The end-of-the-semester-head-clearing hike

As the semester grinds down, I catch myself looking intently at any stand of trees I encounter. For 16 weeks, I’ve allowed my urge to hike, bike or kayak be suppressed by teaching duties. It’s bullshit, really. I could easily carve out time to spend in the woods during the semester. But I don’t, leaning […]

Merry Christmas in 360

I shot this Christmas card with my Theta S VR/360 camera. And I’m testing a WordPress plugin that allows me to display them on this site.  So use your mouse to scroll around and you can see the decorations in our back room, the infamous pink tree, Lara, Sydney and me. We’ve been holding our […]

These books I have shorn against my ruin: from hobbits to Pynchon to the Tao

In a recent Wall Street Journal Saturday essay, Will Schwalbe made the case for reading. “At the trial in which he would be sentenced to death, Socrates (as quoted by Plato) said that the unexamined life isn’t worth living,” Schwalbe wrote. “Reading is the best way I know to learn how to examine your life. […]

Rory Gallagher, a broken down Starship and Owsley’s acid tongue

During my teen years in the late ‘70s, the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh was my musical mecca. From my first rock concert — Rush, Cheap Trick and Max Webster on March 14, 1977 — to myriad other shows, ranging from Thin Lizzy to Rush (again and again) to AC/DC to the Grateful Dead, I emerged […]

Ozzy, 2002-2016

He was a good dog. No, really. A great dog. The last time I sat with tears soaking my keyboard like this, I was writing about the demise of Gilligan, the black-and-tan coonhound from hell. But Ozzy was different. When he was bounding toward the woods, high on whatever scent had seized his canine brain, […]

Somewhere over Gravity’s Rainbow …

I’ve tripped on Gravity’s Rainbow already. Several times. I don’t think I made it more than 100 pages in during my previous attempts. This time has been different. to some degree, I’m taking guidance from the Right Rev. Dave Shaffer (Drinking Straw apostate that he may be) and letting Pynchon’s masterpiece flow over me like the […]