I have recently read in the Health & Science section of the journal This Week that scientists have recreated the face of an ancient hunter-gatherer using DNA extracted from a piece of “chewing gum” that was spat out some 5600 years  ago. The lump of chewed birch tar was found at a site in southern Denmark, alongside pieces of wood and wild animal bones.

Before I convey what  further information was relayed regarding this bizarre but fascinating bit of anthropological news, I must, at long last, let myself be instructed (again) how to includes images and photographs in this site — probably not hard, but I can be a stubbornly slow learner. You have to see the lump of “gum” — and the reconstructed face of the beautiful hunter-gatherer to appreciate this.

Later…. ( like there’s anybody reading this blog. It’s becoming disheartening talking to myself on the web.)


That — Jersey Street – is what became of Yawkey Way after the posthumous mugging of the late, once-beloved Tom Yawkey over questions of his racial attitudes. I won’t open that big can of snakes again — but, yes, as winter grips Beantown and that short, shadowy byway astride Fenway Park awaits the crowds of opening  day and the Sox begin their ritual preps in Fort Myers – I’d have to say, as a Boston native and unalterable fan of all Boston teams, that the loss of Mookie Betts is, well, too, too bad. Who can deny it? But that’s pro sports now. We root for laundry, as Jerry Seinfeld so aptly said. Continue reading “NO JOY ON JERSEY STREET”


Something reasonable to think about — albeit also a little emotion-charged — on the subject of tolerance and bipartisanship in this fraught election season – a post by Princeton Professor and scholar Robert P. George, always a voice of reason and principle: He’s aiming it at conservative Democrats. Continue reading “THE LIFE WE SAVE MAY BE THE U.S.A.”


We lay on our backs about two feet apart in silence, our eyes open, listening. The land that was under us lay down all around us and its continuance was enormous as if we were chips or matches floated, holding their own by their very minuteness, at a great distance out upon the surface of a tenderly laboring sea. The sky was even larger.

–James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

If you ever want to attempt to read a beautiful but prolonged and exasperatingly complex, minutely detailed, verbally rococo work of human sociology — poetically rendered — pick up the above-cited volume by a man who during his brief life was, indeed, a poet, novelist, screenwriter, movie critic and, briefly, a very unusual journalist. This particular book grew out of a Depression-era Fortune magazine assignment to write about poverty-stricken families of Alabama tenant farmers. Agee never really finished the assignment — or, perhaps finished it, but had it rejected by his editors though it would be preserved and enormously expanded by the author. The story of how it came to exist is doubtless told in two Agee biographies that I’ve been totting around and aspiring to read. Continue reading “AN AGEE MOMENT”