Robert Chipkin

The Necco factory, which manufactured Sweethearts, closed its doors in 2018.
Brent Moore / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/brent_nashville

 


This Valentine's Day, I am heartless, a condition that also describes New England Confectionery Company, or Necco — the maker of Sweetheart candy, those small, chalky, heart-shaped confections that flood candy counters this time of year.

Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts. Commentator Robert Chipkin recently noticed that students, staff and faculty there often hold doors open for each other.
Bpayne4001 / Creative Commons


Early in the morning or late at night, even in the most crowded times between classes, it is nearly impossible to approach an entranceway without someone holding the door open to let a nearby someone in.

A mobile phone on a sandy beach.
TheHilaryClark / Creative Commons

At the risk of violating technology's prime directive -- "Thou shalt not look backwards" -- I found a way, if only briefly, to get my mobile phone to just stay put.

An app transforms the unsmiling face of Robert Chipkin into several other images, including a forced smile.
Upper left: Josh Sowalsky / Courtesy Robert Chipkin / FaceApp

"Why does he look so constipated? Everyone else looks so happy except for Mr. Constipated," my family invariably asked when looking at pictures of me in family albums.

A golden retriever.
Jonathan Meyer / Creative Commons

Lately, I’ve noticed a growing cottage industry. Human scientists are making a pretty good living spending years doing experiments the results of which any dog could have predicted if only someone had asked.

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