26 NOVEMBER 2017 #39 A TALE OF TWO WEDDINGS

A TALE OF TWO WEDDINGS In the past month I was honored to be a guest at two weddings, one Muslim, one Hindu. The first was the marriage of Aitbubuu, my very fine student from Arabaev University in Kyrgyzstan (where I recently concluded my Peace Corps service). Her new husband is Ulan. Their wedding took place in Aitbubuu’s hometown, Naryn, a five hour drive south from Bishkek. I was invited to share the ride to Naryn with Aitbubuu and Ulan. To attend the second wedding a few weeks later, I took a short flight over the Himalya to attend the marriage celebration of Hirdesh and Aaron in the Indian town of Orchha. For more than 20 years, I have spent half … Read More

9 SEPTEMBER 2017 #36 TO KYRGYZSTAN AND INDIA AGAIN

In June I completed 4 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kyrgyzstan (as Visiting Professor of English at Arabaev University in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek).  Then home to Washington State, to reside with my elder daughter in Tacoma until my new apartment in Seattle becomes available. Except for August, which I spent visiting friends on the U.S. East Coast, I thought I’d be in Washington for awhile, putting finishing touches on my next book, SPACE AGE CHRONICLES — but weddings of two dear and long-lasting friends have persuaded me to return to Kyrgyzstan and India for the next two months. I left on the eighth of September and will return to the USA on the fifth of November. The first wedding — that … Read More

10 JUNE 2017 #31 SEATTLE, THE EMERALD CITY

SEATTLE, THE EMERALD CITY Seattle and its surroundings are full of greenery the year round. That’s why it is nicknamed The Emerald City … and it is altogether a wonderful city. In L. Frank Baum’s fantasy,“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy followed the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. My path to the real Emerald City won’t be made of yellow bricks. It will be an All Nippon Airways Dreamliner flight from Delhi to Tokyo and Tokyo to Seattle. I’ve completed my four-year Peace Corps service in Kyrgyzstan and a visit to my India home town, Khajuraho. Now I’ll get resettled in my American home town … get reorganized … and continue writing my next book, FUTURE CHRONICLES, to … Read More

31 MARCH 2017 #26 TACOMA TO BISHKEK IN 2 HOURS

IN THE NEAR FUTURE, SPACEPLANES — descendants of the Boeing X-37 in this artist’s rendering— will take off from Earth, arc into sub-orbit above the atmosphere (passengers will be weightless for awhile), then glide gently to a landing halfway around the globe in about 2 hours. NOT YET … but spaceplanes are already in development and people with a lot of money are buying tickets. When spaceplanes become common and economical, I can make the flight from Tacoma to Bishkek in about 2 hours. TODAY, however, I am just winding up my 32-hour journey from Tacoma to Bishkek, via Los Angeles and Moscow. — returning to finish my stint as Visiting Professor of the English Language at Arabaev University after … Read More

(E MINUS 223) 10 AUGUST 2015 #4 THE POWER OF HOPE

The following appeared in The Boston Globe on 14 May 2015: One of the most pressing social, moral, and economic quandaries of our time lies in this simple and depressing fact: more than a fifth of the people on the planet live on $1.25 or less a day. What can be done to lift up the “ultra-poor”? A team of MIT researchers has harnessed the tools of science to test one promising solution: a “big push” approach that helps poor people establish a livelihood. The three-year study, implemented in six countries starting in 2006, gave the poorest households a variety of supports, including a small savings account, mentoring, a resource such as goats or chickens, and money for food. A … Read More