Born in New York.

Grew up with anthropologist as father and ESL teacher as mother.

Spent parts of childhood in Hong Kong, Australia, Venezuela and Philippines, but most of all on the prairies of Canada and then the deep, deep south of Mississippi.

Went to University of Chicago and met many tortured souls.

Fit right in.

Spent college and grad school interning at any newspaper that would take me in.

Eventually ended up at the Los Angeles Times, working mostly as a roving metro reporter. Was given chance to see up close what craziness looks like (e.g. a man surviving six nails in the head, Arnold Schwarznegger made governor, Michael Jackson arriving in court, hordes of Jackson-look-a-likes dancing as he arrived in court).

Then went to work as main rewrite man for the Baltimore Sun (as in “Quick, Johnny, get me rewrite!”).

Was disappointed when no one used phrase.

Wrote about a satanically named street in Howard County (dire times in the suburbs), Baltimore’s Chinatown (on life support) and the usual mayhem of the “Greatest City in America” (a city slogan proclaimed with much-to-be admired optimism).

Arrived at the Washington Post in 2005 and became married man — two events that have led to considerable happiness.

In day job, contributed to Pulitzer-finalist coverage of Fort Hood shooting, and generally foraged for stories of oddity and grace throughout D.C. and Maryland.

Spent years delving into the innermost beliefs that propel people as a religion reporter. Then, as a national security reporter, plumbed the fears that propel America as a country.

Have spent most recent years in China, plumbing my own fears of the omnipresent pollution haze, authoritarian agents and ever-present surveillance. Have also spent that time developing an appreciation for thousand-year-old egg congee and the adaptive acrobatics of Communist party ideology.

Became an avid watcher of HBO’s Game of Thrones (”avid” meaning hours may have been spent pursuing the succession politics, Westeros geography, and, of course, the meaning of life itself).

Have revealed too much.