Advancing Essay Archive

The Chief Wiseacre writes about later-life adventures on the uncharted waters of romantic meandering, social exploration, financial brinksmanship, and pandemic improvisation. The Times Union website used to host these musings, which have since migrated to and this website’s blog realm. Links to essays from 2020-21 appear below, starting with the explanation for the whole deal: Introducing Advancing: Getting Along With Life.

2021 Posts

Romance-deprived? Spend the weekend with Jane.

Run out of Bridgerton? I’ll get you through Valentine’s Day and beyond with a guide to screen versions of Jane Austen’s original romance: Pride and Prejudice. You have your choice of everything from whimsical flirtation to liplocking passion, and even some implied sex. Also Zombies and showtunes. But don’t go there.

The best way to regulate Facebook: Don’t

Depending on your politics, Facebook is a vehicle for conspiracies that provoke death and destruction. Or it’s censoring free speech by shutting down the accounts of those conspirators. Either way, what can anybody do about it?

2020 Posts

The Isolation Equation: Why I’m not dying to see you

Solitude sucks. But, I have concluded, it beats the alternatives. You may not yet share my conviction that indoor socializing during this Covid Winter is a risk not worth taking, So let me count the ways.

This op-ed appeared in print the Sunday before the election. The late 1960s were the last time we saw a cleaving of American society with such depth, breadth, and hostility. Less educated whites still gaze across the abyss with hatred of the snobs on the other side.

Selectively angry white men
This is the album version of the op-ed that appeared in print. Why does the 40% put up with the 1%? These are not my people, but I grew up with them, and I go back to my high school years in western New York to interpret what’s going on now.

Sleeping with the enemy: Sex and consulting
Everybody talks about sex and the workplace, and a few people do something about it. But there’s much less buzz about one of the more obvious arenas of lust potential: the consultant-client relationship.

Back to the roots
Is tha long gray line driving you crazy? Let it go. Permanently. I share my hair uncoloring story along with a few humiliating photographs.

How to do your home work
OK, newbies, get out of your PJs! Take it from someone who’s been working at home for nearly 30 years: Your home office is more about office than home. Get dressed! Put on your jeans!

Hey you virus! I’m taking the gloves off!
Today’s trip to the supermarket puts our not-so-brave new world in granular perspective.

Fear of flying solo
Public speaking falls head of death on the American fear list, but public entrance all by yourself at a fancy-dress event has got to be in the Top 10.

Running is my boyfriend. Golf is my crush.
Reliable, consistent, no drama. What more could you want from a relationship? Occasional thrills, that’s what. That’s why I resisted running for so many years.