It was twenty years ago today ….

…. Sergeant Pepper was left behind.

Things looked pretty good twenty years ago. America was vibrant and confident, its residents affluent and optimistic. Sure, the losers didn’t like things but, then again, the America of 1988 was not for losers, unlike now. You sank or swam, depending on your capacity for hard work and willingness to succeed. Brains had nothing to do with it.

Today, those practicing thrift (you pay your mortgage timely) and self discipline (you are not 100 pounds overweight and do not smoke) are punished. The responsible are expected to subsidize the losers. An unhappy time.

No matter. For me optimism prevails and I believe we will turn around our nation and move onwards and upwards, A dose of losers is no bad thing to remind us where that path lies.

For me, June 1988 was a very special time as it was when I became an American citizen. Having lived here since 1977 and after some ten years of unspeakable incompetence on the part of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (a sort of anti-American cartel, really) I finally took the citizenship test and swore fealty to the greatest nation on earth. Believe it or not, one of the questions was “Who is the President of the United States?” to which I merrily replied “Nancy Reagan”. I still got in.

So now, while my American son is safe, I can still be deported if I commit a felony, confirming that the finest attribute of most Americans is but an accident of birth.

In those wonderful twenty years I have been fortunate to see much of America and even to commit a small fraction of what I saw to film. And here are some of the things I have seen:

Anchorage, AK

Guggenheim Museum, NYC

Matanuska Valley, AK

Puyallup, WA

Central Coast, CA

Thanksgiving Day parade, NYC

World Trade Center

Delicatessen, NYC

Yellowstone National Park, WY

Arco, ID


San Luis Obispo, CA

Los Angeles

Santa Fe, NM


La Jolla, CA

Tombstone, AZ

Los Angeles

Chinatown, San Francisco

Little Italy, NYC

Whether we are at an end of empire or just catching our breath for the next innings, I do not know but I earnestly hope it is the latter. All it needs to make that happen is a leader willing to say that most important and shortest of words.


For my part, looking back on those twenty years, it has been the best, the happiest, time of my life. Love America or leave her.