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“Our tragedies often start before we are born”

Flickering candle

Originally published in Open Salon 26 April 2012

Our tragedies often start before we are born” – Joan Bennett, in character as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard from Dark Shadows

 CHAPTER ONE

 Over 40 years ago, a no-good punk and would-be grave robber named Willie Loomis pried open a coffin, a hand reached out and grabbed him by the throat — and a pop culture icon was born. (more…)

Thoughts on Valentine’s Day

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Earliest known pictorial representation of Saint Valentine, from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493)

Originally published on Open Salon 13 February 2011

I look back on Valentine’s Day when I was a boy in elementary school, with something less than genuine fondness. (more…)

Hawk Mountain

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Originally published on Open Salon 24 October 2012

September 23, 2012

A marsh hawk comes zooming up from the valley below, executes a perfect hairpin turn, then vanishes seemingly into thin air. I don’t even try reaching for my camera, knowing there are some moments in life that cannot be photographed. (more…)

Rachel Carson: Worse than Hitler?

anopheles

Originally published on Open Salon September 17 2012

“A pandemic is slaughtering millions, mostly children and pregnant women — one child every 15 seconds; 3 million people annually; and over 100 million people since 1972 –but there are no protestors clogging the streets or media stories about this tragedy. These deaths can be laid at the doorstep of author Rachel Carson.” – Lisa Makson, Front Page Magazine 31 July 2003.

This accusation, in one form or another, has been repeated in such august fora as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.

Can this be true? Could this mild-mannered author and naturalist from Baltimore really be responsible for more deaths that Hitler? (more…)

Silent Spring, 50 years on

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Originally published on Open Salon 15 September 2012

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. (more…)

An extraordinary woman

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Originally published on Open Salon 22 February 2012

Did I ever tell you about my one degree of separation from the late Dwight David Eisenhower? That’s right, between me and the 34th President of the United States of America there is but one degree of separation — thanks to my friendship with Old Mrs. Knight. (more…)

Remembering Grampa

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Originally published on Open Salon 8 April 2009

Lately, for no particular reason, I’ve found myself in odd moments thinking about my Grampa – Thomas Aloysius “Hap” Coburn of Manasquan, New Jersey. (more…)

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