If a place like Sparks Lake existed within 100 miles of a major city, the place would be a zoo. Thankfully it’s in Central Oregon, just about a 40-minute drive from Bend along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. On a recent Saturday morning, there were...

The evolution of digital photography has made it cost effective to be a narcissist. And the emergence of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others provides today’s Digital Narcissist (DN)-LOOK AT ME! LIKE THIS! FOLLOW ME!- with ample platforms to indulge their apparently...

When you’re traveling across America via our interstate highways, it’s easy to slip into a zombie-like trance where you are still awake and alive but only in a technical sense. For all intents and purposes, you are a dead man driving- drifting from one chain...

Please listen carefully, as our menu options have changed. Why does seemingly every corporation in America place this empty warning in their phone tree message? I’m going to answer my own question here: because they know we are impatient bastards who want to press 0 to...

The news this week that Pope Francis told a woman married to a divorced man that she had the right to take communion had me thinking about another initiative I’d like to see the Pontiff tackle: streamlining mass. Don’t get me wrong- I’d also like...

White Sox fans are used to feeling like members of a cult, shunned by Chicagoland’s mainstream Cubbie-centric culture; their rooting allegiance considered nothing more than a deviant fetish. But until this week, I never considered the fact that this cultural bias would spill over into...

36 brochures, weighing in at a total of 4.2 pounds, 23 business cards, a flash drive from Indonesia, a microfiber cloth from Quebec, and a bookmark from Yap, a remote Pacific island where they still use stone money. That’s what I brought home from my...

If you’ve spent any time on this blog, you’ve probably noticed that I sometimes like to share nuggets of wisdom with you, my dear readers. Here’s a tip I learned from reading a story in theBuffalo News today: if you’re on your way to court...

I’ve been a compulsive traveler for more than twenty years. During that time, I have taken well over 100 trips to 45 U.S. states, 6 Canadian provinces and more than 50 countries. I have never, ever regretted a single trip. Travel is the one expenditure...

My son James is only 4 but he’s already smart enough to know that he doesn’t want to work for a living. His preschool is hosting a career dress up day this week where the students are supposed to dress up like a person working...

Every time I come back to the U.S. from a Mediterranean country, I feel like I live in the quietest, most boring place on earth. And I live in Chicago, dear reader, not Glad Valley, South Dakota, (America’s McFarthest place) or Henderson, Nevada. (The most...

I’m a curmudgeon, I know. But at the risk of sounding like the late Andy Rooney, can someone please tell me why the fuck anyone would spend good money on a magnet that says “Yay! Me!” I saw this and dozens of other “Yay!” magnets...

If someone asked you, at age 5, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” What would you have said? My five-year-old son, Leo, graduated from preschool today and while you might laugh at the notion of a preschool commencement exercise, I have...

It was a perfectly imperfect game. Everyone made contact with the ball. Eventually. Errors were made- typically several on each play, though I’m not sure how the scoring works when teammates tackle each other in a rugby scrum fighting for a ground ball. And no...

If I ever become the world’s fattest man, I won’t be granting any interviews. And I definitely won’t be posing for photo shoots. I read with fascination astory by Sarah Lyall in The New York Times last week about Paul Mason, a British man who...

My three-year-old son, James, is a brutally honest lad. “Daddy, I love mommy better than you,” he says just about every week. And he’s not kidding either. When my wife is out of town, he acts more loving toward me, but as soon as she returns, he’s...

I’m the kind of guy who never forgets a good cookie. Eleven years ago, I worked for a publisher- Northwestern University Press in Evanston- and I used to frequent a place called Al’s Deli that had otherworldly butter cookies. Al’s was one of the few...

I don’t expect other parents to mirror my parenting style but sometimes there is real peer pressure to conform to how other parents want you to act. My sons, ages 3 and 5, like to play at Barnes & Noble, because they have a huge...

In an age where texts, tweets and Facebook posts are all but replacing live telephone conversations, it’s becoming harder and harder to connect with friends on the phone. It’s almost embarrassing how often I play phone tag with friends and family members. It is not...

I knew we were in trouble as soon as I saw the grave look on the campground owner’s face. He was standing with his arms folded across his chest as we drove up the path toward our campsite and as we inched closer toward him,...

My hatred of the Yankees and their fans borders on the pathological. I see the Yankees logo on a hat or a bumper sticker and I immediately formulate a negative opinion of the person brandishing it. If Mother Theresa had been a Yankees fan, I...

The golden-vested front man of the Marlin Latin Band is leading a crowd of mostly middle-aged Europeans in a choreographed line dance, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in North America since the heady days of disco and Saturday Night Fever. He calls out...