What's Tony Thinking

On Bullshit

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January 15, 2019 — Apologies up front to those offended by the language of my title. In my defense, let me say that “bullshit” is my actual topic here. Roger Cohen called attention in a recent column to the work of the philosopher, Harry Frankfurt. Frankfurt published a book length essay in 2005 titled, On Bullshit. Events have made... Read More

The Trees Are Talking

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January 14, 2019 — The trees are talking. Are we listening? That might be the simple way to sum up Richard Powers big, ambitious novel, The Overstory.  My book group read it this month and discussed it last night. Responses to The Overstory ranged from “love it” to “hate it” and every thing in between. Powers is clearly a gifted writer,... Read More

On the Lighter Side

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January 12, 2019 — It’s been a quiet week here, by the bay, west of Ballard. Linda had cataract surgery on Monday. The prep nurse explained to me that because she was giving Linda something to relax her, I would be the boss for the next twenty-four hours. I got so giddy with the prospect that I forgot to... Read More

Bad Boys

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January 11, 2019 — I’m a fan of Andrew Sullivan’s work (at New York Magazine) and have frequently drawn from him here. Today Sullivan hit the trifecta in a three-part column. Part one on Trump and his threat to declare a “national emergency” in order to get his wall. I opined earlier this week on Trump’s address from the Oval,... Read More

Trump from the Oval: It Didn’t Work

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January 8, 2019 — It was Donald Trump’s first address from the Oval Office. And there’s a reason for that. This is not his natural habitat. Neither the Oval Office, with its weight of tradition, genuine crisis and solemnity. Nor is a Presidential “address” really his thing. Indeed, “Trump” and “Presidential address” are an oxymoron. Whoever advised him to... Read More

A Few Choice Words

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January 7, 2019 — Jon Talton, the economics columnist for the Seattle Times, (and a novelist on the side) is one of the paper’s best writers. It takes some doing to get me to read about business and economics, but Talton’s reliably insightful columns have accomplished that. This Sunday the Times magazine insert, “Pacific NW,” kicked off a year-long... Read More

On Epiphany

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January 6, 2019 — ‘Tis Epiphany, January 6. The final day of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Some semi-random reflections . . . Pay It Forward with a Twist While cross-country skiing between Christmas and New Year’s I approached the ski hut to buy two $15.00 passes, one for myself, one for Laura. I had $30 even, no cards,... Read More

Soul-Searching on the Right

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January 3, 2019 — I’m tempted to call this post, “Can Anything Good Come Out of Nazareth . . . ‘er I Mean the Political Right?” to adapt a line from the Gospel of John. But that’s probably a bit snide. In the weeks before and after Christmas there was a cascade of articles suggesting something is happening on... Read More

A Poem for New Year

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January 2, 2019 — We’ve had some glorious days lately. On one of those I walked in nearby Discovery Park, where I volunteer as a guide and writing instructor. Afterwords, I wrote this poem, which I hope you enjoy. Happy New Year.   What I Saw On the North Beach trail a fellow bird-watcher and I passed, our binoculars... Read More

Hamilton’s Question

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December 31, 2018 — Readers of The New Yorker magazine will recognize the name, Jill Lepore. She is one of the magazine’s most insightful writers. But Lepore’s day job is as a historian, a professor of American History at Harvard. In that capacity she has published a new one volume history of the United States, These Truths.  Apparently one-volume histories... Read More