Monthly Archives: December 2001

The day before the end of the Gregorian year

Written on December 30, 2001 at 2:40 pm, by

Things are done differently in different parts of the world. Here in the U.S., there is discussion of trying John Walker for treason and executing him. In Sweden earlier this month, four people were convicted of treason (the first such conviction anyone could remember); they’re being fined up to about $370 each. Their crime was […]  More

Getting away

Written on December 26, 2001 at 2:39 pm, by

The second time I went downhill skiing was in New York City. I make no claim as to the glories of our slopes, but one could rent boots, skis, and poles, get instruction, ride a lift, be rescued by the Ski Patrol, AND ride the subway from Manhattan. I am writing this much closer to […]  More

Funerals are not for the dead

Written on December 21, 2001 at 2:38 pm, by

Perhaps the most intense moment of the 1995 movie “Sense and Sensibility” comes towards the end. Colonel Brandon (played by Alan Rickman), the movie’s kindest character, has just rescued a woman from certain death, but she’s still dangerously ill. He’s not a doctor, and he’s in anguish from his helplessness. “Set me a task!” he […]  More

Unintended consequences

Written on December 18, 2001 at 2:37 pm, by

Cleveland Browns football team president Carmen Policy made a good case for apathy on Sunday. That’s my take on his statement anyway. After an unpopular decision by officials at a game between the Browns and the Jacksonville Jaguars, fans began throwing beer bottles (and other things) onto the field. American professional football players are big, […]  More

Dorothy didn't cheer

Written on December 15, 2001 at 2:36 pm, by

Back when it was still in East Germany, we found ourselves in the Leipzig railway terminal (at the time Europe’s largest) at an end-of-workday rush hour. As New Yorkers, we were not at all bothered by the crowds of people scurrying every which way all around us. It was actually rather enjoyable. After the commuters […]  More

The most important person on earth

Written on December 11, 2001 at 2:35 pm, by

There has been an ongoing story in the local news. It has nothing to do with September 11, anthrax, non-citizen rights, Islam, the Middle East, firefighters, Afghanistan, or our mayor. It doesn’t even have anything to do with New York, which is why you’re unlikely to have heard of it unless you avail yourself of […]  More


Written on December 7, 2001 at 2:34 pm, by

Today, on the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, American survivors of that attack literally embraced some of the Japanese pilots who tried to kill them. Adjectives of “evil” and “inhuman” weren’t used. No one seemed to care what allegiances were sworn back in 1941. On October 19, Mayor Giuliani said “Pledge of […]  More

The search for intelligent life in the universe

Written on December 6, 2001 at 2:33 pm, by

“The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe” is a theatrical wonder. Not only is it a great play (written by Jane Wagner), but it allows Lily Tomlin — alone but for some sound effects — to fill the stage with virtual scenery, props, and characters. In one scene, you could almost swear you saw […]  More

Fickle fate

Written on December 4, 2001 at 2:32 pm, by

According to next week’s New Yorker cover (by Maira Kalman and Rick Meyerowitz), the place where I rode my bike today is Central Parkistan. It’s south of Notsobad, northwest of Kvetchnya, west of al-Zheimers, and north of Mooshuhadeen. The cover is called “New Yorkistan” As I was coasting the Great Hill, I passed three young […]  More

I have hope

Written on December 1, 2001 at 2:31 pm, by

A colleague of mine often says, “I make television; I don’t watch it.” I’m not so absolute. I don’t get to watch MUCH television, but I do watch some. I don’t often get to see commercials. That’s not because I restrict my viewing to public television. It’s more that I like to watch cable channels […]  More

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