The Map.  In childhood I was given to improvising maps of small towns and villages.   I would often start with a stream, add a bridge, a railroad, then several roads that would converge at the town’s center.  And there would be a small park, a railroad station, a store, a post office, a school, a […]

Light in December

Christmas present:  In Pleasantville nearly every house along Washington Avenue, which connects with Chappaqua, is filigreed with colored lights.  It is as if those old, gingerbread domiciles were themselves objects of December reverence, signaling  light and hope during our passage through the coldest and darkest time of the year.  The snow has come and not […]

Great Ones Must Not Unwatched Go

Why do we seek fame? John Milton had a famously simple answer in Lycidas.  It was an “infirmity,” some kind of flaw, possibly verging on the pathological; a human condition.  It “spurs” us on to noble deeds, though inevitably this “fair guerdon” is trumped by death.  And so fame is, or attempts to be, the […]

Amory’s Game

There are two classes of opponents that average chess players seek to avoid.  There are those who can be easily defeated and consequently do not offer an interesting game.  Then there are the much superior players with whom it may be difficult to get a game in the first place, even if you don’t mind […]

Of Courage and Cowardice

Another anniversary of 9/11 has passed. Along with memories of the physical events of that day, I still recall the conceptual haze that filled the air like the spreading column of dark smoke rising from the twin towers. I have been thinking this past week of the onset of this decade’s semantic wars. Book indexers, […]