An Insomnia Cure

An Insomnia Cure

LISTEN HERE I’ve been sleeping with a woman named Anna. She’s even cured my insomnia. And my wife approves. Anna can cure yours, too. Not to be cast aspersions on her reputation, but she’s in the public domain. She’s Anna Karenina. By Leo Tolstoy. Actually, my daughter’s the one who came up with the idea. When she heard me complaining about waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep she suggested…

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No Tinsel Required

No Tinsel Required

LISTEN HERE Sidewalk Santa, Chicaco, 1902 PUBLIC DOMAN – WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / DN-0001069, CHICAGO DAILY NEWS NEGATIVES COLLECTION, CHICAGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY If you’re in the column or commentary writing business (I’m still not sure I understand the distinction between a commentary and a column if there is one) it’s expected that come a major holiday – Thanksgiving, Christmas, the Fourth of July – you’ll acknowledge the event with a certain amount of verbiage. So it was that I found myself preparing to…

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Portrait of a Town

Portrait of a Town

LISTEN HERE Kendra Martin, 7 years RICHARD BEAVEN Here’s a holiday party throwing tip: if you want to make sure a desired person shows up make him or her your guest of honor. And if you really want to guarantee an impressive turnout, select, say, two or three hundred of your favorite friends and make all of them the guests of honor. That wasn’t the only or even the main reason the Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, NY had…

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Progress is Knocking

Progress is Knocking

LISTEN HERE The freshly polished Kinderhook Memorial Library knocker CREDIT RALPH GARDNER JR My work is done. I’ve performed my annual act of civic virtue. From now until the end of the year I can devote my full attention to things like holiday parties and buying that thoughtful gift or two for my wife and children. My contribution to the well-being, not to mention the greater glory of humankind, is to polish the brass knocker on the front door of…

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And They Called it Pookstyle

And They Called it Pookstyle

LISTEN HERE Kaarin “Pook” Lemstrom-Sheedy and Bob Lemstrom-Sheedy CREDIT RALPH GARDNER JR  Walk down any street in New York City and you’ll see empty storefronts, lots of them. It’s sad and disturbing because retail is any great city’s lifeblood. The connective tissue between people and architecture. That’s what makes streets and avenues sing, lends them electricity; window-shopping is what turns a forced march into a stroll. I’ve heard various explanations for why this is so. Among them landlords asking unreasonable…

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Raising an Environmentalist

Raising an Environmentalist

LISTEN HEREhttps://www.wamc.org/post/ralph-gardner-jr-raising-environmentalist The author and his daughters, Lucy and Gracie. It might have been a combination of the inspiring political activism around the recent election and the daily assaults on the environment by the Trump administration. But it got me wondering what I’ve done for the world lately. I’m of the apparently not universally shared opinion that no issue is more important than addressing climate change. And even if health care or the economy is at the top of your…

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A Thing for Light

A Thing for Light

LISTEN HERE A Shaker interior from Benjamin Swett’s show That Unruly Sun at BCB ART in Hudson,NY BENJAMIN SWETT  We take friends for walks in our woods all the time, though less so during hunting season, and one of the highlights of the excursion – actually the highlight of the excursion – is a giant, ancient sycamore tree. But there’s one neighbor in particular we’ve been trying to get over to our place for some time. A photographer whose opinion…

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Hunting with Hawks, not Guns

Hunting with Hawks, not Guns

LISTEN HERE   Falconer Max Zimmerman with his Red-tailed hawk CREDIT RALPH GARDNER JR. There are lots of way to burnish your college application resume: play the tuba, be the star running back on your high school football team, or, of course, be a legacy. But here’s a rather novel one: falconry — the sport of hunting wild animals with the help of a bird of prey. Getting into his first choice college wasn’t Max Zimmerman’s goal when he took…

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Recalling Studio 54

Recalling Studio 54

LISTEN HERE Let’s be clear: New York City in the 1970’s wasn’t quite the hell hole it’s made out to be in popular culture — a crime and graffiti-riddled battlefield whose denizens also had lousy fashion sense. I know. I lived there. And yes, crime and graffiti were rampant and the city did flirt with bankruptcy. But there was also a sense of opportunity, of ambition and industry, of acceptance of others. What prompts this defense of my hometown is…

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The Stinkbugs of Autumn

The Stinkbugs of Autumn

LISTEN HERE Brown Stinkbug. Euschistus. Heritage Island, Anacostia River, Washington, DC, USA. 23 June 2012. CREDIT KATJA SCHULZ FROM WASHINGTON, D. C., USA / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS A friend was telling us about another friend whose bedroom in Kinderhook, NY had become infested with stinkbugs. As she detailed this woman’s valiant efforts to rid herself of these pests I looked around our sunroom, where the conversation was taking place, and noticed for the first time that we had stinkbugs, too. Perhaps…

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