Category Archives: Uncategorized

The coronavirus vs. flu-as-usual

 [Note: this was written on Sunday, March 8th, four days before it appeared in the paper. It was of course–the tone and substance–immediately out-of-date.] If the world has had a hard time getting sufficiently exercised about imminent climate disaster to do much of anything about it, not so about coronavirus. As I write, panic seems […]

Schulz on Thoreau: who’s the hermit here?

A recent “New Yorker” carries a hatchet job on, of all iconic Americans, HenryDavid Thoreau. In her contemptuous “What have we been thinking?” attitude toward the last 150 years of treasuring Thoreau, Kathryn Schulz comes across as more of a solipsistic crank than she construes Thoreau to be. Useful literary criticism starts with understanding why […]

Birds: that amazing fact of life

For some reason this year the towhees didn’t show up. I keep track of this sort of thing. They usually arrive in the last 10 days of April, a punctuation mark of spring. First heard, their distinctive “drink-your-tea-hee-hee.” Then seen, black on top, reddish sides, making their distinctive move in the underbrush, raking back leaves […]

Bags in Provincetown: why not do something that really makes sense?

Provincetown has put on its town meeting warrant a ban on single-use plastic bags. Stores will be required to furnish paper. The Cape tip community would be the first on the block to make this virtuous move. They would join Nantucket and that other Edge City, San Francisco. The only trouble is that paper, though […]

TOO BIG FOR OUR BRIDGES? [op-ed Cape Cod 4 February 2014]

This year is the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Cape Cod Canal, and the start of its contradictory effect on Cape life. The purpose of the canal was to save ships the time, money, and danger of going all the way around the treacherous Cape itself. Incidentally it turned us into an island […]

Pay-as-you-throw in Wellfleet: reasons for the pushback [op-ed Cape Cod Times,7 January 2014] 7 Jan 2014

Wellfleet’s new pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) transfer station policy has incurred unexpected rancor in its first month. There have been a facebook analogies to Nazi German and petitions to recall two selectmen. About 40% of Massachusetts towns (and counting) have gone PAYT, but as with the U.S. and single- payer healthcare, evidence that something works well elsewhere […]

Handing off the future [ op ed Cape Cod Times 29 October 2013 ]

“Where are the young people? We need to reach out to the young people.” In meetings of a local group working to close down Pilgrim, the mostly gray and graying membership talk ardently (the only way we know how to talk) about the crying need to recruit more young people to our ranks.   How […]

Restoring the logic of government [November 2008 CCT]

I imagine Thanksgiving will assume a civic dimension this year it hasn’t had in some time. At many tables there will be thanks for an amazing election that gives us hope that we now have a shot at government of the people, by the people, for the people. “For the people”–remember that? To read letters […]