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2017 Writerly Happenings

Hi, folks!

Here are 3 more exciting “writerly” events happening this summer:


“If everybody read Wendell Berry, I believe we’d have a shot at being more decent.”



Hope to see you at one, or all of these times!


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12 Things I Learned about Paris

  1. Wearing a suit in 90-degree weather is totally acceptable.
  2. English is a common denominator and most Parisians will help you translate
  3. Baguettes are a must – daily. (Especially on the train ride home)
  4. Their motto: work to live
  5. The Metropolitan is both above and below ground
  6. Dinner comes after work but not before a few hours spent socializing
  7. Brasseries are the ONLY way to spend time with friends
  8. They are genuinely kind and love their city deeply
  9. Cigarettes aren’t just in the movies
  10. Wine, cheese, crepes, & boulangeries 24/7
  11. Everyone is outside: young, middle, and old (and together)
  12. PDA is downright encouraged


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The Uncertainty of Travel, circa 2017.

Fun times abound.

If you travel somewhere, there’s about a gazillion warnings the CDC will throw at you. (I know they’re trying to do their job.)

And airports will inevitably warn you against bringing a contaminated fruit across the border. But, the list is crazy long now.

What was the last one you saw when you traveled abroad?

I think I was asked about 5 times one morning whether I had a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in my pocket or not. I kept shaking my head and thinking about how much that company probably regrets going live with their product.

Flammable. Watch out! Everyone might die!

And I read signs before we boarded the plane about airborne contagions, and I saw about one hundred (all men) in line to board a plane to Las Vegas with face masks on – not making eye contact with a soul.

And I was asked if I knew whether I was headed to a country with Zika infestations. My wife and I, of course, were.

The cold shoulder of travel. A few lines were check marked by the customs lady. We went West, South, and then more West, unsure of whether a mosquito bit us or not.

The signs in the airport said to take precautions against birth defects, etc., if you came into contact with a disease.

(No wonder Orwell’s 1984 is the most downloaded book online today.)

I’m still unsure of what (if anything) bit me last Christmas. But, like any good American, I’ll wait for the inevitable – for question marks to become periods. For rest to come and end the worry.

They’ve all gone to bed in the beds of their choices. – Dr. Seuss

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4 years 273 days at Sea.

4 years. 273 days. That’s the length of time one couple has sailed across various oceans of the world with Princess Cruise(s).

I only know this, because of a bulletin that recognized them as distinguished on a recent trip.

I couldn’t process that milestone. 1,733 days at sea. 1,733 vacation days. 1,733 days passed willy-nilly with endless watermelon and copious entertainment. How?

I haven’t had anything last that long in my life, have you?

I mean, apart from marriage, education, and well, breathing. [I’ve been alive that long but not much else.]

The couple’s picture was prominently displayed on the cruise line’s bulletin and I wondered what brought them out on the waters so much. Why would they keep sailing? And how the heck did they pay for it?

Has anything ever drawn your attention for so long? Any passion? Any hobby?

I can safely say I lose interest in things longer than a Netflix season.

This couple obviously found something in those 4 (almost 5) years at sea. But what? Did they secretly know where sunken treasure was and didn’t want to tell anyone else? Their secret resting miles below the ocean’s surface.

Maybe love was prodding them out to nature as they aged. It seems they could almost name a ship after you, if you cruised for 5 years with the same company.

Obviously Princess Cruises thought them significant enough to print their picture. But what was their story? What prodded them to embark for an eternity? Was it a Melvillian fixation with marine life?

Remember that song from the 90s by the band Fastball called “The Way”? It was about an elderly couple (Lela & Raymond Howard) who wandered from home one day and tragically drove over a cliff. Authorities indicated that they left their belongings behind and suffered from forgetfulness in their final hours.

I sometimes wonder what grabs our interests and keeps us enthralled. Imagine that something lasting for 5 years.

What do you care enough about to pursue for 1,733 days?


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How to not plan to travel abroad


In my infinite wisdom I thought it would be a grand idea to plan a trip abroad.

Thought being the key word here.

My wife had never left the country (beyond cruising to the Caribbean and a trip to Alaska…which let’s be honest…is the equivalent of leaving the U.S.).

So where to start?

A DNA test of course. I told her I needed to know my ancestry before I plunged into a country blindly. So I bought a saliva kit from and made my mark. (Still waiting on the test results. Can you believe it? When they say 6-8 weeks, they MEAN it!)

Then, I started talking to Leah about her ancestry – Slovenian. (Hey. At least she knows where her bloodline starts.) And I started jonesing about traveling first to her motherland and seeing relatives she didn’t know, before going to mine.

She smiled at the notion, and I admit, I wanted to travel all the more. [Even though I couldn’t tell you a single city located in Slovenia, but I think one starts with a Lub-something…]

Next, I started having dream sequences. Dreaming of Scottish castles and Edinburgh in the winter. Shakespeare plays and moors and moats. All of which sounded nice, even if I wasn’t the least bit Scottish.

Then, I looked at airfare. Yikes! Have you looked at airfare prices to Europe recently? Why don’t they call it airunfair or airrest (see what I did there?)?

But, last night is where I’d like to place the STOP sign of my dumbest moment, when I decided to rent a movie called No Escape from Redbox and subject my lovely wife to what ensued. Have you seen it? No one I know of has either…

Owen Wilson (yes, the man of Zoolander fame) and an actress I didn’t recognize travel to Thailand (or, Cambodia…I’m still not sure which) with their two daughters to relocate as a result of daddy’s new job. Upon arriving, Wilson’s character goes to get a newspaper and stumbles upon an angry mob in the midst of a coup. Wilson and company fight the next two hours against violence waged toward their American/British companies (yes, Pierce Brosnan shows up). The filmmakers love to pander to James Bond fanatics!

But as you can guess, this subject matter did nothing to embrace the notion that Leah and I should travel abroad. The movie featured assassinations and cruel depictions of assault. At one point Wilson’s daughter has to hold a gun against her father and is encouraged to pull the trigger.

Suffice it to say, I didn’t win any brownie points in a.) picking this winner & b.) (and most importantly) encouraging the Tucker family to travel abroad in 2017 or any year


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5 Things To-Do Before Vacation Starts


Prior to hitting the road –

  1. Setting aside swimming trunks (getting to use them in warmer climes after they’ve clogged your drawer space ALL YEAR LONG)
  2. Packing that 1 book you’ve been meaning to read FOR EONS
  3. Buying some favorite “road warrior” snacks – examples include: Beef jerky (Mingua, if you can find it), Clif bars (Carrot Cake), Twizzlers (Cherry Pull ‘n’ Peel), enough Coke Zero to get to Destination: Wherever
  4. Printing paper directions [Just in Case – power on the Eastern seaboard abates, cell phones die, tech fails mid-trip]
  5. Adding those top 10 favorite albums to your car playlist (yes, Bob Marley should be in there…somewhere)


Let’s go!