14 Feb

What did you give up for Lent?

  Lent has arrived.  As has been my custom and practice for decades, I am again off cotton candy for the duration.  No giggling or guffawing. Growing up in Chicago, Lent usually began about the same time as the Shrine Circus began its run on the near North Side...

02 Feb

Let Us Now Praise,’The Vision Thing’

In the wake of the State of the Union address this week, now is the time for all good men to come to … Praise John Quincy Adams. Why? “The vision thing,” to borrow  Poppy Bush’s phrase [seemed a lot short on that Tuesday for all the presidential handclapping...

20 Jan

Don’t Need a Weatherman When You Have Dylan, Forbes

Two years ago yesterday, I delivered a Banner Lecture Series on Matthew Fontaine Maury and his “Last Crusade,” the drive for a National Weather Service at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond.  He failed.  The next day after the lecture before 200 or more souls on a brilliantly sunny,...

04 Jan

Winston’s Guide to Winning for Donald

My paternal grandmother, Delia, always referred to the British as the “Evil English Oppressors.” Having been born in Armagh, the only Catholic county in what is now Northern Ireland and immigrating to the United States as a teen-ager, you can see where she was coming from when it came...

31 Dec

Happy New Year from the Au Pair(s) for the Ancien Regime

For more years than I remember, Lillian and I have trekked to the National Gallery of Art, West Building between Christmas and New Year’s. In the not so distant past, that was the first stop of a pilgrimage if not to Jerusalem, Mecca, Canterbury, Lourdes, or Fatima, it at...

08 Dec

Morally Correct Commuter — An Aerobic Day

Much business dispatched me from the far reaches of Fairfax to the heart of the Seat of Power this week.    Having planned ahead for just such an event, I had a roundtrip VRE, a commuter railroad operating from Union Station where we honor Christopher Columbus with a circle outside and have...

02 Dec

The Day Virginia Hanged John Brown

The painting is famous, but John Brown never did kiss a black child before he was hanged.   Today is the anniversary of John Brown’s execution in Charles Town, Virginia [at the time]. For  almost 160 years, this collision of facts,  fancy, characters and actions have had an impact...

01 Dec

‘Trust Us’ in All Matters of Justice

The commission in session hearing the case of the men and woman charged in killing President Abraham Lincoln.  The proceeding was not a trial, very different rules apply.  The United States still employs military commissions in terrorist cases involving foreign nationals.   I read with great interest this morning...

25 Nov

Reaching for the Stars in a Newport News Newsroom

I laughed this morning when I came upon this NYT story on horoscope writers. [https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/24/nyregion/astrology-horoscope-writing.htm] In the ancient days when the postal service delivered slick sheets to newspaper offices with syndicated feature material [how quaint and ancient are the words in that phrase], the scheduled arrival of Sydney Omarr’s...

24 Nov

The Morally Correct Commuter — Returns

    The choice was clear, drive to DuPont Circle from the reaches of Fairfax County, pay for parking, return in rush-hour darkness sans any passengers, listening to “All Things Considered” when stuck trying to get across the 14th Street Bridge and then crawling up Shirley Highway or use...

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