Doodling with Snoopy

My wife travels with me and my golf partner, Shawn Barker…not because she loves golf. She simply loves the surroundings and the time spent wandering places like Flagstaff and Monterey and Santa Rosa. After a yoga session in Santa Rosa this past week, she sat alone in a coffee shop and a man across the aisle sat with his dog. Karen wore sunglasses but no makeup, and was still sweaty from hot yoga. The man looked over at Karen and said, “That’s the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen.” The man finished his coffee, got up and slowly walked past Karen’s table and he said to the dog, “Yep, most beautiful women I’ve ever seen.”

Which made me feel good because I’ve always wanted to be married to the most beautiful women in the world.

This is why I want to be a travel writer when I grow up, not because of sumptuous food or remarkable scenery,

Crepeville Sacramento
Crepe with Prawns, mushrooms, peppers, and pesto in Sacramento

but simply because when we travel, we meet people and discover stories and those stories spin around my brain like moths around a lamp at midnight. I write like a child doodling because the flurrying moths inside my head can only escape through the point of a pencil onto paper. 

This makes sense to me as I affectionately call my eldest daughter noodles and she calls me doodles. Maybe she calls me that simply because it rhymes with noodles, but now I know the deeper reason. I doodle.  

My favorite doodler hails from Santa Rosa, California, where we vacationed. His name is Charles Schulz, and he doodled Charlie Brown and Linus and Snoopy and an entire neighborhood of children who heard all grown up words as simply a muted trombone played by a jazz musician…wahwahwahwahwahwah…which is remarkably artistic. Karen and I are not artists, but we are doodlers, and we have a go-to doodle, a solitary subject each time we feel the need to draw.

Mine is Charlie Brown.

Charlie Brown
I drew this much better in 4th grade



Karen’s is a flop-eared puppy.

Puppy dog doodle Karen
Karen’s doodle dog


Four days in Santa Rosa gave us the opportunity to see the majestic redwoods

Redwood vertical
This redwood is taller than a football field is long

 

and countless rows of grapes traversing the Sonoma County hills, and to hear stories about the man who inspired my artless doodle, Charles Schulz. Since I have always loved the Peanuts comic strip as well as the animated cartoon, it was a joy to meet a tennis partner of Mr. Schulz on our trip to Sonoma County.

Redwood and Karen
This redwood is taller, wider, and older than my wife…but not prettier


Dean James has a welcoming face that looks like a sun-faded catchers mitt and kind learned eyes that twinkle like stars when he tells stories about Sparky, as his close friends refer to Mr. Schulz. Dean swims every morning at 5 A.M. and is an avid tennis player who often played with Sparky.

Dean was also a well-known professional golfer who used to work at the Oakmont Golf Club. He started his professional career in Utah at the Alpine Country Club in 1959, then went to such locales as the Monterey Peninsula Country Club and Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club.                                                                                                                                     

Golf Mayacama hole 2
Mayacama Golf Club Hole 2

While playing golf at Mayacama, on the final hole, while I prepared to hit a hybrid to the green from 215 yards, a doe and fawn ambled onto the green and the fawn brusquely lunged underneath her mother to suckle while I waited for the green to clear. The mother shook off the fawn as if to say, “You’ve had your fill,” and I hit a high draw onto the lower plateau of the green. Dean told us that Mr. Schulz owned these 1,600 acres of rolling hills north of Santa Rosa.  He sold it and Jack Nicklaus then designed and built the Mayacama golf course.

There is a signature par five hole with a lovely high vista and a series of hair pin trails. Dean said, “A Stanford Heisman quarterback drove off that cart trail and into a steep thorny ravine but I can’t think of his name.” I could only remember one Heisman quarterback from Stanford, so I said, “Jim Plunkett?” Dean’s eyes lit up and he said, “Yes, Jim Plunkett!”

Dean told us that in 1967, trying to qualify for the Bing Crosby golf championship at Pebble Beach, he three-putted the final hole to miss qualifying by one shot. But he got to play Pebble Beach after all, when Charles Schulz subsequently asked his tennis buddy to play with him in the pro-am at the Crosby. He did for several years then was replaced on Schulz team by the golf legend Johnny Miller. Dean graduated from BYU and knew Mr. Miller, who also graduated from BYU and was also a friend of Mr. Schulz. Charles Schulz died 18 years ago and Dean told us about a conversation with Johnny Miller regarding the eulogy. Dean said to Johnny, “You are a tv golf announcer, you should do the eulogy.” Mr. Miller told Dean, “No, you do it.” And so Dean spoke at the eulogy along with Billie Jean King at Mr. Schulz memorial.

One day Dean was playing doubles with Sparky and Dean missed a couple shots into the net. Dean slammed his racquet into the right net support shattering it into a useless heap of leather, string, and fiberglass. Schulz reminded Dean of that outburst from time to time…until one day Dean opened the paper and saw this Peanuts strip:

snoopy tennis
The comic strip inspired by Dean James

Dean James still has a copy of this comic strip autographed by Charles Schulz.

That’s a pretty cool doodle!

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Midnight Confession

Word.

 

Word is a strange word…the longer you stare at it, the odder it becomes.

Stranger still is the moment you hear correct words in a song after many years of singing the wrong words.

Karen was making a Margherita pizza last night while singing Midnight Confession, a song by The Grass Roots from 1968. I love that song, although I never knew the hook line.

The sound of your footsteps, Telling me that you’re near, Your soft gentle motion, babe, It brings out a need in me that nobody hears, except, In my midnight confessions, when I tell all the world that I love you…

At various times in the past 40 years, instead of midnight confessions, I have heard the words…

in my imagination

in morning at confession

in my denied confections

Misheard lyrics are difficult to remove from memory, like trying to rid your inner jukebox of Love Shack by the B-52’s. Wrong words and kitschy tunes won’t leave without a fight. But, when the real lyrics are revealed, the song sounds different because we aren’t imposing our own meaning upon the original.  When Karen and I suddenly discovered the right words, we sang it out loud in the kitchen. We had to purge the old idea and restore the original…in my midnight confession, when i tell all the world that I love you…which really seems to go well with a Margherita pizza and someone you love.

Another song from the Sixties, The Boxer, by Simon and Garfunkel, speaks of mumbles and words that we want to hear…

“I am just a poor boy
Though my story’s seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocket full of mumbles, such are promises.
All lies and jests
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest”

Human nature is to hear words we want to hear. Even when we can’t understand them, there they are, deep within us, waiting to break out, and once we hear and comprehend, they are no longer misheard lyrics. The truth, once hidden, is now revealed and the meaning transformed.

Harmony of word and melody is not only human, it is divine. In fact, the very idea of Word and Song goes back to a couple of verses in the Bible.

“In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth…”

There is lyricism and poetry repeated throughout Genesis chapter 1.

And God said…

And the evening and the morning were…

And God saw that it was good…

And God saw that it was very good…

Love spoke and animated the universe. The Word spoke and words became matter and the creation song… beauty, love, and relationship…began to shape the heart of humanity like a three-step waltz. 

This is why we sing in the kitchen…maybe this is generally why humans sing at all…because we understand words more deeply when they are set to music. To paraphrase Genesis 1…

In the beginning was the song of Creation and it was beautiful, as melody and harmony animated the universe in 3/4 time. 

If creation then is song, there must be words, otherwise all the songs we sing are jests and mumbles. There is another lyrical text from the Gospel of John that looks back at creation.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” 

The Lyric was always there.

The Word went looking for a choir.

There is a song heard daily in nature. It is the song of the loon on a New Hampshire lake, the roll of thunder echoing off granite in Colorado, it is the surf beating measures against coastal rocks at Cape Horn, the approaching percussion of bison hooves on the Oklahoma plains.

The universe is singing a song that rhymes. It makes me want to sing while hiking with my son or making a pizza with my wife.

And to pay attention…to the lyrics, the notes, the entire symphony.

I hear it has a pretty good finale.

Colorado Travelogue: Red Bank

I tagged along with Karen to a yoga studio in Denver on our vacation. On the mat next to Karen is a woman who lives in Connecticut, although she grew up in Red Bank, NJ.

Karen grew up in New Jersey and we lived in Tabernacle, NJ during our early years of marriage. We are stretching and sharing stories about the Jersey Shore. I have never heard of Red Bank, NJ.

Later, we walked along Broadway avenue to Illegal Pete’s for some mexican food. We strolled by a creaky weathered bookstore with a rack of $3 books and I picked up a thick regal-looking volume of “Edmund Wilson: a Life in Literature.

I read the synopsis inside the cover and put the book back on the sidewalk rack and went into Pete’s. After savoring a carnitas bowl and soft tortilla, we walked back down the sidewalk and I passed by the book rack, until my daughter Lauren said, “Aren’t you going to buy the book?”

I took the book inside, handed the clerk a twenty and she fumbled around trying to find seventeen bucks change. Apparently this isn’t a cash infused enterprise.

I opened the book and read the first two sentences.

“Born May 8, 1895, Edmund Wilson, Jr., was a shy boy, the only child of Edmund and Helen Mather Kimball Wilson. He grew up in Red Bank, New Jersey, thirty-some miles south of New York, near the ocean.”

I wondered if the Connecticut lady on the mat who grew up in Red Bank, knew any relatives of Edmund Wilson.

What made me pick up one book…only one book off that rack?

Life is full of wonder.

 

55

Yesterday was Karen’s birthday. She is 55, but tells me her bones feel 65.

She looks 35. I’m a lucky man.

We went to the mall before dinner to check out Dillard’s 30% off of 50% sale where they price things really high then make you do complex math in your head to figure out the real price. After a while, I realize that I don’t need a pair of stylish Dior socks originally $20 but now $7 so I sit on a recliner in the middle of the mall and read 126 Happy Birthday wishes on Karen’s Facebook feed. This is obvious, but she has way more friends than me. Here is one of my favorites:

Happiest of birthdays to one of the best friends in my life. We may not see each other often, but when we do, we are just as goofy as we were in high school. Love you, Karen Mason Taylor!

Kim, you are spot on! She is goofy. Cute, but goofy.

We ate dinner at Laffa, described on the menu as Mediterranean & Middle Eastern. I asked our waitress what was different about the Israeli Cappuccino. She said, “It has a little whipped cream on top.” I replied, “OK, give me the Hot Green Lemon Ginger Honey Tea,” because whipped cream sounded Bavarian and I wanted something more Jewish and with a longer name.

We love the laffa which is a kind of bread. The menu says that laffa is named after the conical oven that is used to make it and that bread is thought of as a gift from God and only the hands should be used to break it because cutting it with a knife would be like raising a sword to God!  If some bread should fall to the ground, it is picked up and symbolically pressed to the lips & forehead as a sign of respect.

We tore Laffa bread with our bare hands and dipped it into West African Hummus-spicy, sweet potato & peanut hummus with a touch of coconut served with curried tehina, balsamic glaze & feta and Muhammara-roasted red pepper spread made with eggplant, walnuts, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic & spices.

There is even advice on the menu from a Jewish grandma which was apparently stolen by my grandma since my people are not as old as the Jewish peoples…(we are Upper Corner White Bread Okies…paternal grandparents northeastern Oklahoma and maternal grandparents northwestern Oklahoma panhandle):

“EAT! You’re skin and bones!”
– Every Jewish grandma’s catchphrase (Along with “take a sweater!”)

We dined with my brother Greg and his wife Jill. I always enjoy our conversations with Greg and Jill. They understand us. We talked about our children who are college age to 28 years old.

Karen is lower right if you need help

Isn’t it interesting how children believe their parents to be fools when they are of “a certain age” and then they pass through vintage moment(s), return to us, and want to hang out, ask for advice, laugh at our jokes (or at least not roll their eyes quite as dramatically)…and yet they are still our children, only smarter than us, better looking, and somehow poised and eloquent and we think it strangely odd?

Except for some moments when they revert to childhood bath hairdos. 

Before dinner, we parked near the Tulsa Performing Arts Center so after the 8:00 showing of the musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, we would have a short walk in the downtown cold and darkness. I brought a stocking cap for the walk from the restaurant to the PAC which any Jewish grandmother would have admired. I told Karen my hat gives me such warmth that I would be happy to sleep outside tonight if I had to. She said that I could still snuggle with her if I wanted which made me glad I married her.

You can never be too careful or plan too well. This is how you get when celebrating birthdays on the downslope of 100 years…as if it matters at this point.

Birthdays change along with us, marking our lives like pencil marks on a door jamb. Some have fat candles, others pin tails on donkeys. This one was fine wine in a vintage oak cask. It was good to stroll along a city street with my girl during the calm of a winter’s evening, basking in the warm glow of family and conversation and a lovely table of food.

Happy birthday my love!

Le Temps

Certain languages, including French and Bulgarian, have one word for both“time” and “weather.” The French is rendered Le Temps.

One of my treasured moments as a Dad combined weather, time, and beauty. I was sitting on a peak in Arkansas with my son on a Sunday morning singing while watching a thunderstorm roll in not from above but from our flank as it wrapped itself around the mountain and we were, for just a moment, spun into a vortex of time and weather that made my heart skip a beat. The weather became time and time became weather and God seemed very near.

My son taught me to look at the sky. My daughter constantly reminds me of the beauty all around. Brandon is a meteorologist. Lauren, a budding artist and designer. I read some excerpts from this book and thought of them.

Maira Kalman and writer Daniel Handler celebrate in Weather, Weather —  the idea of what I saw on that mountain with my son. I only wish I had taken a picture.

There is a picture in Weather, Weather, taken by Carl T. Gosset Jr./ The New York Times: “This Photo Was Made Just before 4 P.M. at Broadway and 43rd Street, Looking East across Times Square.” July 24, 1959 

weatherweather_kalmanhandler10

In this picture, time stands still for me even though it was 58 years ago. A man stands with a hand in his pocket looking down at the sidewalk oblivious to the torrent of rain as two women dressed vaguely like my mother dodge puddles and shrink against the elements as they run across a New York street.

I was born the day after this picture was taken. And yet it was only yesterday…

Here are some pictures from Weather, Weather by Maira Kalman and the writer Daniel Handler. Enjoy!

weatherweather_kalmanhandler7

Illustration by Maira Kalman, based on Hatsuo Ikeuchi’s Snowflakes, c. 1950

 

weatherweather 2

László Moholy-Nagy: The Diving Board, 1931

 

weatherweather_kalmanhandler4

Illustration by Maira Kalman, based on Man Diving, Esztergom by André Kertész, 1917

 

weatherweather_kalmanhandler8

I was in my room wondering what it was like somewhere else.

What’s the weather like?

It’s like summer. It’s like doing nothing.

Delicious.

Illustration by Maira Kalman, based on Alfred Stieglitz’s Apples and Gable, Lake George, 1922

 

weatherweather_kalmanhandler9

The newspaper said it would be nice today.

What does the newspaper know.

International News Photo: “The Portent of Coming Disaster: A Tornado, Photographed as It Moved across the Sky toward White, S.D., by a Cameraman Who Was the Only Person Who Did Not Take Shelter in a Cyclone Cellar. None of the Buildings Shown in the Picture Was Damaged, as They Were Not in the Direct Path of the Tornado,” 1938 

 

 

weatherweather_kalmanhandler11

 Illustration by Maira Kalman, based on Barney Ingoglia’s photograph for the New York Times article “Rain Raises Fears of Flooding: Pedestrians in Times Square Wading through a Puddle as Heavy Rains Began Yesterday. The Rain Was Expected to Continue Today, Melting Much of the Snow and Causing Fears of Flooding,” January 25, 1978

 

weatherweather_kalmanhandler12

Clarence H. White: Drops of Rain, 1903

 

weatherweather_kalmanhandler14Illustration by Maira Kalman, based on Children Playing in Snow by John Vachon, 1940

 

weatherweather_kalmanhandler15Illustration by Maira Kalman, based on Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Alberto Giacometti Going Out for Breakfast, Paris, 1963

I can’t even say what it’s like. It’s perfect, the whole thing. Come with me, take me with you. Let’s go out together and have poached eggs.

Delicious.

 

weatherweather_kalmanhandler16

Valery Shchekoldin: Uliyanovsk, 1978

Toronto journal 4: King Lear and the Subterranean Underground

We are going to Hyde Park to see King Lear,” Brandon said. Turns out he said High Park. Which is where we sat, perched high on a hill overlooking the outdoor stage at High Park in north Toronto. My expectations were low but I did carry high expectations in a picnic bag, a sub sandwich giving a measure of hope for enjoyment during the evening performance.

Shakespeare is sometimes difficult to follow. Lots of humor missed but I noticed veterans of Shakespeare in the audience chuckling so it must be funny and I’m just slow to the meaning translating Queen’s English into a slow Okie drawl. The production was performed with members of York University’s Drama and Arts School. York is the University where my son is working on his Masters Thesis on Radar Differential Measurement or something meteorologically spatial.

Anyway, it’s the shape of stuff in the atmosphere before it hits us on the head. He has developed a certain expertise in radar and was recruited to York University by the noted Atmospheric Scientist, Dr. Peter Taylor.

We also met Brandon’s buddies in the program, ZQ, Tim, Kai, and Isaac. My evaluation of Brandon’s friends: they are easy-going and smarter than I am. We are eating at a sports bar and there are several televisions tuned to street motorcycle racing, the kind where the rider turns corners with the bike leaning over sideways and Isaac (17 years old) is asking how the bike makes the turn at such high-speed. Tim, the one the guys jokingly call the savant, is studying atmospheric pollutants and has just returned from the northern Canadian woods where he is downloading data from the atmosphere. Tim pulls out a plain paper notebook and begins to sketch a model of movement at speed describing centrifugal force with mathematics, a simple graph and pencil and paper.

I don’t understand the sketch and I want to snap a picture but don’t want to appear to be a hayseed and make a big deal out of what they take as a mundane mathematical explanation for a visual and visceral sport like motorcycle racing. I wonder if this happens everyday in their world.

We’ve enjoyed the food in Toronto. One can eat at any country in the world when in Toronto. Bahn Mi from Vietnam, Pork Shoulder sandwiches from Cuba, and of course the traditional Canadian meal of Poutine, fries, gravy, cheese curds, yummy.

We’ve had a wonderful trip! We drove through Michigan after crossing the Canadian border at Sarnia, about 30 miles north of Detroit. We listened to the Audiobook version of Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann while driving home. It literally wore me out, but it was fascinating. A lot of King Lear in Osage County back in the 1920’s, when the Osage Indians were the richest people per capita in the world and J.Paul Getty and Sinclair and Frank Phillips gathered under the Million Dollar Elm to bid on the Osage Indians’ subterranean kingdom.

The Osage built mansions and drove Cadillacs and succumbed to the foolishness of riches just like most of us do, and then one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The story is an indictment of the prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity. Utterly compelling, but also emotionally draining. The bad guys could just have easily been actors in a Shakespearean tragedy like King Lear…

rascals, eaters of broken meats; base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knaves; lily-livered, glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogues.

Bill Shakespeare could really talk some trash.

A few evenings back, we sat with Brandon and Liz watching some old home movies that I had sent off to Legacy Box. They converted our home movies in 8mm and VHS format films into digital which we accessed through wi-fi. We stumbled upon this: Brandon struggling to breathe his first breath. One of the nurses was a good friend, Maresha Scarsdale, and I handed her the video camera. He is purple. Brandon thinks he looks like a purple lizard. Oxygen hasn’t coursed through his body and made him pink yet. I’ve never watched this. I was there, yes, and I held him and marveled then. I’m tearing up again watching and remembering…Brandon is struggling to breath, gurgling cries, his airways still not clear…Ello Stephney, another nurse friend of ours is working on him, clearing out his mouth and nose, and he magically begins to glow pink…he isn’t a lizard, he is human.

“When we are born, we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools.” ― William Shakespeare, King Lear

We all cry before the blood fills our veins and oxygen brightens our countenance and we nestle in the warmth of human contact, and we determine that the fools and knaves and killers of the flower moon may share the stage, but they won’t rule the story.

Thanks for showing us around Toronto Brandon and Liz. You really put on a great show!

 

Why the SI swimsuit issue is in February 

Why is the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in February?

Sports journalism is boring in February, at least 52 years ago it was. So sports were fabricated in February. Barrel jumping on ice, demolition derbies, and…bikinis?

So 52 years ago, a bunch of men decided that bikinis were sport by proclamation.

My brothers and I grew up loving Sports Illustrated. The Swimsuit issue became a moral curve ball that buckled our knees. Even though it wasn’t sport we were given tacit societal permission, in the name of red-blooded male dominated locker room culture, to leer at mostly naked women. Two years ago my brother Greg said, “Let’s write a letter to SI.”

It was our penance for marginalizing and objectifying women under the thinly veiled guise of consuming a sports magazine that sold it’s soul one week each February.

Greg wrote the letter and I edited and approved it and we sent it on the 50th anniversary of the Swimsuit issue. (We never got a response)

An Open Letter to Sports Illustrated

As a kid coming of age in the 1970’s, I eagerly awaited each issue of Sports Illustrated. Through that window of writing and images I understood the thoughtful and magical side of the world of sport that otherwise, would be limited to an occasional weekend game on television. That sophistication and intelligence applied to sport helped shape my worldview and I’m thankful for that childhood experience. Thank you.
Over the past five decades, I have appreciated stories by writers — to name a few more recent — Gary Smith, Tom Verducci, and Rick Reilly that explore the heart and soul of humanity, struggle, triumph, family, beliefs, all in the context of sports. This is what you do best.

I didn’t get the swimsuit issue opted out this year, so when it arrived in the mail, my wife, my ninth grade son, and I decided to throw it away without looking at it. This moral drama has been replayed in countless homes since Babette March graced the cover of SI in 1964. Perhaps it’s a teachable moment, but I wonder why those moments have to be annually justified with pleas of beauty and sport, at the expense of the dignity of young women sacrificed on the altars of skin-deep imagination.

The only regret I have over what is published in your pages leaves me in an awkward position of explaining the validity of evocative nearly naked women posing for no good reason other than they inhabit fabulous bodies and they are paid well. I struggle to justify this to my 9th grade son, my wife and my daughters…not to mention my Mom back in the 70s, as she presented my SI swimsuit issue sans front cover and models removed. I suppose there are similar conversations of confliction in homes around the world.

Has there been serious conversation at Sports Illustrated about the conflicting values presented 51 weeks of the year and the one week of the swimsuit issue? Have you given your two hundred staffers an anonymous poll to find out if the swimsuit issue conflicts with their religious and human values, whether Jewish, Humanist, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, or other? I know you understand a certain minority of readers object to the swimsuit issue, because you’ve allowed us to opt out, and I appreciate that. I also understand, from a letter dating back to 1960 [thank you for the SI Vault!] by Sidney L. James, that sportswear, including the bikini, is sport, and that’s your call.

I confess that I have willingly seen a few past issues of the swimsuit issue over the decades I’ve been a subscriber. But I’ve found that my looking at the issue does not promote a good relationship with my wife, and seems to be counter to the teaching of Jesus that says to look on a woman with lust is tantamount to adultery, so Jesus exhorts us to love and appreciate the beauty of God’s created males and females but not to exploit another human for money, sexual pleasure, and power.

The crux of the matter is that it would be beautiful to read the magazine or web site and not have the swimsuit issue promos constantly put before me as a temptation to defy the teaching of my Lord and the wishes of my wife, and the hopes of my son that I truly love his mother enough to honor her and not look at women in bikinis young enough to be his sisters.

I suppose I could just move to another medium, because I know I have choices, but Sports Illustrated has been a great magazine for many years, and I truly want to remain a reader. But couldn’t you also move the swimsuit issue off the regular site and subscription?

Those who find the magazine offensive to values are as diverse as Muslims, feminists, homosexuals, atheists, Hindu, Jewish. We are not merely a prudish minority of Christian evangelicals who dishonestly sound off about pornography and secretly sin in worse ways. We’re trying to live out our faith and respectfully joining others who share human and religious values to join us in creating a better society.

I’ve tried to convey honestly, transparently, and fairly what one reader thinks. My request is that you poll your employees and editorial board for their opinion about how the swimsuit issue conflicts or matches their values? Then I trust that you’ll act according to the values of the organization.

My hope is that you are not imposing corporate policy and subscription values over the beliefs and values of your employees and readers, men and women, young and old, who annually wrestle with a plain contradiction of their beliefs about human dignity and morality, diminishing an otherwise respected publication that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit through sport and competition.

Greg R. Taylor