Archive for August, 2007

SPAM key circa 1971

Sweat rolls down my cheeks and my hair is laced with spider webs and dried flies. I am filthy from the attic. I have been rummaging long enough to be light-headed from the trapped heat, probably over a hundred and ten degrees. I have worked hard to retrieve a box. The packing tape on the […]

Thursday playlist: 62 seconds

Daft Punk, “Fresh” — 0:00 Law & Order, “boink” — 0:01 Dave B, “Monkeys” — 0:02 Ghostface Killah, “Major Operation (Skit)” — 0:06 Sufjan Stevens, “Belly Button” — 0:09 tape-beatles, “Elevator Music” — 0:10 The Beatles, “Intro” (from Beatles Unplugged) — 0:10 Maja Ratkje, “Interlude” — 0:11 Excerpt from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest […]

When colonies collapse

I’m not a very sentimental person, though I have my moments. And I’m certainly no nature lover, but lately I can’t help but fret and wonder — where have all the bees gone? I’ve been dismayed over the last six months by the dramatically named “Colony Collapse Disorder,” the inexplicable mass vanishing of millions of […]

In da (mother)’hood

This might be my favorite cover of a song, ever. Top 5 at least. Love how a white girl transforms an angry rap song into a lullaby. The words, “When I’m called off, I got a sawed off, squeeze the trigger, and bodies are hauled off,” never sounded so sweet, so soothing. I listen to […]

Crab camp

The Question: How has a mild-mannered boy like me, never prone to guns or fishing or traditional masculine sport in general, wound up each summer on the hunt for crabs near the San Juan Islands on the Washington coast? That’s what I love to do come mid-August, and have done half a dozen times since […]

Lone tree

Our guide was pointing out the prehistoric waterline of Bonneville Lake when I noticed it: a single tree of surprisingly deep green on a hillside covered in dry, endless grass. It was like a storybook illustration or a prop in a diorama, a tree almost too perfect—gnarled and asymmetrical in just the right places—as if […]

Ten ironies and truisms of the ER

1. Really sick people usually don’t have many complaints. They are too sick to. Whether because of illness or trauma, people with life-and-death kinds of problems usually don’t complain much. They are either unconscious or all their energy is focused on staying alive. 2. The converse is also true: people who aren’t very sick but […]

Who got served? Four soldiers’ stories

1. My dear friend’s brother is 43; he’s in a happily rewarding second marriage and his kids are 5, 3, and newborn. Despite this brand-new sprouting family, though, he strongly feels his primary duty is to serve in the war, so he’s decided to enlist. His particular assignment, which is slated to last a year […]


Just another cheerful reminder about the kind of country we’re living in: Over the weekend, Congress passed an amendment to FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), the law that the administration apparently violated with one or more secret programs that wiretapped communications involving U.S. persons without a warrant. This secret program was the occasion of […]

Summer Sunday at the confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers

Photo credit: Gary Lee Smith And a hat tip to Slalom.