The Comforts of Celebrity

Going to see a celebrity in a field you do not follow is a strange thing. There are…expectations. Recognition, to start with; maybe admiration, even excitement. I had no idea who the two celebrity fishermen were, who would be at the sporting-goods superstore in town. My elder son, who has fished a couple of times […]

Leave Alone the Grass

“The midnight streetlight illuminating the white of clover assures me   I am right not to manicure my patch of grass into a dull   carpet of uniform green, but to allow whatever will to take over.”   “Against Lawn” by Grace Bauer   In mid-April, the distant ritual buzz of lawn mowers droning in […]

Mapping Irrationality: An Introduction to Behavioral Economics

Classical economics begins with a central assumption that all people everywhere are rational. However, one of the chief problems with rationality is that it is relative. Rationality assumes that people consciously establish and verify all the facts of a given situation and use logical assumptions to arrive at a conclusion. Not only that, they revise […]

The Sense of the Story: Revisiting My Layoff One Year Later

In November 2017, I learned that my faculty position at St. Louis Community College would be one of 58 eliminated in a reduction in force. One year later, I sat with Michaella A. Thornton at Hartford Coffee in south St. Louis to talk about how we had each experienced, processed, and reckoned with the layoff […]

Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was in selected theaters Wednesday night. I got my elder son to join me by telling him the Fathom event was a one-night showing. Actually, the film will be available on a streaming service soon, and I was a little embarrassed when it turned out to be a two-hour-and-12-minute […]

When the Old Becomes New

Lucinda Williams’ gravelly voice, now slurred with age and use, is like an arrowhead found along a creek bed, dulled past its prime but still revered and recognizable in its ability to pierce the heart. When I had an opportunity to catch Williams perform this week, I was excited to have an evening with a […]

Bridge Safety Is Expensive

The American Society of Civil Engineers has said it will cost $4.5 trillion by 2025 to fix U.S. infrastructure. We have 614,000 bridges alone, a third of them more than half a century old, and 56,000 structurally deficient, says the Federal Highway Administration. One of these, which is vital to coastal traffic but makes locals […]

To Make the Invisible Visible

This Wednesday Dr. Katie Bouman and an international team of scientists and astronomers revealed to the world the first ever picture of a black hole at the center of the Messier 87 (M87) galaxy, a supergiant elliptical galaxy in the constellation Virgo 55 million light years away from Earth. Between 1907 and 1915, Albert Einstein […]