The Trouble With Angelina Sep09

The Trouble With Ang...

In 1979, my parents would attend Saturday Night Live parties thrown by our neighbors in suburban Philadelphia. We children were always dragged along, encouraged to play nicely in a hideously paneled basement, with the hope that we would pass out long before the TV show began. Most of us...

A Leg to Stand On Sep09

A Leg to Stand On

    For a long time, I was suspicious that Angelina Jolie wasn’t real.  While there may be an actual person named Angelina Jolie, it wasn’t the person in films, on magazine covers or the “candid” shots on the web.   In fact, I have never seen the real Angelina Jolie; she is an actor...

The Life Imperative Sep03

The Life Imperative

  In the forty-eight hours after Todd Akin, the current Republican Senate candidate from Missouri, made an international fool of himself by asserting, in response to an interviewer’s question about his opposition to abortion in the case of women who have become pregnant as a result...

Urine Trouble Mar03

Urine Trouble

Photograph by Tom Flynn I was on my way home to Milwaukee for the weekend, somewhere in that brief stretch of no man’s land that separates the casino town of Dubuque, Iowa from the Wisconsin state line, when 2011 National League MVP Ryan Braun, whose appeal of a fifty game suspension for...

Possible to be Weary: NORA Jan26

Possible to be Weary...

Dear Nora, I’m afraid I’m going to be tight-lipped, I just finished that presentation, and it was positively awful. While I was speaking, the professor was flipping idly through her copy of Notes, and afterward the students just all stared at me blankly – it wasn’t that blank look in praise...

Everything and Nothing Nov07

Everything and Nothi...

  “All of This and Nothing. I mean, I think it just works so well for this show, right?” He’s smiling because he’s just finished telling us that the title of the Psychedelic Furs song from their eponymous 1981 album Talk Talk Talk came to him a month ago, like a bolt from the...

Progress Oct02

Progress

Bullfight posters are not hard to come by in Spain. Indeed, in any place in the country with touristic pretensions you can probably find a shop where they’ll inkjet your name on to some simulacrum of a traditional bullfight poster such that to the untrained eye it will look as though you...

Possible to be Weary: NORA Sep17

Possible to be Weary...

Nora, You are one of those things Proust was wrong about; that Celtic soul inhering in things is transitive, so that you might put yourself there with giggle. Thank you for the care package. Will kites or candy ever be the same? You really know how to fold an envelope. Playboy centerfolds,...

Mr. Miller Aug04

Mr. Miller

Thanks to the high school students with whom I’ve shared the past six weeks as instructor of creative writing and residential adviser at a pre-college summer enrichment camp on the campus of Amherst College, and thanks more importantly to my willingness to let those students plug their iPods...

Gaga AKA The Real Phony Jun30

Gaga AKA The Real Ph...

  The identity and cultural role of Lady Gaga is reminiscent of a line in the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (adapted from Truman Capote’s short story.) Holly Golightly’s agent, O.J. Berman quizzes Paul Varjack on the phoniness of Holly: Berman:  Answer the...