Semi-retired school teacher, born in California just before the end of WWII and living now in New Hampshire with Serafin, wife of 39 years.

Why Travel?

It has been nearly nine(!) months since my last entry on this blog. Part of the reason for my neglect is a series of distractions, not all of which I would be proud to disclose. But one of the distractions is worthy of mention: my wife and I are in the midst [...]

Reflections on Mediocrity

Last week we attended a fine performance of Two Pianos, Four Hands at Peterborough Players. It was sometimes very funny, especially the first act, which gave a picture of the two children struggling with their pianos, their piano teachers, and their parents. (Alas, I saw myself in some of it, as the parents [...]

Review: Winter’s Bone

Winter’s Bone, co-written and directed by Debra Granik, starring Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes, viewed at the Wilton Town Hall Theater on September 4, 2010.

David and the Flower

A dozen years ago, towards the end of our son David’s battle with leukemia, we accompanied him in his wheelchair out into the hospital garden. We’d been there many times before, but this time was a little different. As we slowly worked our way around, we stopped longer than usual while he gazed [...]

The Novelty of Language

I’ve been experiencing the consequences of musa abscondita lately (sometimes described more prosaically as “writer’s block”), so here’s at least a summary of some topics I intended to write a little about. Maybe the Muse will return someday and I’ll be able to explore them a little more thoroughly.
First of all, in Adam’s Tongue [...]

Review: Saving God: Religion after Idolatry

Teaching high school students, I have occasionally been asked whether I believe in God, and I’ve developed an answer that gets me off the hook. I explain that there are plenty of ideas of God I can’t accept (and in relation to which I would unabashedly call myself an atheist), but there are other [...]

What’s This Web Site About?

Up Down Way has no unifying topic (such as sites I look at regularly about the Linux operating system or alternative energy technology or the Boston Celtics). Rather, it is a sort of collage, mingling a variety of forms: part blog, part memoir, part journal, part essay collection, part photo gallery. If it’s [...]

The Borromeo String Quartet Plays Beethoven

Last night we were treated to a spectacular chamber music concert at Monadnock Music in Peterborough, N.H.: as the highlight, the Borromeo String Quartet presented Beethoven’s String Quartet in E-flat, Op. 127 with a combination of precision and passion that took one’s breath away.
In a previous post, I suggested that great art has some sort [...]

Review: Adam’s Tongue

I just completed reading a very engaging book on the evolution of the capacity for language in human beings, Adam’s Tongue: How Humans Made Language, How Language Made Humans, by linguist Derek Bickerton (published by Hill and Wang, 2009). I’ll attempt a brief summary of his thesis here, but I hope to follow up [...]

Thoughts on Immortality

Abby Yandell died in an auto accident three weeks ago. She was 18 and had just graduated from High Mowing School.