This bird has flown: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

The title comes from a scene in which a teacher asks a girl to recite a poem onstage for parents night. Instead, the girl synopsizes the poem, line by line, to the amusement of the gloating teacher. Insofar as A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence has a narrative, it’s shaped by theContinue reading “This bird has flown: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence”

The stigma of sounding gay

Ignoring “gay-sounding” voices on dating/sex profiles happens often. I read these profiles every day. The binary: gay-sounding vs straight-acting. The former doesn’t sound like the latter. Acquiring credit in the straight world adds to your desirability; “passing off,” according to gay men who hold these noxious views, means not being “limited” by one’s sexuality. ForContinue reading “The stigma of sounding gay”

Jason Isbell and Carly Rae Jepsen

Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free A decade’s worth of good will have resulted in a #1 country album and a fresh spate of country vs. Americana “think pieces,” so good for Jason Isbell and his boring album. Of course the songs are OK; there’s enough melodic shifts and smart words to keep twoContinue reading “Jason Isbell and Carly Rae Jepsen”

‘No other program has changed so many lives of our families, our friends, our neighbors’

The truest American film about aging shows no quarter. In 1938’s Make Way For Tomorrow, Barkley and Lucy Cooper endure the indignity of becoming impositions on their children. The only alternative is for Bark to work – a man at his age. In the final scene the couple say goodbye, each knowing it’s for theContinue reading “‘No other program has changed so many lives of our families, our friends, our neighbors’”

Autumn of the Patriarchs, Part II

As my grandmother quietly loses her mind, her thoughts turn to her girlhood. She can recite the street corners of every house in which she lived and its memories: of her and her brother for days watching from a slope the employees of the Polar beer company create a float for that year’s carnival, andContinue reading “Autumn of the Patriarchs, Part II”

The history of campus police

Inspired by the indictment of a University of Cincinnati police officer for the murder of a man stopped for lacking a front license plate, Vox uncovers — for me anyway — a piece of history about which I knew nothing. Until the 1960s, Libby Nelson reports, “campus security at many colleges wasn’t anyone’s full-time job.”Continue reading “The history of campus police”

‘And paintings are one thing we never seem to run out of’

Yesterday was John Ashbery’s birthday, and I missed it. I wanted to post the title poem of “As We Know”; Ashbery was good at title poems. On a friend’s Facebook wall this morning I wrote that it’s hard to distinguish a great Ashbery poem from a good or average one; they’ve got the same ratioContinue reading “‘And paintings are one thing we never seem to run out of’”

The etymology of terrorism

Although the column is about the arrest of animal rights activists charged with domestic terrorism for releasing minks held in farms, Glenn Greenwald concentrates, again, on the selective means to which law enforcement puts that horrible ism: But there’s something deeper driving this persecution. American elites are typically willing to tolerate political protest as longContinue reading “The etymology of terrorism”

Christie: ‘I will enforce the federal laws’

Chris Christie has a message for you tokers who take it where it’s legal for recreational or medicinal purposes: If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it,” Christie, a Republican campaigning for the 2016 presidential nomination, said Tuesday during a town-hall meeting at the Salt Hill Pub in Newport, New Hampshire. “As of JanuaryContinue reading “Christie: ‘I will enforce the federal laws’”

‘Presence’ reconsidered

Bought for five bucks in a Best Buy bargain bin, Presence was the last Zep album I owned. Its blah reputation kept me away. When the unconverted think of Led Zeppelin, I suspect they have a sound like Presence in mind: an unrelenting guitar attack, a tight knot of a rhythm section, a yammering singer’sContinue reading “‘Presence’ reconsidered”

Flag removal would ‘hurt and deeply offend’ some Floridians

Meanwhile in my state capital this debate persists: “It’s not a memorial. It was put up there in defiance of integration,” said Sheila Grimes, 61, of Santa Rosa Beach, an insurance broker. “It’s malicious. It just makes you tremble. It needs to come down.” Grimes vividly remembers what life was like, growing up black inContinue reading “Flag removal would ‘hurt and deeply offend’ some Floridians”

Majority of GOP voters support sending illegal immigrants back to Mexico

I’m shocked, I tell you: By 56-42, Americans support developing a plan to legalize undocumented immigrants over stopping their flow and deporting those already here. Independents agree by 58-39, and moderates by 59-40. But Republicans favor stopping the flow of undocumenteds and deporting those already here by 63-34. So do conservatives, by 55-43. “Those alreadyContinue reading “Majority of GOP voters support sending illegal immigrants back to Mexico”