COMMENTARIES

Susan Johnson in Camden,  Maine on top of Mt. Megunticook.
Thomas Thompson / Courtesy of Susan Johnson

I began hiking regularly with a friend and her chubby dog eight years ago. The friend worked a 9-to-5 job, so neither she nor her dog got much exercise. But on Saturday afternoons we would hike.

An app transforms the unsmiling face of Robert Chipkin into several other images, including a forced smile.
Upper left: Josh Sowalsky / Courtesy Robert Chipkin / FaceApp

"Why does he look so constipated? Everyone else looks so happy except for Mr. Constipated," my family invariably asked when looking at pictures of me in family albums.

Confessions Of A Reticent Abortionist

Apr 5, 2018
Graffiti.
Edson Chilundo / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/edson_ac

Most mornings, there's an elderly man in front of my office holding a sign that says: "Thou shall not murder."

In an episode of "Star Trek: Discovery," from left, Lieutenant Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif), Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), and First Officer Saru (Doug Jones).
CBS

Frustratingly, I’ve not yet watched "Star Trek: Discovery," because to do so, unlike with the older series, I'd have to shell out $6 a month to CBS.

Children's books on display at a library.
Kalamazoo Public Library / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/kalamazoopubliclibrary

A couple of months ago, I decided that I would take my five-year-old daughter with me to the local Women’s March. Since my explanations were not as clear as I wanted, I searched for a children’s book to help me explain the 2016 Women’s March to her. 

Breakfast at a Parisian cafe
Lian Chang / Flikr https://www.flickr.com/photos/diametrik/2628099742

What better way to escape winter in New England than to experience winter in Paris? Last month, I spent a week in the city of light -- well in January, make that "twilight."

Samuel Bowles was a dynamo, known for his wit, intelligence, and dashing good looks.
unknown / Bowles-Hoar Family Papers, Archives and Special Collections,Amherst College

Samuel Bowles was the editor of The Springfield Republican. As a young man in the 1850s, he transformed the Republican into one of New England’s most admired newspapers.

In the woods.
Pxhere / Creative Commons

"You should have a cell phone," my mother-in-law says.

In 2003, Greenfield, Massachusetts, adopted a mayoral form of government, technically changing from town to city, according to state regulations. But Greenfield kept calling itself a town for 14 more years.
Andrew Varnon / NEPR

In official state documents, we used to be referred to as “The City known as the Town of Greenfield.” Kind of embarrassing.

This Cat Lover's Claws Are Out

Jan 17, 2018
A cat.
Krysten Merriman / Creative Commons

An open letter to Robert Chipkin, researchers at Vanderbilt University, and all dog triumphalists, ever, for the end of time: Your dog may be smarter than my cat. This is not a great feat. My cat’s brain is about the size of a walnut.  

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