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Local Commentaries

Anywhere on the planet

If you could go anywhere on the planet, where would it be? Tuesday was international travel day in the newsroom. Sometimes, what starts as a perfectly legitimate discussion of a newsy topic quickly makes its way down a rabbit trail. Census 2020 has been in the news recently and will ...

Meet me in Dreamland

Occasionally I get a good night’s sleep - sometimes as often as two or three nights a month. My typical hopeful night means crawling into the feathers between 11:00 and midnight, and reading for 20 minutes or so before the eyelids slowly grow heavy. Most nights I turn the lamp off just ...

We want to read what you think

Public discourse. A phrase that can be attributed to many things being posted on Facebook, Twitter, or any form of social media or otherwise in this day and age. We publish editorials every day on page A4 of the Times Observer. We publish letters to the editor on whatever subjects you feel ...

The influence of teachers

It is always a thrill for teachers when former students do well. I keep track of many of them because their parents are still around even if they are not. Conversely, I always say a prayer for those whose names make the police blotter. Most of them do not surprise me. If they were a ...

A swim I decided not to take

When we go on a morning canoe ride from our cabin on the Althom Eddy during the warmer months of the year, my wife often asks, "Are you going to swim today?" The reason for her query is that if I respond in the affirmative, she will take a magazine along to read while I am taking my dip. (She ...

Why read?

Winter seems to be the perfect time to cuddle up with a book to read. I always enjoyed it when we had a snow day. That meant I would have time to read. Now, I love to read but that was not always the case. When I was growing up, I read what I had to for school, but neglected the ...

Please continue to hold…

My day began with a simple plan. Resolve a few questions on the phone. Make a few appointments then finish my column. This is not the column I started. You’ll see. I got side-tracked ... “Please continue to hold – our representatives are currently assisting other ...

We want to read what you think

Public discourse. A phrase that can be attributed to many things being posted on Facebook, Twitter, or any form of social media or otherwise in this day and age. We publish editorials every day on page A4 of the Times Observer. We publish letters to the editor on whatever subjects you ...

A different Christmas

It's over. All the hoopla. Christmas 2019 is now in the memory banks and I have to say that for us, it was a very different holiday. Our family Christmas is usually here, at home, in Warren. And for me, that's the way it should be. I know, I know, you're supposed to share your ...

Rudder broken?

Mark Twain said, "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and day you find out why". Have you ever wondered why you were born? What you were placed on this earth for? What your purpose is? Thomas Carlyle said "The person without a purpose is like a ship ...

Where will you be at the end of 2020?

I have kept a diary for more than forty years. Of course, I do not have everything that ever happened in there, but I do have many things. A few years ago, I began doing a wrap-up piece each year. That helps me see at a glance the important things that have happened that year. I also do ...

A very strange and endlessly complicated organism

"If you suspect you might have extramammary Paget's disease (EMPD), I encourage you to see a doctor. Don't put it off and don't be embarrassed!" — Steve Schroeder (EMPD patient) Up until the late spring of 2019, I figured that for a relatively old codger, I was in pretty good health. I ...

This fungi I know…

‘Tis the season of death, or at least a long rest, in nature. The trees are bare, the grass has stopped growing, and the stems of plants brown, shriveled, and lifeless. Many in New York find the season dreary and mundane. Yet we are all guilty of not realizing how important this time of year ...

Fruit of kindness

This article was first published in the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine, December 6, 1998. It was the first article I ever sold. I’ve been told that it made a lasting impression having been used as the basis for Christmas church sermons and in a few Sunday School classrooms in Massachusetts. In ...

For the size 17 Vince Carter shoe

The Publisher and Managing Editor punished their employees this week. Oh, it wasn’t your normal workplace discipline. But it’s becoming an annual thing. On Sundays, during fantasy football season. This weekend, the first-place or championship matchup of the Times Observer Laid Back ...

Gingerbread men, gingerbread houses

A question on “Jeopardy” the other night was one I knew the answer to. What popular children’s tale is a Christmas favorite? Of course, “Hansel and Gretel” was the answer. This is not a tale I was particularly fond of as a child. I disliked the idea of Hansel and Gretel being ...

Symbols of Christmas

There are so many symbols of Christmas that it is hard to connect with just a few of them. I begin with the candy cane. It is said that the cane candy is a shepherd’s staff which if turned upside down is a “J” for Jesus, the baby born at Christmas that we celebrate. The red color ...

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

We bought a new Christmas tree just before Thanksgiving. Another fake tree. We had to give up on my beloved fresh Fraser firs back when the trees got too heavy and we got too feeble. Funny, both happened in the same year. We were living downtown in the big Victorian house with the big ...

Falls & winter

When you combine the onset of winter weather worsened by climate change with a “super senior citizen” (me) whose motto has never been “safety first,” you can arrive at risky situations. I had taken two fairly serious falls this year prior to even the formal meteorological start of ...

‘Tis the Season

It is the season for festive decorations. It is the season for Christmas cookies. It is the season for gift shopping and wrapping and giving. It is the season for holiday gatherings. It is the season for anxiety. It is the season for depression. It is the season for grief. It is the ...