Dear Hillary

hillaryAfter watching the debate last night, I feel moved to say “thank you.” I believe you will be a history-making president, and not simply because of your gender. I wish my mother had lived to see your inauguration. She would have been 87 this year, and although she tended to vote (alas) Republican, the Republicans she voted for bore little resemblance to Donald Trump. I honestly think she would have been one of your campaign volunteers.

But back to what moves me to write this morning: my admiration and gratitude for your presence on the stage last night. It takes an enormous amount of personal strength and grit to take the high road when you are being taunted from the low road, in public, and by someone who demonstrates an endless and shameless capacity for lying. I know what it is like to be the object of a borderline’s angry lies. It is dispiriting to say the least. I can only imagine how difficult it is to deal effectively and graciously with such a pathology while the nation and the world is watching. Ann Richards on the subject of Ginger Rogers comes to mind, just as a place to begin.

Thank you for trusting us to know exactly who Trump is because we do. We have worked for people like him. We have been the object of their physical or verbal assaults. We have watched them chuckle while dismissing our opinions and concerns as trivial or hysterical. Thank you for trusting us to know exactly who and what Trump is and for spending your valuable debate time talking not about him but about health care, the Supreme Court, voting rights, refugees, Syria and our national character.

Most of all, in the debate last night and in your campaign, thank you for calling us to be our better selves: for calling us less to “greatness” and more to personal and national goodness, and for doing the hard work of leading us in that direction. I look forward to the day when we can say: “Madam President.”

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Letter requesting a stay of execution

The Honorable Mary Fallin

Governor of Oklahoma

2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 212

Oklahoma City, OK 73105

September 15, 2015

Dear Governor Fallin,

I am writing to ask that you stay the execution of Richard Glossip. I am a retired Episcopal priest who is also retired from the practice of law. I believe that we have the best legal system in the world, but it is not perfect. Safeguards, such as your power to stay an execution, are crucial and are a last chance for justice in some cases. Richard Glossip’s conviction is such a case.
What little evidence there was for his conviction now appears to be suspect. Executing someone on the basis of so little reliable evidence is unjust with respect to Mr. Glossip. Just as important is the negative effect his execution would have on the general public’s confidence in the legal system. Indeed, for all of us, it is a terrifying thing to see the ultimate penalty exacted on the basis of so little reliable evidence.
Please stay the execution.


The Rev. Lily A. DeYoung

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Thanks Al

Long time WKBK Radio Host Al Kulas Passes Away.
Last Tuesday at 3:00 PM
Al Kulas
Photo: WKBK News
KEENE,NH- It is with a heavy heart and much sadness that we have to announce the passing of one of our long time WKBK talk radio hosts. Al Kulas passed away Tuesday morning at Dartmouth Hitchcock in Lebanon, from an apparent heart attack. Al joined the WKBK talk line up over 15 years ago, back when the station still broadcast from Lampson Street at AM 1220 on the dial.
– See more at:

We moved to Keene in 2005 after many years of living in major metropolitan areas. We had never lived in a city as small and rural as Keene and we knew that many things would be new to us. I have been a talk-radio fan for years having grown up listening to Long John Nebel, Brad Crandall, Barry Farber and WNBC’s Weekend Monitor. As a college student I listened to Larry King while working a graveyard shift, listened afternoons as Rush Limbaugh become a phenomena and later still discovered the late night magic of Art Bell. In 2005, before internet radio, I wondered if there would be good talk radio in Keene and what it would be like.

Our first wake-up in Keene was on an August Saturday morning – so the first on-air personality I heard was Al Kulas. He seemed to be the only person at the station. He was both hosting the show and reading the news. Half-way through a newscast he got to the name of a foreign leader and stumbled twice over the pronunciation of the unfamiliar name. There was a second of silence before what I thought would be his third try. Instead, he spelled out the name. From that moment, I knew that this was going to be a new radio-listening experience.
In the ten years since that first Saturday in August I have listened to Al Kulas nearly every weekend: even on weekends when I was out of town (thanks to the internet.) I didn’t share Al’s politics. At all. And I did not always listen to the entire show because I was too angry about the opinions expressed to keep listening. But the next Saturday morning, at 5 a.m. I tuned in again.

I have often wondered why. These days, I do not routinely listen to talk shows based on politics radically opposed to my own. But I listened to Al. I finally got a clue as to why when I heard Dan Mitchell (WKBK morning show host and program manager) read posts that some of Al’s fans had posted to the station’s Facebook page after learning of Al’s death. One listener said described Al’s style as “unpolished.” Yes it was. But I would add that it was also authentic.

I suspect that Rush and his ilk are primarily entertainers. But Al Kulas approached his on-air time as if it was a public service that it was his duty and privilege to offer. He was not there to entertain. He was there to share the things he cared about with his neighbors in the Keene area. Politics always. Guns, relentlessly. But also the temperature in West Keene and the temperature at the airport, “this day in history” with editorializations, the winner lottery numbers, polkas, military marches, Christmas carols weeks before Christmas, the farm, memories from his days in the service and his experiences abroad, and so much more. His computer never seemed to work and it was ritual to be late for the station breaks but he answered every on-air phone call with genuine enthusiasm and knew so many of his callers by name.

His show was a special kind of talk radio that I found compelling: not because I agreed with the politics but because it was real. It was a few hours of authentic, unpolished sharing around the things that matter — even when it made me mad enough to turn off the radio. I am not sorry about the times that I’ve turned off the Saturday or Sunday morning Serendipity shows off, but I am sorry that the next time I turn it on, Al won’t be there.

I am grateful for the ten years I had to be one of Al’s on-air neighbors. Thanks Al for your service and for your sharing. I will miss you. May you rest in peace and rise in glory.

And thanks to all those at WKBK who made your show possible.

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It works if you like it.

DSC_0426 A recent NYT article again sang the praises of HIIT but admitted that it can be difficult to maintain as an ongoing fitness practice. I would add that “one size does not fit all.” In HIIT as in other things, you have to find a workout that is right for you.found it in Max Workouts.
I have jogged for decades: three miles three times a week. It was getting harder and harder to do because it felt boring and I saw no physical improvement. Knowing about HIIT I tried the NYT 7 minute version and a couple of Tabata-style routines, none of which felt right for me. Last November, I started a program called MaxWorkouts developed by Shin Ohtake with his wife, Susan Ohtake. I bought the 123-page PDF. It was the best $39.95 I’ve ever spent on fitness.
The ebook walks you through a 4 level, 12 week program. Each week consists of 2 days of HIIT cardio and 3 days of HIIT strength training. I love this program, so I do it. Since November, I have been through the 12 week program twice. (It takes me more than 12 weeks to complete the program.) I took this last week off. Tomorrow I will start Round Three.

I don’t get bored: every day is challenging and different. I can see improvement in my strength and form and I’ve lost 5 pounds. Shin says his program gets you lean and strong. It does. It works if you work it, and anyone can work it as long as they like it. Who knows…you might like it! There are lots of detailed reviews on various websites, but frankly you can believe the descriptions and testimonials that appear on the MaxWorkouts website. If you’re thinking about HIIT, it is worth a look.

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Snapshot of a MOOC

DSC_0415The Camera Doesn’t Lie”  University of London at Royal Holloway, taught by Dr. Emmett Sullivan and available on Coursera.

From its earliest days, photography seemed to offer an objective, unmediated visual report of people, events and the world. More than an artist’s interpretation a photograph purported to be the real thing — the truth — because, “The Camera Doesn’t Lie.”

As we learned in the early weeks of this MOOC photographers, politicians and news editors sometimes do lie, or at least they photoshop. What purports to be a “truthful” photo or video may in fact be very editorial and very much the product of artistic or politically motivated alteration.

We looked at evidence of Hitler’s self-awareness as a public performer and image subject (the photos of Heinrich Hoffman), the Stalinist practice of “airbrushing” (editing out pictures of former friends once they disagreed with or opposed Stalin), photos from the American Civil Rights movement, and finally a comparison of two events (the battles of Mogadishu and the battle of Iwo Jima,) as they were presented in the news, social media, still photography, narrative non-fiction books and movies.

The course introduced me to the concept of Public History which is now about more than curating museum exhibits. It is about the popular version of historical events — especially the book and movie versions — which are full of artistic amendment, alteration and interpretation. Public history is not scholarly or academic history. It is much more influential and formative than scholarly or academic history.

I was reminded of the Coursera MOOC “The Pre-History of the Bible” which argued (I believe) that the Bible was essentially a kind of public history the purpose of which was to create a national identity in the absence of a state. But I digress.

The last three weeks of “The Camera Never Lies” are pure military history. If you like military history, you’ll probably enjoy the course. I enjoyed it very much. I learned a lot and I think I will be a more savvy consumer of “public history.”

A number of lectures rely heavily on photographs that neither Coursera nor the University of London has the right to use. Students are invited to look over the professor’s should at the image printed in a book. Not cool. Please get the rights or permission to use the images or find other images!

Some of the recommended books were easy to find (“Flags of Our Fathers” and “Black Hawk Down.”) Some were out of print and/or much to expensive to purchase (“Underexposed.”) I was able to rent one of the recommended texts (“Photography: A Cultural History” 4th ed.) from Amazon for $20. Who knew you could rent books from Amazon! Another book I found “used” on Amazon for $3.00 and in excellent condition. Finally, the public library came through with the book I needed for the Stalinist era (“The Commissar Vanishes.”) And it still continues to be the case that Coursera courses are free. It’s a great deal.

I and some others originally signed up for the course thinking that it would be about photography. It wasn’t. Having now gone back and re-read the course description, I see that I have no one to blame for this mistake but myself. It was a mistake I am glad I made.

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We have to allow God to change us.

Tom Shaw ssje (2)kids 9 (2)The morning of Bp Shaw’s death, the short-passage-for-the-day from the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE) was entitled “Eternal Life.”  It was this single sentence from a 2011 sermon by Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE:

“In order to enter eternal life, in order to share in the feast, the banquet prepared for us by God, we have to be changed. We have to allow God to change us.”

The entire sermon is lovely and well worth reading. And re-reading. But I find that one sentence so meaningful. I think it goes directly and clearly to the essence of the challenge of Christian life and I believe it was implicit in Tom Shaw’s ministry. He helped us to be changed. It was a privilege to be a priest in his diocese. I give thanks for my good fortune in that regard, and extend my sincere condolences to the brothers of his SSJE family.

Tom Shaw (2)

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Highland Games @ Loon Mountain, NH 2014


We spent yesterday at the Highland Games at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. We expected the weather to be chilly, but it was colder than that.


2014-09-20 00.11.59

Still, it was a great day: athletics, parades and pipe & drum competitions and some events we hope to go back for next year including sheep dog trials and Highland Dancing.

2014-09-20 00.13.17 (2)

2014-09-20 00.14.02 (2)We had worried in advance about access for persons with disabilities, and we were pleasantly surprised by what we found. Most of the event was held on paved surfaces: pretty easy to move a wheelchair around. Most venues had good seating arrangements — if we got to the venue early enough, we could find a spot from we could see the action. And the parking was great. A special lot for those with Handicap plates was set aside and staffed by a good number of persons. Three buses (with raised platform access) ran continuously between the parking lot and the event site. There was a bus ready to go when we arrived in the parking lot in the morning, and when we were ready to go back to the car in the afternoon, we waited less than 5 minutes for a bus. It was, in other words, well-planned and well-staffed.

Thanks to all who helped to make our day a pleasure!

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