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 […]

Bright Ideas

1. Dress Blues This teacher intends to write “The Ballad of Draper James.”   2. Apart From That, Mr. Easterly Part of my youth was misspent studying economics. I remember this one class in development economics where I barely passed the final. The professor wrote in the blue book that it was a shame I […]

Shamrocks and Shenanigans

  The twins have become enamored of making slime. The other day Twin 2 looked up from hers and said: “Did the elf die yet?” Now, the thing about Twin 2 is, she gets furious if she has to repeat herself more than once. It’s not the Achillean rage of when she was two, but […]

These Go to Eleven

  Because Foch rejected German requests for a ceasefire while the Armistice was being negotiated … sixty-seven hundred and fifty lives were lost and nearly fifteen thousand men were wounded. Worse yet, British, French, and American commanders made certain that the bloodshed continued at full pitch for six hours after the Armistice had been signed. […]

Reading Comprehension

  Last summer Rod Stewart came through Boston for a private concert. The newspaper mentioned he’d dined someplace downtown. I was surprised because I’d been there once myself, for a fundraiser. It’s one of those shiny Irish pub simulacra. The thing was, the article said he dined there twice. I remember thinking: Huh? I’d have […]

What Happened?

  Factually, if you had told any of us who worked with President Clinton as he prepared for his first summit with Boris Yeltsin in 1993 where the Russian economy, Russia’s government, and Russian relations with the United States were going to be in 2017, we would have been appalled. – Larry Summers   I […]

Outtakes

Yesterday morning I found myself in a basement singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The occasion wasn’t my usual solitary bizarrerie, but rather a children’s concert at a local library. Twins 1 & 2 knew the song, which surprised me – apparently they learned it at preschool – and the latter was merrily belting […]