On Mosquitoes and Mass Murder

I love napping on the porch in a summer rainstorm, sipping wine on the glider at sunset, reading or working in the fresh morning air, birdsong in the background … Except that every time I try, I trudge back inside covered in itchy red welts. Our previous dog assiduously licked every welt, which actually did […]

Internet Brilliance and Endurance

    When my kids were younger we loved to snuggle up before bedtime and watch funny things together on the internet, such as “Dad’s Life,” an endearing music video of stereotypical fathers’ concerns (“I’ve got dozens of dollars…”). It is well-written, acted, shot, and edited. The video went viral. There was a follow-up, about […]

“Negative Energy”—Physics or Fantasy?

Here is a confession: I have long believed that places hold energy. That I can walk into a home and sense whether people have been happy there, for the most part, or bitterly angry. That air somehow retains pain. I did not always credit such nonsense. I rolled my eyes when a friend insisted on […]

Father Soldier Son: This One Hurts

      New York Times reporters Catrin Einhorn and Leslye Davis directed and produced the new documentary Father Soldier Son, a 10-year project that has landed this month on Netflix. One measure of how good it is, is how bad it hurts. The documentary follows the Eisch family. Brian is a young single father—his […]

Better We Should Be at War

“What would you rather go through, a war or a pandemic?” I asked a friend the other day. She thought a minute. “A pandemic. That way I’ve at least got a little control over my fate.” Me? I would take war. I do not say this lightly, and I do not mean just any war. […]

Serving Systems

      My son and I were looking up facts about WWII’s Pacific Theater, because we had been talking about my father’s service there. It is always a shock to re-encounter the scale of that war, especially the loss of lives, materiel, vehicles, vessels, labor, and natural resources. If you have ever been on […]

A Little Night Music

The night was muggy, a storm grumbling as it approached, and I was rushing the dog through a boring walk around the block. Then I heard it. A warm strum of guitar chords, intricate and lilting. Not a recording. Live. Funny, how quickly you know that. Audio has attained exquisite fidelity, and I have what […]

The End of Feminine Hygiene

Admit it. You read that headline and thought, “Eeeewwww.” Women have been told for millennia that our bodies are unclean, swampy, smelly, rank with ooze and blood. We have been sent to huts, barred from ritual baths and religious services, denied pleasure and confidence. Even in our enlightened “modern period” era, with specially designed period […]

New Survey of Campus COVID Concerns

  Inside Higher Ed and Hanover Research have released a new survey about COVID-19 concerns on campuses. Respondents were 97 presidents or chancellors at private (about 70%) and public universities, as well as some two-year public institutions. The June 2020 survey is compared with ones in March and April. Unsurprisingly, 96% of those who replied […]

Name Your Place

I was born to live by the ocean and wake to thundering surf. Or in the valley of a craggy, majestic mountain, its top a misty purple. In the wooded cove of a northern lake. In the desert, even, with the solace of a fierce landscape. Almost anywhere, in other words, but the cornfields of […]