How to kill a job interview

A former college student of mine once e-mailed me about an upcoming job interview, asking what things he should know, questions he may be asked, and how he might respond. His request couldn’t have been timelier; in this economy, employers are looking for any reason not to hire someone. But in my response and subsequent discussions […]

Back to her immigration Odyssey

It’s been a few years, but the image remains vivid: The brunette waitress darted across the restaurant like a gust of wind. Clad in black, she balanced plates and glasses on her tray, called out instructions to the bartender, and grabbed a handful of spare napkins as she passed the server station — all simultaneously. […]

Should the national drinking age be 18?

After reading an article on the conundrum of fake IDs – whose possession I don’t condone – I was left pondering another barrier, the minimum legal drinking age of 21. This has been the muffled debate of our times, mostly because of powerful, well intentioned advocacy groups, and financial strong-arming by the federal government. Following Prohibition, the […]

Reform Congress with populist pensions?

  In the never-ending salvos fired between the legislative and executive branches over budget cutting, our nation’s debt ceiling, and all matters fiscal, President Barack Obama once proclaimed all government spending “on the table.” No pet rocks. But in these months leading into midterm elections, and putting aside the separate and considerable deliberation on tax hikes […]

Why Red Sox Nation should stand and cheer Derek Jeter

  Sometime next Sunday afternoon, as the shadows cloak Fenway Park, future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, the New York Yankees mainstay at shortstop for the last 20 years, will come to the plate for his final professional at bat. When that happens, I hope for the sake of all who bleed Boston red that every […]

Is September northern New England’s January?

Over the recent Labor Day weekend a friend of mine suggested the holiday should mark northern New England’s New Year. Given the changes in everything from our environs to our personal habits – especially in rural areas and smaller towns – this idea merits serious consideration. Unlike mud season that separates winter and spring, and […]

Melting watches can be the cruelest friends

A few years ago, after consoling a friend over the death of her husband, Salvador Dali began to haunt me. Having expressed surprise over the recent illness and passing, I exclaimed: “I didn’t realize he’d been so sick; why, I just saw him a few months ago!” Actually, I hadn’t. Make that well over a year. And spoken […]

Teachers matter: How Mr. Miskell changed the world

One afternoon almost 40 years ago, my ninth grade geometry teacher, Mr. Miskell, stood in front of a chalkboard, paused, and then proceeded to change the world – making it a better place for me, forever. This time of year, around Labor Day, with local schools gearing up for fall, my thoughts always turn to him, […]

Caring for an elderly parent: life’s grand irony

In the spring of 2013, I was wheeling my mother Catherine to a doctor’s appointment. As we entered the waiting room, a dutiful daughter around my age pushed her mother’s wheelchair out. The two silver setters glanced at each other knowingly, and Mom offered up the following assessment: “We used to push them around in their baby […]

150 years: How the Civil War enabled later global conflicts

What does one sloppy skirmish have to do with a global war eight decades later? More importantly, why should we care? Thanks to the heroic exploits of Gen. Joshua Chamberlain, and others, Maine enjoys one of the proudest traditions of the Civil War. Still, up here in New England – where revolutionary unrest and fervor […]