A 9/11 Forget Me Not

In a word, “no.” This day – one that will live in a lesser infamy than Pearl Harbor, as a time when our self-declared enemies intentionally selected non-military primary targets to show us our vulnerabilities and terrify those willing to be cowed – will not define me. It will not rule me by fear. It … [more]

Something About Sidecars

“There’s just something about sidecars,” I thought, rattling eastward across Snoqualmie Valley. It was time to give back the hack, and I wasn’t sure I was ready. Through the simple human kindness and superior gullibility of Jim at Motoduvall, I’d taken loan of “Brunhilde,” a brilliant three- wheeled rig based on a BMW R1200C, and … [more]

Blood Brothers

Symbols. We were surrounded by ’em. The American Lake VA campus used to house a hospital. It doesn’t anymore. There are specialty clinics there — urology, dental, blind rehabilitation, psychiatry, others — but these days emergency care is handled “across the street” at Madigan Army Medical Center. Symbols abide, though. Large, mission-style institutional buildings symbolize … [more]

Onward & Upward

I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings. Coming down is the hardest thing. —Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Learning to Fly   “Are you scared, Jack?” “No way, Dad!” I stood there, looking up the hill at what’s now named Straddleline ORV Park. It’s been closed off and on over the years. Back … [more]

On not giving a fuck

“Your husband fights dirty,” the email announced to Pretty Wife, and she was right. I do. I’m not my dad, casually and frequently ruthless but so cheerful on a daily basis that he personifies his own smarmy, self-assumed nickname, “Smilin’ Jack.” I only smile when I mean it, and I may not be able to … [more]

Scuffs and Patches

Smalldaughter’s tone was polite but imperative. It was the second sentence that moved me into a sprint that made my back quit hurting. I heard her voice echo down the hall. “Jack, I need you. “Ruby got hit by a car.” The girls’ trust is touching. I wasn’t as  calm as they are when I … [more]


Damn, but I hate it when people sneak up on me. NSTIW with my head under the van hood, poking at the battery terminals and trying not to short-spark my ratchet again, when I <heard a scrape / felt a shadow / turned around for no good reason> and there he was, scuffing his way … [more]

Eight Bells on the Last Dog’s Watch

It was a short errand, but I put on my gear, anyway. Might as well pretend I know what I’m doing. We have a motorcycle ride scheduled for Monday, up along some of my favorite King and Snohomish county roads. I laid out the route on Friday morning. It’s a good one. One of my … [more]