Yankee Hotel Foxtrot at 20 (but it’s not REALLY about the album)

I drove home early Saturday morning after spending the evening accompanying my father-in-law at a hospital as he recovers from open heart surgery.

I drove home, thinking about my own father, and how the last time I left a hospital was the day he died, almost 11 weeks ago.

I drove home, playing Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, an album officially released 20 years ago today, and one whose words and music always find new ways to move me, even (and maybe especially) after all this time.


Continue reading

Not an Exit

I’m thrilled to announce the online debut of my first published collection of drawings and doodles I dare call “art.”

I’m pleased to be part of The Sketchbook Project 2018, giving me an outlet for the drawings I started creating in 2017 to deal with the presidential administration and the turmoil in its wake.

So, please enjoy Not an Exit (and share with friends)!

This is Important (but I Know You’re Not Listening): 2016 PCHS Commencement Speech

IMG_1627The following is the commencement speech I  gave this afternoon at Powell County High School in my hometown of Stanton, Ky. I was a member of the Class of 1993.

The first words my mother said upon being told I’d been asked to speak today were “Please don’t embarrass me.”

Not “I’m proud” or “good luck” or even “they should’ve asked your sister instead.” Nope. Just “don’t embarrass me.”

So, to honor my mom’s wishes, I’ve made a list of topics to avoid: meth, Donald Trump, asking where the after-parties are, stories about my mom, stories about my dad and more meth.

To the person who invited me here today, I’m afraid you’ve made a huge mistake. To Superintendent Michael Tate and Principal Kendall Kearns it’s an honor to be here, but you should know Martina Skidmore is responsible for what’s to follow. To be fair, she’s been a friend since kindergarten, and I thank her for having faith in me. I hope to make my mother proud. I cannot, however, promise I won’t embarrass her. Continue reading

Nathan, in Summation: A Salute to Another Graduating Nephew


Nathan Brooks was born to be a middle child.

Even as a baby, he was never The Baby, long before Jon came along and assumed that still-standing title. Almost from the beginning, Nathan has been a peacemaker, a mediator, a negotiator, a giver.

This, incidentally, makes him more of a Brooks than a Hall. Granted, my knowledge of the Brooks family is pretty much limited to Troy, while my Hall history has a whole host from which to choose, but even among that sample, I’m confident in my statement.
Continue reading

Charles Farmer was a blessing to many

Charles Farmer liked my dad.

Sure, many people (I think) love Doc Hall, but to like him can be something a bit more challenging. He can be any one (or combination) of the following: loud, goofy, obnoxious, stubborn and in unnamed-2.jpgthe interest of any potential inheritance someday I’m going to stop listing them
(although to be fair, I’m really just naming things about myself since the apple and tree find themselves in close geographic proximity). Continue reading

It’s still true. Happy early Mother’s Day, Rose, Bonnie and Deana.

Secret Haitian Man

This is Gerline.

You’ve seen her here before — she’s a little Haitian superstar to the missionaries, a tiny 4-year-old lady who is woefully malnourished and, as a result, most likely developmentally behind schedule. She’s undeniably cute, though, and she’s completely sweet, even when she’s asleep, which she can do almost anytime, anywhere, even standing up.

View original post 1,091 more words

This was one of the best days in Haiti.

Secret Haitian Man

Awake at 5 a.m., earlier than the rooster outside my window can yell at me.

It’s going to be a long day, a grueling day. Up early to avoid the Haitian heat (it’s only 80 degrees before 8), we’re trekking 3-4 miles up a mountain with gravelly terrain and steep inclines. It’s hard on the lungs, harder on the knees.

But it’s good for the soul.

View original post 731 more words