Kevin Perrin’s “The Shir Khan Bandar Bridge”

Kevin Perrin’s “The Shir Khan Bandar Bridge” blog post seems to me to have the potential to be one of those modest but telling anecdotes that succinctly illuminate the American military experience in Afghanistan, richer in specifics than a parable, but still lean and uncluttered. Kevin Perrin was in Afghanistan 2005-2006 as a U.S. Army […]

Two Hanoi Haiku

cyclo-pedaled to        Revolution Museumby NVA vet This incident happened to me on a return to Viet Nam in the summer of 1993. Something seems amiss when a war’s winner gets to pedal the loser to a museum celebrating the victory. That seems especially true when the loser’s army had no adequate reason to be in […]

Five Voices in Dinh Tuong Province

1. Pvt. Parker’s Lament In Cho Gau village there’s not much to loot, And no young men we could interrogate. No bars, no Cokes, no grass, no prostitute, Nothing to amuse us while we wait For higher ups deciding Cho Gau’s fate. 2. Pvt. Simmons at the Perimeter At dusk the sandbags cool, the noises […]

The Mozart mystery remains unsolved

In a letter to the Napa Valley Register (“Darwin’s Dilemma,” Sept. 1, 2017), Lowell Young suggests that extraordinary talents in music, mathematics and the other arts prove the existence of a creator. I find it quaint that some people still think that finding flaws or incompleteness in one scientist’s 1859 book undermines an idea that […]

Review: 2017 Live Action Shorts Oscar Nominees

I have no interest in the Oscars or similar marketing entertainment, and I would be hopeless at predicting winners, but I enjoyed these five films this weekend at Los Angeles’s Nuart Theater.   Timestamp The nominee that makes the most effective, engaging and original use of the tools of cinema is Timestamp, from Spain, directed […]

Donald Trump and the Law of Unintended Consequences

No one should have a fuller experience with and understanding of the law of unintended consequences than Donald Trump. Serious blunders are inevitable for a president who is impulsive, narcissistic, and willfully and profoundly ignorant (of culture, history, economics, science . . .). Serious blunders are inevitable for a president who considers his intuition more […]

Review: Icebergs

Icebergs is a light and reassuring comedy about deciding whether to have children in a worsening world. Los Angeles’s Geffen Playhouse has created a fine production for the world premier of playwright Alena Smith’s sit-com script. Audiences will enjoy a classic realistic set, purposeful direction, and good comedic acting. The production, directed by Randall Arney, […]

10 ways to improve the presidential debates

All reality TV is boring and only pretends to be spontaneous, but the worst reality TV shows are probably the presidential and vice-presidential debates. They are not really debates at all, and probably never will be, but here are ten ways to make them much more honest and useful to voters. 1. Get a competent […]

Review: Don’t Think Twice

Don’t Think Twice shows the forced transformation of a small improv group from New York hopefuls to the newest arrivals in that vast community of artists all over the country who have abandoned their quests for celebrity careers, and settled for pursuing their art in small towns. As the film opens, members of The Commune, […]

The Myth of the Missing Welcome

The Napa Valley Register reported a June 28, 2016, program to honor Viet Nam veterans at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville, an event sponsored by the Veterans Home of California. I am always glad to see veterans of different generations and their families get together. But the article title suggests that the event perpetuated a […]