No No Song

If there is one matter on which I can speak with authority – or at least experience – it is rejection. I started sending stories out for publication fifteen years ago. For a while I kept count of the rejections. After about a hundred, for the purpose of ego maintenance, I decided to stop. Let’s […]

Hindsight

Yes, there’s always the unexpected, isn’t there?  – Major Warden, The Bridge on the River Kwai   In February a friend came to visit. I hadn’t seen him in a while. As we caught up over drinks he asked what we were listening to. That’s the Brandenburg Concertos, I told him. To emphasize my sophistication […]

Hello, Goodbye

Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance. – Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus   One of my habits is to look at Wikipedia’s on-this-date page. That’s how I learned of the Arecibo Message. On November 16, 1974, the Arecibo Observatory sent a greeting to the […]

Burying the Lede

  John Noble Wilford knew that he was writing one of the most important stories of the century: The first human landing on another world. His article — for the front page of The New York Times on July 21, 1969, needed to begin with a sentence that conveyed the immensity of the moment. And […]

November Surprise

Earlier this year I volunteered for a primary campaign up in New Hampshire. On occasion I’d chat with other volunteers about the state of the race. We were, obviously, all in for our candidate, but we also were – or appeared – able to analyze the race with dispassion. The consensus was that the race […]