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Last updateWed, 20 Sep 2017 9am

Haugh About That?: My world of imagination

On a recent trip to Stanford Shopping Center, I found myself in a terrible traffic jam. No, not the frustrating kind on today’s freeways where we grit our teeth to hold back building road rage, but unnerving just the same. I was hungry and on a mission to get some Pinkberry frozen yogurt before perusing the stores when I found myself stuck behind a crowd of people moving at a snail’s pace.

“What is going on?” I grumbled, wondering if there were a demonstration of sorts up ahead. “I don’t have time for this.”


The Villaj Idiut: Independence Day

I will admit that sometimes I stand in the shower and think to myself: If I dropped this bar of soap in a pile of mud, would it be dirty? It is, after all, soap.

And every once in a while I’ll drive down I-5 to Los Angeles and wonder to myself: Why don’t they just make the entire road a rumble strip, and then I’d never lose focus?

Haugh About That?: On being modern

As I opened the box with a picture of a half-eaten apple, excitement surged. Soon my life would have speed and efficiency.

My current laptop was old, tired and moving at a snail’s pace. Like that cliche known as a midlife crisis, I needed a younger, newer model to make me feel alive again. But as I turned it on, my joy quickly dissipated. The internet connection in my new apartment was not recognizing the password and wouldn’t allow me to change it on my own. I needed help.

A Piece of My Mind: Summer camp season

Whenever my summer wanderings take me to Stanford University, that beautiful sandstone and terra-cotta campus up the road, I marvel at the multiplicity of signs directing me to this or that summer camp. There always seem to be squadrons of T-shirted campers on the move, being directed this way and that by polo-shirted counselors, all wearing color-coded lanyards and name tags to make sure that they are getting all of the perks, and none but the perks, to which their campership entitles them.

When I was in my pre-teens, camp was different.

The Villaj Idiut: Puppet master

Is it just me, or does it feel eerily like the United States has become the world’s largest puppet, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is backstage cheerily pulling string after string for his own amusement and benefit?

One of the kicks I now get as a former journalist is, when I read a sourced story, to try to figure out who the source (or, in the parlance of the Trump administration, “leaker”) is.

No Shoes, Please: Charlottesville

I’m not quite sure what to say about the events that occurred in Charlottesville, Va., when a white supremacist rally ended with the death of a counterprotester and two state police officers patrolling the area in a helicopter. I’m a little stunned by the enormity of what we Americans need to reflect on with regard to this horrific set of circumstances, and, at the same time, I am (sadly) not that surprised that it occurred in the first place.

Among the many threads of the story, three stand out to me: when white supremacists came out to claim their “rightful place” brazenly, proudly and confidently; when President Donald Trump neglected to stand firmly against neo-Nazis and other hate groups; and when a president of the United States required coercion to issue a stronger statement so that he might avoid looking like a bigot.

A Piece of My Mind: California under fire

A few weeks ago I drove down to Ojai to visit a cousin and some friends. East of Los Alamos, I took the Cachuma Highway (CA-154) to avoid the dogleg south on 101 through Buellton, Solvang, Goleta and along the coast.

My notes describe the cutoff as “a two-lane road with two stop signs and one traffic circle in 40 miles, snaking through beautiful high country along the Cachuma Reservoir, which was looking still a bit underfilled despite one year of hefty rain after California’s five years of drought.” This road is a playground for sports cars, and I had to pull over several times in my sedate four-cylinder Camry to let a Mustang or Camaro roar by. I was looking forward to a return trip on the same road, planning to check out the vista points overlooking the reservoir and maybe take a rest stop at the little nature center near the Boy Scout camp.


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