Category: Blog

These are random thoughts about topics that interest me — including books, rock and roll, philosophy, culture and daily life. I update it whenever the mood strikes me, shooting for at least once a week but often more frequently than that. I welcome your comments on anything I may discuss here and, when appropriate, will reply as promptly as possible.

Book Review: News of the World

The prose and descriptions in this story from post-Civil War America are strongly reminiscent of Larry McMurtry. But this is a wholly original story. There is nothing derivative about it. The plot centers around an aging veteran of several conflicts – dating back to his participation in the War of 1812. At 71, he has Read More …

Book Review: A Life in Parts

The problem with this book is that there’s so much great material to work with. Cranston could have written 280 pages on his experiences as Walter White alone. That part is clearly the one that he’s most proud of, and fans of his work would be eager for more details, especially after the stirring scene Read More …

Share in a real, constructive conversation about safety

In a front-page editorial on Wednesday, we on the Daily Herald editorial board vented our frustration over continued school shootings with a call for a statewide panel that would research potential solutions and produce specific recommendations before school starts again next fall. At the end of a contentious General Assembly and the beginning of a Read More …

The power of the press – and its limits

Google “the power of the press” and you’ll get thousands of responses – many extolling the ability of mass media to effect change by influencing public opinion, a growing number debating how that power is (take your pick) declining/growing/transforming and some decrying how the entire subject has been swallowed up in the confusing conversation over Read More …

A different kind of conversation that can ease ‘a great lonely grief’

The newspaper often can seem like a mere recitation of events, a steady succession of familiar themes. Political controversy swells out of Washington. Check. Dramatic action stirs passions in a foreign war. Check. The state approves a new law. A local government considers a housing development. A popular singer is coming to town. The stock Read More …

The eternal struggle to balance excitement, impact

Here’s an interesting news judgment question for you. Which of these two events happening next Monday night will attract the most interest — a debate over a law setting a minimum age to play youth football or the NCAA March Madness championship game, possibly featuring the local Cinderella team, the Loyola University Ramblers? The answer Read More …

A deeper look at what elections say about choices

The Illinois primary is now behind us, but I find myself thinking about the upcoming June primary in Maine. Here’s why. Elections are about choices. Still, one question that nagged me as I watched some of the more interesting primary races Tuesday night was whether the results were truly reflective of voter choices. In the Read More …