The Angels and the Flash Boys

How reading became the silver lining to a Christmas crisis

Four years ago, we learned something weird was going on with my son’s right leg. We’d gone to a clinic thinking he might have a small break after a fall at school, but then learned it was a condition we’d never even heard of, something called osteochrondritis dissecans. A small section of bone at the bottom of Devin’s femur, at the knee, was dying from a lack of blood flow. A delicate surgery and months of re-hab followed. For a year or so we had to give up father-son outings involving hiking, football and ultimate frisbee.

Instead, we went to the movies.

Continue reading The Angels and the Flash Boys

Tracking a Jailbreak Flood

The scablands offer a succession of geologic double-takes,  and Deep Creek’s enchanting scar is one of them.

I first encountered Deep Creek the way I suspect most people do—in a car. As U.S. Highway 2 makes a bee-line west out of Spokane it passes the main gate to Fairchild Air Force Base. Then, in about the time it takes to write this sentence, your speeding vehicle takes an abrupt dip into a ravine, crosses a bridge, and takes you past a sign announcing that you’re passing through the small community of Deep Creek.

As for the creek itself, there is barely any water in Deep Creek at this crossing. This is a noteworthy riddle. The discernible headwaters for the stream are only a few miles away, in a maze of wetlands west of Four Lakes. Although the creek will sometimes flood during a rain on snow event in late winter, it’s too small and ephemeral to attract kayaks or canoes. So it is curious as to how such a trickle of water could create such an extraordinary crease in the earth. Continue reading Tracking a Jailbreak Flood

How My Country Lost its Mind

(and why it will recover its soul)

by Tim Connor

Earlier this year a survey by the Pew Research Centers reaffirmed an unspoken boundary in American politics: being an atheist essentially disqualifies you from being elected President of the United States.

However unfair this is for atheists, the barrier rests upon a deep-seated expectation that those seeking the nation’s highest offices ought to embrace virtues deeper than a hunger for power. And to enjoy the benefit of the doubts, he or she must at least publicly identify with a church and a deity. To admit to being godless is tantamount to political suicide.

So how is it that the same nation that effectively disqualifies atheists for high positions of public trust just elected a habitual liar and provocateur? How is it that we’ll soon inaugurate an unapologetic racist who ranks and treats women as sex objects, mocks people with disabilities, refuses to apologize for anything, and spends an inordinate amount of energy excoriating and seeking revenge upon his critics? This is no mild case of cognitive dissonance. It’s a deeply disturbing reflection of our nation’s moral deflation.   Continue reading How My Country Lost its Mind