More than 50 commentators provide perspective and opinion about current events, topics of interest, and often showcase the work of writers and storytellers. The VPR Commentary Series is produced by Betty Smith-Mastaler.
Last fall my brother-in-law died unexpectedly when routine knee surgery went terribly wrong. He was healthy, in his fifties with a wife and children in college, a solid career coming to full bloom and a lot to look forward to. Until suddenly there was for him no tomorrow.
When I was a little kid in elementary school, I wanted to be a Power Ranger. I even convinced my best-friend Caetano that I was one, explaining to him that the reason I missed so much school was because I was too busy fighting crime, even though the reality was I just hated school and pretended to be sick.
Vermont is an agricultural state, but you don't have to live on a farm to create your own food. My husband, Jedd, and I gave up processed food for a year and it brought us “closer to our food” in unexpected ways.
There are tombs of unknown soldiers all over the world, commemorating the sacrifices of anonymous warriors. Generally, the memorials contain the body of one unidentified combatant, who died far from home.
In 1991, an unusually well-preserved 5000 year old soldier was found mummified in the Otztal Alps on the Austro-Italian border. Nicknamed Otzi, the 45 year-old man was five feet five inches tall and had been buried in ice, which explains his near miraculous preservation.
I’ve always enjoyed shopping on the internet. I buy everything from books and sunglasses to less conventional items such as flower bulbs and musical instruments all online. Since I dislike noise and crowds, virtual shopping is a good fit for me. So it makes sense that I’d “shop” online for a significant other too.
The day before my first date with the Robie Farm dairy herd, Lee Robie gave me some last words of wisdom. “Don’t wear your best underwear,” he said.
Thus ended my romantic vision of farm life wherein the farmer walks on to his porch, clutching his coffee in the gentle dawn light, smiling as he gazes down on his herd, ambling home from verdant summer pastures.
But here’s what I learned: there is no gentle dawn light at four AM, and the cows do not amble home of their own accord. They amble home when the farmer speaks loudly and carries a big stick.
Harvard professor emeritus Edward O. Wilson is regarded as one of the world’s preeminent biologists, sociobiologists, and naturalists. An entomologist, he’s the world’s leading authority on ants. In his recently published book, The Social Conquest of Earth, Wilson describes how “eusocial” species have become the dominant species on earth.