Author Archives: Alan

About Alan

The editor is a former systems manager for a large California-based HMO, and a former senior systems manager for Northrop, Hughes-Raytheon, Computer Sciences Corporation, Perot Systems and other such organizations. One position was managing the financial and payroll systems for a large hospital chain. And somewhere in there was a two-year stint in Canada running the systems shop at a General Motors locomotive factory - in London, Ontario. That explains Canadian matters scattered through these pages. Otherwise, think large-scale HR, payroll, financial and manufacturing systems. A résumé is available if you wish. The editor has a graduate degree in Eighteenth-Century British Literature from Duke University where he was a National Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and taught English and music in upstate New York in the seventies, and then in the early eighties moved to California and left teaching. The editor currently resides in Hollywood California, a block north of the Sunset Strip.

Old Iron Pants

Maybe you had to be there, but 1968 was an amazing year. People write books about that year – and there still are television specials – because that was the year of the Tet Offensive and Walter Cronkite telling America … Continue reading

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The Heart and Mind of America

The French-born master historian of all things American was Jacques Barzun – an outsider who became an insider. He could fit America in the great sweep of Western Civilization and explain all sorts of cultural phenomena, but he too could … Continue reading

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Scotland Votes

Thirty-three years ago Southern California seemed like a fine idea. It wasn’t Rochester, New York. There were surfers and palm trees, and there was work. The booming aerospace industry was hiring everyone in sight, and Hughes and TRW and all … Continue reading

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The General Idea Again

The basics are pretty clear. We have a government of the people and by the people and for the people, where the military reports to an official elected by the people, the president. The military may have the guns, but … Continue reading

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Consenting to be Fooled Again

“Water, water every where, and not a drop to drink…” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge gave us that earworm in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – perhaps the silliest famous poem in all of literature. Many millions of schoolchildren will never forgive … Continue reading

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Peter Pan at War

There’s no need to discuss Ovid and Jung and the mythic archetype of the child-god who is forever young – or the old guy whose emotional life is that of an adolescent, who says it’s all about independence and freedom, … Continue reading

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By Any Other Name

One of the most famous lines in literature is “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” – Juliet telling Romeo that the names of things don’t matter. She’s referring to family names – “Deny thy father and … Continue reading

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