Category Archives: Personally Speaking

Report from a Cruise to Alaska

That grand expanse of land taking up the northeast chunk of land of North America, frozen half the time, stretching out almost to touch Russia, is still evolving. There were thriving people carving out a living from the water and land in what’s called Alaska long before the Russians got there in the 18th century [...]

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Requiem for My Laptop

A quick farewell to my laptop, which died twice in recent weeks. First the hard drive fried, in the word of the technicians, and was replaced. And then it faltered because of a wire to the new drive. And finally, while on the other side of the country, it died again, making me finally come [...]

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Report from The Beach

Things didn’t look good from the beginning, when we needed a jump start even to inaugurate the trip to the Outer Banks. The Prius battery was so iffy that we drove the five hours all the way down without ever shutting off the car — not when getting gas, not when getting coffee, not when [...]

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Report from Blizzard Central

Two feet of snow is a lot. But it seems in my long life I’ve seen a few snowstorms like that. After a day of unexpected beauty, when nature makes marshmallow pillows out of everything, and kids are allowed to sled and cavort on streets made impassible for cars and dogs see something they never [...]

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The Triumph of ‘The Beach’

The last official beach day of the summer is also the last day for “The Beach,” the terrifically popular installation at the National Building Museum by Snarkitecture, which I’m so proud to say is run in part by my stepson Alex Mustonen. I had heard of his idea of following up last year’s popular BiG [...]

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Under the Spell of Slow TV in Norway

Took a last minute trip to Norway last week and though we spent our time in and around Oslo, it would seem like we saw the whole country. We stayed down the fjord in Moss, a former industrial city turning into a convincing artistic community. The water and the weather were perfect, and the sun [...]

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Notes on a Cruise

It was not my idea to go on a cruise. Instead, it was a generous offer from my mother-in-law, who was dedicating her winter to two halves of the same Caribbean route all winter and was inviting family members along for individual legs. It was for a ship, I was delighted to find, that was [...]

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Letter from The Beach

Some still advertise the beach as the place to “get it away from it all.” It is to laugh. Certainly, it’s a time I look forward to each summer. But the notion of leaving it all behind and getting away from the hubbub is all wrong. Increasingly, people seem to be super-sizing their vacations. Driving [...]

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The Veep of My Street

For the annual Hobart Street Porch Fest this weekend in D.C., I did some research on the guy for whom the block was named nearly 100 years ago and found out a lot about one of the more obscure names in American history. Despite the distinctly Democratic slant of our famous Hobart Street Pledge, the [...]

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Seeing ‘Nebraska’ in Nebraska

I got to see “Nebraska” over the weekend in the Omaha theater that director Alexander Payne helped establish. He wasn’t there, though he was part of a couple of events helping open it. It’s a great film, by the way. Though its black and white stock lend it a needless artiness, there is power in [...]

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