Current Essays


Me at the Mike

Here is a repository of the texts of my wireless essays together with some readings of them.

The essays were broadcast by WXXI 91.5 Classical of Rochester, NY on Salmagundy each Saturday at 9:35am Eastern Time, from the beginning of time (1985) till May 2009 when Entropa (evil Goddess of Change-for-the-Worse-or-Possibly-the-Worst) troubled the minds of the WXXIites and they retired Simon and Salmagundy, and Rochester went into a terminal decline---for ever.
But I do continue on that brilliant bastion of all that's good and kultured, on WCLV's syndicated Weekend Radio on many (mainly NPRish) stations traditionally on the first and third weekends of the month, though your weekendage may vary, (these are archived for a couple of months).

Richard Howland-Bolton

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Britain: Donald, Whaere’s yer Wossname? On:2015-10-25 00:00:00
With all the media attention on Scotland’s wanting, for at least the last year or so to be “a nation once again” (though maybe that was Ireland?…) — but, but apart from that there’s all that nonsense from the SNP who want to be their own little Parti Quebequois in memory of the Auld Alliance, so just to be safe I’ve been embracing my Scottish side of late.
My wife and I have even been going to the odd Caledonian event down here in Texas, that land of all things Scottish. The last one was, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed a Burns’ Nicht Supper celebrating Scotland’s national poet.

Britain: Scots Wha’ Hae or Nae On:2014-09-21 12:07:00
As I'm writing this I don't know if Scotland has voted for independence or not, but you, lucky people, being up-when of me have all the facts—but it doesn't really matter what you know, or what happened, or how they voted, or indeed anything, because the floodgates are obviously swinging wide open (or whatever it is floodgates do) and this is merely one more tentative step (or one more demure hiccough) on a road that started way back around 1920 with a dose of un-Irishing and of late has accelerated, via some really rather irrelevant empire-sloughing, to our modern paroxysms of devolution.

Literature: Hairimeraku Trek III: The Wrath of Camus On:2014-05-18 13:04:00
There was so little violent public outcry last time I wheeled out the notorious Moshemoshe Dareno-otakudesuka’s1 famous Hairimeraku , that I say “Damn the protest marchers and lets’s do it again!”

Society: Spamspamspamspamspam On:2014-04-13 15:00:00
I often wonder what I would do of a morning without the vast herd of wandering spam and phishings-with-a-‘P’and trojans and all that stuff from strange-mailing-lists-that-I-have-absolutely-no-idea-how-I-got-on-to to bulk out my email.

Society: Santa's Eight Flying Whatsits: On:2013-11-12 19:35:37
A Specially Christmassy Christmas Special

We are rapidly approaching the time of year when visions of dancing sugar-plums (whatever they are) are driven from children’s heads by more serious concerns of lift, drag, acceleration, weight-to-power ratios, and the physics of Santa and the sleigh and Redolf the Rude Nosed Reindeer1 and all that company.
Sadly I must now disabuse the imaginative little tykes of one of the traditional first principles of their calculations. You see…

Britain: The Return of the Return of the Native On:2013-11-12 19:00:00
I've just come back from England, where we went to celebrate my mother's 90th birthday.

America: Strictly Come Go-Karting On:2013-09-29 12:15:00
This essay is, I think rather cleverly, named 'Strictly Come Go-Karting'. ... At least I thought I was being clever till I checked with Georgia who put me firmly in my place by informing me that the originally British TV show 'Strictly Come Dancing' is in its U.S. incarnation called 'Dancing with the Stars'.
Somehow 'Go-Karting with the Stars' just wouldn't work, sounds daft and would leave me feeling decidedly un-clever. So I'm lumbered with the original, now rather foolishly incomprehensible name. And so are you.

Britain: Days of Beer and Dirt On:2013-09-01 11:20:00
Britons, especially the English, and even especially-er English men, love their tea and their beer. It's the closest they come to having a religion.

But in America on the other hand we have traditionally, since our very beginning, nay even before our very beginning, had a totally different THING about tea, so that now-a-days all hot tea (or, more accurately, vaguely warmish tea) served in America tastes to this ex-Englishman exactly as though it came straight out of Boston Harbour.
Iced tea here is a bit better, just about drinkable, or rather it would be if they didn't flavour it with raspberries or fish giblets or whatever they do.

So that finally I am pushed, protesting, towards American beer, the only thing is that most American beer tastes as... as if it were pre-owned, probably by a little old lady who just used it for shopping.
Of course in some things the British are just as bad as you, but in their own way: English Cream Tea for example: tea, and scones and jam and thick, thick clotted cream and arteries to match—sort of cardiac arrest on a bun. And, sadly, the Pub, home to countless generations of English men, seems of late to be dwindling, with a terrifying percentage of them closing each year, in the face of unEnglishmanly reality shows on the telly and cheap booze in the supermarket. But even in these days of the apparent death throes of the pub, that's where the Briton shines and where we leave you guys in the dust, and talking of dust...

Science: Sappy Sapientes On:2013-07-21 15:00:00
I'm sure I don't need to tell you what a Linnæan binomial is, but for the benefit of that ignoramus on the next radio... 

General: Correct not Right On:2013-06-16 16:00:00
I was in Half-Price Books the other day... (Oh! and I suppose should explain that Half-Price Books is an excellent chain of secondhand book shops which, if you think about it, is not what you'd expect to find in Texas)... anyway... I was in Half-Price Books the other day, and when I was checking out, the chap behind the counter complimented me on signing my name with the correct hand rather than the right one.


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