Pine Nuts: Old Lake Tahoe Athletic Club |

Pine Nuts: Old Lake Tahoe Athletic Club

Like Will Rogers, I’m not a member of any organized political party. I’m an OLTACer, as in Old Lake Tahoe Athletic Club, “Old” being the operative word. Yes, we are ten members strong, and our good-natured motto is, “I don’t give a ____ (fill in the blank with your own inappropriate word) what you think.”

We older boys recently got up a collection for our youngest member, Michael, a retired Special Forces Full-Bird Colonel, to buy him some big-boy pants. And when we order a round of drinks at our favorite dive, junior member Michael gets served a glass of milk with a straw, and while he sips away on his milk we honor him with Brahms’s, “Cradle Song.”

Our political persuasions run from right of King Lear to left of a Sandinista Rebel, but our bulletproof common bond is love of community.

You might want to ask, “So what on earth could you OLTACers possibly talk about other than politics in these fraughtful times?” That’s easy, we talk about right and wrong, ethics and morals, character and truth, things that politicians talk about, but don’t always practice. Oh, and girls.

Allow me to defer just here to Mark Twain, “I don’t vote for politicians, it only encourages them. Well look at it, look how difficult it is to find a politician today with ethics and morals high enough that he will stay bought.”

And Groucho Marx might like to get a word in here edgewise: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them, well, I have others.”

Truth is, the hottest place in Hades is governed by more principled representatives than some who govern today in our nation’s capital, where partisanship oftentimes eclipses personal honor, self interest oftentimes overwhelms national interest. Compromisers may not be sexy or look like heroes, but as Walter Isaacson reminds us, “They do make democracies.” And in the service of national unity our next big move might rightly be to embrace honesty.

In our failure to address climate crisis we have mostly been an assemblage of narcissists, who, in the face of a global emergency, keep pushing the snooze button and falling back to sleep. However, there are a few faint signs that we might be starting to awaken from our heedless slumber, and that we might finally get serious about protecting Mother Nature and her endangered species, you and me.

As I am scribbling this epistle on Sunday, Jan. 17, much history will be unfolding over the course of the next few days. So I shall sign off here and leave the last word to our mutual friend, Mark Twain. “I have stopped lying altogether since the amateurs have taken over the field.”

PS: Perhaps next week we can begin to build an altogether new and principled political party in the spirit of camaraderie and compromise that sustains the Old Lake Tahoe Athletic Club …

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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