The Old Man. The Sea.

Last spring we visited Key West. Of course we toured the Hemingway home. That was Vikram’s 9th birthday week. Being a natural reader, he couldn’t leave the premises without a book. What to buy? The novels and stories that introduced me to Hemingway --- A Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises, the Nick Adams … Continue reading The Old Man. The Sea.

Angels Walk Here

This blog opened four years ago with the following: I wish more people were reading books. Here's what I'm reading: Heaven Is Coming Home, by David Suarez Gomez. That's all I wrote. And I didn't post again for months. I had a voracious appetite for reading and I was writing books, but they were years from … Continue reading Angels Walk Here

Wines from Hungary

I had a good time interviewing photographer and author Brian Neely some months back. His book, A Wine Filled Year, explores in photos and text the vineyards and wines and wine-making process from across the Hungarian countryside. The American Foreign Service Association was kind enough to post the exchange. I confess my opening is stilted (this … Continue reading Wines from Hungary

The F-Bomb Drill

A few years back my son told me about his day in kindergarten: ‘We practiced the truder drill. It’s like the fire drill, only instead of going outside we go to the back of the room. The teacher locks the door and pulls the shade. We all keep quiet.’ His anecdote about a potential armed … Continue reading The F-Bomb Drill

Happy Book Launch Day Vikram East!

Congrats to Vikram East today as he launches his debut novel, Fun in Ancient Greece. The book manages to do for homework what homework never did for books: make learning fun! The assignment? Convince the elementary school principal to take the third grade class to one of four civilizations: Rome, Greece, Egypt, or China. Fascinated by gods and warriors, Vikram … Continue reading Happy Book Launch Day Vikram East!

Swimming with Sharks

My first shark dive, over a decade ago, our group encountered half a dozen reef sharks in the Red Sea. The big monsters circled the coral an hour offshore. The sight stole my breath, my aqualung pumping furiously---not the best reaction at minus 30 ft. The white tip is a predator, though not likely to charge across open water for … Continue reading Swimming with Sharks

Poisonwood

A nightmare tree grows in the hammock jungle along Route One of Fat Deer Key. Poisonwood. Its touch will boil the skin; its toxin, when burned, will sear the lungs; its berries, if ingested, will sour the gut. At mile 56 the Poisonwood grows alongside its antidote, the Gumbo Limbo. Folk medicine has it the remedy should be … Continue reading Poisonwood

33 Inches for Kerouac

At CVS today I bought one item. One. Doesn't matter what. When the purchase was finalized, the cashier handed me the receipt. Guess how long that sucker was. Some of this is necessary, perhaps. Now I know I was served by a person named Reina. Hi Reina. Phone number, store address, price paid plus taxes (the … Continue reading 33 Inches for Kerouac

House of Cards, Sleight of Hand

Think the opening credits for House of Cards is just some anodyne tour around the nation’s capital? Not so. One minute into the 90 second clip the camera pans desolate tracks. It’s night. All is still, the music foreboding. A locomotive blows through timed to a sudden guitar chord---sound and vision merged for a dramatic … Continue reading House of Cards, Sleight of Hand

The Foreign Service v Zach Galifianakis

The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) included this discussion of  Two Pumps for the Body Man in their new Digital Exclusives series. Unlike the great Between Two Ferns, the AFSA studio had only one bamboo to offer. Lean budget times, I guess. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9x6SVKdYqg AFSA writes: Foreign Service Officer Ben East brings to the table a satirical … Continue reading The Foreign Service v Zach Galifianakis