Monthly Archives: October 2016

Condo for sale … the wedding … a killer yoga class … and time to pile on The Donald after his post-video embarrassment


I’m down off my high horse from the prior week’s homily on race and class in Charlotte and back to more familiar, and mundane, topics. 

But the best was saved for the last paragraph. I’m usually fairly mum on politics, but after a tall mountain of points made about Trump from both parties – and this was before his utterly sexist and lewd pontification video was released (‘locker room’ comments? Really, Donald?) – it was finally time to pile on. Yes, Ellen and Reid are free to make up their own minds. As for mine, however, it’s a given as to how my vote will be cast. How a woman, any woman, could defend Trump, let alone vote for him, is beyond me.


October 4, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Well, the house is listed with an honest-to-gosh Realtor as of today. Her name is Laura and she came highly recommended by my friend Jane. That was good enough for me. Jane has her real estate license, too, but there was no plan to list it with her or my other friends in real estate since that would’ve ticked someone off. Better to go with a non-friend. Laura surprised me in that her suggested price was well above my own amateurish valuation.

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My attempt at self-selling went flat … and now’s the time to go with a pro.

Two other FSBOs – why couldn’t I sell mine like that? – really came through with high sales prices. But the proof is in the pudding and we’ll see how fast it sells. I’m willing to eat the six percent commission to get the thing moved. As my text message said, with any luck I’ll be in the Midwest for Thanksgiving. And apparently so will the Harley since it hasn’t sold. I’m shrinking back from the oath to sell it since the roads in the heartland should be a little more rider-friendly.

As far as Kristin and Delsin’s wedding is concerned, the plan is to drive to Des Moines with an arrival on or about Oct. 19. I’ve got a Realtor, Bryce, who will show me around even though she knows the immediate plan is to rent first, buy second. She sent a bunch of photos of available townhouse and condos and stylistically, it’s extremely disappointing. None of the places seem to have a smidgen of character or pizzazz. I think the Midwest is 5-6-7 years behind the curve in terms of design from what I’ve seen in the Southeast. That’s the one thing I liked about Charlotte – you could find homes with some snap! and élan to them. Just because you live in Iowa doesn’t mean the homes have to look like they’re in Iowa. But that disappointment will pass in due time. It is exciting, however, to be invited to the wedding.

Took a yoga class the other Saturday and it damn near killed me. They hold the Saturday classes in the warehouse of a brewery so you’re thinking about beer in the middle of your workout. By the tenth minute I was just gassed along with the startling revelation that I’m just not very limber or agile. Yes, you need to give it a few times but holy cow, it was everything I could handle and then some. To make it worse, it was a very hot day with the doors open and my $19 yoga mat and I were directly under the one skylight in the whole place. It was tantamount to broiling under a heat lamp. But overall it was worth it and once in Des Moines will try to find a yoga place. The YMCA most likely.

Reid, how’s the job search going? Is there anything I can do to help? Once I’m settled in wherever I land, one of the first side trips will be to Chicago. We can sit down and polish off your resume and just talk through the whole job thing. It has to be exciting to be done with school and ready to put your skills and education into the marketplace. You should be an attractive commodity for some company.

This election can’t be over soon enough. This is when I’m glad to not have a television. The debates and the sound bites and the vitriol would be tough to stomach. I am going for Hillary since The Donald is a complete and pompous ass. All he has is bluster and a string of failed businesses, his self-aggrandizing yammering about how smart he is aside. Sure, Hillary could’ve handled the email thing better, but other GOP types perfected the use of private email servers long before her. Trump is just a serial liar. On any subject. You know things are bad when other Republican leaders, many of whom spent the last eight years trying to debase, slander and smash Pres. Obama into smithereens, have thrown their support to Hillary instead of The Donald. That’s very telling right there. But if Trump wins, I’ll just toss all my possessions into the Camry and hightail it somewhere else.

Love, Dad

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A father’s moralism in two pages …


In all the years of writing weekly letters, this is the first two pager in memory. It flies in the face of my one-page-is-plenty approach.

And it’s not often I overly moralize – and not usually on a single topic – since Ellen and Reid are old enough to make up their own minds and form their own decisions and adopt their own beliefs. Yet I have my beliefs, too, and they both need to know where and why I stand on certain issues.

So what went on in Charlotte in recent days deserved two pages – and maybe three.


September 25, 2016

Ellen/Reid: I scribbled some notes earlier last week about thoughts for today’s letter, and then the police shooting and subsequent unrest in Charlotte went down and my earlier ideas went out the window.

The rest of the nation saw and condemned the violence, yet to me it speaks to something much larger, and far darker, about how we tend to grapple – but not really – with racism and bigotry and economics and guns and public education as underlying factors. I think to view this only in the context of a shooting is very short sighted and disingenuous to the black community, and in some ways, to law enforcement, too.

I know, the victim here likely had a gun and yes, the police are in a predicament with only seconds to pass judgment and take action. I get that. But that judgment tends to fall against the black person in virtually 100 percent of cases. Obviously I’m no authority on how to disarm/disable someone, but part of me wonders if the kill shot is always a necessity of first resort. Our military in the Middle East has rules of engagement in equally, if not far more dangerous, in circumstances where the foe is trying to kill our forces. Still, the mandate is not always shoot to kill first. I don’t know what the answer is but we have to find it. I do feel the black community is seen with a different set of eyes than whites. I do.

What bothers me much more is what I perceive as a greater undercurrent of racism that still exists. I know because I brought some with me to the South. I wrestle with my own sense of racism and bigotry. Anyone who tells you we’ve mostly got it licked is just not dealing in reality. It exists and it is real here and I see it and I feel it inside and outside of Charlotte. The other night I went to a post-shooting discussion at Caldwell (I’m telling you, John is just one hell of a reverend/leader because that man and that little church and its mixed race congregation forced me to face my own very real prejudices) and as people spoke it occurred to me that any perceived national racial gains trumpeted in the past 50 years really haven’t been because the hearts and minds of the people have been swayed, but largely because we’ve legislated and regulated – rightly so, I think – removal of overt race situations as best we could. Still, the war for the hearts and minds has yet to be won and may not be even close to being won. I told the group of my pessimism on that score.

Sure, there’s no way to rationally condone violence yet it seems to me the first reaction of the white community is to condemn the violence as a way regain a peaceful status quo that reflects what whites so desire. We – whites, that is – don’t follow up, however, with real solutions, plausible solutions, that underlie racism in the first place. We tell blacks to calm down but we don’t get at, let alone identify with or talk about for however long it takes, what can make us a truly integrated nation. We have not won over the hearts and minds of the people. It’s not just a faith based answer, it’s not a legislative or regulatory answer, it is some other societal and cultural answer whereby people accept all others – blacks, hispanics, Middle Easterners – on equal footing. Victory is not ours and likely won’t be in my lifetime until the hearts and minds of people change at a basel level. Instead, we blast or label people as niggers or Mexis or lazy bastards or takers or entitled or dirty immigrants. Or worse. Enough with the labels already. What about the good people we haughtily tell to ‘just try harder’ when the playing field isn’t just not level, it’s tilted beyond repair?

The three of us can’t really put ourselves in the life that blacks endure. I do believe that America has quietly and perpetually instituted a permanent black Continue reading

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