A splash of humor, a dash of cynicism, and a twist of skepticism

james poyner

james poyner
Summit, New Jersey,
May 14
A former journalist and stock analyst, I now do custom cabinetry and photography. I also occasionally vent verbally, a throwback to days in the newsroom.


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Editor’s Pick
APRIL 9, 2012 8:30AM

Back to the Future of Rock 'n Roll

The biggest surprise about seeing Bruce Springsteen April 4 for the first time in 28 years was that there were no fire engines in the parking lot when we streamed out with the 20,000 other fans into the chilly late-night breeze.  After all, my favorite rock ‘n roll arsonist had just… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 25, 2012 8:05PM

Tarantulas in Heaven

My mother, Mary Ellen Poyner, died at 81 last Monday. As her second-born and oldest son, I delivered this eulogy based on important memories I have of her. Though she had been in declining health for awhile, when her time came I still felt unprepared when my brother called to tellRead full post »

DECEMBER 25, 2011 11:06AM

Christmas Without Duke

I haven't posted in a good long while. In fact, a weird sort of writer's block kept me from sustaining any piece. But this year's Christmas letter ended that--I hope. Regardless of circumstances or beliefs, I hope you use today to embrace your family in gratitude for what you have insteadRead full post »

APRIL 9, 2010 11:03AM

Masters Baiting Over Tiger Woods

I am not, let me say at the outset, an avid golf fan. I do, however, often enjoy watching the final nine holes of a tournament on a lazy Sunday afternoon—especially if Tiger Woods is in the hunt.


The media mania surrounding Tiger’s return from self-imposed exile after revelations o… Read full post »

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JANUARY 17, 2010 12:26PM

Two Gal Pals and a Quest

My wife, Anne, met Suzanne when she started teaching at Turner High School in 1982. At a pep rally for a Halloween football game, they were the only two teachers who dressed up in costumes. Sitting together in the bleachers seemed the right thing to do. Anne introduced herself as the… Read full post »

DECEMBER 26, 2009 12:11PM

Skirting Disaster

It’s been about six months since I’ve been on a plane, but now I can’t wait for my next flight!


Thanks to a Mr. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, getting through airport security is sure to be even more of a, ahem, blast than it has been. Mr. Abdulmutallab, in the event that… Read full post »

DECEMBER 20, 2009 10:41AM

The New Bicycle Redux

I told myself when I started to write on Open Salon some 13 months ago that I’d never recycle past posts. After all, the thing we used to call network television that produced a definable season from September to May with reruns reserved exclusively and predictably to the summer months has… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 24, 2009 10:37PM

The Homecoming

(Cue the theme from everybody's favorite schmaltzfest, “The Waltons”) 

So my wife, Anne, and I awoke at the painful hour of 5 a.m. this morning to drive to the airport to pick up the firstborn, Noel, after his five-hour red-eye from Los Angeles. He was home for his first holida… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 23, 2009 10:43AM

Even Free Is Too High a Price To Pay in Journalism Today

My innocent attempt to re-enter, if only temporarily, the ranks of journalism has been met not with a fierce resistance born of deep-seated generational insecurity but with a big ol’ yawn.


An English teacher at Summit High School, which all three of my progeny attended and where my wife… Read full post »

So I’m sure all you avid OSers know what today is. No, it’s not Rush Lamebaugh’s birthday. It’s the first anniversary of everyone’s favorite post on Open Salon, the post that has been a fixture on the Most Viewed feed for many of the past 365 days. That’s righ… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 11, 2009 9:49AM

The Next Pig You Eat Could Be a Cousin

In another of those moments when the obvious finally gets stated, we learn today in the New York Times that pigs are not only smart but they genetically have a lot in common with humans. Instinctively, we have not needed science to parse this relationship.


Our language is littered with similes… Read full post »

OCTOBER 12, 2009 10:39AM

Cub Scouts: The Next Terrorist Threat

A replay of the farcical pursuit of terrorists in our system of airport security has been going on in the nation’s school systems since the Colombine shootings. So-called zero-tolerance policies that require the suspension of any student who carries anything that can be construed as a weapon to… Read full post »

So I thought I had covered completely the texting-while-driving thing a couple of months ago in “Keep on Truckin’.” But I was wrong.


Now I’m not a perpetual complainer about the federal government (at least not since W was sent home and I do tend to take the weekends of… Read full post »

AUGUST 29, 2009 3:57PM

Meeting the "Lion of the Senate"

Recently a young OSer wrote a post about Washington’s congressional interns, typically college students who serve for a semester on the staff of a congressman or senator doing everything from stuffing envelopes to researching topics of pending legislation. Immediately I recalled my three months/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 28, 2009 2:17PM

Keep on truckin'...

Anyone doubting the research prowess of Southern universities compared to those snooty centers of science in the Northeast should read the study just released by Virginia Tech quantifying the risk of driving a tractor-trailer rig while text messaging. The conclusion: It’s dangerous.


Read full post »

JULY 12, 2009 10:12PM

Getting Car-nal Knowledge

A guy’s first car may or may not be sexy, may or may not be fast, may or may not be beautiful. But a guy’s first car is still special because it’s his first—kinda like his first sexual encounter. Things may or may not go so well with the first, but… Read full post »

JULY 6, 2009 5:48PM

L.A. Story

I’ve waited six months to write this post, the one about my firstborn son leaving the nest for the West Coast to seek his fame and fortune in Movieland. I was waiting for the happy ending, if not the one where he effusively thanks his parents for all their support in… Read full post »

NASA launched an emergency space shuttle Sunday to bring Roger Federer back to earth after he won a record 15th Grand Slam and his sixth Wimbledon in the longest final ever, superseding last year’s five-set final by a huge margin. Federer held on to win the longest fifth set ever in/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 3, 2009 4:56PM

Federer's Date With Destiny With A Much-Improved Roddick

With a vertical leap of at least three feet Friday morning, Roger Federer conjured the ghost of Pete Sampras, whose Grand Slam record he hopes to beat Sunday, and slammed an overhead to close out a masterful straight-set semifinal Wimbledon victory, 7-6, 7-5, 6-3, against German Tommy Haas. With the… Read full post »

JUNE 20, 2009 11:46AM

Rafa Brought to His Knees

The news that Rafael Nadal will sit out Wimbledon due to tendinitis in his knees is heartbreaking on many levels. Not only does he not get the opportunity to defend his hard-won title, but Roger Federer will not get to prove he can win a record 15th Grand Slam title against/… Read full post »

It’s been years since I’ve visited Dallas in the summertime after leaving there in 1993 for the East Coast. Before Dallas, I had spent the first 10 years of my life on the arid plains of Odessa, 12 hours to the west. In either place, heat was a given post Memorial… Read full post »

JUNE 9, 2009 10:06AM

Uh-Oh, Nick Is Bored Again....

So, mere weeks after his triumphant graduation from art school, my son Nick has been chillaxing a bit before taking on the monster known as Reality. But when my son gets restless, my wife and I get nervous sometimes.


When he was about 7, he and his older brother, Noel,… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 7, 2009 1:54PM

Federer Reawakens My Inner Sportswriter

En route to his first French Open title, the one Grand Slam title that had eluded the greatest tennis player ever, Roger Federer was awaiting the serve of his opponent, the little-known Swede Robin Soderling, when a wacko leaped from the lower-tier stands onto the red clay and ran straight for… Read full post »

This just in from our agri-ecology desk: Stonyfield Farm, that yogurt maker run by a bunch of Vermont hippies, is experimenting with the diets of its dairy cows after French dairy farmers have established that feeding them flaxseed and grass rather than corn and soybeans lowers the threat of global w… Read full post »

MAY 24, 2009 5:48PM

Will Make Art for Food

So, for the parents who begged, borrowed and--who knows?--stole the scratch necessary to put their kids through the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, the school’s president was eternally grateful at the commencement ceremony last week for the class of 2009. He was so grateful that he felt… Read full post »