Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

New web site, blog moved…

April 16, 2011

Hi friends,

Just a heads-up to let you know that this blog is now residing at There are some more current entries there. This blog will be taken down at some point, but I want to give folks a chance to figure out where it went. Thanks for keeping in touch!


A fascinating article

March 9, 2009

Joseph Hongo, my fellow Fellow from Kenya, handed this article to me a couple of days ago. It’s an interesting read, and outlines some of the great ideological and practical challenges faced by those who would work for peace.

So what do you think?


April 28, 2008

Two really funny vehicular scenes from my last twenty-four hours: 


Yesterday a Harley-Davidson pulled by my house and I glanced over at the biker riding a machine with all the auditory subtlety of a jack hammer on a freight train, only to do a double-take: he was talking on a cell phone. 

Can you hear me now?


I was turning left onto a busy road behind two oncoming cars – one of those split-second decisions that I got wrong:  Both of the cars in front of me stopped with an extra car length between them, so I found myself unable to pull forward, but out in the road already, with my car hanging out and blocking the lane beside me until the cars in front of me pulled forward.  Sure enough, a car came up in the blocked lane beside me and laid on the horn.  I was clearly in the wrong, and chagrined, but happily the blast from his horn made the cars in front of me pull up, I pulled forward and he was able to pass.  It was only then that I saw the car that had laid on the horn: Asheville City Police.  

Apparently he was on his way somewhere.  

from my *very* late thirties…

April 25, 2008

…I’ve got about twenty-four minutes to go, actually.  According to my birth certificate I was born at 11:06AM, forty years ago today.  Or almost forty years ago.  About twenty-three minutes short.

Had a lovely birthday party with my family last night.  I was born on my sister Margaret’s sixth birthday, and to this day Mom still insists on making two cakes so we won’t feel slighted by having to share.  

Life’s good. If I felt like these days weren’t rich and full, I might mourn the time passing, but it’s hard to imagine them being much richer. Thanks for being a part of that.

Just twenty minutes left in my thirties.  I think I’ll spend them eating breakfast on the back deck.


Lil Abner

April 12, 2008

I’m home for a couple of days and enjoying it while it lasts.  Last night Deanna and I went to see my nephew, Nate, in a high school production of Lil Abner.  Nate played the part of a pumped up hunk that had been transformed from a scrawny kid by a potent herbal potion.  The incredible part of that for me was that someone in MY family was in that play and playing the part of the BUFF guy, not the scrawny one!

Since I just got a new camera, I took a ton of pictures.  Nate came to the decision this morning that he’ll be heading to Chapel Hill next year, where I think he’ll take the campus by storm.  


Cherry Blossoms

March 30, 2008


Washington, DC

Current Earworm (song stuck in my head): Ellis Paul, “Washington, DC, 5/91”

Given all the traveling I do, you’d think I’d be a more skilled tourist.  Like, for instance, if I were going to go to a major city for a few days with my wife for a little vacation, I might realize that a major festival was happening there on the same weekend. 

Since I missed the first part of Deanna’s spring break on tour in Australia, we thought we’d make the most of the last half and head up to DC to poke around for the weekend, hit a few museums and relax. What we didn’t know was that a million other people were also heading to DC for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. DC is designed to hold lots of extra people, so the crowds have been more fun than troublesome. And the cherry blossoms are beautiful. The best they’ve been in years, apparently.

We went to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and the American Indian Museum, caught a Merce Cunningham dance performance and enjoyed some good culinary art as well. Merce taught at Black Mountain College in the fifties along with Buckminster Fuller, John Cage, Jasper Johns and a bunch of other luminaries of their time, and I’ve always been interested in the people associated with Black Mountain College. The performance was fascinating, and though modern dance isn’t an art form that I usually connect with deeply, we both enjoyed the show. The third piece involved passing out iPods that were loaded with ten tracks that played randomly, so everyone there had a different soundtrack to the piece. What we didn’t expect was that Merce would actually be there.  He came out on stage in a wheelchair for the final bows.

We stood in line for a long time to view the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. It was worth the wait, and actually encouraging to me that so many people were passionate enough about seeing those documents that they were willing to stand in line.

I think we both agree, though, that the best part of the weekend was the kite festival on the National Mall. There wasn’t much wind, so the kite flying efforts were valiant but sometimes comically ineffectual. Our favorite vignette, we both agreed, was watching a father trying to show his eight-year-old son how to fly a kite, most certainly for the first time. The dad held the line and the boy held the kite and after a few shouted bits of instruction, the boy launched the kite into the air while the dad tugged on the line. 

The kite went up for… maybe fifteen seconds, then nose-dived (nose-dove?) into the ground. The boys’ eyes were lit up and his head swung eagerly back to his Dad as he shouted “Did it work?!”

Deanna and I cracked up (from too far away to be noticed) but it wasn’t really a dumb question in retrospect. If the goal was to have fun, I’d say it worked. 

The goal for Deanna and me was to have fun, too, and to spend some time catching up with each other in a brief window between tours.  It worked.



Somewhat Less Impressive Travel Karma

March 25, 2008

The trip home today involves four flights, the second of which is the thirteen hour jump from Sydney to LA. After my great luck with the three empty seats on the way over, I paid my dues in the dreaded ‘middle seat’ on the way back, with a huge man in the seat in front of me who managed to make his seat recline about twice as far as is usually possible.

Still, I had good neighbors on either side. And I couldn’t help but think of the Iraqi taxi driver I met in Brisbane a few days ago. He immigrated to Australia on a boat with 230 people on it and not enough food and water. It took six weeks. 

All things considered, not a bad flight.

The cool factor was also increased by the fact that I hung out with Guy Davis in the boarding area. He showed me his banjo and played a few tunes, and I showed him my trick with the credit card in the strings.  Watch for it on his next record. 😉  Mike Compton, the mandolin player from the Nashville Bluegrass Band, was hanging out too, then the singer and fiddle player from the Duhks walked up. Note to self: cool musicians hang out at the Sydney airport.