After I resigned from the Chicago Tribune after nearly 35 years as a columnist, I decided to keep in touch with readers by creating a Substack that features the same mix of commentary, idle observations, tirades, interesting links and curated quips that was the hallmark of my “Change of Subject” blog from 2003 to 2014 at

It includes the Tweet of the Week poll, updates on my other endeavors, highlights from reader responses, information about the latest Mincing Rascal podcast as well as the usual mix of argle bargle and jiggery pokery.

It also indulges my interest in traditional music by sharing a tune or song I’ve had on repeat.

The title “Picayune Sentinel” is a nod to my late grandfather, Max A. Zorn, who for many years in the pre-Internet era distributed a mimeographed newsletter titled “The Piccayune Sentinel” (sic) to his colleagues in academia and interested friends and family. (“Change of subject” was his all-purpose segue).

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I was a news/opinion columnist for the Chicago Tribune from 1986 until 2021.