I Want the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth. So Help Me.

Columns & Essays

I was an award-winning columnist at the Bloomsburg Press-Enterprise and have published scores of columns and essays as a freelancer. Here are some recent (and a few not-so-recent) pieces.

The Map is Not the Territory

The map imposed upon us by Siri is utterly foreign to our own humanity, a rigid amalgam of GPS coordinates and heartless algorithms.

North by Southwest

Travels in search of America

Not quite 50 years ago, the tagline of the iconic counter-culture road movie Easy Rider was: “A man went looking for America and couldn’t find it anywhere.” On the roads I traveled, I was heartened to find it everywhere.

The First Freedom (No, not that one)

In popular culture, youthful freedom begins when one is handed a set of car keys (or today’s far-less-romantic equivalent, a fob). But those of us of a certain age know that the car is only…

You Can’t Go Home Again (And Why Would You?)

With the exception of Pittsburgh, where inter-generational families cling to each other like refugees in a lifeboat, a preponderance of Americans, particularly the college-educated, eventually leave their hometowns behind. You can find no end of…


Travels with Duquesne University

Big Data is watching you!

I grew up in a different era than my students, in a time when the adventures described by wanderers like Hemingway or Kerouac still seemed plausible; like, okay, the world has changed quite a bit…

That magic moment

I hope it will happen on every trip. And it always does. But until it does I don’t really believe it will. It’s that magic moment when you feel you are not just far from…

Ink-Stained Tales

The Perfect Murder? Prologue

One of the strangest stories I ever covered was the disappearance of industrialist Joe Derr in Acapulco, Mexico – and the ensuing tug of war between his prospective benefactors: Donald Baggett, his albino bodybuilder lover and accused killer, and the small Pennsylvania town that exiled him for being a homosexual when he was a boy.…

Chapter 1: Red Room

This is a true story. It must be. It was in the newspaper. I put it there. So. One evening in 1987, someone called my newsroom to tip us that the tiny town of Benton, Pa., had inherited something close to a million dollars. It was bequeathed by a man no one in Benton at…

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