August 7, 2020

Dedicated Men of Zion

Can’t Turn Me Around

When gospel music comes rolling out of the ozone and takes over, it always feels like a bigger presence has arrived to visit. There is a bouncing glory in the music, and a committed zeal in the songs. Like there is a higher calling in the house, and it is ready to share that spirit with all within earshot. Sometimes, when the juices heat up and the world starts to glow, it can even feel...

August 5, 2020

Editor's Note: Due to a software glitch, this piece will appear both here, as a stand alone article and also as a part of the Coronavirus Chronicles series.

Oh Happy Day!

The Mennonite gardeners have returned to caring for the acreage at the Presbyterian Church across the street. Or have they always been there? And if so where have I been? Am I simply watching a high-budget reality show featuring a peaceful religious cult? Or a...

August 3, 2020

I think the last movie I saw in a theater was ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. Loved it. Since then, thousands of people have asked me “What movies are you watching on TV during the pandemic?” Okay, not thousands really, more like 100’s? Dozens? Make no mistake about it, at least one person in Silver City, New Mexico asked me that question. And how many others were just too shy to ask? Anyway, I decided to mention some movies fr...

John Lewis gave us more than his body. He gave his soul. As a late teen, around 1960, from the small town of Troy, Alabama, Lewis decided he would not bend to the racist south. He was jailed more than 20 times. Beaten bloody many times, including two fractured heads courtesy of local racist police departments. He was left unconscious on the floor of the Montgomery, Alabama bus station. No ambulance was called. His sin? As a Fr...

August 3, 2020

An Ongoing Series

 A compendium of thoughts, reflections, asides or just whatever

 from a variety of writers, artists & everyday folks, during the Pandemic

Oh Happy Day! 

The Mennonite gardeners have returned to caring for the acreage at the Presbyterian Church across the street. Or have they always been there? And if so where have I been? Am I simply watching a high-budget reality show featuring a peaceful religious cult? Or am I...

August 2, 2020

The spring equinox has passed, but the hesitant roots of the ferns have yet to send forth fresh shoots. The old fronds still stand, stiff, not soft, brown, not green. They are, in their wintry way, beautiful, even lyrical. I, too, am in my winter years. What is left of my hair is snowy white, and there are other signs, too many! Half the men my age will be dead in 13 years. How is it then that I feel that my life has just begu...

Every now and then I run across a book that reverberates from start to finish with the unflinchingly brutal honesty that can only come from one who has walked barefoot across the burning coals, and has the scars to prove it. J.R. Helton's Below the Line is that kind of book. Helton writes in a relaxed, unpretentious style that draws you into his life working as a “scenic” (set painter) on a succession of feature films and tele...

July 19, 2020

Last night Jazmin showed me a feed from NPR about federal officers in unmarked vans cruising Portland, Oregon, and (her word) “disappearing” people. This morning the New York Times excerpted Charlie Warzel’s interview with Portland-based journalist and podcaster Robert Evans, which included these statements:

Warzel:

 According to recent reports in Oregon Public Broadcasting and other outlets, federal agents dressed in fatigues h...

July 18, 2020

We were exhausted as darkness fell on Hollywood Boulevard, our third location of a long day that

started out on a helipad atop a building in downtown LA, then moved to a nightclub in Hollywood, and was now finishing up out here on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams. With two grips, a gaffer and a juicer (that would be me), we weren’t exactly flush with manpower. If not for our four Production Assistants, a cheerful, hard-working gr...

July 13, 2020

Bob Dylan

Rough and Rowdy Ways

“Today tomorrow and yesterday too / the flowers are dying like all things do…” Bob Dylan has done hoodooed the hoodoo man on his heart-splitting new album, which begins with the aforementioned words, and lets it be known he sees the end and doesn’t flinch. Of course, Dylan has always been like that: unafraid to confront the bottom line reality that not everything lasts, and life can be as fleeting...

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