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: Comforting Routine

My life, like yours, is made up of routines. They begin in childhood with feeding routines, play routines, and then the unforgiving timetable of school. By the time we grow up, if we do, we are thoroughly accustomed to the idea that certain ritual activities are repeated every day, week, and year. We live, quite literally from cradle to grave, in a world of routines. It's what keeps us sane. These are not just the habits of life; they are actually life itself, and we get very upset when they are

David Bouchier: My Tribe Or Yours?

One of my New Year's resolutions was to read or re-read more classic novels, and I have been enjoying "The Pickwick Papers" by Charles Dickens. This ever-changing carnival of stories within a story offers many pleasures, but what astonished me was that the author, writing in 1885, had such a deep grasp of politics, not just then but now. Dickens describes an election in the small town of Eatanswill, contested between two parties, the Buffs and the Blues. These parties had no ideas, and no

David Bouchier: A New Start

New Year: it's a strange liminal date, full of anxiety and hope and empty resolutions. The artificial changing of the calendar makes us feel that something important should happen, but what? Are we looking forwards with hope, or backwards with nostalgia? In 1825 John Quincey Adams admonished the nation to "Think of your forefathers! Think of your posterity!" Well, that's not the kind of message we want to hear nowadays. The past was a time of dreadful technological backwardness. Our wretched

David Bouchier: The Ghost Of Christmas Past

Christmas Eve was the most exciting day of the year when I was a child. I don't think anything has quite lived up to it since. We were alone in the house, my parents and I. Christmas Day was the big day for us, when the house would fill and overflow with aunts, uncles, friends, cousins, my formidable Grandmother, and anyone else who could squeeze in. This was the big annual family party, more like the American Thanksgiving, and it was always at our house. For years I thought this was because we

David Bouchier: The Month Of Eating Dangerously

This is the sociable month, the month of eating dangerously. In December we will eat out much more, be invited to more dinner parties, and even give a few of our own. There will be buffets, with food of unknown antiquity, mystery meals from over-stressed restaurant cooks, and far too much of everything. Thanksgiving was just a warmup exercise. Now we really have to eat . Charles Dickens imprinted forever on our minds the assumption that we deserve more and more elaborate meals at holiday time.

David Bouchier: Fit Or Fat?

As I get older I get lazier, but the technology of laziness is always several steps ahead of me. I accept that my car has electrically operated windows, and that not having to crank them up and down must save me at least half dozen calories of energy in a year. The seats and mirrors can also be adjusted electrically, without any effort on my part, and a GPS (if I had a GPS which I don't) would preserve me from the exhausting labor of unfolding a map, and looking at it. So I have taken only the

David Bouchier: The Magnetic Turkey

Most Americans are taught that Thanksgiving celebrates the first harvest gathered by the Pilgrims in the autumn of 1621. The story goes that they feasted for three days on turkeys and fruit given to them by the Indians. In other words Thanksgiving is symbolic of peace and mutual trust. We are naturally fond of the Indians-and-turkeys story, because it presents such a charmingly innocent image of the first encounter between Native Americans and colonists. But the truth is that Thanksgiving was

David Bouchier: Reimagining The Holidays

National holidays make complete and perfect sense if you grew up with them, and no sense at all if you didn't. It's difficult for anyone not brought up in America to get excited about Thanksgiving, for example, and Americans find it hard to work up much enthusiasm for Bastille Day in France, Guy Fawkes Day in Britain, or the Foundation of the Workers' Party Day in North Korea. These special holidays make a tremendous impression on us in childhood. All the adults take them so seriously that the

David Bouchier: Gunpowder, Treason And Plot

November 5th, otherwise known as Guy Fawkes Night, was my favorite night of the year when I was growing up in England. The fireworks were wonderful: majestic Roman candles, spinning Catherine wheels, and unreliable rockets that we launched out of old lemonade bottles, and that might land almost anywhere, like unguided missiles. Every backyard was ablaze with colored lights, and many houses were ablaze too. The fire engine and ambulance bells clanged throughout the night, adding to the drama.

David Bouchier: Trick Or Treat?

Only 5-year olds and witches really enjoy Halloween. The build-up is long and tedious, and the event itself is no fun at all unless you happen to be a five year old, or a witch. The first bite-sized candy and spooky decorations appeared in our local supermarket right after Labor Day. Since the beginning of October the quiet highways of Long Island's North Fork have been jammed with cars heading east, where thousands of great orange pumpkins appeared in the fields, apparently overnight. Pumpkins

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