Category Archives: Commentary

Ice and Fog and Lightning

Is it still Christmas?  Like jumping off a cliff, it’s not the fall that gets you.  It’s the sudden stop.  Having made the supremely wise (lucky) decision to stay put for what was a wonderful ice storm (as long as the power stays on and every surface in the house is deep with baked goods). [...]

Back on the Fear Standard

I may be in the shoal waters of Godwin’s Law, but bear with me.  The thing about World War II, aside from being the Big Event of the 20th century (or maybe because it was the Big Event of the 20th century), was the drama.  A world clawing itself out of years of economic mayhem, [...]

Mandela’s Ripples

I pulled out my old green, black and red “Abolish Apartheid Divest Now” button.  It was once pinned to the lapel of the black tweed blazer I wore every day, part of the 80’s newspaper reporter uniform (costume, I suppose). I got the button up in Buffalo.  Allegany County, where I lived and worked, had [...]

The Old Canal

The temperature’s been below freezing here for the last week.  At times well below freezing.  Even at low-altitude Burlington there’s a dusting of snow – frozen crystalline rime – but more important, ice. Ice on the barge canal is almost thick enough for skating.  If it stays cold, maybe by Sunday.  For now, it’s Black [...]

“Is it real?”

This week I realized just what a fraction of media society I belong to.  I was in DC Monday afternoon and with Typhoon Haiyan and the Illinois tornadoes, Greenpeace got the soundbite call from the cable networks.  None of the usual suspects were around. I keep a gray suit (purchased for C$12 at a church [...]

Running in Place

I was on the high school track team.  Initially, this was because a) terrified freshmen tend to do things in herds and b) the track team didn’t cut anyone for insufficient athletic prowess. The idea was to compete in the high hurdles, which seemed the coolest track event.  The insufficient athletic prowess thing got in [...]

Legalize It

Which will be legal first in all 50 states: possession of small amounts of marijuana (say, under an ounce) or same-sex marriage? That’s a quantitative, not qualitative question.  Your chance to predict, pure oddsmaking.  My prediction: pot.  Although same sex marriage has a 14 to two lead, I see pot crossing the 50-state line first. [...]