Columns & Essays

I was an award-winning columnist at the Bloomsburg Press-Enterprise and have published scores of columns and essays in newspapers and magazines as a freelancer, and on my website. 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.

What’s at Stake in the Pennsylvania Special Election

When I moved a bit farther out into Pittsburgh’s southern suburbs just ahead of the 2016 election, a fair number of my new neighbors’ yards sported Trump/Pence signs, with one lonely Clinton/Kaine sign holding down the corner. Eighteen months later, as the special House election between Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone looms, campaign…

Reporting the Future

Some people can’t let go of the past. Many journalists can’t let go of the future. The election brought not so much as a pause in their prognostications.

Everything you need to know as 50 looms

I recently scored my first senior discount. When I casually informed my wife I’d pay only half-price on an outing to Kennywood with our nephew because I’m 55, she made an incredulous huffy breath and said, “No you aren’t.”

Terrorists’ ghastly photo op

The photo op is an example of what historian Daniel Boorstin called a “pseudo-event,” an event that takes place solely for the purpose of being covered by the press. Closely related is the staged photo, supplied by institutions of all stripes to project an idealized and in essence persuasive image via the credible medium of…

Themis’s Law

The legal system inspires theatrical and cinematic drama because it captures the full palette of human nature in all its emotional colors: grief, virtue, revulsion, courage, conflict, dishonesty, triumph.

We are all the NRA

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre may be the extremist voice of “the gun lobby,” but virtually every single one of us is an active promoter, and consumer, of gun culture.

Let’s support real news

Imagine you are a farmer. You invest in land, seed, equipment and labor. The overhead is tremendous but your crop grows true. Then, at harvest time, a pack of freebooting strangers charges across your land, harvests your crop, sells it at market and kicks back not a cent. To subsist, you gather up what stray…

The G-20 is coming! The G-20 is coming! (Uh … what’s the G-20?)

Journalists, like playwrights and personal injury lawyers, love conflict. A house divided against itself may not stand, but it makes a really neat picture crashing down. This is why the news media, particularly local TV, are covering the upcoming G-20 economic summit like an impending Super Bowl or, better, a post-Super Bowl riot in Oakland.


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