I am a 62-year-old Scotch-Irish male with an attitude the size of the Grand Canyon and a sense of wonder as big as the Milky Way galaxy. During my younger years, I was never one to settle down in a traditional role with wife, kids, house in the suburbs, pension plan, insurances, or any other claptrap of society at the time. I often lived on the outer fringes of conventional life. Then all of a sudden, I woke up one morning in my fortieth year and realized I was old.
Some things about my youth have not changed and hopefully never will. Not being the type of person to chase the almighty corporate dollar for a safe and secure existence on the assembly-line of correct society, I spent most of my working life as a social services worker and sometimes political activist. For the past 16 years, I have been a Wine Steward/Department Manager in one of the Pacific Northwest's biggest grocery chains. I am now retired.
In 1994, I declared myself a humanist after a lifetime of being a political and religious True Believer. The flavor of humanism I boldly embraced was the "pragmatic humanism" of those three great 20th century philosophers: John Dewey, Bertrand Russell, and Sidney Hook. I was raised a Christian fundamentalist and the world seemed just fine until I read Kersey Graves book, The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors. My faith in the fundamentalist worldview went down the toilet. I then did time in the popular and mostly benign Eckankar cult. Then I dabbled very briefly in the Parent-Line teachings of the Radhasomai Faith-based in Agra, India. After a two-year stint studying Soto Zen Buddhism at the Dharma Rain Center in Portland, Oregon, I finally gave up on the New Age and chucked it all from my worldview.
During these years of cult-hopping, I also had a very torrid love affair with Marxist-Leninist Thought. (What a mixed bag of ideology, eh?) I finally realized I was simply trading one set of fundamentalist party-line thought for another flavor, without making any headway in life. Martin Marty's three volume masterpiece, The Fundamentalism Project, played a critical role in my decision to declare myself a humanist. Since ripping off the albatross of religious and utopian thinking from around my neck, life has actually gotten less confusing and much happier. I have come to know deep and abiding peace within myself.
I was born with a political conscience. From the moment I attempted to read the introduction to Karl Marx's, Das Kapital, in the sixth grade, I knew that social justice would be a dominant theme throughout my life. I may not have been able to articulate this need for social justice at such a young age, but I knew the feeling and had the awareness that things were not right with the world.
In the 1970's, I was a card-carrying socialist and even flirted with the idea of becoming a member of the Communist Party USA. During the 1980's, I belonged to the Democratic Party. During the 1990's, I was a member of the Oregon Pacific Party - a local affiliate of the National Greens. For the past 17 years, I have been an "unaffiliated independent." I have come to the conclusion that all political party's are simply corporate or special interest whores, who have more interest in a narrow agenda than the people they claim to support.
I have volunteered for many causes in the past, including the right to privacy, decriminalization of marijuana, death with dignity, and the right to choose.
My cultural interests include Celtic folk music, the old English comedies on PBS, foreign films (especially by the renowned and late director, Akira Kurosawa), and the theater. I read many magazines and journals including, Free Inquiry, Skeptical Inquirer, Atlantic Monthly, Linux Journal, Martha Stewart Living, Food & Wine, Sky & Telescope, and the New York Review of Books.
My hobbies are few. For the past 40 years, I have been an aficionado of Homeric literature. In my humble opinion, The Illiad and the Odyssey are the greatest examples of heroic epic writing ever produced by the human race. Of all the translations of Homer I've read, the translation by Alexander Pope is by far my favorite. I have read nearly one hundred scholarly books about Homer and his times since my passion was ignited by an English teacher in high school. I re-read the Homeric classics, at least, every five years and it never gets boring.
For the past 30 years, I have been living in the Concordia neighborhood, of Northeast Portland, Oregon. My time is spent writing poems, essays, and stories to amuse myself and others.