Haugh About That?: If not now


Pulling the four freshly minted cards out of my wallet in Walgreens, I found myself flummoxed. Being new to this game, I looked at the pharmacist and sheepishly asked, “Which one do you want?”

The Villaj Idiut: When the cameras leave

The smoke and embers are gone from Napa and Santa Rosa, but so too are the cameras and news reports – which means, generally speaking, that everybody not living there thinks everything is OK.

Meredith Eggers knows better. She knows the devastation firsthand. Not as well as somebody there who has lost everything, perhaps, but she has seen the effects, the lasting impact.

Haugh About That?: Through the eyes of a child

Racing into the kitchen with excitement in every breath she took, Jenni announced that she was preparing a snack for Santa. It was 1994, and our home was exquisitely decorated for the Christmas season. But staring at my precious, doe-eyed child, I became concerned when it hit me that, at 11-years-old, she somehow missed the memo that Kris Kringle was just a fairy tale.

Pulling her older sister aside, I asked, “Michelle, did you know that Jenni still believes in Santa Claus? I fear that kids will make fun of her if they find out.”

A Piece of My Mind: Can we still learn from history?


Browsing along my mother’s bookshelf, I found “The Greek Way” by Edith Hamilton – a name I recognized as the translator/curator of a book on Greek mythology I had read for extra credit in junior high. The volume was attractively packaged as a “Time/Life Book Selection,” and I took it home for bedside reading.

The Villaj Idiut: Oral hijinks

In 1999, my wife and I bicycled across Italy. We sort of winged it, which means we did not know where we were going to lay our heads each night; we left it up to how far we trundled on a particular day to determine where we stayed.

One Saturday, as we were riding through the beautiful but daunting hills of Cinque Terre and the hotels filled briskly with Italians visiting the scenic panoramas, we ended up at the only lodging we could find: a place next to a train station in La Spezia – in other words, a dump.

No Shoes, Please: Puppy school

In October, we got Eloise, a labradoodle puppy untrained in every possible way. Both of us needed a puppy training course, so we enrolled in a class consisting of 10 puppies of varying breeds, sizes and temperaments. Basically, the dogs frolic together, and then play is interrupted with commands – sit, follow, leave it, take it, come, etc.

The pups are off-leash because they have to learn to pay attention amid temptation, distraction and a little bit of chaos. Some puppies readily snap back into heeding their humans, others want to keep playing. Eloise occupies the latter category. However, we owners come equipped with tasty bribes to ensure that when the instructor interrupts play and orders us to practice a particular command on our dogs, Eloise and her classmates will fall in line.

A Piece of My Mind: Life after life

Your first life is as a child, as you encounter the world. My grandson asking the big questions at 6: “How did the galaxies start? What was there before the tiny lump of all the matter in the universe? Why did God explode it?”

Your second life is governed by hormones: “Will I be pretty?” “Will I be attractive?” “Can I find a mate?” “Will we have kids?” “Can we have kids?”

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