Did Anyone Else Notice…that the landscapes of the American West make a weird fit with the universal custom of referring to the environmental campaigns and causes as “Green”?

April 5, 2021

Throughout the region, the color scheme of deserts, plains, plateaus, and rock canyons tends toward tan or brown or gray. (And, yes, forests do stand out in this crowd.) In many Western locales, green does flourish in the spring, but even then the greenness usually registers closer to the “olive”...

Did anyone else notice. . . that the predecessor to this week’s storm—the legendary snowstorm in March of 2003—coincided with an international event that still rattles the world?

March 17, 2021

In the last few days, the approach of the big storm elicited lots of references to that massive snowfall eighteen years ago. But I have waited in vain, wondering if anyone would mention the historical event that took place thousands of miles away, as the snow fell here in 2003...

Did Anyone Else Notice . . . . that the enthusiasm for litmus tests is now completely out of control?

March 8, 2021

Here’s the problem. Litmus tests are useless for assessing people, even though they work fine for water samples. Let’s say you are an unusually self-aware and articulate water sample, and you have been withdrawn from a mountain stream for testing. And let’s say that the investigators who are testing you...

Did Anyone Else Notice . . . that comparing people to large herbivores is an unusual way to persuade and motivate them?

March 1, 2021

Months ago, the phrase “herd immunity” became the most common answer to the question, “How will this pandemic ever end?” For the recovery of the economy and the revitalization of civic life, the immune systems of millions of people must develop a resistance to Covid-19. Reaching that goal will require...

Did anyone else notice . . . that all the public figures who keep telling us that the nation is in the midst of “an existential crisis” never tell us what the word existential means?

Feb. 8, 2021

Even though I started college as a philosophy major, I am of no use at all when it comes to figuring out why existentia l is so often put to work to characterize the troubles of our time. As a college student, before I could take the course where I...

Did Anyone Else Notice . . . that we should have more schools named after Robert Louis Stevenson, rather than fewer?

Feb. 3, 2021

The San Francisco School Board recently endorsed a proposal to remove the names of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln from schools in that district. And you did not have to be President to end up on the chopping block: Paul Revere, John Muir, and the writer Robert Louis...

Did Anyone Else Notice . . . that losing an election can be a wonderful experience that you’ll treasure for the rest of your life?

Jan. 22, 2021

Every year, The Daily Camera opens the door for local folks to vote in a “Best of Boulder” poll. Most of the categories involve a variety of commercial enterprises, from restaurants to gyms. But, in days of yore, the Camera had a category called “Best CU Personality.” Usually, the voters...

Did Anyone Else Notice… that many of us are now missing the adventure and adrenaline that used to enliven our campus lives, back when riders of bicycles and skateboards threatened pedestrians with narrow misses and close encounters of the first kind?

Jan. 19, 2021

I once held preeminence as a complainer and whiner about these perilous conditions. When classes were changing and the young people were (rightly, understandably, and justifiably) racing from one side of our big campus to the other, those of us—who have evolved into the status of people of advanced age—winced...

Did Anyone Else Notice . . . that the custom of wearing a mask could be laying the foundation for a dazzling advance in enunciation and a stunning drop in mumbling?

Dec. 21, 2020

In 2020, when an inability to understand each other seems omnipresent among Americans, an upsurge in the capacity to speak clearly and audibly would be a wonderful way to add consequence to the First Amendment. Here is a sound generalization about human nature: everyone wants to be heard and being...

Did Anyone Else Notice . . . . that the old habit—of comparing the political shifts of the United States to “pendulum swings”—does a disservice to the pendulum?

Dec. 21, 2020

Unlike the nation’s oscillations in political orientation, an actual pendulum moves regularly and predictably along an established and consistent trajectory. It can never swing too far, since the rope or chain on which it hangs has a defined length. A pendulum cannot swing wildly since it moves from one knowable...

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