Americans like to argue, a lot. In politics, in media, and in society at large, arguing has (arguably) become the default means by which we handle disagreement. But is it the most effective way, and has our readiness to wage a war with words gotten out of hand?
We live in a post-"The Gong Show" world. Any TV that you've ever heard anyone use the word "Dada" to describe -- David Letterman's entire career, for instance -- owes something to Chuck Barris's creation.
"Mr. and Mrs. Brown first met Paddington on a railway platform," goes the opening line in the opening book of Michael Bond's Paddington Bear series. Readers, for their part, first met the orphan bear from Peru in 1958, in the pages of A Bear Named Paddington.
There is perhaps no figure more emblematic of the paranormal than the psychic. Able to predict the future, see into the past, and even communicate with the dead, the psychic's awesome gifts are matched only by his or her ability to withstand skepticism and ridicule.
My mom would take me and my brothers to the beach on summer days when I was a little kid. I couldn't yet swim but I could stand in Long Island Sound when the tide was low and my brothers were close enough to save me if I fell. I loved it. On the way home, we'd pile into the back of our station wagon, roll down the windows and stop at the donut shop for a dozen sugar-coated jelly donuts. We'd eat them with our heads out the window and I'd end up with my hair stuck in the jelly on my face by the time I got home. Mmmm donuts.
The Mark Twain House and Museum will screen a new documentary Thursday that looks at the arts of the so-called "Gilded Age" of American history. Mark Twain played a crucial role in that era and plays one in the documentary.
I find great joy in walking in the dead of winter along the river trail near my house. Everything leaves my mind as I watch the Canadian geese take flight, their wings flapping together as they lift and swoop over my head. I'm in awe of their beauty.