Tag Archives: From The Stacks

The last, true big-time college football game

When I’m out driving and want to take a mental break from news casts and jazz, I turn the dial to scratch that other itch of mine – sports. Recently while cruising home to New England from Virginia, I tuned in to a segment on the greatest rivalry in college football. Several callers touted Michigan-Ohio State, USC-Notre Dame, and […]

Is self-sacrifice instinct or moral choice?

I’ve always been amazed by accounts of selfless sacrifice – of those who give their lives so that others might carry on. Inherent in this is a question that perplexes and fascinates: how much are these acts rooted in instinct versus a predetermined outcome that people carry inside them based on their value system? This […]

Dad and the last bus from Pearl Harbor

When I was 10, my father, a former World War II fighter pilot, took me to see the joint American-Japanese production of “Tora! Tora! Tora!” The 1970 film was a major spectacle, portraying the Pearl Harbor attack from both sides. Its Academy Award-winning special effects left me mesmerized. Death, destruction, and history-changing events didn’t make […]

Why snow shoveling is good for the soul

   Friends and family know I never lose a chance to poke fun at myself over an obsession for shoveling snow, specifically the messes which accumulate in my driveway following storms. But in taking self-effacement to the nth degree I let some other thoughts slip by. This is a chance to make up that ground. More than […]

Is the art of restaurant tipping lost?

H., a waitress at a local eatery (to remain unnamed), approached my table. She checked to see if I needed more water, engaged in our usual chatter, then flashed me the check she had picked up from a party of 12. The food charge was well into three figures; the amount written in the tip […]

Will Mike Bloomberg run for President in 2016?

A few weeks back, around Election Day, I mused on the vilification of third party candidates in national elections as so-called “spoilers.” One prominent example I used was independent Eliot Cutler’s presence in Maine’s gubernatorial race, mostly to highlight the scapegoat quality these candidates inherit regardless of a ballot’s final results. But wait – it gets better. In all the […]

Veterans Day: A salute for Sgt. Potter

On Veterans Day, I’m taking a moment to honor Ricky Potter. Many years ago, when we were both in uniform, I was his boss, and he was my teacher. Sergeant Ricky Potter grew up in the South, born into a black family with no privilege. His muscular frame and impeccable bearing exuded pride. An athlete […]

Two maples, one prayer

The Iroquois considered the maple tree a sacred symbol, and a direct gift from God. For those native Americans, a maple’s wood and sap were valuable resources. They celebrated an annual thanksgiving festival with the rising of the sap to commemorate another year of the tree’s life, and their own as a nation. For the […]

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. […]