Matching Style for Style in Politics

    After the American presidential debate aired last week, a woman in Switzerland, a Facebook friend I know nothing about, said the USA is doomed either way. Fair enough. The debate reflected very badly on everyone including the moderators. The golf sequence alone should bring us shame before the Swiss. I will not add […]

Invent a New Kind of Femininity

    There is an article in The New Yorker about Miranda July, whom I have never read. She sounds interesting, so I zip along, half-skimming—then skid to a stop. She is reading the notes she wrote for her new novel, All Fours, to the reporter. Here is one from 2018: “Thinking about what aging […]

The Biggest Push Yet to Make the U.S. a Theocracy

    Last week, Christians flooded D.C. The Faith & Family Coalition was hosting its annual Road to Majority Policy conference, the nation’s largest public policy gathering of conservative Christian activists. One stump speech after another urged them to vote, evangelize, and pass out some of the $62 million worth of political literature designed to […]

Anubis Lives, Thanks to Joanna Karpowicz

      I am interested in representations of immortal figures witnessing human life, such as Wim Wenders’ watcher-angels in Wings of Desire; the flirtatious death-angel in All That Jazz; Death as Joe Black; and the title figure in “The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore,” a story by Harlan Ellison. I once wrote about […]

I Do Not Believe in the Tarot, But—

    “Have you ever done tarot cards?” I ask, tentative as a secret member of the Communist party in 1952. I brace for the blast; my friend trusts science, not woowoo. “I am not sure I believe in that,” she says carefully. “Oh, I don’t believe in it either,” I assure her. “I just […]

Damn the Torpedoes, We Have Bigger Problems

  Craig L. Symonds’s The US Navy: A Concise History (Oxford UP 2016) is a book that in its brevity (116 pages), simple texture, and insights could have been written only by a master of the subject. Symonds is emeritus at the US Naval Academy and was a visiting professor at the US Naval War […]

The Glue That Holds Us Together

    Early in grade school, I was solemnly initiated into the ritual. Elmer’s glue had to be smeared all over one’s finger, the inside of the wrist, or possibly the whole hand, then allowed to dry—blowing on it was permitted—and slowly, deliciously, peeled off. This even topped peeling sunburned skin, because that ended up […]

Roses in an Alley

    Some people go to Vegas. I gamble on florists, who must keep their stock impeccably fresh by leaving lovely flowers in the Dumpster for me to find. Tacky, yes. But there is never any goop or crud in their Dumpsters, just lovely long stems, a few slimy or blackened but most still crisp […]