David Bouchier

It is always a waste of time to suggest that: "Everybody should see this" or "Everybody should read that," because "Everybody" pays absolutely no attention. But I'll make an exception in this case. In an election season, everybody should read or re-read George Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language." It doesn’t take long, perhaps ten minutes to absorb the whole thing, and it works like a kind of linguistic flu shot. Next time a toxic cloud of political rhetoric comes your way you will find to your surprise and relief that you are completely immune.

Yesterday our quiet neighborhood was enlivened by the appearance of hundreds of runners, taking part in a ten kilometer run to raise money for charity. I was able to watch the scene with great benevolence and without nostalgia because my running days are long past.

I caught running in 1977 during a year I spent at the University of California in Santa Cruz. It was drifting in the warm air like a virus, and my resistance was low. After many happy decades of avoiding all forms of artificial exercise I started to run, or at least to jog.

The daily dose of bad news has been so overwhelming lately that this one fragment of good news almost passed me by. But I was tremendously encouraged to read the story about high school students, teachers and parents in Colorado who launched a mass protest against curriculum changes that would, in effect, have sanitized the teaching of history.

Taking Chances

Oct 10, 2014

When my wife and I travel we organize everything in a thorough and sensible way. We know where we're going and what we are planning to do in some detail before we ever reach the airport. We don't like surprises. But travel didn't used to be like this. Before it became an industry travel was always an adventure. Surprises came thick and fast, and your journey was never guaranteed to end where and when you had planned, or indeed to end without some kind of catastrophe. That's why most people stayed close to home.

Employment Opportunities

Oct 6, 2014

Back in the distant past, when I was looking for work instead of trying to avoid it, the main problem was one of choice. The unemployment rate was around 2 percent, and employers were almost desperate to find workers. So my contemporaries and I bounced heedlessly from one occupation to another in search of something interesting. I could have taken almost any kind of employment that did not demand good eyesight or serious qualifications. We had no notion that the jobs would ever run out. The classified advertisement sections were always full of new ones.