Operation Sheltering Sky

Rajasthan is desert country, 70% of the state---India's largest---an arid mix of scrub and sand. We trekked by camel into the Thar Desert about 50 km outside Jaisalmer. Abdullah led our beasts on foot, their names Simon, Paulos, and---inexplicably---Johnny No. 1. Toward sunset we reached the Sam Dunes. The wind died down and we made … Continue reading Operation Sheltering Sky

“The Whites…”

An ugly and violent upward trend divides us along ethnic lines today. In order to stay sane in the face of this spreading and dangerous hate, one need only look to Walter Sobchak, the right-wing nut job Vietnam vet (and convert to Judaism!) from The Big Lebowski... https://youtu.be/dQbpx5Be5rI His utter disdain for his own dirty … Continue reading “The Whites…”

Maneater

This review just slays it. Jason Overdorf hunts with a sharp pen and takes down Dane Huckelbridge's narrative about what would seem a brutally interesting topic. And he doesn't stop there. He spills ink like blood all over the slain author's enablers: "He is not without accomplices in this crime against the English language, either. … Continue reading Maneater

Lords of the Flies

We boys are to be left alone while the lynchpin of our home operation conducts child labor research in island-nation Philippines for the next seven days. The irony's not lost on me. How long 'til we descend into savagery? Not to worry. Rather than cranking the inevitable conflagrant sounds we so admire, we'll tuck ourselves … Continue reading Lords of the Flies

Sez the Man with No Lips

I have too much to say about this experience, so I'll just pop it up here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvIQ6eEYegY&feature=youtu.be A few days ago I sat down to chat with Matt Whiteside and only recently looked at the results. He's a sharp guy with a great heart and an ambitious idea: help other writers. He's fun and funny … Continue reading Sez the Man with No Lips

Death Star

We call this project the Death Star. The Death Star is going up across from my flat. Just outside our bedroom window, as a matter of fact. Here's an eyewitness account of how they build the Death Star: After fielding an unusual duty call at midnight last night, I returned to bed at 01:00, badly … Continue reading Death Star

Mending Wall

Robert Frost's great poem, outwardly a critique on a pre-existing wall, arguably has little to do with the hypothetical wall being proffered today. But Frost's wall stands for so much more, and the critique applies more universally than merely to stone piled on stone. The critique can be said to include any barrier that divides … Continue reading Mending Wall

Lucky Encounters in Serendib

We greeted the New Year from a treehouse in old Ceylon. We rode the waves at Midigama and Weligama in Southern Serendib. We climbed to Buddha's retreat at Pidurangula and looked out over forests surrounding the ancient ruins of Sigiriya. In Kandy, we spied the room housing the casket that holds the dagobas  wherein rests … Continue reading Lucky Encounters in Serendib

Idling through the Shut Down

Revisiting publication credits to stimulate and inspire 2019 projects. I'd like to make it a year of broader platforms with more non-fiction. The days ahead, if the Grinches in DC keep Grinching, might provide both the means and the need to fulfill that prospect. Non-fiction The Card from Kabul---The Foreign Service Journal May 2018 Transition Brief … Continue reading Idling through the Shut Down

Peace

All that is left today is to recall those friends who lost their lives, and those who survive with wounds—scars both physical and emotional. In 2004  five zealots attacked our consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. These men left for paradise: Imad, who several times took me in hand, a guide through the complicated process of … Continue reading Peace