In Memory of Jan O'Brien

In the summer of 2014, thanks in part to an erroneous Facebook post, word got out that Western Carolina legend Jan O'Brien had passed away. Many of my friends joined me in posting comments and tributes on social media. When, the next day, it was announced that Jan was in fact alive and well, I felt so compelled to share with her how much she meant to me that I loaded our family in the car and drove straightaway to Cullowhee.

I wrote about that adventure on this blog, a story that eventually found its way into print in Western's magazine.

Today I came home to the news--announced officially this time by the University--that Jan had died. I am so grateful for the chance I had that summer to see her again, to hug her neck, to hear her say "Hello, sweetheart!" and to tell her goodbye.

Jan, my sweetheart, you were a dear and kind friend to so many of us college kids. I pray that your soul rests in God's eternal light. Tomorrow, I will do my best to spread the kindness and warmth you so generously gave every day.


Dear Conservatives: We Need You More Than Ever

I want my liberal friends to be wrong about you. But you're the only ones who can prove that.

The morning after the election I sat in my dining room with a cup of coffee, the sunlight streaming in through the windows. It was quiet. Across the yard, in my neighbor’s front lawn, was a plastic TRUMP sign. Its white border gleamed in the light. His guy had won.

I’d woken up early that morning—unable to sleep, restless, still exhausted from watching election returns the night before—and though I hadn’t seen the confirmation yet, I felt the dread in my stomach knowing that surely, barring some unforeseen miracle, Donald Trump had been elected. I had my moment of misery lying in bed, thumbing my way through my Twitter feed. The candidate I’d voted for had lost. Several of them had, actually.

But I got out of bed anyway. Later that day I flew to Chicago for work, landing at O’Hare in time to rent a car and join the evening rush into the city. I’d booked a hotel right in the Loop, but as I got closer, traffic along the river became gridlocked. Half an hour later, I’d inched close enough to my hotel to determine that I couldn’t make it there—I’d forgotten my hotel was across from Trump Tower, and a massive anti-Trump protest had blockaded Wacker Drive.


Iredell/NC 2016 General Election Voter's Guide

Who you vote for in local elections is likely more important for your quality of life (and our community’s) than who gets your vote for president.

Before we being, a few important notes:

- You do NOT need an ID to vote in today's election

- I am a registered Independent and a more or less middle of the road kind of guy. I lean more liberally on certain social issues, and I value efficiency and economy on spending issues. As an Independent, I chose to vote in the Republican primary last March. You can read my thoughts on that election here.

- I especially value public education and make a lot of guiding decisions around how large voting blocks affect our schools.

A quick summary is at the bottom of this post.