Commentary

Commentary
7:37 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Our Masquerade

Judging just by its economic impact, Halloween is the second-most popular holiday in the U.S. It's the day when you get to be someone else, and that someone indulges in sweets of all kinds without any concern for the consequences. Perfectly respectable citizens dress as ghouls and turn their front lawns into graveyards, playgrounds for ghosts and devils, and bloody crime scenes. On Halloween we get to try on a different role, perhaps becoming what we secretly wish we could be, in a world without real consequences.

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Commentary
8:29 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Our Trees

This was our first house. That first fall, back in 1993, we sneaked over here under cover of darkness, to rake leaves, even though we hadn't actually bought the place yet.  Two flimsy green metal rakes from the True Value on Main Street.  There was no fence, and we worked for hours under the night sky, dreaming and hoping the neighbors wouldn't notice.

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Commentary
7:30 am
Tue October 21, 2014

At Her Pace

I am waiting.  Sitting on a hand loomed throw rug on the floor in front of her kitchen sink.  The eighteen by eighteen inch ceramic tiles are immaculately clean.  There are no crumbs along the kickboard of the floor.  I checked.

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Commentary
8:16 am
Fri October 17, 2014

A Small Domestic Story

Usually I tell you small, domestic stories, and this one today is no exception, but today’s story, as well as being a bit more self-revelatory than usual,  also may be an allegory of a much larger topic.

In our family, my son, Joseph, has told a story of helping to launch his sons into the world of self-reliance when they were fairly young, by sending them alone to the check-in counter at the airport. This is what he saw from his yes-of-course-he-stood-back-and-observed-in-case-anything-really-went-wrong-and-they-needed-help, vantage point.

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Commentary
8:16 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Wedding Suit and Silver

This is a story about a suit, some silver, a photographic history book, an anti-war bust, and a lunch on the dining room table. Here goes:

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Commentary
8:05 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Tiny House, Big Life

As we kiss summer goodbye and head back into our homes with their clanking furnaces, cozy blankets and pie, it’s a good time to consider the connections between our houses … and ourselves.

Some of the biggest ideas in home-building right now are quite … small.  Tiny, actually.  It seems like everyone, suddenly, is talking about tiny houses. And yes, that’s actually the term – not downsized, not small, but … tiny. The average size of a house in the U.S. is 2300 square feet, and tiny houses are about 400 – and sometimes more like 70.

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Commentary
7:30 am
Fri September 19, 2014

A Visit with Mom

It was a low-key weekend back at my mother’s house in St. Louis. I cleared my work schedule and drove across Illinois on Thursday, accepting the boredom of the interstate highway in exchange for its efficiency. At least they’ve added a couple of wind farms in recent years, and standing above the bean and corn fields those white towers and the slow waving of those great white blades make the sky seem alive in a new way. I crossed the Mississippi River on the north side of St.

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Commentary
8:30 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Girl and the First Day of Kindergarten

My lunches have been lonely. I mean, Libby is there, but one on one time is different than when it was Libby and Portia and I heatedly discussing how many carrots must be consumed. I miss Portia and Libby together, fighting and working things out. Or like today as together they make up "Nut Job: The Musical" at the breakfast table, the energy is just different. I don't exactly mind it, but I feel unsettled. My lunches are lonely because Portia started Kindergarten this Fall.

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Commentary
7:56 am
Fri September 5, 2014

It Was Nothing

Amid so much news of international conflict and human loss (Ferguson, Missouri; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; civil wars in Ukraine, Libya, Syria, and Iraq), Americans were heartened this morning to learn that peace had returned to the houses of Salisbury and Derby with the sudden resolution Thursday of a misunderstanding between Thomas Montagu, Earl of Salisbury and Frederick Stanley, Earl of Derby. Addressing Lord Derby, Lord Salisbury wrote:

Dear sir,

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Commentary
7:40 am
Fri August 29, 2014

A Skunk in the Night

It was two a.m.  I rolled over in bed, aware that someone was standing in the room.  "Dad!" a voice whispered.  "Dad!"  It was my son.  Staring blearily at his silhouette, I mumbled, "What is it?"

"Dad, there's a badger outside my room."

I sat up.  "A badger?" 

"Yeah," he said, still in a whisper.  "A badger.  I looked it up on Google.  It's in the window well.    

Look - I even took a picture."

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