Essays

ESSAY- American Made: Why Haiti's earthquake started here
Published on Jan 21st, 2010
4 comments As grim accounts of the earthquake in Haiti began arriving, the accounts in U.S.-controlled state media all carried the same descriptive sentence: "Haiti is the poorest country in the Western...
ESSAY- New normal: Know your wants from your needs
Published on Jan 14th, 2010
0 comments Your portfolio looks wilted. Your home's value is seeping through the basement floor. Perhaps your income has been battered, too. All together, your personal wealth, thanks to a few economic...
ESSAY- Pooch policy: Raising 'fetch' to a new level
Published on Jan 7th, 2010
1 comments Picture this: a dog that can flip your lights on and off, bring you the cordless, and fetch that bag of Cheez Doodles that is way too far away in the kitchen. While you were at your holiday parties...
Last night Virginia? Don't let this New Year's tradition end
Published on Dec 24th, 2009
0 comments   Author Carroll Trainum now has 28 First Night buttons.PHOTO BY HAWES SPENCER Say it ain't so. Organizers are suggesting that the economic downfall may mean that the 28th annual First Night...
ESSAY- Real clunker: How we should have treated old cars
Published on Dec 17th, 2009
0 comments With the announcement last week that the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration was delaying the forced crushing or shredding of 690,000 Cash for Clunkers trade-ins from this summer,...
ESSAY- Tiger abuse? Double-standard pervades Woods discussion
Published on Dec 10th, 2009
0 comments As the news of golf superstar Tiger Woods' alleged multiple affairs spills all over the media, a fascinating– and disturbing– subplot to the story has become a revealing litmus test of...
Boojum! The novel (and author) that time forgot
Published on Dec 3rd, 2009
0 comments   Henry Fonda played Wertenbaker  on Broadway in 1962.PLAYBILL Charles Wertenbaker is the forgotten man of twentieth-century American literature. He chronicled D-Day with Robert Capa,...
ESSAY- Small portions: The meaning of the ping pong ball scoop
Published on Nov 26th, 2009
0 comments What the hell? I looked down at my serving of apple pie à la mode and thought I'd been punk'd. Where was the TV camera? Ashton Kutcher had to be lurking around, somewhere. The menu said it was...
ESSAY- Sayonara, ABC: McDonnell's getting Virginia off the sauce
Published on Nov 19th, 2009
0 comments Ask an immigrant to tell you about her first impressions of America– especially someone who hails from a communist or socialist state– and eventually she'll get to the part about the...
ESSAY- Mutual respect? Iran gets but never gives
Published on Nov 12th, 2009
0 comments While the focus last week was on the failure of President Obama's campaigning to help Democratic candidates in Virginia and New Jersey, a much more important presidential issue was taking place on...
ESSAY- Locally shot: The Zen horror movie that works
Published on Nov 5th, 2009
0 comments Lora Lee Jones (not shown) and Lara Blake and Ashley Florence (quite shown here) star in Mantra, a film written and directed by Brian Wimer and available on DVD through mantramoviesite.com.Photo by...
ESSAY- God and prayer: Tough on us... and on egos
Published on Oct 29th, 2009
0 comments Gordon Livingston's October 8 essay "Divine design: Survivors right to question unanswered prayers" (The Hook 10/08/09 -10/14/09) verbalizes an almost universal concern, "unanswered prayer." He...
ESSAY- Localvore's dilemma: How I learned about shooting food
Published on Oct 22nd, 2009
0 comments "I'm sorry, honey," I said, extracting a toy rifle from the small hands of the visiting 8-year-old boy, "but we don't allow guns at our house, not even toy ones." I then walked the twenty feet from...
ESSAY- Toas-Tite: Snug as a bug at grandpa's farm
Published on Oct 15th, 2009
1 comments When my grandfather passed away, I told my mother I wanted just one treasure from my grandparents' estate: the Toas-Tite sandwich maker. I'm sure I was the only grandchild to make this request, and...
ESSAY- Divine design: Survivors right to question unanswered prayers
Published on Oct 8th, 2009
0 comments In a society in which at least 9 of 10 people identify themselves as believers in a Supreme Being, it is natural for people to pray for what they want and identify good outcomes as God's...
ESSAY- On Amtrak: You can't get there from here...
Published on Oct 1st, 2009
8 comments Nearly everything about my recent vacation in Florida was perfect: the beaches, wildlife, sunsets, you name it. My only disappointment? The way I got there. I took a plane, as anyone who lives 1,500...
ESSAY- September slump: The empty nester's lament
Published on Sep 24th, 2009
0 comments You are a slacker, a dropout – you're the loser sneaking a cigarette behind the gym while the good kids are in algebra class. You are aimless and useless and worthless.  Or is it just me?...
ESSAY- How-to: We can stop ruining the Bay
Published on Sep 24th, 2009
0 comments Warm weather gets me jazzed about being outside– near the water, on the water, and eating anything that comes from the water. I'll drive four hours round trip just to get three hours on the...
ESSAY- September slump: The empty nester's lament
Published on Sep 17th, 2009
0 comments You are a slacker, a dropout – you're the loser sneaking a cigarette behind the gym while the good kids are in algebra class. You are aimless and useless and worthless.  Or is it just me...
ESSAY- The Nazis: We have met them, and they are us
Published on Sep 10th, 2009
11 comments Nazis. Americans are Nazis. We are Nazis. Godwin's Law, the theory that any policy discussion devolves into accusations that someone's a Nazi, be damned. It's impossible to read the newly-released...
ESSAY- Going postal: My dad the collector and criminal
Published on Sep 3rd, 2009
0 comments When I was a boy, before girls got interesting and video games got good and the Internet became my main source of information, I collected stamps. There was much about collecting that I loved. The...
ESSAY- Worse than Jaws: Why it's not safe to go in the water
Published on Aug 27th, 2009
0 comments Dr. Mark Rennaker has surfed San Francisco's Ocean Beach for three decades and suffered from repeated sinus, lung, eye and ear infections. As a general practitioner, he has offered frequent...
ESSAY- All a Gog: The real reason we invaded Iraq
Published on Aug 20th, 2009
0 comments Incredibly, President George W. Bush told French President Jacques Chirac in early 2003 that Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible's satanic agents of the Apocalypse. Honest. This...
ESSAY- I spy: Why I gave up my American freedoms
Published on Aug 13th, 2009
0 comments Better than a potty-cam, right?flickr.com/stillframe/ Oh, no– another one, gone over to the dark side." That's what my friend, Hank, said recently as I flaunted my new, high-tech toy. Hank's...
ESSAY- Death sentences: How early obits change change history
Published on Jul 30th, 2009
0 comments The "late" Abe Vigoda Though not meriting inclusion in Webster's, there's a word for a death announcement that publicly kills off celebrities before their time: Vigodaed. The verb derives from a...
ESSAY- New mission: No child left inside
Published on Jul 30th, 2009
0 comments When I was a kid, about all I ever did inside was sleep, eat, and torment my grade school teachers. Every other waking moment was spent outside– not just fishing, hunting, and camping, but...
ESSAY- Two if by sea: When you're an interested surf-gazer
Published on Jul 9th, 2009
0 comments The merger of dolphin and shark at the Outer Banks last summer made for an unsavory view.FILE PHOTO BY HAWES SPENCER Uh oh. I spot a triangular fin about 50 feet off shore. Shark, or dolphin?...
ESSAY- A grief observed: Remembering Carol
Published on Jul 9th, 2009
0 comments The author and his wife, Carol.FILE PHOTO "I will turn to her as often as possible in gladness. I will even salute her with a laugh. The less I mourn her the nearer I seem to her. Admirable...
ESSAY- Frugal or cheap: How to tell which is which
Published on Jul 2nd, 2009
1 comments Today's sagging economy has us all thinking frugality. And frugality is a good thing. Cheapness, however, is not. To know the difference, let's start with a look at Hetty Green. Her contemporaries...
ESSAY- Big risk: You can't handle the truth?
Published on Jun 25th, 2009
0 comments I have alleles that suggest that I have a lower than average risk of suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Other alleles, however, indicate that I am slightly more likely to experience age-related...