A Few Well Chosen Words David Bouchier's weekly essays are full of unexpected observations and whimsical opinions. Listeners will relish his entertaining, enlightening, and sometimes exasperated commentaries on the routines that carry us through the year, the surreal rituals of politics, the unsettling experience of foreign travel, and the confusions and comedies of everyday suburban life.
A Few Well Chosen Words

A Few Well Chosen Words

From WSHU

David Bouchier's weekly essays are full of unexpected observations and whimsical opinions. Listeners will relish his entertaining, enlightening, and sometimes exasperated commentaries on the routines that carry us through the year, the surreal rituals of politics, the unsettling experience of foreign travel, and the confusions and comedies of everyday suburban life.More from A Few Well Chosen Words »

Most Recent Episodes

David Bouchier: Polyglot

I have always admired and envied the ability to learn languages. The English language is hard enough, with its half million words, weird grammar, and odd pronunciations. Other languages are worse. When we try to master a new language we are thrust all the way back to our inarticulate early childhood, and we feel helpless. I've been to many places where I couldn't understand a word anybody said: Russia, Hungary, Greece, Scotland. It's humiliating. Every summer we see ads for yet another new

David Bouchier: The Reading Marathon Of Summer

Summer reading is one of those traditional pleasures, like family fun, that exists largely in the realm of fantasy. About a quarter of all American adults claim not to have read even a single book in the past year. But that leaves 75 percent who have read at least one, even if it was only The Art of the Deal . Yet, at this time of year, the newspapers and magazines invariably hit us with their "Summer Reading Supplements," each one thicker and more daunting than the last. One such supplement,

David Bouchier: Worth A Thousand Words?

A distant relative sent me a package of old family photographs, hoping that I could identify some of them. It was a vain hope. A few of the images came just within the range of personal memory: my parents, my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and some embarrassing childhood pictures of myself. One of the nice things about human memory is that it is self-editing. It allows us to forget so much. But old photographs can destroy a lifetime of benign amnesia in a single instant. These ancient images

David Bouchier: The Call Of The Wild

Memorial Day carries a heavy load of expectations. We are expected to think about the dead of past wars, and presumably future wars too, which is a noble thing to do but which leads to depressing reflections about human nature. We are expected to join in the retail extravaganza of Memorial Day sales, which has much the same effect. And we are expected, whatever the weather, to get in the mood for the outdoor life of summer. We have just got nicely settled into the indoor life of winter, which

David Bouchier: Complicated

Our old television set faded away and died. Its replacement was lighter, sleeker, and even cheaper, but that was the end of the good news. The back panel presented us with a baffling array of about ten different connections with incomprehensible labels. The so-called instruction book consisted of half a dozen pages of flimsy paper, almost entirely safety warnings, with a couple of Zen-like mystical diagrams that could have been anything. The sketchy website instructions were obviously composed

David Bouchier: The Dangerous Edge

Once again it's Commencement season, bringing relief to thousands of parents and perhaps a certain feeling of anxiety to all those young graduates. What next? Suddenly the future is wide open. That's what commencement means, the beginning of financial responsibility, real work, and all the other horrors of grown up life. It's a scary time for the graduates, comparable to going over the top in the trench warfare of World War I, and facing live enemy fire for the first time. That's why the

David Bouchier: Spring Chorus

This happens every spring. Our quiet life in the suburbs becomes a total audio-visual experience. From my window I can see the signals that nature thoughtfully provides for anyone without a calendar. The daffodils are almost done, the trees are leafing out nicely, and the bird feeders are busy. But the background music is not bird song but the roar of machinery. The sound effects of spring are turned up full volume. The men of the neighborhood, released into the outdoors by warmer weather, have

David Bouchier: Little Brother

The Chinese leaders have been studying George Orwell again. They have devised a new plan for what they call "social credit," which will be a kind of ranking by good or bad behavior. Citizens with good social credit will receive privileges like better jobs, access to travel visas, and cheaper insurance. Those with bad social credit will get a much less agreeable experience. How will the Chinese government know who's naughty and who's nice? By monitoring their internet use. If you interact with

David Bouchier: A Taxing Question

Not everybody enjoys paying taxes. Some citizens regard them as a kind of legalized robbery. They agree with Tom Paine who said, when income tax was introduced in 1792, "What at first was plunder has assumed the softer name of revenue." Just as medieval kings brutally robbed their citizens to finance their wars and comfortable lifestyles, so the democratic monarchs of the present age have found less violent means to the same ends. The extreme anti-tax position embraces a kind of anarchy in which

David Bouchier: Yesterday's News

When I was a very junior journalist the news cycle was literally a cycle – my form of transportation from one local story to another. The news was delivered as fast as it took me to finish my reporting rounds, pedal back to the office, and type it. This took time, but we had the time, and there never was much news anyway. Nowadays the news cycle is more like a spinning tornado. Everyone seems overwhelmed and exhausted by the quantity and velocity of breaking news – most of it bad and some of it

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