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MYSTERY at 107 degrees 57 minutes 30 seconds MERIDIAN

Yard Man

Two of a Kind - Part One

Sheet Wrestiling

The Light Side of a Heavy Concern


Barely Bear

The Onion at the Center of the Universe

You and They and Lousie

The Tale of the Papagano

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Third Wish

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Please Note: This journal contains a wide variety of stuff -- complete stories, bits and pieces, commentary, and who-knows-what else. As is always the case these days, the material is protected by copyright. On the other hand, I publish it here to be shared. Feel free to pass it on. Just give me credit. Fair enough?
October 29, 2014

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
The last week in October, 2014
cool, windy weather – overnight freezing with morning frost.
Cattle are still wandering down the valley from summer pasture.

Please forgive the long lapse between postings - and thanks for the concern
expressed by those who have asked where I am and if I am OK.
I’m back safe and sound and in good spirits after a truly fine trip into New Mexico – all is well – too well, in fact. I’ve not posted anything reflecting on the adventure because my mind has been flooded – the streams of thinking have overflowed their banks.

This regularly happens when I’ve become overwhelmed by too much information about something that commands my interest, and it’s tempting to tell you far more than you ever wanted to know.
It’s hard to find a balance between understatement and overstatement in response to large ideas and experiences.
I’ve been writing at length, actually, but editing has been a challenge.
My rational mind says cut, cut, cut – condense, summarize, focus!
But hitting the delete button on brilliant-but-useless paragraphs is painful.
Do-it-yourself editing is a trap that my enthusiasm excels at avoiding.

But the thrashing around in the deluge must come to an end.
So I’ve done three things: practiced flood control on word overflow, provided some images that say what words cannot, and included links to sources of information if you want to expand knowledge of the topic on your own.

Here’s the result, entitled:

MYSTERY AT 107 degrees 57 minutes 30 seconds MERIDIAN

Suppose that time travel was actually possible.
Where would you go back to - and why?

Ask that provocative question at your dinner table or around an evening campfire, and the conversation will likely go long into the night.
The idea of time travel is an old and ongoing fantasy fueled by human imagination and curiosity.
It’s a mental excursion I’ve indulged in for the past week after a visit to Pueblo Bonito at the World Heritage Site at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.
Here’s how Pueblo Bonito looks now. Here’s how we think it looked once upon a time.

Located far out in the emptiness of the San Juan basin of north central New Mexico, Pueblo Bonito is the center of a complex culture spread over thousands of square miles of high-and-dry canyon-scarred desert. Nearby are hundreds of significant remains of buildings that are unique in human architectural history.

Pueblo Bonito, the best preserved of the Chaco Great Houses, rose four stories tall, held more than 800 rooms, and covered more than three acres (3 football fields.)
It’s ambitious stone construction is structurally sound, aesthetically pleasing, and complex in purpose.
Its builders had no beasts of burden, no wheeled vehicles, no special tools or equipment or construction materials.
Just a lot of small stones and mud buttressed with wood.
The wood for building came from sources more than fifty miles away –
thousands of logs and poles were carried by manpower alone.

To this day Pueblo Bonito defies explanation.
There’s not even agreement on how many people lived in it or used it.
But when you stand in the middle of the main plaza and look around, you know that something amazingly beautiful and powerful once existed here – at the center of what we have come to call Chacoan Culture.
A culture so exceptional that we can only look at it with astonishment.
One’s first question is “Why here?” – out in the middle of empty nowhere.

Apparently, Chacoans had a sophisticated understanding of astronomy.
They designed and aligned their buildings with respect to the annual movements of the moon and sun. And they placed their major buildings along the same meridian, long distances apart, without any engineering survey equipment.
The title of this essay is that north/south meridian: “107 degrees 57minutes 30
seconds” – a ritual road was built along it – 30 feet wide and 40 miles long – in a true, straight line – and how that was accomplished remains one more mystery.

(As an aside, I learned that contemporary believers in New Age thought see an
elaborate statement of spiritual understanding expressed by the Chacoans.
It is thought that they built on points of intersections of lines of power, and that fundamental universal vibrations remain viable in Chaco Canyon.
So much so that the National Park Service finds itself plagued by those who wish to connect with astrological forces by placing personal mementos, fetishes, crystals, and the cremated remains of loved ones within the Great Kivas at Chaco.
More than once the ceremonial locations have been closed to the public while a collection of ashes have been cleared from a site. This explains the surprising signs posted by the NPS.

I’d like to travel back in time to Pueblo Bonito 900 years ago when the Chaco civilization was at the height of its expression.
Specifically, I’d like to be in the Great Kiva on the night of the full moon in October, when a spiritual celebration was in progress – to see the procession of the dancers and hear songs driven by the throbbing drums – and be utterly entranced by the first-hand experience of what we only know now as a great mystery.

Even after 150 years of scientific investigation and archeological exploration, Mystery remains at the heart of almost everything we’ve learned about Chaco.
Why? and How? and Who? and What For? frame every question we can think of.
Most of the answers are inferential or speculative.
Many of the conclusions are contradictory.
We don’t know – and can’t ever know – unless time travel becomes possible.

For days my mind has been absorbed by the notion of time travel to Chaco.
The practical implications churned around in my brain.
I said to myself: OK, you’re going – get real – now what to consider?

Would I be exactly who I am now when I got there back then?
If so, what affect would I have on the people and situation already there?
Who’s the weird old dude who suddenly appeared in the back row in the kiva?
Robert Fulghum from the 21st century would appear as an alien creature.
Perceived as a god, maybe – and even worshipped, perhaps.
Or I might be considered an evil spirit, ritually sacrificed and even eaten.

(But . . . .no . . . not killed or eaten, because I have to show up later in history.)

My mind ran wild - questions flooded in:
What would I be wearing to blend in? – I don’t know how they dressed.
Could I speak their language? – I don’t know what it was.
How would I behave? – I don’t know their cultural protocols.
How long would I stay? – and if I was around for a while, where would I sleep? What would I eat?
What should I pack for the trip?
Should I bring gifts?
What would I bring to them in the way of knowledge or experience?
Would they want or appreciate what I could offer from the 21st century?

Complications mount up.
Maybe I should plan on being invisible – but time travel is difficult enough without having to figure out being un-seeable as well.

More concerns arise:
What would I bring back – because it must be a round trip, right?
Would I return with the answers to all the questions we have about Chaco?
Would anybody believe me or be pleased by what I reported?
Would I be satisfied by what I learned?
Or would the size of the Mystery only be increased?

Sigh . . . maybe it’s just as well that time travel is not possible or feasible.

Last night I awoke around 4 a.m. and went out on the porch to stare at the stars and planets – a time travel trip of its own – since some of the light that reaches me is from extra-terrestrial sources that may not even be there now because the light takes so long to get from there to me.

I thought about Chaco and Pueblo Bonito.
And felt content that such mysteries exist – provoking my curiosity and my poetic fantasy – even my dreams.
I can only imagine – and I will settle for that.

If I want Mystery, my life in the 21st century sometimes seems mostly Mystery.
Like a fish in the ocean, the sea I live in is Mystery.

And when I looked in the mirror at myself while brushing my teeth this morning, I realized that what I saw was about as much Mystery as I can handle today.

But still . . . if time travel becomes available, I’d sign up and risk going to Chaco.
I must remember to pack my toothbrush . . .

* * *

If you want a wider, deeper view of Chacoan culture, go to “Images of Chaco” on the web(, and consult “Chaco Canyon” on Wikipedia. Or better yet, go see for yourself . . .

link to this story

October 15, 2014

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
The third week in October, 2014
cool, windy weather – overnight freezing with morning frost.
Cattle are still wandering down from summer pasture.

Note: This is the last posting for a week or so. I’m off on a road trip into New Mexico – Santa Fe, Jemez Hot Springs, and Chaco Canyon –
(see web Images for Chaco Culture National Historic Park –
I’m going when the fall colors are at their peak and the weather is cool.
In the meantime, here’s a story (true) that begins in Asia, moves to downtown Moab, Utah, and finally to my front yard . . .


Vorakit Kantakalung was the Director of the YMCA in northern Thailand for many years.
In addition to the usual YMCA activities, much of the government’s
outreach to the under-privileged and the migrant hill tribes passed through Vorakit’s offices in Chiang Mai – a big operation with many employees and complex responsibilities.

Vorakit was an influential figure in all aspects of social development.
And a truly lovely man – inspiring, thoughtful, perceptive – a man with a serious purpose, and a light heart.
I got to know him well during several trips to Thailand and stayed in his home with his family.
We became good friends.
Alas, he died suddenly of a massive heart attack several years ago.
But he remains alive and vigorous in my mind’s eye.
And one encounter with him permanently altered my thinking.

Vorakit had never been in the United States, so I invited him to visit.
He arrived the same day I returned home after being away for a month.

At the time of his visit I lived in a suburban house, with a huge backyard that went all the way to the edge of a deep, wild ravine, where a creek flowed through a forest of tall trees.
In those days I took great pride in my lawn – kept it watered, fertilized, and free of weeds. It was mowed and trimmed regularly to golf-course standards. Smooth, green, flawless.
The envy of my neighbors.

The day Vorakit and I arrived, we went out to sit on the back porch to have tea, and I was apologetic about the unkempt appearance of my prized lawn, which was ankle deep in un-mowed grass.
I suggested that Vorakit take it easy while I mowed the lawn.
I explained that it wouldn’t take long with my power mower, and the view from the porch would be much improved.

As I mowed, I emptied the mower basket onto a big tarp several times.
When I finished, I dragged the tarp over to the edge of the ravine and
dumped the lawn cuttings down into the ravine, as was my usual habit.

When I walked back toward the porch, Vorakit stood up, walked toward me, and said, “So you keep your animals down there in the ravine. What do you raise?”
“Well, actually . . . I don’t have any animals.”
His eyes were wide in astonishment.
“No animals? Not even chickens? You mean you water your crop, fertilize it, treat it for weeds and pests, and then when it grows tall, you cut it, and throw it away? You do all that work . . . for nothing?
You just want to look at the grass, that’s all?”
“Well, I never thought of it that way, but . . . that’s what I do.”

Vorakit sat down in his chair, sighed, and said, “You must be crazy.
I will never, ever understand America.”

That’s the last time I had a lawn.
Not long afterward, I sold that house and moved into a houseboat on Lake Union, where I lived for thirty years.
No grass.
Now I live part of the year in an apartment in downtown Seattle.
No grass.

And here in Utah, where I also live part of each year, everything in the environment around my house is on its own to take care of itself.
I do not water it, fertilize it, weed it, or cut it, or rake it.
No grass.

When I go into Moab, I pass by three houses whose owners have similar values or are as adverse to lawn care as I.
Just rocks and gravel.
No grass.

How I wish Vorakit could see my Utah house and these Moab yards.
He would smile and think better of me, I hope.
Americans may indeed be crazy, but not all of them mow lawns.

* * *

(see photos on Facebook - three Moab yards and mine.

link to this story

October 10, 2014

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
The second week in October, 2014
cool, clear weather – with new coat of snow on the high peaks
after a storm two days ago.
Cotton wood trees turning golden yellow all up and down the valle.

TWO OF A KIND – Part One

Here’s a test to engage your mind before reading today’s essay:
Consider this two sets of ten names.
Match the name in the left column with the correct one on the right.
For extra credit, explain what they have in common and where the pairs fit into literature or history.






Pauline Phillips..............Tweedledum



Remus.............................Esther Lederer


* * *

TWO OF A KIND – Part 2

While shopping in City Market last week, I thought I was being followed.
Weird feeling.
This happens in movies and detective novels, but not City Market in Moab, Utah.
But an older man stayed half an aisle back as I shopped, and moved as I moved.
He wasn’t somebody I had ever seen before.
And . . .there wasn’t anything in his cart.
I was tempted to quickly try and circle around behind him, spy on spy . . .
But why freak him out?

When I stopped in the produce department to talk with a friend, I noticed the man staring at me from the other side of a big display of banana. If I had my stuffed orangutan companion, Louise, with me, I would not have been surprised at a stranger’s scrutiny.
But Louise wasn’t along for the ride – she was having a bikini wax that day.
(I made that up.)

When I stared back at the man, he came over and said:
“Forgive me for staring, but, by God, you are the very spitting image of my great uncle Harry O’Connor.
You could be him – walking around in the world.
But you can’t be, because Uncle Harry died and was buried in Dublin last May.
Jesus and Mary, you’ve given me a shock.”
(A very Irish tourist, he was.)

He asked to take my picture – so as to give the willies to his people back home.
And I asked him to tell me about Uncle Harry.
As it turned out, I may have looked enough like Uncle Harry to be him or his twin,
but not at all like him in personality and style of life.
My doppelganger (great word) was a pharmacist by profession, a collector of beetles by avocation, and an eccentric in personal style – “a bit loony.”
Not me, except maybe for the last part.

When I led a more public life – book signings and speaking engagements – it was not uncommon for someone to say I looked just like someone they knew – and on occasion they would bring my look-alike over for comparison.
There was usually some resemblance, but not close.

But when the Irishman man showed me a photo of Uncle Harry from his cell phone album, even I was surprised.
There’s no denying that the image could have been me.
Even more startling was to see a photo taken at the wake – with Uncle Harry laid out in his coffin.
There I was – dead.

That set me thinking.

Statistically, I suppose, the odds are that somewhere in the world most of us have a twin – at least in physical appearance, if not in personality.
The possibility provokes my imagination – what if we could get together? – think of the mischief we could get into . . .

Psychologists say it’s not uncommon for children to believe they have a twin – an imaginary double – from whom they have been separated.
An only child is especially prone to this fantasy.
That was true for me.
Oddly enough, mine was a twin sister – who morphed into an imaginary playmate over time.
She faded away as I grew up.
But I still think of her once in a while.
I miss her . . .

Imaginary twins fill a need to have a larger sense of self.
Or to have a close companion – a trusted ally – a co-conspirator.
And writers of short stories, novels, detective and spy fiction often employ twins to add complexity to plots.

If you want to have an interesting conversation, ask real twins what it’s like.
Or else imagine you have a twin and how that might affect your life.
The stories about twins separated at birth and re-united long after are fascinating.
It’s a rich topic.

Or turn my City Market experience around -
Have you ever got yourself into a situation of mistaken identity?
Or been so certain that you recognized someone you knew - and you were wrong?

I have.
On three memorable occasions.
Once I was standing on a corner waiting to cross a street in downtown Seattle.
A car I recognized slowly turned right in front of me.
A glance told me the driver was a woman I knew.
So I opened the door on the passenger side, hopped in, and took a seat.
The alarmed driver had never seen me before, nor I her.
Ha. Well, you can imagine . . .
It took some fast talking to keep her from screaming out the window for help.

Another time I was walking up a sidewalk in Washington, D.C. and saw a former student of mine coming my way.
I smiled, opened my arms in a welcoming gesture, expecting a hug.
The young woman smiled, and opened her arms in reply.
As we approached, I realized her gaze was beyond me.
As she passed me, I turned to see the young man behind me with his arms outflung
to receive her passionate embrace.
She wasn’t my ex-student after all, and I don’t think she ever saw me – just him.
Glad I didn’t try and grab her as she rushed by.

Another example:
In a supermarket I saw a woman I knew well – a long-time acquaintance.
I crept up behind her, put my hands over her eyes, and said, “Guess who?”
She gently removed my hands, turned to face me, and was cool in her reaction.
“You have an interesting approach to meeting people you don’t know,” she said,
but I know who you are – I’ve read your books.”

Finally, at an outdoor folk concert I saw a man I knew well but had not seen in a long, long time.
He was way over on the other side of the crowd, and the light was getting dim at day’s end – but I was certain he was my man.
I shouted at him and waved.
He waved back.
We worked our way across the crowd.
He, too, thought he recognized me.
As it turned out, we were both mistaken.
No harm done.
And now I look for “The man I don’t know” at the annual folk festival.
I know him now – and he knows me.

And if I ever see the Irish tourist again, I’ll know him, too.
I’d be welcome to visit him in Dublin.
He’d love to use me to freak out his friends and family.
Those who remember Great Uncle Harry O’Connor.
I’d be “Old Harry himself, risen from the dead to torment the living”.
They’re Irish, so there would be an endless round of drinks to look forward to.
Drink up! and tell us about the other side, Harry . . .

* * *

Well, then, about the quiz at the top of the essay . . .
No, I’m not going to give you the answers, but I’ll give you these clues:

Think twins.
Roman mythology.
The constellations in the night sky.
The Bobbsey stories
Ann Landers and Dear Abby
The Bible
Roman history
And Lewis Carroll

link to this story

October 07, 2014

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
The second week in October, 2014
Warm, clear days – cool nights.
The cottonwood trees have started turning yellow in the valley.


A man I know is not ept at some very mundane tasks.
To say “not ept” is a more decisive notion than just inept.
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” seems to apply to him in very specific areas of human endeavor.

For example, the smooth, efficient installation of a fitted bottom sheet on a king size bed seems beyond his ability.
He’s seen it done.
But he can’t do it – at least not quickly and tidily.
The bed always looks slightly awry when he’s finished - or gives up.

Moreover, the ability to gracefully insert a down comforter neatly into a duvet cover eludes him.
He’s seen that done, too.
But he can’t do it – at least not competently.
The duvet always looks like small animals are trapped in it, with the down unevenly distributed in lumps.

His wife can easily handle fitted sheets and duvet covers.
She never talks about it or makes a fuss – just gets done with dispatch.
All by herself.
And his longtime professional housekeeper can install a fitted sheet and put a comforter in a duvet cover one-handed, in the dark in minutes.

For both of these skillful women these tasks seem to require little thought, planning, or effort.
The man I know believes they secretly hold him in amused contempt for his clumsiness and lack of simple domestic skills.
To avoid being humiliated, he tries not to be around when bed making activities take place.

Alas, his housekeeper is not available this month.
And his wife, who has been away, for three weeks, is coming back.
And something must be done about the bed.
It’s been on his things-to-do list for a week.
The time for action has come.

For him, the bed has been a non-issue up until now.
Most guys can sleep on the same sheets for quite a while.
If the sheets are not grey and greasy, they are OK.
Just don’t look at them during the day – and get into bed in the dark.

If the sheets get rancid, a guy knows to spend the night in his sleeping bag on top of the mattress.
Or use the duvet cover as a sheet-sack, sleep inside of that, with the comforter on top.

It’s true that my friend sometimes snacks in bed when alone.
And rolling over on Cheeto crumbs once put orange blotches on his skin.
But he thinks a couple of runs of a DustBuster vacuum cleaner across the bed is enough to clear the obvious debris.

He’s read that dust mites may multiply into the zillions if he doesn’t regularly change sheets and pillow cases, but dust mites don’t mutate into larger life forms, don’t bite, don’t make noise, or move around.
Dust mites are just a mental concept – he can’t actually see them.
If he doesn’t bother then, they won’t bother him – live and let live.

Here’s some random notes from conversations with the man I know:

1. You can put a fitted single bed sheet on a king size bed on one side of the bed – two corners are a piece of cake – and you only sleep on one side of the bed, anyhow - but the sheet won’t be in place in the morning.

2. A guy’s usual go-to tools won’t help make a bed with a fitted sheet.
Duct tape, Super Glue, W-D Forty oil – no way to employ them..

3. Never try folding a fitted sheet. It can’t be done neatly.
Remove sheet, wash, dry, put back on bed – if you can.

4. It’s no good trying to crawl into a duvet cover, pulling the comforter in behind you – there’s no way to get out the other end.

5. Throwing the duvet cover and fitted sheet out on to the porch and jumping up and down on them and shouting obscenities won’t get the bed made or affect the sheets.
But you’ll feel better for a few minutes.
But then you just have to wash the bedding again.
And the agony gets prolonged.

6. You can sleep inside the duvet cover and put the comforter on top of you. But if you have to get up suddenly during the night, the duvet cover is going along with you, which is awkward in the bathroom.

7. One might practice Sheet Yoga – taking deep, rhythmic breaths while approaching the sheets at the speed of a sloth, while bringing your karma and chakras to bear on the bedding. But the sheets don’t care.

8. You can avoid fitted sheets by using only flat sheets, but that’s a coward’s way out.

9. Sheet Wrestling is a solo sport – no opponent or audience required.
It’s a minor form of aerobic exercise, actually.

10. When desperate, consider Assisted Living.
If you’re good at making beds with fitted sheets, and duvets are no problem, you have my admiration and respect.
If you are as inept as the man I know, now you know you are not alone.

link to this story

October 03, 2014

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
The first week in October, 2014
The temperature has dropped twenty degrees since yesterday
A few leaves on the cottonwoods here in the valley have turned yellow.
Autumn, for sure.


Here’s a lesbian joke:
Q: How many lesbians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Four. One to change it, two to organize the potluck, and one to write a folk song about the empowering experience.

Yes, I know I’m in politically incorrect territory.
It’s tricky ground.
But a lesbian told me that joke when I asked if there was a light side to being a lesbian. I wouldn’t share it except to make a point.

Humor is a life raft in rough seas.
For everyone. Everyone.
We’d drown in a sea of despair without it.
But it is acceptable in this climate of sensitivity to make jokes only if you are telling them from within your identity.
Humor about gender, race, ethnic identity, national origin, and religion is OK only if you live within the framework of the joke.
Jews can joke about being Jewish – but a non-Jew like me had best not.
Same for Blacks, Gays, the Polish, and so on.

I’m not a lesbian.
So why did I begin this essay with a lesbian joke?
Gay Pride was celebrated once again in Moab last week – proclamation by the mayor, festival in the city park, parade down main street, entertainment, parties.
Just like in the big cities around this country and Europe.

The planning committee expanded the celebration from one day to a week, calling it Gay Adventure Week, offering all the opportunities Moab is noted for:
such as biking, river rafting, hot air balloon rides, hiking, climbing, base-jumping.
This was a way of expanding the image of gay activities, and increasing the feeling that gays were good for the local economy as well as for the local social climate.
From all I know, all went well, and a good time was had by all.

And I was there.
For all the serious reasons you might expect.
But also, as you might expect of me, looking for the light side of Pride.
And I found it.

Bumper sticker: “Gay by nature and the grace of God – Fabulous by choice.”

T-Shirt: “Not even my hair is straight.”

Bumper sticker: “Love Is In The Air. Wear A Gas Mask”

T-Shirt: “When Life’s a drag, wear a dress.”

T-Shirt: “I can’t even think straight.”
Bumper sticker: “Divorce—not same-sex marriage—presents the gravest threat to conventional marriage. Outlaw divorce.”
T-Shirt: ‘I’m a bisexual lesbian in a man’s body… but it’s more complicated than that.”
I mentioned my collection of one-liners over coffee with the daughter of a friend – she was visiting Moab for the Pride Festival with her college room-mates.
I figured she had an ironic sense of humor by the message on her T-Shirt.
“I became a lesbian to break my mother’s heart.”
(I know her mother – I understood.)
I thought she might know a gay joke or two. And she did.
Q: Why do gay men like to have lesbian friends? A: Someone has to mow the yard.
A beat up old cowboy went in to a bar and sat down beside a cute chick.
She looked him over and asked if he was a real cowboy.
He said yes, he’d spent his whole life thinking about nothing but cows and horses.
Well, she said, I’m a real lesbian – I don’t think about anything but women.
Another man came in and sat down by the cowboy.
Are you a real cowboy?
I always thought so, but I just found out I’m a lesbian.

My young friend and I talked about how confusing and varied sexual identity is. She wondered what it would be like if there was an annual Straight Pride Festival for heterosexuals. People would be expected to come out of the closet of their sexual activity – and dress according to what they did at home in bed. Because she thinks that heterosexual activity is just as kinky and varied as homosexual activity.
It was hard to get my mind around that – but I can imagine . . .
My young friend also thought the solution to the problem of gays in the military was to get all the straights out of the army. To serve you would have to have an alternative sexual identity. Gay, lesbian, transgender, drag, cross-dresser, bi-sexual, sadist, masochist – anything but straight.
The battle ensigns would be rainbow flags. Tanks and planes would be painted pink and purple. And instead of mess halls, food would be served potluck style.
Enough. It’s a good thing to note the lighter side of a serious issue – the basic human freedom to be exactly who you are and not be deprived of basic rights.
For those who are still second rate citizens because of gender and who they love -those who bear the burdens of disenfranchisement with their companions and children - there is some hope that the darkness in their lives will be lifted in the not-too-far-distant future. May it be so.
But I was appalled today to learn that the Supreme Court has dodged the cases headed their way regarding same-sex marriage – ducked when they should have had the nobility to stand forth and be counted.
But sooner or later, even they must do the right thing. I believe that.
It’s a matter of allegiance.
To a principle of liberty and justice for all.
Every kid in first grade learns that . . . by heart.

link to this story