Tiny and Mighty: The Boy Who Wanted to Live

The winter holidays are a bittersweet time for everyone. If you are fortunate, retail bills, icy weather, and an anti-climactic gift exchange are your biggest disappointments. Like a Christmas special, everything tends to turn out all right in the end. Though you fought with your mother and burned the roast, you went to bed feeling…

DIY is dead. Long live DIY.

The final death toll is 36. According to the L.A. Times, the Ghost Ship in Oakland was considered an “enchanting ‘safe space’ that many called home.” Yes, people lived there, but they also opened their doors for others to meet and gather. I’ve been in plenty of spaces like that: filled with wooden furniture and antiques,…

Tweet Your Dissent

A local college instructor told me about the rhetoric class she taught this fall. She had her students watch the presidential debates. “Watching those debates is usually very useful for students. [The debates] illustrate rhetorical tools and logical fallacies.” This year was quite different. Students saw Trump fail to use even the most basic principles of…

It’s Absurd! Or: Suicide as the One True Philosophical Problem

Some time in the early 1940s (or, possibly, the decade before, or really any time between then and about 1915 but most likely in the late 30s), Albert Camus wrote: “The absurd man will not commit suicide; he wants to live, without relinquishing any of his certainty, without a future, without hope, without illusions ……

The Power is Glorious – Condor and Jaybird

It’s taken me nearly a month to write a review of Condor and Jaybird’s newest album, The Power. No, it’s not just because I’ve been busy teaching and writing and giving readings in laundromats. It’s because The Power is not the type of album you listen to a couple of times and think, “Oh, I get…

Fiends are Friends

Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore My rating: 3 of 5 stars While Christopher Moore wrote this comedy-horror novel in 1995, I didn’t read it until twenty years later. During that period, unfortunately, the vampire-as-sex-object ascended from transgression to trope and into cliché. It happened with impressive speed, but I’ll leave an analysis of that phenomenon…

Deteriorations in Domestic Peace

We’re going to look back on this as a profoundly dark time in American history. The Institute for Economics and Peace just published its 2016 Global Peace Index report. The United States is charted alongside Saudi Arabia and Peru. (As the world’s largest producer of cocaine, Peru actually sees more homicides related to environmental activism…

Into the Wild

I’ve spent the last semester encouraging non-readers to enjoy and engage with literature. I find it difficult to explain why reading is important. It’s something to which I’ve always applied inherent value. How does one inspire an interest in reading? It doesn’t necessarily have to be Chaucer or Austen or Eugenides. In fact, most people…

Let Mark Twain Love You

This morning, one of the first things that happened when I got out of bed was this: I discovered that Alan Rickman died. From cancer. At age 69. It reminded me of a day earlier this week, when one of the first things that happened when I got out of bed was this: I discovered…

New Amsterdam

One of the great things about abandoning your blog for over a year is the feeling of renewal when you get that email telling you your domain name is about to expire and you decide, what the hell, this is my piece of the Internet pie. I’m an American. And a Viking. I’ll take this…

Online Exile and the World Wide Wilderness

My body is currently covered in a giant rash. It’s pretty embarrassing, but apparently I have no problem posting about it on the internet, where strangers can read about it forever and ever. The thing is, I can’t really leave the house – anything but jammies exacerbates the itching, plus I look like a leper –…