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: The Platonic Ideal

Winston Churchill complained that democracy is the worst possible form of government, except for all the others. The vision of free citizens governing themselves by electing the best and the brightest people among them as representatives is one of the best ideas that the human race has ever had. But it may be no more than a distant promise, like the notion that wealth will one day trickle down, or that the check will one day be in the mail. The results of democracy are usually disappointing –

David Bouchier: Goodbye, Columbus

It seems that we can never have enough living space. Even back in 1492 when the planet was, by modern standards, virtually uninhabited, every king, princeling and adventurer was engaged in a passionate search for new territory. Columbus, of course, won the jackpot – although he never knew it. Seven million square miles of real estate, not even counting South America, and entirely empty, except for the people who happened to be living here. Christopher Columbus didn't know where he was going. He

David Bouchier: Falling Towards Winter

When the words "Autumnal Equinox" appear on the calendar, as they did on Saturday, they send a little chill through the heart as well as the body. Labor Day is one thing, but this is official. Summer is over. This is the moment when our Earth, or at least our hemisphere, begins to tilt away from the sun. A cosmic event like this should be more dramatic. But nothing much changes, not yet. A few sunbirds flutter off in the direction of Florida, unable or unwilling to face meteorological reality.

David Bouchier: Intelligence Test

It has been reported, but not much discussed, that Norwegian researchers have discovered that intelligence, as measured by standard IQ tests, has been declining since 1975. I had been wondering about this myself, especially for the last couple of years. In the national league table of IQ tests, America comes in ninth, slightly behind Norway. In case you hadn't guessed, Hong Kong and Singapore come in first. America's average IQ score has gone down at about the same rate as in many European

David Bouchier: Eyes Down

I must admit to having a mild phobia about shoes. It dates back to childhood, when every school year began with a new pair of regulation leather shoes, choice of black or black. After a summer of bare feet and sandals, our feet had to be "broken in" to these new shoes, and we hobbled about in agony for the first two weeks of school, taking small, careful steps and sliding like ice skaters on the smooth leather soles. Two years in army boots did nothing to improve my attitude towards footwear and

David Bouchier: Coming Home

So here we are at the symbolic end of summer, and the symbolic end of the vacation season. Personally, I love vacations, being lazy by nature. But I know that not everyone shares my enthusiasm. This summer I've had plenty of opportunity to study other people (and myself) in a state of leisure. While I am usually relaxed to the point of inertia, my fellow vacationers often seem nervous, anxious, and restless. In France I watched one busy professional, down from Paris for a couple of weeks, wash

David Bouchier: Freshmen Envy

This past weekend thousands of teenagers left home for the first time to live in college and university dorms. It must be a moment of high drama, for them, and for their parents. Fall semester at the State University of New York and at Sacred Heart University begins Monday. All weekend the car parks have been full of cars and SUVs in line, waiting their turn to get to the dorms and unload. Many of these vehicles are bigger than the average dorm room and packed to the roof racks with stuff. You

David Bouchier: The Peaceful Village

England is always a surprise, even to those of us who are intimately familiar with it. What always strikes me, as soon as I drive out of the airport, is the sheer amount of countryside that still survives, how many fields and trees and charming villages, even in the tightly packed southeastern counties. It is a crowded country – the most crowded in Europe with 420 people per square kilometer – yet outside the cities it doesn't feel that way. The United States, by contrast, is almost empty with

David Bouchier: Ancestor Worship

Occasionally I think about my honorable ancestors, but not for long. There's not much to think about. My mother was born in 1909 and her mother, also a centenarian, in 1884. Before that everything is lost in the smog of history. My father seems to have had no recorded ancestors at all.

David Bouchier: Travelers' Tales

When Odysseus returned from Troy he had a tale to tell and, fortunately, somebody wrote it down. Homer's Odyssey could be considered the first travel story really worth hearing. The long voyage of Odysseus was basically a Mediterranean cruise during which me met interesting people like cannibals, monsters, tempting women, and even made a side-trip to hell. Then, as now, a good travel story needed exotic characters and dramatic incidents, and the Odyssey is full of both. We all enjoy telling

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