I was nine when Kent State happened. I was a very current events-minded kid and read about it in the paper and saw the news. But I didn’t really understand it all. So I absorbed the narrative around me: buncha … Continue reading Kent State and 75 Minutes That Changed My Life
My buddy Jim Booth put together a quarantine reading list for our little S&R community this week and it got me thinking. So let’s pose a challenge. What is the greatest work of literature you’ve ever read? The Rules It … Continue reading #ArtSunday: What’s the Greatest Book You Ever Read?
Facebook is a discordant marketplace-of-ideas battle royale unlike anything in human history. Most of it is inane (or worse) dreck. But some of it is brilliant – enlightening, uplifting, empathetic. If we could get rid of the 99.99% that isn’t … Continue reading The Five Best Things on Facebook
The COVID-19 pandemic is the defining moment of our generation. The last global crisis of this magnitude was World War II, and with any luck we won’t see anything this dire again for decades. That’s probably wishful thinking, for a … Continue reading How Are We Making History Today?
We have met the enemy and he is us. Continue reading “Jobs, Zuckerberg, Bezos: what do our titans of tech say about us?”
The Amy Wax/UPenn problem isn’t about academic freedom, it’s about unexamined privilege. And firing her won’t solve the problem. Continue reading “Privilege, thy name is Amy Wax”
It’s been 20 years. I’m not sure I have anything new to say.
On April 20, 1999, at 11:19am MDT, the world changed. Continue reading “Columbine: it was 20 years ago today”
Nativ Hotel, LoDo, Denver Continue reading “Nativ”
Vintage miniature: Hobo clown… Continue reading After the show
Barber chair: Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia Continue reading Shave and a haircut…
Hey Kids, it’s Howdy Doody time. See you in your dreams. Continue reading Howdy
Donald Trump isn’t an anomaly. He isn’t an outlier. He isn’t a blip on the radar of history. He’s the very embodiment of the black, ignorant American soul.
[Apologies in advance. These issues may seem unrelated to some of you, but the dots connect perfectly in my head. I’ll let you know when the big leap is about to happen.]
Jim and I have been chatting offline. I hope you’ve been reading his recent work, especially the McDonaldization series and his outstanding tribute to Tom Petty, which goes way past Petty’s career and into some deeper questions about the genre we know as “Rock.” He concluded a recent email with this: Continue reading “Overthinking: rock music, pop culture, Donald Trump and America’s desperate race to the bottom”
A small prophecy… Continue reading Who was the second-worst president…
Grammar nazis may not like it, but many of our language rules are artifacts of ancient languages that no longer serve a meaningful purpose. I’ve been a writer since the ’70s. I’ve written poetry, fiction, academic, business, political and entertainment … Continue reading Its time to rid the English language of it’s outdated grammar and punctuation rules
America is a great idea, but it’s hard to love these days.
At some point tonight millions and millions of us will find ourselves sitting in a stadium or a park or maybe on a city rooftop or a grassy hill in the country, staring at the sky, celebrating our country’s anniversary by watching the annual fireworks show. I won’t lie – I love fireworks. They’re spectacular to watch, but beyond that I’m fascinated by how they work. How do you get one to look like a flower? How do you get multiple colors in one burst? I assume I could learn these things if I spent the time, but regardless, it’s a pretty cool exercise in artistry.
But I don’t love everything about fireworks shows. If you’re at an official civic event you’ll certainly get to hear Lee Greenwood belting out his famous “God Bless the USA.” This is a massively famous and popular song, having reached #7 on the Billboard Country charts. It’s sold over a million copies and there’s no telling how much it has earned Greenwood in royalties.
It’s also perhaps the greatest lie ever set to music. Bear with me.
America is a wonderful idea. Continue reading “Happy 4th of July: what does “freedom” mean to you?”
Our lives are full of Kodak moments.
It’s about tribalism. You cannot work with Trumpists. Period. You must defeat them and then fix the problems that handed them control.
It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into. – Jonathan Swift
Since the moment of Campaign 2016 when it became clear that Donald Trump actually had a chance, a lot of people have done a lot of thinking and pontificating and punditofying and writing and hand-wringing about the reasons for his viability. On one end of the spectrum: Donald gave the drooling, racist, misogynist, xenophobic, ignorant, anti-intellectual, hillbillies a cynical, smirking, dog-whistling charlatan they could line up behind. On the other, we’ve had all manner of thoughtful, complex analyses about how economic anxiety (and utter despair) fueled the rise of a non-partisan populist backlash against a political establishment that has spent decades betraying those it represents.
Both versions are compelling because each was built on a measure of observable truth. Continue reading “The only way to defeat Trump and his supporters”
My girlfriend’s great-great grandparents. Maybe Civil War era, roughly? Continue reading Legacy
No, famous people won’t stop dying on January 1. But we lost too many bright lights this year and we hope that 2017 will be better. Here’s a list of noteworthy people who died in 2016.
For the past several months a lot of us have been saying we can’t wait for this damned year to be over.
2016 gave us the worst election season I can remember, and every ten minutes or so another beloved artist would die, it seemed. Any year that gives us Donald Trump and takes Muhammad Ali, David Bowie, Prince in return has done more damage than some decades.
No, people aren’t going to stop dying at the stroke of midnight tomorrow. Continue reading “Remembering 2016: the year when everyone died”
Partisan discourse can’t sink much lower. Now is the time to resurrect a format that was made for political debates.
The third and final “debate” between presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is now mercifully in the rearview mirror, but like a direct hit from an aggrieved skunk, it might take weeks for the stink to fully die down. This trifecta of vitriolic spew has held a mirror up before the face of the American system of political discourse, and what we’re seeing is utterly wretched.
And for what? What have we learned? Did the debates make us smarter? Did it leave us more capable of rendering an informed decision? Did it shed light on the election and the best interests of the Republic?
The sad truth is that the truth is pretty sad. These charades, these lowest common denominator spectacles, these premeditated travesties of dishonesty and rhetorical misdirection, we call them debates but they are no such thing. A real debate between candidates would be a wonderful thing, though. Continue reading “Resolved: that future presidential debates ought to use the Lincoln-Douglas format”