Alan Chartock | I, Publius: Coffee warnings unheeded, and other random musings

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GREAT BARRINGTON — Here I am, sipping my morning coffee.

I have been perusing the internet for years in order to make absolutely certain that coffee is not bad for you. One can never be too careful. Indeed, study after study has made it clear that not only is coffee not bad for you, in certain instances it may even be good for you.

Now we read that California, in its wisdom, has decided to make the coffee people put warnings on their product that coffee can be a carcinogen. Will someone please give us a break? Science is making us crazy. We spend millions of public dollars studying this stuff and we are all hopelessly confused.

Of course you could switch to apricot tea and live longer but, the old saying goes, "Maybe!" Doesn't it stand to reason that sooner or later, we'll hear that apricots and peaches and cherries are also dangerous? So the question is, "Do I take another sip?" Answer: "Absolutely."

I met a really lovely couple at Daniel Osmon's Dream Away Lodge Seder the other day. Apparently, a column I wrote opining that the sale of some of the Berkshire Museum's valuable art was a bad idea had annoyed my new friend to the point of, in his wife's words, "screaming."

He made it clear that the Berkshire Museum owns the art and they can do anything they wish with it. Apparently, the wishes of the general public didn't come into play. He properly asked me if I was a member of the Berkshire Museum after I suggested that it was the job of every not-for-profit to raise money the old fashioned way by going to the public.

The whole point here is that every not-for-profit is responsible for making the case to its constituency that supporting its mission is critical. Legally, my new friend may be right about the board's prerogative, but for such a clear cut case, it is interesting how so many judges seem to be pondering the question. (A Supreme Judicial Court justice on Thursday ruled that the museum was within its rights to sell the art works.)

When the Lovely Roselle suggested that Rockwell was giving the art to his community with the idea that they would have it in perpetuity, my new friend asked her how she knew that. Do you mean that Rockwell gave them the art so that they could sell it, perhaps to a Saudi Prince who might keep it on his vault?

I love my family. I love my wife, my children and my grandchildren. I also love Murray the dog, the cutest and smartest dog in the world who was taught how to speak English by the Literacy Network of South Berkshire.

Lately Murray has been disturbed by the occasional dog poop that we see on our walks. He said to me, "Pops, we absolutely know which dog is guilty. His human lets him run far ahead of him off the leash.

"I remember the last time you stepped in it. You have those fancy sneakers with ridges in them. It was disgusting. You ruined valuable pencils picking that awful stuff out of your soles and when Mom found out that you were doing it in the laundry sink she was really angry. Isn't there anything you can do about this and don't start griping about it in your column!"

I told you that Murray was smart.

John Hoyt Stookey is an opera lover first class. I am not, but I insist on keeping the Metropolitan Opera on WAMC because I know how passionate so many opera fans are.

The other day, John stopped me cold in the street and suggested (strongly) that I come to the Mahaiwe to hear Professor Scott Eyerly introduce Cosi fan Tutte, an operatic farce. He was right — the guy is amazing! I didn't stay to hear the opera on HD, but Eyerly really made it interesting.

Check him out scotteyerly.com. You won't be sorry.

Alan Chartock, a Great Barrington resident, is president and CEO of WAMC Northeast Public Radio and a professor emeritus of communications at SUNY-Albany. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of The Berkshire Eagle.

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