American Dream Inversion

Nina Yoshida Nelsen and Hae Ji Chang in the world premiere of An American Dream. © Philip Newton c/o Seattle Opera

Seattle Opera is one of Seattle’s biggest, most “establishment” arts organizations, but they are appropriately progressive to our left-coast city, relative to other major opera companies around the country. American Dream is the perfect example. I’m a little late in talking about American Dream, since I attended the very last performance. I think it’s still worth talking about it, even though the performances are over, because it completely inverts the typical opera experience. Continue reading

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Limiting Consequences, Constitution Article 1 §3.7

Democracy is hard, but it helps if you know what you’re doing. I want to be better at democracy so I’m studying the Constitution, and blogging what I learn.

When I was in college, I had a biology professor who often referred to experiments as ‘elegant.’ The elegant experiments were simply designed, but revealed profound results. Democracy is often referred to as an experiment. The democratic experiment is messy – scientists would say there’s a lot of noise in the data. But the design in the Constitution is elegant, and worthy of study.

After all, we must all be Constitutional scholars to get valid results.

Continue reading

Lopez Grocery

The San Juan Islands hold a special place in Northwest hearts. Idyllic islands not too far from the comforts of home, they seem to exist with an Instagram filter that blends nostalgia and progressiveness. The first time I went camping on Lopez Island, I turned down a little dirt driveway onto a farm that had posted a “Fresh Produce” sign by the street. Pulling up in front of a big barn, I couldn’t see any sign of recent habitation. But just inside I found these refrigerators, a table with a scale, a chalkboard listing the prices of everything available that day, and a cash box with a piggy bank slot for payment.

About Impeachment, Constitution Article 1 §3.6

Democracy is hard, but it helps if you know what you’re doing. I want to be better at democracy so I’m studying the Constitution, and blogging what I learn. I read through the entire Constitution on Memorial Day. It was a short read, and seemed simple. But it’s kind of dry and easy to skim over. So now I’m going back through and studying each clause to make sure I really get it.

Let me know if you think I don’t, or if you have insights I miss. After all, in a functioning democracy we should all be Constitutional scholars. Continue reading

Cat City Reykjavik

When you travel, have you ever noticed that there cat cities and dog cities? Tokyo is a cat city. When I’m in Japan, I always carry a package of dried fish with me to tempt the stray kitties. Everywhere in India, stray dogs roam the streets. There is not a cat to be found. Reykjavik is known for its cats. They even have their own Facebook page. But I didn’t know that at first.

 

The first time I went to Reykjavik was for Airwaves. It was early November and we partied amidst hurricane-force winds. I didn’t see any cats. The next time it was April and warmer, but I was in class all day and didn’t wander the city much, except in large groups that would scare away any half intelligent animal. But the third time was in July. I was in the Eastfjords most of the time, but I spent my last day at the botanical garden in Reykjavik, marveling at how it looked like a Seattle garden in May, and making friends with this guy.

He never let me get close enough to pat him, but he followed me for nearly an hour as I wandered through the lilacs and buttercups. Reykjavik is a cat city.

Article 1 §3.5 Pro Tempore Presidents

Democracy is hard, but it helps if you know what you’re doing. I want to be better at democracy so I’m studying the Constitution, and blogging what I learn. I read through the entire Constitution on Memorial Day. It was a short read, and seemed simple. But it’s kind of dry and easy to skim over. So now I’m going back through and studying each clause to make sure I really get it.

Let me know if you think I don’t, or if you have insights I miss. After all, in a functioning democracy we should all be Constitutional scholars. Continue reading

Blue Poppy

 

I visited the Reykjavik Botanical Garden one July, and discovered that it looked a lot like any Seattle garden in May. Lilacs and rhodies, spring bulbs – the usual. Probably quite an achievement in that cold climate, but ordinary to gardens from warmer climes. There were some interesting near-arctic natives. And then there was this. The Himalayan blue poppy, Meconopsis. Stuff of legend and 4-inch pots costing $10 or more. I have tried so often to grow them, and never with any success. But here they were, happily blooming in Reykjavik.