My grandmother was much more ready for her funeral than the rest of us

In September 2016, my extended family got together to celebrate my grandfather’s and first-cousin-once-removed’s 90th and 80th birthdays respectively. We didn’t all get together again until June 2017 with my grandmother’s passing. 

As my father said after the gravesite ceremony, ‘You know, I think we had a lot more fun at the birthdays.’ But we had a lot of fun at the funeral, too, just with more crying and sobs mixed in. This was my euology at the service.


Thank you all for coming here today. It means a lot to see all of you here and know that Betty impacted your lives, as well.

I’m going to try to not go on and on or get choked up too much. My Mama had only so much patience for long-winded speakers, and she was about the least sentimental person when it came to the idea of her funeral.

Some of you probably remember her joke about going grocery shopping. ‘At my age, I don’t even buy green bananas anymore.’ And she thought it was very funny! But it was harder for me to find it funny.
Continue reading My grandmother was much more ready for her funeral than the rest of us

In a good story, the opposing tension supports the weight

The other day I watched the Black Mirror episode ‘The Entire History of You‘, and it was wonderful and terrifying and a really good work of science fiction.

Most of all, it was a really good work of fiction, period, because it successfully gave you two competing claims for a moral then forced you to decide which was right.

Continue reading In a good story, the opposing tension supports the weight

Law is obeyed of respect, power obeyed of fear

The other day, the Odessa American reported on the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute’s event on policing, and as reported, the featured guests said some troubling things.

First, both outgoing Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson and Odessa Police Chief Tim Burton suggested folks ought to comply with whatever an officer tells them to do in order to protect themselves.

Now, women in the audience might not feel completely comfortable following that advice if interacting with former police officer Salvador Becerra during a traffic stop or former deputy Alfred John Herrera once in jail.

Or maybe that’s not fair. Only rarely do peace officers sexually assault people they have in their custody.

Continue reading Law is obeyed of respect, power obeyed of fear

Meat isn’t murder, but it will be one day

The final entry in my friend’s initial question/topic of discussion series involves humans and domesticated animals.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the meat and dairy industry but I have way too many things to say about that.

That’s quite an open-ended prompt, although we talked about it in more detail in person over a lunch that included tacos with pig meat.

I expect proceeding generations to view my own meat consumption and use of animal products in the same way we now view the behavior of Nazis and slavers, and yet I don’t think this will change anything.

Continue reading Meat isn’t murder, but it will be one day

After 20 years, ‘Oz’ has lost most of its magic

The other day I started watching the HBO series Oz. Going in, my expectations were that it was a serious drama from the late 1990s with a brutal depiction of prison life including lots of sexual assault and violence but altogether of high quality.

That’s not unwarranted, but through four seasons it’s mainly been interesting because it’s so completely a product of its era that it feels like it was produced in another country.

Continue reading After 20 years, ‘Oz’ has lost most of its magic

Elvis liked little girls, or ‘How do you enjoy music played on an ivory piano?’

The other day my somewhat young friend shared some of the things they’d been turning over in their mind and in the process, infected me with a word virus that left me turning it over in my own mind.

Continue reading Elvis liked little girls, or ‘How do you enjoy music played on an ivory piano?’