Watergate: deep moat

Wondering whether Richard Nixon authorized the Watergate Hotel burglary in 1972 is at the center of the least interesting whodunit in recent American political history (the second: whether Ronald Reagan okayed the diversion of funds from the sale of TOW missiles to the Contras). A president who discussed the possibility of firebombing the Brookings InstituteContinue reading “Watergate: deep moat”

Art Dealer Cheeky: Miguel

R&B singer-songwriter Miguel is hungry, a flâneur who peaks through store windows, buys on impulse, regrets it, and keeps walking. His breathless tally includes 2010’s full length All I Want is You and a series of EPs archly titled Art Dealer Chic. The latest, leaked during last Friday afternoon news dump, is the weakest ofContinue reading “Art Dealer Cheeky: Miguel”

Singles 4/27

A banner week: the year’s first nine heralds two other singles I’ve played since acquiring them last week, including a Miguel single as sinister-sexy as anything Usher’s recorded. I’d award “Springsteen” an 8 now; the inflation was for the sake of sneaking the song into our yearly top ten. Blame guilt too: I ignored ChiefContinue reading “Singles 4/27”


A public service: Sarcasm is a form of communication that relies for its effectiveness on contextual cues, a sort of “knowing wink” between the sender and receiver(s). Nowhere in Delgado’s article is there any indication that he is intending these remarks sarcastically, nor that he or Barton have any sense of the article’s possible audience,Continue reading “Density…”

DJ Quik: “Right now I’m a beast!”

I’m a recent DJ Quik convert — I didn’t own one of the records under his own name until four years ago. Then the twin knockouts Blacqout and The Book of David sent me scurrying backwards. I didn’t hear another record as confident as The Book of David last year, for which I duly rewardedContinue reading “DJ Quik: “Right now I’m a beast!””


Really? On eight of 13 questions about politics, Republicans outscored Democrats by an average of 18 percentage points, according to a new Pew survey titled “Partisan Differences in Knowledge.” The Pew survey adds to a wave of surveys and studies showing that GOP-sympathizers are better informed, more intellectually consistent, more open-minded, more empathetic and moreContinue reading “Oh?”

Class dismissed: Monsieur Lazhar

Many school districts share draconian rules about curriculum and conduct with their Canadian cousins. No “personal contact” between students and teachers. “Grief counseling” that addresses the need for succor without confronting the source. Assigning novels for dictation that “aren’t on the list.” No favorites. I place these phrases in quotation marks to tag them asContinue reading “Class dismissed: Monsieur Lazhar”

California dreaming: Mildred Pierce

I didn’t read James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce until last June — a mistake. The novel is marvelous: occasionally coarse and explicit but cognizant of the way in which sexual politics dictate class politics in early thirties California. The scene in which Mildred explains why she will vote for FDR in ’32 (he’s going toContinue reading “California dreaming: Mildred Pierce”

Singles 4/20

Is Blake Shelton a man? Despite “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking,” his performances and appearances are tentative; he’s like a tourist from Duluth standing in front of the Eiffel Tower for the first time (maybe that’s why Miranda Lambert accepted the marriage proposal). Every song I believe less and less, which is whyContinue reading “Singles 4/20”

In no system that could be rationally defended would the state just do nothing.”

An entertaining, thorough interview with the outgoing congressman Barney Frank. I’d be a churl not to admit to pleasure at his properly citing Trollope and Robert Caro despite his archness at the expense of Occupy Wall Street. Most importantly, the fragrance of bipartisanship hasn’t befuddled his mind into conjuring visions of comity: So do youContinue reading “In no system that could be rationally defended would the state just do nothing.””