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Monthly Archives: November 2013

The future of over-the-air television

Hugh Jackman in “Oklahoma,” broadcast yesterday on WUNC-TV One of my regular themes on this blog is beating down the misconception that digital technologies have made radio obsolete. The opposite is true. Digital technologies have made radio more important than ever. I am, of course, using the broad definition of radio — the wireless transmission […]

The rewards of rural life

A concerned citizen speaks to the Stokes County commissioners. Though I certainly enjoyed my 17 years in San Francisco, rural life is far from boring. One of the good things about backroads places such as Stokes County is that the American system of government operates at a small scale. People know each other. It’s easy […]

Winter pestos

I am still grieving for the basil of summer and the amazing pestos it made. Carrying pesto into the winter is greatly to be desired, not least because pesto is the best vehicle I know for delivering intense quantities of medicinal garlic. Kale, and, or, parsley are the usual winter substitutes. I can’t get excited […]

Sprout season has commenced

Clover sprouts For a while I had forgotten about sprouts. But I remembered recently while at Whole Foods, puzzling over what sort of winter salad fixin’s were freshest and cheapest. Whole Foods’ salad fixin’s were fresh, but they weren’t cheap. So I ordered fresh sprouting seeds from, got out my sprouting jars, and got […]

Digging ever deeper for human roots

Source: PNAS There were many stories in the news this week about sequencing the DNA of a boy buried in Siberia 24,000 years ago and how the boy’s DNA links early Europeans to Native Americans. None of these stories mentioned that linguists have been looking for — and may have found — the same connection. […]

The proofs are in

During my career as an editor and as director of editorial systems for newspapers, I have ushered millions of words into print. I also have helped authors get a good many books into print. But today for the first time I held in my hands a book with my name on the cover. Awesome. At […]

An excellent restoration

A neighbor out on the paved road recently finished renovating one of his tobacco barns. He used high-quality board and batten siding. The siding was sawed on-site by one of those portable sawmills that I have written about. The trees that went into the siding were trees that he had cut to build a house. […]

Fugue in Ursa Major: now in the proofing stage

My novel, Fugue in Ursa Major, is now in the final stages of production. Proof copies are being printed this week. As soon as the proof copies arrive, I’ll immediately get them to my distinguished first readers. And are my first readers ever distinguished! They are: — Ken, already known to readers of this blog. […]

Gaulish, Latin, and the French language

Notre Dame de Paris In a post yesterday, I wrote about the almost complete destruction of the Celts in Gaul (which had roughly the same boundaries as today’s France). I mentioned that this genocide was so complete that the Gaulish language was wiped out, though linguists have worked hard to recover what they can of […]

The magic of feathers

Click on image for high-resolution version People often ask me if I worry about the chickens getting cold during the winter. Actually, no. The breeds are supposed to be New England hardy, and the girls huddle up on the roost. Summer heat seems much harder on them than the winter cold, and they go right […]