Tag Archives: From The Stacks

Looking into the eyes of freedom

Whenever I walk the Revolutionary battlefield in Concord, Mass., I’m heartened by our nation’s resilience. Studying the world-famous Minuteman statue, and on the same ground where, in the spring of 1775, a hastily formed American militia awaited King George’s troops, I can’t help but value the cost of freedom. This drive for liberty, however, was nothing […]

Father’s Day: Pitching to Jason

  Ten years ago, I sat down one afternoon to relax with Donald Hall’s classic book on sport, Fathers Playing Catch with Sons, one of my all-time favorites. While reading one of its essays, I was interrupted by the clicking of a computer keyboard from across the room. My son Jason, then in his first year of […]

Where have you gone, Bobby Fischer?

Many years ago, while on vacation in Mallorca, I bought a chessboard, an inlaid mahogany slate with tournament-caliber playing pieces. The purchase was impulsive, and a nostalgic salute to my adolescent fervor for the royal game – along with an attempt to motivate myself back to regular play. While the latter never transpired, recently I came […]

Have a burger and some baseball, President Nixon!

Some time ago, a friend from South Portland sent me a collection of historical political articles. One of the pieces included a 1983 interview with President Richard Nixon. It reminded me of Watergate’s disgrace, but also of overshadowed deeds, to include opening China to the West, exiting Vietnam, signing the first arms control treaty with the […]

Good fences make good neighbors

I was 13 when I first read Robert Frost’s Mending Wall, and it changed me forever. That verse began my love affair with writing. As National Poetry Month is now upon us, it’s worth recalling how Frost inspired me to pick up a pencil every day and draft my inner thoughts on paper. At that […]

At Easter, “Jesus Christ Superstar” still rocks the house

In New England – as in so much of the Western world – church attendance has been on a severe decline, and outreach is a priority for all Christian congregations. Yet one of the most effective (and scantly used) heralds for that cause remains a 35-year-old rock opera by two genius Brits that is a landmark in […]

Stage Names: Portland Stage sees “Red”; so should you.

PORTLAND — My artist friends often express surprise when they learn that once, in what now seems like another lifetime, I was a soldier. My response to this reaction is always the same: “Soldiers and artists might just be the last true romantics left; they have far more in common than what’s on the surface.” While […]

“Forests fear me!”…the complete Erik Larson interview on “Dead Wake,” only in the BDN!

    One of the beautiful things about being an independent journalist is that often you get to work on projects where you are left with tons of unused material, particularly from interviews. I found myself in this boat – no pun intended – with interview material I have from New York Times bestselling author Erik […]

Stage Names: “Whipping” up race, religion and the Civil War at Portland Stage

PORTLAND – The beauty of reviewing the same play two years apart in another state performed by a different Equity company is how the one work can be, well, different — even if its earlier version mirrors it. And so with the 150th anniversary of Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse just weeks away, our ongoing American reflection of race, culture, religion, and war can […]

In bleak midwinter, hail the gods of early spring!

In the weeks-long news blitz about this winter’s bone-chilling, record-setting cold and snow, it escaped me that Major League Baseball spring training camps opened this week. While channel surfing, I noticed a countdown clock almost wound down behind a sportscaster. Then he spoke the magic words: “Pitchers and catchers report!” As a teenager I followed the national pastime, even after […]