Essays

Grounds swell: When anguished parents go campus-hopping
Published on Apr 14th, 2011
0 comments Ah, springtime. Forget robins. The true harbingers of spring in Charlottesville are the clusters of distressed families on The Lawn. They are enduring The College Visit. Potty training and driving...
Shine on: How long will it last?
Published on Apr 7th, 2011
0 comments Oh, that was one wicked big moon, wasn’t it? Like a mass hallucination. I stood by my car that magical Saturday evening, not wanting to get in and drive. I wanted to soak up the moonlight, inhabit...
Shaken ground: Sendai left deep impressions
Published on Mar 31st, 2011
0 comments We arrived in Sendai in June. It was early summer, not too hot, and this city of a million welcomed us in its own way. Quietly, people helped my husband and me find an apartment, a recycle shop for...
EPA and NRC: Abolish both to really protect public safety
Published on Mar 24th, 2011
0 comments The New York Times recently revealed that as long ago as 1972 the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (precursor to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission) knew of fatal design defects in the General Electric...
Will books survive? Yes... but not on your shelf
Published on Mar 17th, 2011
0 comments Borders Books and Music, which once employed 30,000 workers at more than 600 stores, is bankrupt. Those numbers have been halved. And even after these massive cuts, analysts say, Borders is...
Rome burning? Then it's time for the impossible
Published on Mar 10th, 2011
0 comments Economist M. Scott Taylor and actress Emily Blunt– or rather the character she plays in The Adjustment Bureau– are peas in a pod. Recently, while The Adjustment Bureau was arriving in Charlottesville...
Twain's Huck: Racist and anti-racist at different places
Published on Mar 3rd, 2011
0 comments What's new about Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? Stephen Railton, an English professor in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences, has just published a new edition...
Going viral: New law could criminalize your sharing
Published on Feb 24th, 2011
18 comments “Eww! You’ve got cooties!” Sound familiar? Admit it: You had cooties a few times back in elementary school. Of course, anyone you touched after that pronouncement also had cooties. The affliction was...
Those kids! The roots of 20-something inter-generational anger
Published on Feb 17th, 2011
14 comments People in their mid-to-late-20s seem to have a bigger problem with today’s teenagers and college students than any other detractor of youth culture. Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers, Republicans...
ESSAY- In paradise: And on the path to hell
Published on Jan 27th, 2011
0 comments Here we are, in the dead of winter, and there I was, in shorts, hiking on a skinny trail that rims a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Waves crashed far below on rough volcanic rocks, sunlight...
ESSAY- Typical shooter: Tucson man gave few public clues
Published on Jan 20th, 2011
3 comments "Students of assassination in the U.S. have generally seen assassins and attackers of political leaders either as possessing ‘political' motives or as being ‘deranged,'" notes a 1999...
ESSAY- E.T., stay home! Why extraterrestrial silence is golden
Published on Jan 13th, 2011
1 comments If extraterrestrial civilizations exist in our galaxy– and there are good reasons to think they do– it's probably a good idea to mind our own business and hope they do the same. There...
ESSAY- Penny reign: Lincoln's disc is hard to kill
Published on Jan 6th, 2011
0 comments Someday, probably within your lifetime, the one-cent coin will go away. The penny, the first coin minted in the United States, was obviated by inflation before most members of today"s work force were...
ESSAY- Thrifty and green: Enjoy Christmas... without wasting cash and carbon
Published on Dec 16th, 2010
2 comments Don't know about you, but I haven't thought much about green gifts for the holidays simply because there's not much green to begin with... as in cash. What I did think about was how to stretch what...
ESSAY- Greater evil: Why we get airport pat-downs
Published on Dec 9th, 2010
0 comments For the second time in three days recently, a gruff man in a uniform touched my crouch. Behind a curtain, hands were running all over my wife's body. To see the Taj Mahal in a nation scarred by 26...
ESSAY- C'ville groper: He should work for the TSA
Published on Dec 2nd, 2010
8 comments Did you hear about the C'ville Groper? If you've been keeping up with the local news in the past few weeks, you've heard about this guy who attacks young women around UVA. He accosts them and puts...
Gratitude: How a devastating loss made sense of everything
Published on Nov 25th, 2010
8 comments   I dreaded the day that my mother wouldn't know me. I had accepted that she had Alzheimer's disease and it was inevitable. It wasn't that bad when it came. Later, I even got used to...
Ring: The death of the phone call
Published on Nov 18th, 2010
3 comments   My phone bills are shrinking. Not, unfortunately, in cost. I mean they're getting shorter. I recently found an old bill from a decade ago; it was fully 15 pages long, because back then I was...
ESSAY- Harming Eden: Become an environmentalist, for the love of God
Published on Nov 11th, 2010
1 comments Conservative religious talk-show hosts and many of their followers often assert that environmentalists worship the creation instead of the creator. The implication is that people concerned about...
Penn's teller: A chance Hollywood encounter in the Omni
Published on Nov 4th, 2010
0 comments   Three years ago, Penn–- who died September 28 at the age of 88-and-a-day–- received a lifetime achievement award at a Berlin film festival.Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch As the 23rd...
ESSAY- Houses and handbags: What Chicago can teach Charlottesville
Published on Oct 28th, 2010
4 comments PHOTO BY JANIS JAQUITH Oh, I am a sucker for novelty! Eye-catching design is tough to resist. And there I was, in a shop on Chicago's Magnificent Mile a few weeks ago, surrounded by gorgeous Italian...
ESSAY- Annals of (not) dredging: How to squander a resource
Published on Oct 14th, 2010
7 comments Avant le delugeApres le delugePHOTOS BY KAREN PAPE At first glance, the left photo, taken September 26, appears to be a farm field baking in Central Virginia's recent desert summer. The right image...
ESSAY- Keep pedaling: How exercise helps your weight, life
Published on Oct 7th, 2010
0 comments As a nation, Americans getting fatter and fatter. Yet we seem ever more confused about how to lose weight. We're particularly fuzzy on the question of how big a role exercise plays, or whether we...
ESSAY- Invasive pest? Why imported bugs and plants can be good
Published on Sep 30th, 2010
0 comments Here's a fact that I suspect most people don't know: Wherever we humans have gone in the past two centuries, we have increased local and regional biodiversity. Biodiversity, in this case, is...
ESSAY- Recycling confessions: Why my body isn't graveyard-bound
Published on Sep 23rd, 2010
2 comments PHOTO BY JANIS JAQUITH I hate recycling. So, let's get it over with: stone me or burn me at the stake or do whatever you do to a heretic nowadays. But I can't be bothered with analyzing,...
ESSAY- Lady Gaga: And the Pornification of America
Published on Sep 16th, 2010
0 comments With a record-breaking 17 million fans on Facebook, a chart-topping 5 million followers and the most popular hashtext on twitter (#becauseofgaga), the most watched YouTube video, and more than $34...
ESSAY- Enough yogurt: Why I'm not falling for Activia and others
Published on Sep 9th, 2010
0 comments File Photo The pressure to eat yogurt in America is out of control. In recent years makers of the tasty snack, once the province of menopausal women and grade-school sack lunches, have been...
ESSAY- Suffragist city: Beginnings and endings on Women's Equality Day
Published on Sep 2nd, 2010
4 comments Last Thursday, August 26 was the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the one that granted women the right to vote. I've been thinking about this one for a while. In fact,...
ESSAY- Being whole: A life cut short, and lives restored
Published on Aug 26th, 2010
2 comments   Jeremy Pinkerton FAMILY PHOTO "Brain death was achieved at 11:30," his father said.   It was just two days since we'd heard about Jeremy's accident. The first email came from...
ESSAY- Religion trumps: As libertarians wage war on free speech
Published on Aug 19th, 2010
6 comments Two months ago, long-time White House correspondent Helen Thomas got fired by her employer, the Hearst newspaper conglomerate, in response to her off-the-cuff slam at Israel. I criticized the...