Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater

When I stopped counting, there were 12 dead and 58 wounded in the audience that had, earlier in the evening, looked forward to a peaceful midnight opening of “The Dark Knight Rises” – third in a series of Batman movies. Shortly after the shooting in Aurora, CO, authorities had arrested 24-year-old James Eagan Holmes …Read more

“UnClean Coal” not listed on billboards

King Coal loudly proclaims its place in our society, from the employment it claims to offer to the electricity it sends to our homes. Billboards along the Interstate insist that coal – often referred to as “clean coal” – is the way to go for continued prosperity and energy independence. But the billboards and televisionRead more

Don’t kill the army because the general was infected

Joe Paterno guided his football teams to some pretty impressive performances. Football, we all know, is seasonal preoccupation  – except in upper New England where winter isn’t just a word surrounding Christmas, and where basketball is the main focus, primarily, I suspect, because it’s not necessary to plow two feet of snow off the areaRead more

It’s all in the presentation

Old timey outhouse connected to state of the art communications towerI bought a container of ice cream, recently. In its upper corner was a big sign boasting of “2 extra scoops, over 15% more ice cream than 1.5 quarts.”

I know I’m in the ranks of Senior Citizens, but does anyone still alive remember when a half-gallon box of ice cream actually contained two quarts of the frozen treat?

In 2007, I wrote a tradition among through-hikers on the Appalachian Trail. When they arrived at the half-way point on their trek along the 2,100-mile Georgia-to-Maine trail, many of them paused to attempt the Half-Gallon Challenge. The challenge was to see how quickly they could consume a half-gallon of ice cream.Read more

Wind helping blow coal away – in the U.S., anyway

The largest wind farm in the world may be coming to the Wyoming prairie. And smaller farms are in the works offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Wyoming project would comprise up to 1,000 turbines, generating enough electricity to serve a million homes. The project, in twoRead more

City kid, Country kid and Real Maple Syrup

(This piece first was published as a guest column on The Green Grandma, July 10, 2012. It will continue there after the jump.) Someone asked recently what could be done about Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision in 2010 that allows unlimited money to be spent on presidential campaigns – as long as the donorsRead more

Community shows a way to reduce water use

(This column was first published on Rock The Capital, Oct. 21, 2011.) It is said that that much of the county in which I live is only 30-45 days away from drought. The land beneath the houses and pavement is nearly solid – compacted dried clay virtually incapable of storing water. We turn on ourRead more

The hidden cost of food

Men and women are picking tomatoes to earn 50 cents for each 32-pound bucket, $50  to hand pick more than two tons of tomatoes in a 12-hour day. Of course,  cheaper isn’t always better. The idea leaves thousands of farm hands needing taxpayer support for food stamps and medical care because their wages will notRead more

Pennsylvania’s parallel governments: a journey to The Outer Limits

For decades, science fiction has been telling of parallel universes. I was introduced to the idea in my youth by “The Twilight Zone,” a weekly television show that ran 1959 – 1964 and featured people in strange situations – often in places they thought they recognized, but were not where they thought they were –Read more

The Sky is Pink

“With the gas-bearing Marcellus Shale formation underlying 50 percent of the state (of New York), and with the gas industry proposing upwards of 100,000 gas wells (in the state), (Gov. Mario Cuomo’s decision to repeal a moratorium on fracking) could fundamentally transform New York.” With that, producer/director Josh Fox opens an 18-minute video foray intoRead more