David Bouchier

Proverbial wisdom tells us that it is more blessed to give than to receive. But this doesn't make much sense. When it comes to gifts most of us would much prefer to be on the receiving side. Gift giving is so complicated. It may be good for the soul but it involves shopping, choosing, paying for and wrapping your choice, and standing in line at the post office, and hoping you haven't made a dreadful mistake. A single gift can take hours to accomplish, which is why some people start buying them in January.

The Holiday greeting cards are coming in, each one with a message of goodwill printed inside. They are a fine way of keeping in touch with friends and family, but not as heartwarming or as intimate as a proper letter. A letter is like a hug, but a greeting card is like a casual wave across a crowded room. An electronic card is more like a flash of headlights on a busy highway, signaling: "I know you're there, sorry I can't stop."

A Fabulous Bargain

Dec 8, 2014

Public libraries are one of the world's two greatest bargains, and one of the best human inventions - better than Interstate highways, better than WalMart, better even than schools. Because schools narrow down the learning process, and libraries open it up. I would even go so far as to say that libraries are more important to the future of this country than the NFL and the NRA put together, although I know this is sacrilege.

It's the first day of December, Thanksgiving is behind us, and we are entering the party season. The liquor stores are fully stocked, and State Police officers are sharpening their pencils ready for a bumper crop of DWIs. Here comes the once-a-year excuse to let your hair down (if you still have any) and travel back to the days when a party was something to remember, something that the ancient Romans would have recognized as a party – the kind that ended with a large number of casualties and sometimes destroyed entire buildings.

Happy Turkey

Nov 24, 2014

We are taught to believe that Thanksgiving celebrates the first harvest gathered by the Pilgrims in the autumn of 1621. The story goes that they feasted for three days on turkeys and fruit given to them by the Indians. This doesn't sound very plausible to me. The Pilgrims, after all, were British, and the British only eat turkey at Christmas.