I attended school in Granville, Ohio from second to twelfth grade, except for sixth grade in Brookline, Massachusetts and tenth grade in Portland, Oregon. Both were wonderful years, and I looked forward to more traveling. Books and films were other ways to explore the world, but before the internet and web you really had to travel. People you encountered were curious about you. It is easier now, but the allure remains. My family’s last four summer trips involved white-water rafting on the Colorado, helping primates in South Africa, ecoutorism and illness in Costa Rica and South Africa, and teaching in Thailand.

Other interests are reflected below in things I read and watched, liked and thought about, and in what I have written about. A liberal arts education let me explore the humanities while double-majoring in mathematics-physics. Authors I read exhaustively included Arthur Koestler, Aldous Huxley, Norman Mailer, Bertrand Russell, Jack Kerouac, and Thomas Pynchon.

I saw few movies and little television as a child, but in college I was transfixed by film. I love psychologically plausible dramas and comedies. When our daughters were young, I was surprised at how few good role models there were in film beyond Dorothy. That has improved, some.

The examples below include favorite directors, authors and genres. I may later add science fiction, which occupied me as a reader and (unpublished) writer for decades, and music. But I have not kept pace with sci fi (except in film), or contemporary music beyond my daughters’ favorites. I struggle to appreciate their choices, as my parents did with Dylan, Lennon, and Miles Davis.

Favorite Films


     without subtitles
The Man in the Glass Booth
The King of Marvin Gardens
The Mission
The Last Temptation of Christ
Apocalypse Now
Saving Private Ryan

     with subtitles
The Bicycle Thief
Nights of Cabiria
Wild Strawberries
Do Deska Den
Day for Night
Man Facing Southeast


Harold and Maude
King of Hearts
Annie Hall
Blazing Saddles
Guardians of the Galaxy


Fog of War
Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers
Bowling for Columbine
The Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner
The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl

For Children

Alice in Wonderland
Finding Nemo
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


The Wire
The West Wing
In Treatment
Wolf Hall
The Crown
(The Prisoner was for many years my favorite, not sure how it holds up.)



The Act of Creation
Armies of the Night
Born to Rebel
Francis Bacon: History of a Character Assassination
History of the Peloponnesian War (Thucydides)


Gravity’s Rainbow
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Point Counterpoint
Things Fall Apart


“The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one’s love upon other human individuals.” George Orwell, Reflections on Gandhi

“Does Britannia, when she sleeps, dream? Is America her dream? – in which all that cannot pass in the metropolitan Wakefulness is allow’d Expression away in the restless Slumber of these Provinces, and on West-ward, wherever ’tis not yet mapp’d, nor written down, nor ever, by the majority of Mankind, seen,- serving as a very Rubbish-Tip for subjunctive Hopes, for all that may yet be true,-Earthly Paradise, Fountain of Youth, Realms of Prester John, Christ’s Kingdom, ever behind the sunset, safe till the next Territory to the West be seen and recorded, measur’d and tied in, back into the Net-Work of Points already known, that slowly triangulates its Way into the Continent, changing all from subjunctive to declarative, reducing Possibilities to Simplicities that serve the ends of Governments,- winning away from the realm of the Sacred, its borderlands one by one, and assuming them into the bare mortal World that is our home, and our Despair.” Thomas Pynchon, Mason & Dixon

“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects; in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusions may remain inviolate. And therefore it was a good answer that was made by one who when they showed him hanging in a temple a picture of those who had paid their vows as having escaped shipwreck, and would have him say whether he did not now acknowledge the power of the gods, “Aye,” asked he again, “but where are they painted that were drowned, after their vows?” And such is the way of all superstition, whether in astrology, dreams, omens, divine judgments, or the like; wherein men, having a delight in such vanities, mark the events where they are fulfilled, but where they fail, though this happen much oftener, neglect and pass them by. But with far more subtlety does this mischief insinuate itself into philosophy and the sciences; in which the first conclusion colours and brings into conformity with itself all that come after, though far sounder and better…” Francis Bacon, First Book of Aphorisms

“The night had written a check that daylight couldn’t cash.” Thomas McGuane, Panama