David Bouchier

Commentator

David began as a print journalist in London and taught at a British university for almost twenty years. After coming to the United States in 1986 he continued to teach and to publish a regular humor column in The New York Times regional edition.  He joined WSHU as a weekly commentator in 1992, becoming host of Sunday Matinee in 1996. His latest book of essays, Peripheral Vision, was published in 2011. His other books include A Few Well Chosen Words, The Song of Suburbia, The Cats and the Water Bottles, The Accidental Immigrant and Writer at Work. He lives in Stony Brook, New York, with his wife who is a professor at Stony Brook University, and two un-musical cats.

Thierry Ehrmann / Creative Commons

I like to imagine that I am in touch with history – not on the level of a professional historian of course, but like anyone who has noticed the basic fact that the past shapes the present, just as the present shapes the future. We are products, and perhaps playthings of history, whether we like it or not. But the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s dramatic gesture in Wittenberg in 1517 might have passed me by, if it hadn’t been for a flurry of book reviews and an excellent documentary on public television.

Who can we blame for this extra hour of darkness in the evenings? Whose not very bright idea was it to push the clocks back just when we are all starting to get depressed about the coming winter? The answer is President Woodrow Wilson who imposed this ritual persecution in 1918, and the members of Congress who have supported it ever since.

Paul Vernon / AP

The golden age of magic coincided more or less with my childhood, which was lucky for me. Not only could we see real magicians at work on stage at the local music hall theater, we could even become magicians ourselves.

wolfgangfoto / Flickr

My ignorance about science is virtually complete. We had a tiny amount of science education at school: a little simplified physics and a little more or less unintelligible chemistry – literally unintelligible because it was taught by a Scotsman whose accent none of us could understand. I never learned anything more.

Charlie Riedel / AP

The driver’s side window of my car stuck in the open position during a rainstorm last week, so I drove rather damply to my usual mechanic. He inhabits a workshop in one of those areas where automotive businesses seem to cluster, rather the way doctors’ offices cluster around a hospital. It’s reassuring in a way. If one practitionar can’t fix your problem, the one on the next block probably can.

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