The Mysterious Case of the Grotto

A cynical private eye and former mercenary named Joe Adams calls to tell me that while walking his Marine-trained pit bull past the old St. Mary of the Angels Convent grounds on Bellevue Avenue, he took note of the construction site. Joe Adams takes note of everything. He trained rebels in Myanmar, regularly turns down […]

Women Save Borat

    The Borat sequel, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, was released last night on Amazon Prime, a few hours earlier than announced, to coincide with the Presidential debate. The moviefilm is not as edgy or tightly-constructed as other Sacha Baron Cohen […]

The Problematic Roller-Skaters of Geneva

    I could not relax, walking the bike path today, among people blaring country music, the guy shouting at heaven, large unleashed dogs thinking heroic thoughts, and clouds of biting gnats in the sun. But what spiked my irritation was the group of five middle-aged guys on expensive road bikes, wearing aerodynamic helmets and […]

Office Space

Workwise, I find myself in an odd place. I have never been happier than I am now, working from home. Yet I am desperately sorry for young people who have to work from home. The fluffy sort of news—by which I mean anything that does not include death counts, death threats, or the imminent death […]

The Either/Ors That Box Us In

Paul Griffiths is trying to defend the biological either/or of male and female. The coauthor of Sex and Death: An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology, he wants it understood that even if not everyone lands neatly in one or the other, there are only two sexes. If we are talking sexual reproduction (which he is), […]

The Meaning of Years

One of my old friend’s names is a synonym for king. I have known him since we were maybe eight, when his mother placed him in my mom’s Cub Scout den. We were all rascals, but he and I were fatherless and poor. Due to the authority of his size, and what would turn out […]

How Trump Has Encouraged the Witches

An insurance agent calls to tell me one of her elderly clients wants to get in touch with me: “She said it was ‘life and death.’ Or maybe she said ‘it wasn’t life and death.’ Anyway, she says she doesn’t know how to reach you, because she’s ‘not on the Twitter.’” I take the woman’s […]

Everything I Have is From Disaster

Scholar Mark Edmundson says, “[Harold] Bloom once told a seminar I was in that he used to ask people he’d just met what was the worst thing that ever happened to them. Cuts to the chase, doesn’t it? I’m more inclined to ask about the best.” Why can’t we have both? That is, the worst […]

Everyday Saints

I did not grieve my mother the way I thought I would. There was no keening, no bleak loneliness—only a few hot, convulsive sobs, followed by a soft peace. That felt odd, because we had been closer than most. My father died when I was a baby, and I had no siblings, so we had […]

Dropping Clues to Your Socioeconomic Class

The instant you leave the insulated world of high school, you have to start explaining yourself. You are now meeting people who have no idea how you came to be. And over the years, your story layers like one of those geological samples, shown vertically, different stuff pressing down each year. While we are walking […]