2018 ELECTIONS: What’s at Stake

2018 ELECTIONS: What’s at Stake

By Tom Robotham  On Tuesday, November 6, the future of our nation will rest in our hands.  I know that sounds hyperbolic, but I don’t believe that it is. The importance of these midterm elections cannot be overstated. They will determine not only the policy decisions...
ESSAY: Why I Teach Popular Culture

ESSAY: Why I Teach Popular Culture

By Tom Robotham The other day in a class I teach at ODU called Music, Culture & Media, I asked the students if any of them had heard of Pete Seeger.  “Is he related to Bob Seger?” one of them asked.  I thought the anecdote was sufficiently amusing to share it on...
Crossings

Crossings

  By Tom Robotham  In mid July, I took off on a road trip to the Big Apple, upstate New York and New England. It was a great journey in many respects. I had nice visits with my kids, both of whom live in the city, my sister and brother-in-law, and several old friends....
Make America Happy Again

Make America Happy Again

By Tom Robotham In the final episode of Parts Unknown—shot in Bhutan—Anthony Bourdain asked a group of locals to comment on the country’s commitment to steadily improving its “Gross National Happiness.” It was a poignant moment, given that the episode aired two weeks...
New Life for the Taphouse

New Life for the Taphouse

    By Tom Robotham For the last 10 years, The Taphouse in Ghent has been my home away from home—my “Cheers,” if you will. I started going there in 2008 after the end of a long marriage and quickly got to know the staff and regulars. There was great comfort in...
TRAVEL: A Tale of Two Cities

TRAVEL: A Tale of Two Cities

By Tom Robotham   Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. ~ Mark Twain.    Whenever I feel the need to take a journey of some kind, I’m torn between two options: revisiting a...