The free meal

There’s no such thing as a free meal, but I forget this every time I book hotel rooms. There’s always an option for a complimentary breakfast or cocktail hour reception. Being my father’s son, I’m quick to calculate and amortize the cost of these “free” offers into the overall cost of the room. If it’s only nominally higher, I’ll book … read more

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Like many things in Dr. King’s life, the federal holiday that bears his name did not come without a struggle. Almost immediately after King was assassinated, members of Congress attempted to establish his birthday, Jan. 15, as a national holiday. Predictably, knuckle-draggers like Sen. Jesse Helms who’d never managed to wrap their arms around that infuriating 14th Amendment to our … read more

The newspaper route

I was the world’s worst paperboy. In the salad days before the Internet, newspaper delivery boys achieved a certain status among pre-teens. We delivered the news. In my case, I usually delivered it late on a rickety 10-speed bicycle. I never saw a papergirl, but she would have been a big improvement on my abysmal record. I like to blame … read more