Archive for the ‘On this day in history’ Category

Graphic created with images and posts compiled from UNICEF’s Twitter feed. All images copyright UNICEF. Read more about UNICEF’s work with refugees.


Image copyright Pete Souza / White House


In memory of Leonard Cohen, 9/21/1934 – 11/10/2016


Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. — a day to remember and honor those we’ve lost to the senseless tragedy that is war. Here’s one story, about a distant relative, I first published in 2014. May Doug and his sacrifice never be forgotten. On September 27 1942, Douglas Albert Munro sacrificed his life in […]


I would love to hear your end-of-year reflections: 1. What was your greatest accomplishment? (Tell me so I can cheer for you!) 2. If you could do one thing over, what would it be? 3. What are you most looking forward to in 2016? I had to think hard when I read my friend Carolyn’s […]



This post is dedicated to my friend Gilles Thomas, for his tireless devotion to preserving the work — and honoring the memory — of Charles-Axel Guillaumot. Suppose you’ve been hired to oversee a vast and vital railroad network. Now imagine that, on the very first day of your new job, one of the trains on […]


What the hail?!

03May15

“In Minnesota it’s not May 3rd today; it’s the 54th of February.” I was pretty winter-weary when I posted that on Facebook two years ago. The winter of 2013 was rough. But what a difference two years make! Today was glorious — sunny and 81 (27C) degrees — so I spent a few hours gardening. […]


Today is the third annual United Nations International Day of Happiness. I was going to write about a U.N. study’s findings that Social isolation is as potent a cause of early death as smoking, and the epidemic of loneliness is twice as deadly as obesity.” But that seemed a bit too depressing and scholarly. So […]


During my first visit to Freiburg, Germany, one of the things that most impressed me was the meticulously cobbled streets. So precisely cut are the stones that you can walk on them for hours without tiring — and the mosaics are as much of a feast for the eyes as the shop windows above them. […]