What Eastport doesn’t have

Let’s be honest. There’s a lot you won’t find here.

For starters, there’s:

  1. No pizza parlor. No Chinese, Thai, Indian, or Mexican restaurants, either. At least a brewpub just opened, overlooking the water.
  2. No bakery.
  3. No laundromat.
  4. No name-brand gas station. Just one off-brand pump at the garage where the Mobil once was.
  5. No auto dealership.
  6. No hospital or specialists, though there is a health center and pharmacy.
  7. No indoor swimming pool or even a public outdoor one.
  8. No fitness center or gym.
  9. No tattoo parlor. Much less piercing.
  10. No traffic lights. Not one.

Death takes a big toll on a family firm

A huge challenge to family-owned businesses arises in the passing of one generation to another. The unanticipated death of the patriarch or matriarch in his or her prime can wreak havoc on the company, even if inheritance tax liabilities aren’t overwhelming. Sometimes the heir apparent isn’t the best option, not all of the heirs want to be part of the operation, or bitter rivalries emerge. Getting through the fourth generation, with a spreading number of family members and interests, can determine the fate of the enterprise. As I saw in the newspaper industry, most nameplates sold out to media chains at this point, losing much of their underlying local connection in the process.

Do you know of any businesses that fit this description? 

The pandemic’s put new words and phrases on our lips

Sometimes we need to state the obvious. So just to make sure we’re conscious of one impact, here are ten words and phrases the pandemic’s added to our everyday vocabularies over the past year.

  1. Coronavirus. (Of course.) We even learned to spell it.
  2. Covid. (Ditto.) Upper- or lower-case.
  3. Zoom. The word existed, just not in the context we now think of first.
  4. Shelter in place. This one still strikes me as strange.
  5. Self-quarantine, self-isolation. I suppose it’s supposed to sound voluntary. Or else.
  6. Social distancing. Specifically, six feet or more.
  7. Vaxxed. Which leads us to:
  8. Moderna. Not as a chic word for contemporary.
  9. Pfeizer. As a synonym for a vaccine, rather than the pharmaceutical giant.
  10. Fauci. Dr. Anthony.

There are more. What would you add to the list?

Straight ticket

uncommonly wanting to spend lots of money, get a new wardrobe, hot sneakers like David’s Hawaiian number, drove to a pseudo-alpine village with its sidewalk cafe, offbeat card shop (guess what I found) and the bookshop where that movie script jumped to my hands, the post office to mail packages and notes addressed and sealed a week ago in Virginia but neglected to send off, at last, then, somewhat poorer, more piles of shuffling, for starters, and a nap before the grocery, dropping off shirts at the laundry, photocopying foliage outside my window in just one day in the life of a bachelor missing you dearly

Come dance to Kokopelli

Somehow, this hunchbacked flute player has become the most widely recognized Native symbol around. Maybe because there’s something playful in his step. He even became a character in one of my novellas in The Secret Side of Jaya.

Here are some facts about him.

  1. He’s often shown with feathers or antenna-like protrusions on his head. They often make him look like an insect.
  2. He may have originally been a representation of Aztec traders who brought their goods in sacks slung over their backs. His first appearance, however, is on pottery dated to 750 to 850 CE, before the Aztec empire.
  3. He represents the spirit of music and has roles related to fertility. He’s also fluent in languages and an enchanting storyteller.
  4. He appears on ancient petroglyphs and pictographs as far back as the Anasazi cliff dwellers. Guess that makes him the first rock star.
  5. In these representations, he’s often accompanied by animal companions or an apprentice. Well, he does preside over the reproduction of game animals.
  6. He’s venerated in some Native cultures in the Southwest, where he chases away winter and brings on spring as well as rain. But watch out, he is a trickster deity.
  7. The popularized image of today usually omits the phallus.
  8. Among the Hopi, it is said that he carries unborn children on his back and distributes them to children. For that reason, young girls often fear him. He also participates in marriage rituals. The Zuni also have stories.
  9. He’s seen on the changing moon, much like the “man” on the moon.
  10. He was a noisy visitor, bringing welcome news from afar and leading to a night of revelry.