Archive for category: Blog

Graduation Remarks, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School

04 Jun
June 4, 2012

They don’t usually vote on the graduating senior least likely to be invited back as the commencement speaker, or for any other reason. But if they had, I was certainly a favorite for the class of 1978.  Nonetheless, the powers-that-be at my old school inquired, and because one of my great childhood friends, Gary Zinkgraf, was going to be there to celebrate his daughter Molly’s graduation, I took the gig :

First off, I imagine some of you out there – if you’re familiar with my writing, my rhetoric or my general demeanor – are wondering, can he do a high school graduation? I mean, on an occasion such as this, a certain decorum is required, right?

Well, truth is I am under contract at HBO, and the network requires me to use at least one profanity every ten minutes in every possible venue. So those of you expecting pristine commencement remarks, well, you’re shit out of luck. But I’ll try to hold it down as best I can.

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Commencement Address, Georgetown University

19 May
May 19, 2012

The greatest commencement address ever is now more than three decades old. And it’s safe to say it will never be surpassed or even equaled. It belongs to the ages.

In 1979, its author summed up the condition of modern man by noting that, quote, more than at any other time in history, humanity is at the crossroads: one path leads to despair and utter hopelessness; the other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly. Unquote.

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Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite

10 May
May 10, 2012

My alma mater, the Baltimore Sun—though something of a fraile grey lady in this internet age—is nonetheless celebrating her 175th birthday this year. Sun alumni and other Baltimoreans were invited to contribute essays to a special edition to be published this weekend.

My offering is an homage of sorts to one of the metro desk veterans who raised me from a pup.,0,5336130.story

Thanks, Dave.  And no, I will never forget the First Rule of Rewrite:  “Shoot It Down.”  Or as you once sagely argued: “There are always salmonella outbreaks.  I don’t see why we have to write about this one.”

Jazz Fest 2012, Final Day

08 May
May 8, 2012

Barbituates or amphetamines?   These unidentified gentlemen seem ready to argue the point.

Mariano Rivera

04 May
May 4, 2012

The video of Yankee closer Mariano Rivera being carted off the field after tearing his ACL and, perhaps, ending his magnificent career, stays fixed in the mind, perhaps because of the open, earnest smile that Rivera flashes to his teammates as he rides the cart back to the training room. The look on his face is so benign, so genuine that in a single image, it seems to summon everything about the man.

Okay, I’m an Oriole fan.  And before I moved to Baltimore, I grew up in D.C. with the Washington Senators.  The Yankees — damn them — are my lifelong bete noir.  And I have seen Mariano Rivera go lights out on the home team in so many one- and two-run games that I should rightly be unable to summon anything more than a basic, casual amount of empathy at the idea that at forty-two years of age, with Cooperstown dusting a spot for him, he might not to be able to do it anymore.

Except that warm, sheepish smile — as if he’s embarrassed this happened while shagging outfield flies, as if he’s a little apologetic for somehow becoming the  center of attention — is pure Rivera.  The guy is to be loved.  Even from Baltimore.