January 6, 2000 |
"I wouldn't walk around the block to see the world blow up. " Sitting there in his Walden Pond cabin in Massachusetts, Henry David Thoreau spoke these words to explain why he went off to "live deep and suck all the marrow of life. " For him, as for me, life is not such much what happens where there is a lot of activity (or television cameras) as what happens within myself and among those who share my tiny corner of the universe. Perhaps this is the reason so many of us spent our evenings at home alone or with family or friends, waiting for the year 2000 to dawn.
December 20, 1999 |
With the sun coming up at 7:15 and setting at 4:38, tomorrow will be the shortest day in the calendar year. The time in between represents the fewest hours that the sun shines down on our planet - until the same time next year. On this abbreviated day, autumn ends and winter begins. The time for pumpkins, squash, nuts, apples, turkey dinners and all of the other of nature's generous bounties is over. Ahead are the barren, bone-chilling, snow-driven days of winter, with galoshes, mackinaws, hard-to-start cars, colds and Jack Frost painting all kinds of scenes on window panes.
October 15, 1999 |
In Claude Berri's Lucie Aubrac, a movie that achieves the rare feat of fusing tightly ratcheted suspense with intense romance, there is a literally arresting image. Raymond (Daniel Auteuil) is dragged into the office of Klaus Barbie, the infamous Gestapo chief of Lyon. The brutal interrogation proceeds with Barbie using the handle of a bullwhip to rain vicious blows on Raymond's head. In the corner, Barbie's secretary continues nonchalantly with her typing - inured by long familiarity to the way her boss does business.
January 3, 1999 |
One thousand years ago, parts of Europe were seized by terror, hysteria and altogether strange behavior. In 999, historians claim, debts were erased, and husbands and wives confessed their infidelities to each other - and were forgiven. Criminals were released from prison; beggars were fed more generously by the fortunate. Churches and cathedrals, convents and monasteries were jammed with believers demanding confession and absolution. There's even evidence that monks stopped copying the Bible, which, at the time, was pretty much all that monks did. As Christmas approached, the kindnesses gave way to fear and hysteria.
April 8, 1998 |
"I try to choose projects that emphasize the human spirit . . . If I were handed a superb 'Booty Call' that explores the human spirit, maybe . . . -" "Homicide" star Andre Braugher, on why he hasn't done much comedy The good news: Elizabeth Taylor won't have to make that courtesy call to Neverland and coo over the latest progeny of Michael Jackson. The bad news: She won't be going anywhere, for a while. Taylor, citing doctor's orders, issued a statement yesterday saying she's canceled all her upcoming engagements to stay home and rest for a good four months.
January 19, 1998 |
'And I believe that our people will get to the promised land!" The radio blared the unmistakable voice of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was an odd sight for a Philadelphia streetscape: a misty January day, a lone black peddler who looked like a ragged Dick Tracy, manning a tiny cart of umbrellas, topped with a portable radio spewing speeches of the martyred civil-rights giant. All conveniently beside the glistening storefront window of the downtown Kitchen Kapers. Januaries bring sanguine thoughts of New Year's resolutions, nostalgic glances at the previous year, post-holiday blowout sales and a national nod to a slain black preacher who boycotted buses that flouted his dreams.
April 23, 1997 |
Anything We Love Can Be Saved/ A Writer's Activism Alice Walker (Random House / $23) Best-selling novelist Alice Walker, who for decades has been helping readers understand the human spirit and racial consequences through folksy, make-believe dialogue and spirited, imagined characters, has assembled a collection of her essays on real humans in "Anything We Love Can Be Saved. " The book is as idealistic as the title sounds, with Walker first cleverly analyzing the foundation of human existence, how its flawed development has put the world in the state it is in today, and how we can change our course for the next millennium.
April 19, 1996 |
The old man stands numbed and weeping in the lonely silence of the forest where the Gestapo executed his father and hundreds of other Jews more than half a century ago. He is a survivor of the Holocaust, but he is set apart by something very special that has survived with him. Yale Strom's extraordinary The Last Klezmer is a deeply affecting documentary that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in the wake of unimaginable barbarity, and...
October 11, 1995 |
Pope John Paul II challenges the widespread notion that international affairs is a realm of amorality in which interests alone are in play. The Pope is emerging as the world's premier defender of the idea that there is a nobility to the human person and prospect. It is not an easy case to make at the end of a century of slaughter, tyranny and unfathomable human suffering. Having fought the Nazi and communist occupations of his homeland, the Pope is no naive optimist. But he is, as he said at the United Nations last week, a "witness to hope.
October 7, 1995 |
I know an 81-year-old man who chortles with life. He takes aerobic classes four times a week. He lifts weights three times a week. On weekends, he takes it easy - he goes ballroom dancing twice. Oh, did I forget to mention he has had both knees replaced? Americans are living longer these days - 76 years on average. But as the body ages, sadly it weakens, which means that because of physical degeneration, this foreboding possibility exists: We will lose some, if not all, of our ability to live independently.