes be a curmudgeon. On some matters I can be quite conservative. I think the designated hitter is an affront to the game of baseball, for example. But I am especially curmudgeonly about language. One of the things that grinds my gears the hardest is made-up words. Continue reading “Stop With The Made-up Words”
The images of Americans waving Nazi flags and giving sieg heil salutes in my state of Virginia sicken me. Our nation sacrificed the blood of hundreds of thousands of its sons and daughters fighting fascism, and we prevailed. Would our grandfathers be proud to see these racist shitbags parading around in their make-believe Nazi costumes today? Chanting Hitler’s slogans? Continue reading “Not so fast, fascists”
He is a little man, dressed all in black, shivering on a wet and cold street corner. It is 37 degrees and raining hard. Puddles of blackened half-melted snow mark the vestigial remains of winter. His sparse wiry facial hair and vaguely Asiatic features mark him as an American Indian. Native American. Indigenous. First Nations, as the Canadians about sixty miles to the north say. He stands beside a busy intersection, clutching a hand-written cardboard sign with letters scrawled in black Sharpie announcing his plight: “Homeless, God Bless.” Continue reading “A Five Dollar Blessing”
There’s beauty in this world, if we choose to see it. It surrounds us, sneaks up on us like a stalking mugger, jumps out at us from behind buildings, lurks around corners.
This morning, as I exited Union Station, the sky took my breath away. The Capitol dome loomed a few blocks away, framed by a sky that displayed all the colors of a Crayola box. Not the cheap little 8 crayon box that I had as a kid, either, but the one that the kids from wealthy families had, with 64 colors and a built-in sharpener in the back.
My hero and favorite author, Edward Abbey, sometimes referred to himself as a redneck philosopher. Abbey was born and raised in Appalachia, but lived most of his life in the Southwest. He was a Fulbright Scholar and attained a Master’s in Philosophy, examining the relationship between anarchy and morality. He did a post-graduate writing fellowship at Stanford and published over 30 books in his lifetime. Not bad for a hillbilly kid from rural Pennsyltucky.
Rednecks have a poor reputation in modern American society, and deservedly so. Stereotypically, rednecks are under-educated, insular, bigoted, xenophobic and narrow-minded. But that’s just the stereotype. Of course there are exceptions to every stereotype. It’s interesting to see what happens when the redneck rises above the stereotype. Continue reading “The redneck awakening”
His parents were wise, building their nest high under the eaves of the house, where the downspout from the gutter formed a sheltered platform inaccessible to all but the most determined of predators. I noticed them early in the spring, flitting about the back deck, gathering materials for their home construction. Continue reading “The Little Cardinal”