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C.W. Gusewelle


Star file photo
Man of letters
C.W. Gusewelle's career at The Star goes back a half century, but he hasn't limited himself to newspapering. He has written books, essays and magazine articles and produced TV documen-taries. Star readers anticipate his column for its thoughtfulness and wordcraft.

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  As the mighty dance around the language, a dirge is playing
While powerful nations have fiddled, trying to decide if the ghastly carnage in Sudan satisfied the precise semantic definition of “genocide” or was merely a subject for ineffectual regret, the catastrophe there has become the world's gravest humanitarian crisis.

Previous columns


They prevailed over ice, but they're no match for Brittanys
The ice age may have spelled doom for such imposing beasts as the mastodons and mammoths, the saber-toothed cats, 3-ton ground sloths and giant beavers the size of bears.

A frustrated search for a movie finds true customer service
My wife was away, visiting college friends in another town. I was left alone, unsupervised, to feed the dogs and cats, mind the litter boxes, water the plants, carry out the trash and recyclables on the proper days and reacquaint myself with the household appliances.

Gus the digger finds a home, and we find hope for humankind
The black dog that found his way, rail-thin and homeless, to the yard of my friend at the farm has finally come into some luck.

A perfect time angling passes quickly, but never really gets away
All night the rain beat down, the thunder rolled. And morning broke gloomy-dark. But we'd been trying for two weeks to get away for a little fishing, my daughter and I. So just on speculation, ignoring the weather, we traveled the two hours south to the farm — the first part through pelting showers.

With his chestnut brown eyes, he'll dig his way into your heart
A common black dog is all he was. Nothing special about him. Just a black dog that had come trotting along the road shoulder, or out of the Ozark woods, and landed uninvited on the porch of a man whose house fronted on the blacktop — a good man who didn't need or want a creature to keep and feed, but who wasn't about to let any living thing, needed or not, go hungry.

Arbitrary application of justice makes death penalty untenable
Although I have never before felt any need to make a public declaration on the subject, I have long regarded the death penalty as the proper punishment for crimes of monstrous savagery.

When looking at nature, it's the humans who often lack civility
The Brittanys — Pete, Bear and Cyrus — are bird dogs, and their vocation, the passion that rules their every autumn, is finding, pointing and retrieving quail.

In this house, old and familiar beats new and improved any day
The air conditioner in our bedroom already was antique when we bought the house in 1972. Faithful as a longtime friend, it still gets us through the sweltering Midwestern summers.

Search for the latest and greatest can have tragic consequences
The thin-shelled concrete tunnel that was Terminal 2E at Charles de Gaulle International Airport outside Paris was on the cutting edge of structural design.

Graduations mark passage of more than the merely scholastic
It was a perfect day for a celebration. The spring sky was cloudless. Across the rolling countryside, cows with new calves at their sides grazed hock-deep in lush pastures. In this season of abundant rain, crop fields were fat with promise.

Over time, beautiful moths emerge from colorful metamorphosis
Eleven months ago, sometime during the night of June 12 last year, a Cecropia silkmoth deposited her eggs on the glass of our kitchen door.

An arsonist's perplexing assaults scar more than the land
An arsonist is at work again in my country neighborhood, and his malice this spring is not indiscriminate.