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.

Bebeto Matthews / AP

Some people are incapable of being on time. They start by being born late, then go on to being late for school, late for work, late for dinner dates, late for their own wedding, and are only at the very last obliged to be on time for their final rendezvous.

Courtesy of Family Tree Template

Genealogy, the study of family history, has been around forever. Royal and aristocratic families existed only because they had, or pretended to have, a line of distinguished ancestors stretching back into the distant past. The right ancestors were essential, and the role of the genealogist in every age, was to find the right ancestors, whether they existed or not.

I sense a growing nostalgia for the idea of monarchy. It’s everywhere on our television screens with popular series like The Crown, Victoria, The Coronation, and something called Game of Thrones, which I haven’t seen but which I presume to be a documentary about monarchical politics. Journalists can’t get enough of Harry and Meghan, Kate and Andrew. The British royals are fully-fledged celebrities, at least as popular as Justin Bieber or Jennifer Lawrence, and with the added advantage of longevity.

My father never gambled, except for a few penny bets on card games with friends at home. My mother and grandmother allowed themselves what they called “a flutter” on the big annual horse race called the Grand National. But that was only because the queen had a horse in the race, and the bet was never more than a couple of dollars. I am quite risk-averse myself, but I will occasionally buy a lottery ticket, as a gesture towards financial planning. So our family was never in much danger of gambling addiction.

Jeff Roberson / AP

I’m thoroughly tired of this winter already, and I bet you are too. There’s something ominous about a long spell of cold weather. It’s a harsh reminder that we are living on a slightly warm ball of rock in the middle of an infinite space where the temperature is around -250° C, just a few clicks of the thermostat above absolute zero. How fragile our comfortable lives can be! If our machines fail or our fuel runs out, how quickly nature will reclaim her territory, and her temperature.

Pages