Essays

Going coastal: And like a bad neighbor...
Published on Nov 15th, 2014
0 comments By PATRICK CLARKIn 1938, when storm-watchers gave hurricanes names fit for railroad lines, the Great New England formed off Africa's western coast, hurtled across the Atlantic and turned north,...
Digging deeper: On becoming a Hook reporter
Published on Sep 26th, 2013
1 comments One of the first stories I wrote as a full-time employee for the Hook in 2005 was about the planned renovation of a Downtown park. I spoke to advocates of the renovation, city parks and rec officials...
'Sox lid': A hat changed my life
Published on Sep 19th, 2013
4 comments By Carroll TrainumCarroll@CarrollTrainum.comThe first week of August marked the 11th anniversary of a life-changing event for me. My wife and I were married in 2002 and went to Boston on our...
Bypass be gone: It's not too late to undo bad idea
Published on Sep 12th, 2013
107 comments 66 SecondsBy Jack TrammellRigged polls. Midnight votes. Politicians calling each other names and contradicting themselves in public. Use of the state legislative process to punish opponents....
Enough is enough: State should bow out of liquor biz
Published on Sep 5th, 2013
15 comments By Coy Barefoot Our government has no business being in the liquor business. It's time for the Virginia state government to get out of the business of making money off a statewide monopoly on liquor...
SWAT overkill: Our military weaponry is now aimed at us
Published on Aug 29th, 2013
32 comments We Americans are a fearful lot. Whenever a politician wants our vote, all he has to do is scare us. The candidate who creates the most fearsome boogeyman and proposes harsh measures to fight this...
Suffrage's legacy: It's time for women to step up
Published on Aug 22nd, 2013
5 comments By Kay Slaughter Walking down a narrow alley through a sea of men, desks and typewriters, amid the clouds of cigarette smoke, I spot a small clutch of women to my left— in an area segregated from the...
Dog days (and nights) in Orange County
Published on Aug 15th, 2013
1 comments By Hilary Holladay The Virginia countryside has its own sounds and rhythms. In Orange County, where I’ve recently moved after five years in Charlottesville, I’m used to the cicadas, the cry of the...
Save the earth? Save yourself.
Published on Aug 8th, 2013
231 comments by Jeff FeldmanI’ve grown weary of the whole “Save the Earth” movement. This may seem like blasphemy, coming from an avowed tree hugger, but it’s true. When asked to give green presentations to...
Charm: A pedophile's secret weapon
Published on Jul 25th, 2013
23 comments I never met the man, but I’m sure I would have been charmed by him, as everyone else was. Why? Because he would have groomed me, as he groomed everyone around him. Tall and handsome, he was an Ivy...
America divided? You bet, and that's good.
Published on Jul 18th, 2013
28 comments By Charles McRavenThe hand-wringer’s political whine: “Why can’t we all just get alo-ong? Those people on the other side just keep on dividing the country. They’re so mean-spirited.” Welcome to the...
Reborn in the USA
Published on Jul 4th, 2013
2 comments By Cathy HardingRecently The Atlantic published a quiz, “Are You Smart Enough to Be A Citizen?” It’s a jumble of multiple-choice questions about iconic American architecture, Supreme Court justices,...
Shared vision: The quest for beauty has deep roots
Published on Jun 27th, 2013
10 comments Remember the story of “The Red Shoes,” where the girl cannot stop dancing? These past several days have been like that, except with clippers and a saw. I’ve been gripped by this obsession for a week...
Tortured logic: "Trust us" is no longer good enough
Published on Jun 20th, 2013
26 comments By Retired Brigadier General David R. IrvineThe Convention Against Torture, which President Reagan signed 25 years ago, states "[n]o exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a...
Garden to market: There's hard work behind those local veggies
Published on May 30th, 2013
0 comments By Charles McRaven I’m finding out some of what it takes to get those big red tomatoes and peppers,  bright green melons, and yellow squash to the farmer’s market Saturday mornings. I’m driving...
Whose hands? Your clothes hold stories
Published on May 30th, 2013
4 comments The sewing machine motor surged again and again, a comforting rhythm as I closed my eyes and sank into sleep. A few days before, a pile of red blazers had appeared on the table by my mother’s curvy,...
Barnum's beaming: The Greatest bypass on Earth!
Published on May 22nd, 2013
37 comments Have you ever walked into a store soon after opening hours to find the advertised sale item "all sold out?” Come to the Holiday Inn Thursday, May 23 and get a look at a “bait and switch” tactic so...
Death to Death: June turn-out could help
Published on May 16th, 2013
0 comments By David Swanson Most of the world's governments no longer use the death penalty. Among wealthy nations there is one exception remaining. The United States is among the top five killers in the world...
Rich and smiling: New study says money does buy happiness
Published on May 9th, 2013
9 comments "I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, honey, rich is better," the vaudevillian Sophie Tucker quipped. Tucker's witticism will not strike most of us as controversial. Yet some really smart...
Lefties take aim: How locavores are the new gun nuts
Published on May 2nd, 2013
8 comments By Andrew Potter We all know the typical face of right-wing gun nuttery, from the local camo-clad yahoos in a pickup with a gun rack and jacklights all the way to Wayne LaPierre of the NRA, who...
Marathon mayhem: Training didn't include running for their lives
Published on Apr 25th, 2013
0 comments We had all prepared for this day, but we had not prepared for this scenario: The panic of frantically attempting to count heads, fearing anyone unaccounted for at that moment might well be dead, or...
Seeking comfort: When words fail, let nature do the talking
Published on Apr 25th, 2013
0 comments By BettyJoyce NashLast Friday, my friend and I talked and talked. Her words couldn't drown the chop-chop of the Black Hawks above her roof. We'd toss lines to each other, sometimes simultaneously,...
What the frack? What happens in West Virginia can happen here
Published on Apr 18th, 2013
12 comments I have a furnace that runs on natural gas, a gas stove, a gas dryer, and a gas hot water heater. I am happy with these, especially the stove. Gas is great for cooking. It never occurred to me,...
Roger and me: Reflections on a kindred spirit
Published on Apr 11th, 2013
0 comments By Carroll TrainumSpifclown1@yahoo.com Our shared passion for film brought Roger Ebert and me together, first on his TV movie review shows, and then throughout our 10 years of interactions through...
Flash of insight: Get used to no power
Published on Apr 4th, 2013
30 comments Silent flashes lit up the sky in fast succession, like paparazzi, for a good two minutes. The night was dark, and our power had clicked off about a half hour earlier. I stood at our bedroom window,...
Jeepers peepers! Frogs are canaries in a coal mine
Published on Mar 28th, 2013
0 comments By Amy Mathews AmosThe snow had melted, the sun was shining and the river beckoned, so I took a long walk by the water this weekend. Being outside was satisfying enough, but I got an unexpected treat...
Red brain, blue brain: Does political affiliation reflect intelligence?
Published on Mar 21st, 2013
65 comments By Ronald Bailey People use reason to convince themselves, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, that their side is right and the other side is wrong. That's the conclusion of a new study...
Afton's allure: A commuter's rocky affair
Published on Mar 14th, 2013
1 comments By Hilary Holladay I’m in the waning months of a rocky relationship. It’s been almost three years now, and though I’ve taken breaks every Christmas and every summer, I’m not able to call it quits...
Nowhere to hide: The brave new world of domestic drones
Published on Mar 7th, 2013
13 comments In the good old days, if you wanted to spy on someone or cause them harm, you pretty much had to do it up close and personal. You could stand outside someone’s house and peek through the windows,...
A Virginia DUI story: Know your rights
Published on Mar 4th, 2013
28 comments By André HakesCHAPTER ONE: It's 11:00pm and you're on your way back from dinner. You are pulled over for a check point, speeding, or a taillight out. The officer walks up to your car shining the...