January 7, 2021 One afternoon in the summer of 1998 I was sitting in my cramped broadcast booth in the Senate Radio & TV Correspondents Gallery in the Capitol, where I spent my days reporting on Congress for listeners all over the world on the Voice of America. I had just filed a routine story… Continue reading The Capitol I knew
June 7, 2020 Back in 1974, during the first impeachment crisis of the modern era, I rode a bus all night from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Washington. We arrived just as the sun rose over the National Mall, where many thousands of us gathered to demand that President Nixon be thrown out of office. Several… Continue reading A pandemic diary: The view from the cheap seats
Fifty years ago (May 4, 1970) I was a sophomore in high school. Everyone was stunned, the atmosphere in the building hushed, uncomprehending. That day or the next, we had an assembly, about which I remember nothing except a girl singing, “Blowin’ In the Wind.” The song below still sends chills up my spine. Too… Continue reading How many more?
A few months back, I retired from my gig as an unpaid but dedicated language and grammar grouch. Y’all could have sent me a few thanks and maybe policed your own copy for a change, but nooooooo! So I’m coming out of retirement with some hot tips on slang, which is fun to use and… Continue reading Watch that slanguage!
We’ve spent a lot of time in 2018 revisiting 1968, which one of the newsmagazines at the time called “The Incredible Year.” I turned fourteen that October, a little young to fully grasp everything I saw, but half a century later, certain moments are as clear as day. One is the bulletin that interrupted the… Continue reading Remembering the good earth
When you're a reporter covering Congress, you listen to an awful lot of speeches. Many of these breathless bulletins concern vital issues like National Cub Scout Month and the renaming of post offices. Speeches can be pompous, sanctimonious, badly reasoned, highly partisan, dull, hypocritical, long-winded, or all of the above. They're sometimes thoughtful or heartfelt.… Continue reading A statesman speaks
On the road from Birmingham to the beach there’s a town called Lockhart a mile or so north of the Florida state line. In the early 1900s, it was home to a rich pine forest and what was then the biggest lumber mill in the country. Today the only thing a visitor might notice is… Continue reading Moving on
Another box to look through as we declutter. This one sat in the basement, out of sight and definitely out of mind, since we moved in 14 years ago. The weight tells me it’s either very important or something once important, now useless. Inside is a magnificent old family history book, 1,315 pages long, published… Continue reading Our roots and their keepers
Luggage tags from the 1996 presidential campaign. Cub Scout insignia from the early 1960s. An extremely cool-looking desk fan from the same era (pictured at right). CDs I’ve forgotten buying by bands I no longer know why I liked. 40th-birthday banners. Socks that are old enough to drink and vote. These are just some of… Continue reading Stuff and sense
Just when I was getting over the onslaught of online clickbait and the AARP’s advice on how to be a hunka hunka burnin’ geezer, now I’ve gotten a blast of wonderful free advice on the meaning of male. Trust those faithful guardians of truth at the New York Times to come out with 27 Ways… Continue reading Modern his’m