Curating My Utility Drawer

Curating My Utility Drawer

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN Ralph’s utility drawer  There isn’t much you can control in this world. But when you run across something you can, no matter how inconsequential, you need to jump at the opportunity. That’s why I spent a good hour Saturday morning cleaning up the utility drawer in our kitchen. I’m not sure everybody knows what I’m talking about, or maybe you have a different name for it, so I’ll try to explain. Obviously, there’s…

Read More Read More

Making Maple Syrup

Making Maple Syrup

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio  LISTEN Ben Madey at his maple sugar house in Ghent, NY  This wasn’t a good winter for maple syrup production. At least at our house. We have one tap. My wife bought it at our local hardware store. It’s still sitting in the plastic bag. We have lots of woods. But the first challenge is determining which of our trees are sugar maples and which aren’t. We went to Tractor Supply in Hudson, New…

Read More Read More

A Hudson Wine Tasting

A Hudson Wine Tasting

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN  (5:07) Phil Sareil leading a wine tasting at Hudson Wine Merchants One of the more pleasant experiences I’ve had lately was a Saturday evening wine tasting at Hudson Wine Merchants. They’re on Warren Street in Hudson, NY. Here’s how much fun it was: I don’t drink wine and I still had a good time. I know. I know. Not drinking wine is a character flaw. My family, all devoted wine drinkers, remind me all…

Read More Read More

A Visit From a Bear

A Visit From a Bear

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio LISTEN  (4.27)  I was planning to devote this commentary to snow. As I write we’re anticipating a foot or more in the Hudson Valley and a blizzard in New York City. Though given our wacky weather by the time we air it might be eighty and sunny. But on my way to celebrating the magic of snow – it’s something I never take for granted and don’t understand those who complain as if were…

Read More Read More

A Taste of Poland

A Taste of Poland

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio   LISTEN   A nation’s museums and monuments, parks and restaurants aren’t the only things that interest me on vacations abroad. I also love visiting their supermarkets. You can tell a lot about a place by how they stock their shelves and also by their shoppers’ etiquette. For example, a Swiss supermarket is a study in politeness, no matter how busy. However, one in Italy tends to be an exercise in chaos – not necessarily…

Read More Read More

Catching Mice

Catching Mice

 Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio Listen here   One of the secrets to success as a newspaper columnist, or probably a radio commentator for that matter – and no, it’s not having something to say – is self-deprecation. Because the question will eventually arise, “What gives you the right to mouth off?” The short answer is “Nothing.” So I’m going out on a limb here by boasting about a recent accomplishment. And I can’t point to many. It was…

Read More Read More

The Soul of a Cat

The Soul of a Cat

 Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio (2.24.17) Listen here Only once did a walk in the woods upstate disappoint me. It happened in the spring of 2015 shortly after my family and I returned from a safari in Botswana. After following a herd of elephants across the Okavango Delta or watching a lion sip at a watering hole at sunset, the chance that you might run across a white-tailed deer doesn’t seem all that remarkable. Of course, the deciduous forests…

Read More Read More

A Walk In The Woods

A Walk In The Woods

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio (aired 2.18.17) CLICK HERE FOR AUDIO ( 4:16) Here’s a suggestion for unsettling times: take a walk in the woods. I notice I’ve been doing a lot more of that lately. However, my personality is the sort that needs to be accomplishing something. I never head outdoors without a pair of binoculars slung around my neck; just in case there’s a bird to identify or some beautiful wild animal, such as a deer or bobcat, to…

Read More Read More

Valentine’s Candy

Valentine’s Candy

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio (aired 2.11.17) CLICK HERE FOR AUDIO ( 4:24) I’ve got a confession to make. I buy Valentine’s candy. For myself. No, of course I’m not talking about those large, red velvety, heart-shaped boxes filled with assorted chocolates. I purchase those for my wife and daughters. And I buy local, by the way. At Vasilow’s an old-time candy store in Hudson, NY. But if I did acquire for personal consumption a box bursting with raspberry crèmes, sea…

Read More Read More

Mary Tyler Moore and Rich Conaty

Mary Tyler Moore and Rich Conaty

Commentary for WAMC Northeast Public Radio (aired 2.4.17) Click Here for Audio 4:24 Sometimes you don’t understand what a person meant to you until he or she is gone. That happened to me twice over the last couple of weeks. The first occasion was when I learned that Mary Tyler Moore had passed away. The second time it was Rich Conaty, a DJ on WFUV, Fordham University’s noncommercial radio station. Both of them impacted my life at different times but…

Read More Read More