Thursday, August 16, 2018


The sexual abuse of children is shockingly common. I know. I myself was molested by a teacher at the age of twelve. It's a crime that every human instinct tells us should be the rarest of all crimes, and yet it is surely amongst the most common. And the numbers are surely much greater than even those known, because so many of them go unreported.

That the perpetrators include, prominently it seems, members of the Catholic priesthood should be shocking, too. Given reactions to revelations of the past couple of decades, including most recently yesterday's by a Pennsylvania grand jury, the news still shocks us. As it should. But unfortunately no one can any longer call it a surprise.

The simple fact of the matter is that most human beings need sex, and I suspect that many of us men need it compulsively. Deprived by custom and church law of the right to satisfy this basic, sometimes compulsive need in normal sexual relations, even marriage, these men resort to the nearest and most vulnerable targets for their lust--the children.

Children are the most likely to do the bidding of persons in authority, and the least likely to report them. Their innocence and natural beauty must surely add to their appeal to the unhealthy appetites of men unable to restrain them. By its canonical law, the church makes of them the bait the lures the predators.

Yet even the otherwise seemingly benign Pope Francis rejects the obvious (if by all means only partial) solution: to allow his priests to marry. To allow them to behave as the men they are, by nature, and to satisfy their human desires in consensual adult relationships. I personally do not subscribe to the notion that so many men in this one profession happen by nature to be pederasts--though pederasts, I concede, may be drawn to the profession. I believe rather that their human sexuality is tragically misdirected by ancient laws and customs that have no place in the modern world.

None of which can exculpate those responsible for these crimes, or those responsible for enabling and protecting them. But to assure the perpetuation of the circumstances that surely play some part in this disgraceful travesty is a crime in itself.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


                                                                                             (cross-posted from Rooting for Rouda)

... if I may be excused for restoring to what, these days, may be interpreted as a misogynist stereotype. (It was actually coined in the late 17th/early 18th century by my fellow-countryman, the satirical playwright William Congreve).

Well, anyway, it seems that Tr*mp is finally confronted by a person as narcissistic, as ruthless, as implacable, as insatiable of media attention and personal adoration, and as lacking in decency and human compassion as himself.

Will the redoubtable Omarosa bring him down to size, where others--including all those craven Republicans in Congress--have notably shirked this urgently necessary task?

The great irony, of course, is that she is his own creation, made after his own image. Perhaps this monster will succeed in exposing the arrogant presumption of our Dr. Frankenstein. Perhaps the mob of angry, terrified villagers will turn tail, and show up with their pitchforks, shrieking at the White House gates.

We'll see.

Meantime, we last defenders of sanity and truth must show up at the polls and vote for Harley Rouda in November. Am I right? Will you bring your friends?

Monday, August 13, 2018


I find myself thinking about my father this morning, as I check back in on my story of my recent National Geographic/Lindblad cruise to Alaska's Inland Passage. My father, who died more than 20 years ago, was during his life time an inveterate "caravaner." Along with my mother and, for almost every year of our childhood, my sister and myself, he would hitch up the caravan...

This image is the best look-alike that I can find...
... behind whichever can he happened to be driving at the time, and head off to parts unknown--sometimes to England, Wales or Scotland, sometimes to the European continent. Every night we would "put the legs down" in some new campsite--we rarely stayed anywhere for more than a night or two--and settle down for a fine dinner prepared by my mother and, invariably on the Continent, a glass of the local wine (there were no home-produced wines in England in those days). The following morning, usually before breakfast, my father would sit down with pen and ink (and later ballpoint) to write down the story of the previous day.

Somewhere in the family archives--who knows where they are?--all these notebooks of barely legible scrawl must remain hidden to this day. My mother treasured them, and would surely not have allowed them to be lost or destroyed. And yet, and yet... likely nobody will ever again read these products of my father's irrepressible joie de vivre and his eloquent pen. Which leads me of course to wonder about all the time and effort I put into to the creation of this new travel blog. Even though it is out there somewhere in the blogosphere, and may remain there for decades--who knows, centuries?--to come, I suspect that it will remain eternally unread. Our little human sagas have little significance to anyone besides our little selves, and yet those selves seem mightily important--important enough to chronicle at such pains. Even the great sagas of our times--the presidents, the wars, the natural disasters, the continental population shifts, even the self-destruction of our species--counts for even less than the blink of an eye or the ruffle of a feather in the vast reaches of space and time.

And still, and yet... I write my blog, I write my travel log, as though my life depended on it. What strange creatures we are!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


I promised a log of our trip to Alaska. Today, I make good on that promise. Here's the link:


Or copy and paste to your browser....

If you spot any typos or other errors, I'd be grateful if you would let me know.

Otherwise, if you haven't been to that glorious--and still relatively unspoiled--area of the world, I hope this will encourage you to visit. If you have, then may it stir some wonderful memories! You can click on any of the images to enlarge!

Friday, August 3, 2018


I'm working away, promise, on my travel log. It takes time, not only to do the writing--which is in fact the easy part--but also to select, save, and post the pictures. I came back with over 800 of them, and Ellie has hundreds more. so the choice is often a hard one. And just locating the right ones is a challenge. I'm not quite halfway through. Please stay tuned!