Rediscovering the Beauty of My Home County

Camp Monroe, in Scotland County, NC on an early November day in 2017.  The colors were extraordinary. Growing up near here, I did not think of it as a particularly beautiful area. In my mind's eye, the black and white photo was more like what I remembered, dark, decaying and somewhat haunted. But after eight... Continue Reading →


Back to Nature After 8 Years Away

Americans may do a better job of integrating the natural environment into their daily lives than citizens of many other countries. I newly appreciate that as I am rediscovering America after eight years living abroad. I biked 18 miles in crisp fall weather around Winston Salem, NC with my son Matthew. What an extraordinarily beautiful country... Continue Reading →

What Makes New Mexico a “Land of Enchantment”?

New Mexico pegs itself as "the land of enchantment." In a five-day visit, I found this to be true because of its stark landscapes, iconic architecture, endless outdoor activities, southwestern cuisine and a wide mix of cultures competing for influence and yet basically getting along and defining what it means to be American: descendants of native tribes, Spanish conquistadors,... Continue Reading →

6 Months In and Out of Hawaii

One lucky young man, Matthew Buie-Nervik was a sound-engineer in the entertainment division of Princess Cruise lines, 2007-8. His assignment: to cruise from western U.S. cities and Vancouver, BC, CA to Hawaii, where he would often have days off to explore the islands. Photo Essays: Red Mountain Hiking Touring Pearl Harbor Searching for Evidence of... Continue Reading →

Scottish Remained Clannish in America for Generations

Securely assimilated immigrants always complain that newer immigrants don't assimilate quickly enough. But when the English, Scots and older European immigrants came to America, they did not quickly "assimiliate" -- they generally inter-married with others of their ethnicity for the first generations in America. When my Scottish ancestors arrived in America in the 1700s from... Continue Reading →

Mixed Feelings About National Anthem

As Americans debate the role of protest during the national anthem at national sporting events, this video by evangelical preacher Dudley Rutherford, of a megachurch in California, has attracted, as of September 2017, an audience of more than six million on, and 2.8 million shares on Facebook even though it is mostly not true.... Continue Reading →

Of God and American Football, ‘Touchdown Jesus’, Hail Mary Passes, Religious Expression and Protest

Strolling through the campus of Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, a friend and I encountered the famous "Touchdown Jesus" mural near the football stadium. The upraised arms of the resurrected Jesus are similar to those of a referee signaling a touchdown. In American culture, football and Christianity have a peculiar relationship. It's common... Continue Reading →

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