Amtrak California

I have, let us say, been dealing with anxiety. The latter being one of those nebulous, borderline useless terms for something vague, pervasive and, I suspect, generally human. Whatever. I still maintain that a conscious effort to sort out legitimate from illegitimate fear is worth the effort. In any case, I do see a general shift in perspective. Let's see if it lasts. In fact, let's see if it is even real. First, let's say that I care about some things more than others, and that at age 72 caring Read more [...]

To the Bench

When I tell people that my hometown is Banning, California, they nod and recall their drive through the place on the way to Las Vegas. This is a sure sign they don't know what I'm talking about. Or maybe they do. Banning is a place one only recalls having driven through. But, no, it's not Las Vegas, which generally involves a drive through that other "B" desert town of Barstow. It's Palm Springs. The last burg before the resort town is Banning. Jane and I just returned from two days in Palm Springs, Read more [...]


It's barely 2019, and I have thrown up my hands. Really. Literally. I just tossed two more of them, tiny plastic hands, in the general direction of Christmas presents. Yes, it is 6 January, and Christmas is allegedly passed. Not really. Jane tells me that this very day is Christmas for the Greek Orthodox Church. And, although I have slightly lost count, the 12 days of Christmas may still be rolling off the conventional calendar. In any case, Jane's daughter Eleanor, son-in-law Martin and grandson Read more [...]

Snow Creek

It is cold in these parts, and in the Gubbio Project a fair number of San Francisco's homeless have spent some time on this colder-than-average day. The contrast is gobsmacking. I arrive in my tweed sports jacket, fresh from my neighborhood of high-tech corporate workers…to sit at a folding table dispensing toothpaste, socks and similar essentials. I record the name of each beneficiary in a computer. And the latter task is not as easy as it sounds. Many of the shelterees answer with a mumble or Read more [...]


I awoke in the night fearing my fear. Here, I obliquely quote FDR's famous caution that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Actually, FDR went on to say much more interesting things in that famous 1933 speech. In particular, "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." For me, this is as useful an FDR quote as the other. Because, yes, I am always struggling with "unreasoning, unjustified terror." And I might as well just Read more [...]


The level of mishigas rises considerably during that zone called 'the holidays' so I must cut myself some slack. But driving has been plaguing me of late. I'm tired of it. Just thought I'd share that, as we say in California. It's hard to say what the supposedly problem is. Well, no, actually it is easy. What makes it hard is the underlying narrative, to couch things in contemporary psychobabble. I'm not confident about hitting the right pedal at the right time. That is the thing. The other thing Read more [...]