Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Auto-bio

Despite the fact that I've been fairly active on the internets since the latter 1990's (at least), I've never really been one to say much about myself, as I prefer to let my posts and comments speak for themselves.

But I realize my reluctance to say much about myself has given rise to all kinds of sometimes silly speculation and assumptions about me, my background, my interests and proclivities, and most especially about my political ideology.

Anyone who goes by the Internet name of Ché Pasa must be a Revolutionary, right?


Well, I'm a rebel, yes. Always been one, no doubt will be one to my dying day.

But Revolution? That's going a bit far. Even for me. And as we know, Real Revolutionaries despise Rebels.

The basics run something like this:

I'm 60-something, more or less "retired", been married (to the same woman) for over 40 years, have been living in Northern California, mostly in the Sacramento area, for more than 50 years. I was born in Iowa, on the banks of the Mississippi, part of that great big Post-War Baby Boom. My father was an attorney, from a family of attorneys; Irish-German Catholics. My mother was a rebel, from a family of rebels, a redheaded Irish spitfire, you might say. No religious upbringing or faith for her.

I recently ended a ten year stint as a Federal employee. Before that I was a founder and producing director of a theater company. Over the course of ten years' operation, we produced approximately 140 plays and staged readings of original works. Before that I worked primarily in theater and other show business endeavors like opera and circus and film and so forth for more than twenty years. Before that I was a student, got a degree -- actually a couple of them -- in art and design and theater arts. I've written plays, acted, directed, designed, and produced plays, altogether many hundreds. I've worked coast to coast, and from Alaska to Florida.

We live in California and have a house in New Mexico where I sometimes go on hiatus, and where, when we are completely retired, my wife and I (with the cats) intend to deposit ourselves for the duration. Our house in California has been undergoing periodic and extensive deferred maintenance, like new plumbing and so on. The painters just finished the other day. Now I'm trying to get the windows to work again.

My parents are dead long since and no wonder. My father was born in 1901, my mother in 1911. They lived longer than their parents did. All of my grandparents were dead well before I was born. I had an autistic half-brother who died some years ago in an institution. My half-sister was a therapist at Atascadero State Hospital. She died as consequence of injuries she sustained in a take down of an unruly patient/prisoner with whom she was working.

We have no children of our own, but we have -- sort of -- raised a number of strays, including various nieces. My nephew became another niece a couple of years ago, while s/he was still in the National Guard.

I'm a Yellow Dog Democrat. That means I vote for the Democrat -- if I vote at all. I have been active in the past in party politics in California and in New Mexico, was a very active campaign worker for Howard Dean. I have been involved in numerous social justice campaigns, specifically with the Rainbow Coalition and the NAACP, and a wide range of community groups, going back to my high school days.

As I've written on a number of occasions, I was deeply affected by the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley in 1964 and 1965. It showed me that change was not only possible, it was essential if Americans were to salvage the nation and their future from corporate doom. Well, I guess that didn't work out so well.

I participated in the usual protests against the Vietnam War and instigated a few of them. I dropped out in a manner of speaking, and by that I mean I did not follow the staid middle class course laid out for me, but resisted it at practically every turn, resistance which of course made my life somewhat more difficult than it might otherwise have been. And yet my life has been extraordinarily rewarding in other ways. I seem to have a biological intolerance for recreational drugs and alcohol. Damn.

I've organized street theater, marches, protest demonstrations, and various kinds of non-violent actions on behalf of political and social justice.

Your typical. The usual.

While I tried blogging even before Blogger came on the scene, I was never able to sustain the craft; too many other things going on. But Ché (What You Call Your) Pasa -- a name that came from someone who read a comment of mine at Digby's Place (I think) -- has been going pretty well since 2007, so maybe is will continue. I am not in the business of blogging, however, and I have no illusions that my output will ever attract a wide readership. Of some interest to me is the fact that my Tenement Housekeeping series of posts has attracted far more readers than all my political drivel put together.

Go figure.

I spent ten months, from October 2008 to July 2009 as my mother-in-law's primary care giver while she was in Hospice Care At Home. I wrote about that here, too. I am still profoundly moved by the experience and by her example.

And for those who need it, my email address is chewhatyoucallyourpasa at

Any questions?

[Note: the auto in the picture above is the 1942 Packard Clipper that sat in the driveway of the house where we lived in Santa Maria on California's Central Coast; the sneering (or is it squinting?) boy in the picture is my own self, age approximately 3.]


  1. Wow. That's quite an impressive CV. Sorry to read about your half-sibs. Regrettably, I'm professionally familiar with both circumstances. No questions. I'd just add an expression of appreciation for the wisdom and perspective you generously share.

    ~ bystander

  2. Thanks bystander. As I've said, I really do appreciate your insights and contributions wherever I encounter them on the Internets.

    As for family issues, I feel like everyone faces sometimes really difficult situations with their relations, and mine are mild compared to some. It just isn't what you see on the teevee, that's all.

    May I ask what sort of professional familiarity you have with things like autism, etc? Not to pry, you understand. I'm just interested.

  3. Ché,

    You have mail.