Category Archives: books

On the road to Ithaca, a bittersweet sight for book lovers

Phoenix Books outside Ithaca, NY, closed its doors more than a year ago, but the old barn still gets visitors, including some unaware it’s out of business. The store sold used books for 30 years, but apparently couldn’t keep up … Continue reading

Posted in books, Irish Investigations | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Is Christmas ‘a sad season’? John Cheever had the answer

Every December I re-read John Cheever’s short story, “Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor.” And every year I share a link to it on Facebook. I don’t think many people bother to read it — even when I preface it by … Continue reading

Posted in books, communication, hunger, Irish Investigations, language, poverty, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Treasures aren’t ‘hidden’ when you make the effort to look

Here’s one from the “What took me so long?” file. Just a 20-minute drive from the town I’ve lived in for the past 30 years is the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia, N.Y. Last weekend marked my first visit … Continue reading

Posted in art, books, Irish Investigations, peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Team’s visit to children’s hospital is a big win after a bad loss

A professional baseball player whose team gets clobbered, yet shows up the next morning at a children’s hospital — I mean really shows up, doesn’t just phone it in —  is more than OK in my book. Ten players from the Syracuse … Continue reading

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Making sense of, and accepting, ‘second-class’ behavior

“Most grown-up behavior, when you come right down to it, is decidedly second-class. People don’t drive their cars as well, or wash their ears as well, or eat as well, or even play the harmonica as well as they would … Continue reading

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An informal writers’ group that served its members well

During this most recent spell of writer’s block, I’ve been thinking back to when writing came easier and how helpful it was to belong to a solid writers’ group. In the mid-1980s a core group of us became friends at … Continue reading

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No need to wait until Thanksgiving to express gratitude

It might be said that it’s too early for this, a Thanksgiving piece. Not so. Every day is pretty much Thanksgiving for me. I’m one of the lucky ones. Five things I am thankful for: I have three healthy sons … Continue reading

Posted in books, cancer, family, Irish Investigations, running | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fired by the FBI, gay agent sued and ushered in change

More than 20 years ago, Frank Buttino came out as a gay man – not by choice. As an FBI agent in the ’70s and ’80s, he kept his personal life private. In 1990, the FBI fired him after he … Continue reading

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