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Columns

MARTHA SEZ: You better watch your language

Here we are, dumped back into ordinary time for the winter. It is nice to have the sun come up earlier in the morning (how do they do that?) and of course not so good to have darkness fall by dinner time. Courage! Only a little more than a month to go before the Winter Solstice. After that the ...

WORLD FOCUS: Nuclear threat

“Today there are nine nuclear-armed nations, with over 23,000 nuclear weapons in their arsenals. Thousands of these weapons are on hair-trigger alert,” writes Lawrence Wittner in a scholarly essay on the ongoing danger of nuclear war. He is professor of history emeritus at the State ...

ON THE SCENE: Arrival to Russia

Over the next few weeks I will take you along on my journey to Ulan Ude, the capital of the Republic of Buryatia, which is located about an hour east of Lake Baikal, in Siberia, where I am serving as a Fulbright senior specialist the East Siberian Academy of Culture. I flew from Albany to ...

MARTHA SEZ: Blowing smoke in politics

You’ve probably seen it by now: presidential contender Herman Cain’s political advertisement, in which a mustached man says it’s time to take America back and then blows smoke at the camera, followed by Herman Cain’s slow smile. Yes, the ad is making people talk about Cain. The first ...

Irene in AuSable Forks: Part II

As we continued to survey our damage and try to figure out where to begin, the first thing we are all told is don’t drink the water. Everyone was told to go to the Community Center where there was plenty of water for everyone and when we arrived there were rooms, halls and walls filled with ...

OFF THE SCENE: From Moscow with Naj

Sometimes I think I live in a Fellini movie of my own making. Or maybe one created by Rube Goldberg. In a word, convoluted. A week from today I will be on a flight to Moscow, that is if my visa comes through. That’s a big if. I don’t know why, but working in and with Russia can put your ...

WORLD FOCUS: The changing Middle East

Anthony Zinni a retired Marine four-star general, once told me that he was the first in his family to go to college. “Then, why did you join the Marines?” I asked. “Because at the Marines only ability counts,” he replied. “You can rise in the Corps as high as your ability will take ...

ON THE SCENE: Dear David …

The heading of the stationary was very simple, just three words: The White House. “Dear David” (Van Hoesen) it began. “It is a pleasure to join your family, friends, and colleagues in congratulating you on your retirement.” (Sixty-five years performing with the Lake Placid Sinfonietta) ...

Irene in AuSable Forks: Part I

On Aug. 28, when Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a Tropical Storm, I felt comfortable in leaving the campground we were staying at in Union Falls and going home to write my weekly column, which I always send on Sunday each week. When I left it was lightly raining and winds were gusty. I was ...

WORLD FOCUS: Haitian diary: Part II

Dr. Claude Roland, the highly skilled American vascular surgeon, who lives in Ray Brook, NY, finally had a chance to fulfill his childhood aspiration and become a missionary doctor. The “Hopital Albert Schweitzer,” in central Haiti, that serves 345,000 impoverished people in the region, is ...

MARTHA SEZ: What’s worse than waiting in line?

Lately, I’ve been hearing an irritating television advertisement over and over again. I think it’s for a postage meter. In this ad, some big crybaby complains “There is NOTHING WORSE than going to the post office and having to wait in line.” Really! This is news to me. Because right ...

MARTHA SEZ: It’s a battle of Us vs. Them

As we know all too well these days, the fear of harm from strangers is far more inflammatory, and really more interesting, too, than the threat of harm from one’s near and dear, although, as we know, our near and dear actually are responsible for most of our wear and tear. I mean, who beat ...

WORLD FOCUS: Haitian diary: Part I

“It is exactly the way it is described in the papers. Total chaos. Blue helmeted UN troops patrolling the roads. And complete and utter poverty everywhere. But the people have been friendly,” writes Dr. Claude Roland, a highly skilled American vascular surgeon, who lives in Ray Brook., in ...

ON THE SCENE: Making a mess carving

“You guys are making a mess,” I said. “Does that bother you?” Two meeting rooms off the lobby of the Northwoods Inn were indeed a mess. The rooms themselves were filled with an array of men, mostly older but by no means all, sitting around tables carving away on small blocks of wood. ...

ON THE SCENE: A community cause: taking timeout for a moment in Keene

He glanced at his wife Katie, also a professional chef, and said, “Low and slow.” She nodded. “How long did it take?” “Ten hours. It is about a 100-pound pig. I stuffed it with a bunch of citrus, oranges, apples and fresh thyme,” said Fiore. “We didn’t even salt it. I was ...

MARTHA SEZ: Nowadays it’s all just a procedure

“I’m surprised you even got in the door with that,” said Lana, the cafeteria director at the school where I work, eyeing with obvious distaste the giant jug of greenish Gatorade I was carrying. Lana is not sold on Gatorade. She does not believe it to be a healthful beverage. The school, ...

WORLD FOCUS: For sale: Villa La Pausa

According to The New York Times, the asking prize is $56 million and one of the potential buyers is said to be the Chanel Foundation. La Pausa, a chateau of “sophisticated simplicity” was built on the French Riviera for Coco Chanel, the world-famous fashion designer, by her lover, the ...

MARTHA SEZ: Back to school, and in style too

It’s hard to believe that the days of August have run out, like beach sand through an hourglass stem, and that now it is time for students to think about going back to school. Why every year this should be so hard for me to believe, I do not know.  I calculate that the whole month of August ...

ON THE SCENE: Supporting women veterans

Women have served in the military for over 200 years, yet they were not fully recognized as veterans until 1977. Indeed it was not until this spring that women pilots were honored by Congress for their service in WWII where they flew fighters, bombers and transport planes as part of the then ...