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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Hamilton and Me: Why I will cry myself dehydrated on July 3

When, a handful of years ago, I heard my best friend Val’s 10-year-old daughter rap a song about the son of a whore and a Scotsman, it seemed strange that a Chinese-Jewish kid in Chicago would be so enthralled with Alexander Hamilton.

Everything Is Copy: The need for moral leadership at our universities

At my college reunion in May, I caught up with a classmate who had just been appointed chancellor of the largest urban public university system in the country. As we stood under a big tent drinking top-shelf liquor (it costs nearly as much to attend these reunions as it did to go to college there), I told him that I wanted – no, I expected – one thing from him.

Everything is Copy: It truly is never too late to change

A year ago, cracked open by grief, I walked into Temple Beth Shalom to attend Rosh Hashanah services for the first time. I am Jewish only by lineage; sorrow had led me to seek solace anywhere I might find it.

Everything Is Copy: We all live next door

When I hear a weird noise outdoors, sometimes I’ll look at the Nextdoor website to see if there’s been a shooting in the neighborhood or aliens have landed. Sometimes I’ll browse the site when I need to hire someone to rake my leaves or can no longer bear to look at my own work.

Is a college degree valuable? The answer is …

Last summer I went on a couple of dates with a fellow runner who had, decades before, headed directly from high school to low-level employment at a big company. He learned on the job, mastered skills, made money and now spends his time on a range of hobbies.

Everything is Copy: How can I say this so we can stay in this car together?

Mark Twain said many funny, true, quotable things, but among them was not “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything out it.” He simply repeated the quip of his friend, Charles Dudley Warner. But it’s nonetheless true. Especially during extreme changes in climate, we sure can spend a lot of time talking about something whose outcome we are can affect not at all. Just as some of us can enjoy hours discussing spectator sports. We weigh in with opinions about players and coaches, curse out refs, and bond in good fellowship.

Everything is Copy: The arc of the season

It was, I think, simply coincidence that on the anniversary of his death, my interest in college basketball revived. It wasn’t because we shared that passion. Spectator sports held little appeal for him, save, perhaps, il Palio di Sienna, an insane, centuries-old horserace around a Tuscan town square that he was always happy to catch when he visited his father. He pointed out the track as we dined above the piazza last February. He talked about wanting to share that – and so much else – with me on a future visit. He would have sat with me during Duke games, if I’d asked. He would have made insightful comments about what he saw; he noticed things others missed. But if he hadn’t died I may not have needed to start following the team again.

Everything is Copy: Curtailing speech

We’re living in a curious time. Even those who profess a commitment to issues of diversity and tolerance slip up in their speech and betray old-fangled ways of thinking. It can be hard to remember that we need to be aware of the unintended consequences of our words.

Everything is copy: Finding harder truths along the harder route

During the mediation, the officer said that while he had a slightly different memory of the exchange, his hasty words didn’t reflect what he’d meant, didn’t represent him. He wanted to tell me who he was: a father, an athlete, a coach, a 20-year member of the force, the product of an inter-racial family, a believer in justice and an admirer of Martin Luther King Jr., whose words about the content of one’s character he often re-read.

Everything is Copy: The food chain

I’d decided to stop eating meat some years before she came into my life, and I had to figure out what would be OK to consume. Only plants? Nothing with a face? No one who runs away?

Everything is Copy: When evil is comforting

When it comes to pleasure reading, we gravitate to what we need at the cultural moment. I seem to be in a trench of surrounding myself with female psycho killers.

Everything is Copy: Keeping Clean

As a kid, I remember being baffled by the way my grandparents scurried about their Manhattan apartment before the cleaning lady showed up. As a young adult, I couldn’t believe how stressed my mother became while getting ready for her cleaner.

Everything is Copy: Boaty McBoatface, isolation and exclusion

Tell people they get to choose, and then don’t listen to them, and you’re left with citizens who act like pissed off children. Say you trust them with power, and then pull it away like Lucy’s football; unlike Charlie Brown, they’re probably going to get angry.