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Ramblings are grouped by topic and are listed alphabetically by some key word in the title; call it the editor's whim. Click on a title to read the story.





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• • • TOPICS • • •

HISTORY

MODERN LIFE

ANIMALS &
THE NATURAL WORLD

SIMPLE PLEASURES

BEHIND THE SCENES

CREATIVITY & INSPIRATION

MATTERS OF FAITH

PEOPLE

PLACES OF INTEREST


HISTORY

Buying a small piece of history
• I bought a pulley at the Fulton Opera House.

A classic rock
• The real thing, when you see it, can fall far short of expectations.

On the good ship Cutty Sark
• These are timbers that were growing during the Battle of Agincourt.

Remembrance Day
• To forget would be tragic.


MODERN LIFE

Abraca-Oops!
• When an electronic device falters, the human behind it cannot figure out what to do.

Banding together
• There are those who might deem it frivolous to care about music when all is falling down around you.

Columbine Paintball
• This is the price we pay for allowing children to play on the Internet.

Comics, from page to screen
• It's really difficult to make a serious film about crime-fighters who wear tights.

The cult of Anna Nicole
• Every butcher, baker, police officer and homemaker deserves as much.

Drumming for peace
• From a distance it sounded like thunder.

Educational cliche: spelling
• If standards continue to be lowered, what's the point in grading at all?

Grim thoughts on the New Year
• People will still be mean to each other, resolutions will fly out the window long before February.

Ephiphany upon the road less traveled
• Amazingly, it all works out, better than I expected.

Fatal procrastination
• I could go on and on about the good qualities that made me love her. Sadly, they too are moot.

Heart's desire
• Sitting down seemed like a good idea, so I retreated to the couch.

Ink ... or bytes?
• At least I know now that I haven't lost the handwritten touch.

Love hurts?
• Out there somewhere, a kid is learning that violence in a relationship is par for the course.

My job sucks?
• Being a newspaper reporter is the worst job in the world.

New York 9-11
• I still feel numb -- some might call it shock -- about the whole business.

Ode to a seatbelt
• Some things need to be put in their proper perspective.

Reading, writing & foreign trade
• We'll be the country (other nations) come to when they need cheap, ignorant labor.

Sign language
• I mentally prepared to brake as my eyes darted nervously.

A 21st-century day of infamy
• I was supposed to be enjoying a day off, soaking up an afternoon's sun.

Two for the road
• There's probably two bikes for every person.

Yes, Molly, there is a Santa Claus
• At age 9, it's hard to accept certain things that an 8-year-old believes without question.


ANIMALS & THE NATURAL WORLD

Abundance, a May saunter
• I needed to be here but my soul needed some time river-watching.

A cat's life: Puck
• You hope they were better off in your company than they would have been somewhere else.

 A dog's life: Casey
• There was a big thunderstorm on the morning of Casey's last day.

A dog's life: Morgan
• Morgan died serenely, with peace and dignity, her head in my lap and her eyes fixed on mine.

Fiddles with wolves
• I once befriended a wolf. His name was Badger.

Fragile planet
• It's lonely. It's small. It's isolated, and there is no resupply. And we are mistreating it.

The Humane League: the truth about cats & dogs
• It was only a few hours, but it cost a dog its life.

Log with a view
• The book slipped from my hand, and I sat and watched and listened for an hour or more.

Mother Nature & me
• What a perfect opportunity to replant a wide swathe of wildflowers and edibles.

Nature from a cage
• Some people just can't carry their empty bottles, cans, wrappers and, yes, even condoms that far.

Pack out your trash
• He walked away, swishing his stick and leaving his wet pile of plastic behind him on the bank.

There be whales here!
• We saw whales that seemed curious about us, and whales that seemed content to eat with an audience.

Vincent, a loyal dog
• As years went by, he liked best to stretch out on the cool wooden floors.

World in peril
• If you want to survive, you'd better be cute, majestic, or inspiring.


SIMPLE PLEASURES

Being in a band
• It's been a good, long while since that first gig on March 17, 1999.

Earl grey, hot
• The aroma of bergamot rises from the liquid, creating a relaxing reaction to the drink.

Folk Music & Fiddlers Society: a circle of folks
• The spontaneous nature of the jams creates some unusual, often beautifully intricate harmonies.

Jammin' with Charles & MaryAnn
• The lead singer is better known to the world for his writing.

On Walden Pond
• Once I was there, it seemed natural to play a few tunes.

Snow & circumstance
• Neighbors are meeting each other, often for the very first time.

Stormy weather
• Hurricanes, well, I can do without those. The same goes for floods and tornadoes.

To my friends who missed the Leonids
• Where were you? You were asleep again, weren't you? I wished you were here.

Traveling in circles
• I was getting rather well acquainted with insanity, I was sure of it.


BEHIND THE SCENES

Building the Lilith Fair
• Set up the stages. Hang lights and run wiring. Make sure there's enough electricity powering the amps.

Greenpeace: world in peril
• If you want to survive, you'd better be cute, majestic, or inspiring.

The Humane League: the truth about cats & dogs
• It was only a few hours, but it cost a dog its life.

M&M/Mars: mmm-chocolate!
• My wife wants to dive into the vat every time she visits the plant.

Renaissance actors
• Actors writhe and gyrate, stretch and whirl through a variety of spontaneous characters.

CREATIVITY & INSPIRATION

Art as prayer
• God can be found in the details of art.

The arts & social responsibility
• The artist has no such responsibility over children he may never meet.

Being in a band
• It's been a good, long while since that first gig on March 17, 1999.

Everyday inspiration
• Journal writing isn't enough for me; I want to share my work with others.

Issues, inspirations & stories to tell
• I was simply enamoured with the play of words, the way they resonated against each other.

A passing stage?
• Perhaps it's time to turn off the TV for an evening and take in a play.

A reader's journey
• I was not allowed to read to my classmates or demonstrate that I could read at all.

The rise & fall & rise of William Shakespeare
• I liked Shakespeare before Kenneth Branagh singlehandedly made it fashionable again.

A tale of two fiddles
• In two decades, I poured a lot of music into that thin wooden shell.

Visions of Kerouac, or one writer's beginnings
• I found myself straining against family and friends and school.

When movies are short
• "Fred Ott's Sneeze" is five seconds long.


MATTERS OF FAITH

Goddess symbology: re-emerging from the shadows
• There she was, Lilith in all her glory, touting an anthem for the modern female.

To be or not to be ... a shaman
• Community recognition is a crucial point here.

Yes, Molly, there is a Santa Claus
• At age 9, it's hard to accept certain things that an 8-year-old believes without question.


PEOPLE

Douglas Adams: so long, & thanks for all the laughs
• I'd far rather be happy than right any day.

Lloyd Alexander: a tribute to the High King of children's fantasy
• This is sort of the fan letter I never wrote to him. I expect no reply, of course.

Michael Bolton: making a pitch for charity
• The recording industry is rather unforgiving when it comes to other interests.

Marion Zimmer Bradley: in memoriam
• The power of the story came through in my very strange dreams.

Lois McMaster Bujold: the Barrayar series
• These books center around deeply drawn characters and a culture so thick you could slice it with a knife.

Paula Danziger: sdrawkcab gnitirw
• Because of the injury, she could only write backwards for some time after the accident.

Joseph Doherty: visiting time at the H-Blocks
• I've come away from the prison with a hint of optimism about next year.

Richard Dreyfuss: a civil discourse
• Being American is hard, and they must teach it.

Harry Flournoy: how the court ruled on race
• He just wanted to play basketball -- and win.

Vicki Getz: world in peril
• If you want to survive, you'd better be cute, majestic, or inspiring.

Gram: a life lived well
• Most folks who knew her, knew her as Anne.

Gram: waving goodbye
• I would never lose that image of Grandma at her back door, smiling and waving, with love in her eyes.

Boris Grebenshchikov: a musical revolution
• I'm a musician. Pardon the sweatiness, we just got out of the studio.

Jess
• If she didn't know, she'd be right there in your face until she'd sorted things out to her satisfaction.

Joel Allen Kabik: the tell-tale heart, an actor's tale
• I was doing my shows, he later recalled, but I was literally dying out there.

Michael Kaire: Snapshots
• He gave no motive other than he wanted to see what it felt like to kill somebody.

Roseann Finucane Lawrence: at the pulse of the president
• Taking a man's blood pressure ... takes on a whole new meaning when he's the leader of the free world.

Paul McCartney: let's all get up & dance....
• A multitude singing the closing "na-na-na" chorus of "Hey Jude" is an experience you won't soon forget.

Nicole Morouse: Barack Obama's words are in her hands
• Part of our job is to become the person who's speaking.

John Morris Rankin: fare thee well
• All I had was a bit of your music and I miss it already.

Anna Nicole Smith: the cult of Anna Nicole
• Every butcher, baker, police officer and homemaker deserves as much.

Amanda Sprecher: saving Broadway
• If you get interested in a young age, it carries through into adulthood.

Starry eyes
• It is always a bit startling and just a bit exhilarating to bump into someone who is Somebody.

Waltzing with Bear
• You're so concerned with the everyday dangers that you don't look too far ahead.

William Taylor White: the boy in the iron casket
• It was a pretty cold case, and the tracks were going to be pretty hard to follow.

Andrew Wyeth: a painter's farewell
• Andrew Wyeth's death made us realize what a treasure we had.

Weird Al Yankovic: egg on my face.
• It wasn't selfless heroism that drove me to step between the prince of pop parody and the ovoid projectile.

Roger Zelazny: the Amber series
• With such an insightful and witty guide as Zelazny, it is a pleasure to tour this realm.


PLACES OF INTEREST

Concord, Massachusetts: on Walden Pond
• Once I was there, it seemed natural to play a few tunes.

Doolin, Ireland: Doolin for music
• People swore they'd buy me pints if only the bar was still serving.

Dublin, Ireland: living music history at Ceol
• A trip through Ceol is several hours well spent for any Irish music enthusiast.

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania: mmm-chocolate at M&M/Mars
• My wife wants to dive into the vat every time she visits the plant.

Elk Neck, Maryland: the northern edge of the Chesapeake
• The forest here is young -- the area was mostly farmland in the early 1900s.

Ephrata, Pennsylvania: shopping the Green Dragon
• Restock your video collection and outfit your dog for life on pigs' ears and cow femurs.

Judique, Cape Breton: the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre
• Bonnie Jean even brought her rosin-covered fiddle out to demonstrate some of the local techniques.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania: the Anderson Pretzel Bakery
• Ten huge ovens running constantly can output 300,000 pounds of pretzels a day.

London, England: on the good ship Cutty Sark
• These are timbers that were growing during the Battle of Agincourt.

Montana: hither and yon, a ramble
• I'd have considered hiking alone at night after bathing in honey and huckleberries.

Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania: a view from a cage at Governor Dick
• A visit today might be a little disappointing.

Mystic, Connecticut: A Mystic experience
• Many of the docks are active and there are always boats on the water.

Nottingham, Pennsylvania: another world at the serpentine barrens
• Trees are stunted and scrubby. Soil is shallow and rocky.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: an inner-city wilderness at Tinicum
• Tinicum is a unique juxtaposition of natural and urban environments.

Salem, Massachusetts: which witches?
• One chapter in its past will always stand out in the public consciousness. The trials.

Stockton Springs, Maine: an "ahhh" kind of place
• I knew at least one lonesome loon was floating low in the water.