Happy Father’s Day: “The Day Daddy Died”

Today is Father’s Day, and S&R would like to wish a happy one to America’s dads.

At the same time, and in the contrary spirit that often typifies what we do around here, I’d like to be the one who acknowledges that our relationships with our fathers are often less than we’d hope for. Frankly, some dads are complete bastards, and in many cases they’re probably at least a complex mixed bag. And why not – being a parent is hard, I’m told. This basic reality makes the guys who get it right even more worthy of our love and respect.

It’s no worse than fair to say that my own father lived his life out between Mixed Bagville and the untamed Bastardlands, and truth be told I have a hard time remembering him as more good than bad. Continue reading “Happy Father’s Day: “The Day Daddy Died””

WordsDay: It’s World Poetry Day 2013

March 21 is the UN’s World Poetry Day, and we here at S&R invite our readers to celebrate the event along with us. Hit the comment thread and offer up a bit of verse – something you admire, something you wrote, whatever. I’ll go first, and I’ll do a bit of both. In my latest (as yet unpublished) book, there is an homage to my hero, William Butler Yeats – an homage that also manages to be painfully autobiographical in a way. So here is my poem, “William and Maud,” and the Yeats poem it’s riffing on, as I imagine the … Continue reading WordsDay: It’s World Poetry Day 2013

The incompleteness of the soul: an insider’s non-review of Completeness of the Soul: The Life and Opinions of Jay Breeze, Rock Star

I’ve been thinking about Completeness of the Soul: The Life and Opinions of Jay Breeze, Rock Star, the third novel from my friend and fellow scrogue Jim Booth. I finished reading it a few days ago, but for me it’s been a slightly disjointed experience because I’ve seen most of it in its pieces before: chapters like “Fins” and “The Balcony Scene” have been previously published as standalone short stories and there are sections (the “Rock Star Handbook”) that Jim originally developed as an offering for an SMS entertainment company in which I was a  partner. So I’ve been familiar for years with the component elements, but this was my first encounter with the unified book in context.

After several days of reflection, I find myself musing on things that many readers and reviewers might not have twigged on. Continue reading “The incompleteness of the soul: an insider’s non-review of Completeness of the Soul: The Life and Opinions of Jay Breeze, Rock Star”

ars poetica: Reflecting on what exactly poetry is (after completing my latest book)

As I Facebooked last night:

After more than three years of writing, editing, revising, and of course enduring the emotional agony that engenders so many of my best ideas, I have finally arrived at what I’m choosing to call a 1.0 version of my new book, tentatively entitled The Butterfly Machine.

Now, like any business-savvy poet, I’m on to the business of auctioning off movie rights and booking venues for the impending world tour.

[aherm] [cough] [ahem] Continue reading “ars poetica: Reflecting on what exactly poetry is (after completing my latest book)”

Mary Shelley LIVES! (Romantics, Luddites, runaway technology, science fiction and the persistence of the Frankenstein Complex)

Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and screaming. – Dr. Ian Malcolm

Mary Shelley spent the summer of 1816 at the Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva, Switzerland with her husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and their close friend Lord Byron “watching the rain come down, while they all told each other ghost stories.” Thomas Pynchon says that by that December Mary Shelley was working on Chapter Four of her famous novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus.

It was the challenge of writing ghost stories to amuse each other that set Mary upon the idea of a different kind of horror story – one not based in the supernatural, but in science.

I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. Continue reading “Mary Shelley LIVES! (Romantics, Luddites, runaway technology, science fiction and the persistence of the Frankenstein Complex)”

Happy Father’s Day: “The Day Daddy Died”


Today is Father’s Day, and S&R would like to wish a happy one to America’s dads.

At the same time, and in the contrary spirit that often typifies what we do around here, I’d like to be the one who acknowledges that our relationships with our fathers are often less than we’d hope for. Frankly, some dads are complete bastards, and in many cases they’re probably at least a complex mixed bag. And why not – being a parent is hard, I’m told. This basic reality makes the guys who get it right even more worthy of our love and respect.

It’s no worse than fair to say that my own father lived his life out between Mixed Bagville and the untamed Bastardlands, and truth be told I have a hard time remembering him as more good than bad. Continue reading “Happy Father’s Day: “The Day Daddy Died””

So lonesome I could fly: 30-Day Song Challenge, the Sequel, day 20 – a song that could easily have been written about your life

I’ve always felt strongly attuned to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous short story, “Ethan Brand.” The title character forsakes his life to search the world for the unpardonable sin. He finds it. It ends badly for him. The nature of the sin?

He remembered with what tenderness, with what love and sympathy for mankind, and what pity for human guilt and woe, he had first begun to contemplate those ideas which afterwards became the inspiration of his life; with what reverence he had then looked into the heart of man, viewing it as a temple originally divine, and, however desecrated, still to be held sacred by a brother; Continue reading “So lonesome I could fly: 30-Day Song Challenge, the Sequel, day 20 – a song that could easily have been written about your life”

New for poets and fiction authors: online literary magazines and creative writer resources

Scholars & Rogues recently launched the S&R LitJournal in order to promote creative writing in the form of new poetry, fiction and nonfiction. We’ve received and published several works from talented authors and look forward to presenting our readers with more quality original literature in the future.

Since some members of our staff are creative writers, we’re familiar with the challenges associated with developing your skills and finding the right publication outlets for your work. There are thousands of print and online literary magazines, and identifying the best places to submit can be a daunting task. Not only that, writers at various points of development might be interested in writing programs, contests, conferences, communities, etc. Again, connecting the dots can be tough.

So S&R has now pulled together a suite of resources aimed at helping creative writers find the resources they need to hone their craft and reach an audience. Continue reading “New for poets and fiction authors: online literary magazines and creative writer resources”

It’s Bulwer-Lytton Day at S&R!

Oh, we lives for this, yes we does. Runner Up: Detective As Holmes, who had a nose for danger, quietly fingered the bloody knife and eyed the various body parts strewn along the dark, deserted highway, he placed his ear to the ground and, with his heart in his throat, silently mouthed to his companion, “Arm yourself, Watson, there is an evil hand afoot ahead. All 2010 results are posted here. Continue reading It’s Bulwer-Lytton Day at S&R!

ArtsWeek, part deux: be afraid…

Well, ArtsWeek sure has been fun, huh? Great posts, great reviews and interviews, great photography – makes you wish it happened more often, doesn’t it? Well, there’s no rule that says it can’t. So let’s do it again, and this week, in honor of Samhain (that’s “Halloween” to most of you), let’s focus on the darkness that lies within us all…. Continue reading ArtsWeek, part deux: be afraid…

Did President Bush believe that Harry Potter was real? It sure sounds that way.

Not that this should come as any surprise, but we now have confirmation that the Bush administration refused to award Harry Potter author JK Rowling the Presidential Medal of Freedom because the books “encouraged witchcraft.”

For a second, let’s set aside any arguments over whether or not Rowling’s work merits such a lofty honor and do something that we simply don’t do enough these days. Let’s dig beneath the surface silliness and examine the deeper implications of what this revelation really means.

Put simply, would you be worried about “encouraging” something you didn’t think was possible? It’s one thing to want to discourage, say, meth use or binge drinking or texting while driving or unprotected sex. Those things are real and they have real, observable consequences. Continue reading “Did President Bush believe that Harry Potter was real? It sure sounds that way.”

Jon Stewart, Jim Cramer and the rampaging cowards of journalism

First, just in case you haven’t seen it, please review the video (in three parts).

Continue reading “Jon Stewart, Jim Cramer and the rampaging cowards of journalism”

TunesDay: that new old sound

If you pay attention to my music entries, you may have noticed a recurrent theme. It seems a lot of the bands I hear these days, many of which I really like, remind me of bands from the past. Like The Mary Onettes:

I recently tripped across one such example, Sweden’s The Mary Onettes. They can’t seem to make up their minds whether they want to be The Church, Echo & the Bunnymen, or maybe something along the Joy Division/New Order continuum.

And The Flaws:

In a nutshell, The Flaws are [Joy Division] meets The Killers with a smattering of Johnny Marr. Continue reading “TunesDay: that new old sound”

Educating the 21st Century cyberstudent…or not?

Don Tapscott has some radical new ideas about education. Here’s a sampling (as related by ReadWriteWeb):

  • “…the age of learning through the memorization of facts and figures is coming to an end. Instead, students should be taught to think creatively and better understand the knowledge that’s available online.”
  • “…Google, Wikipedia, and other online libraries means that rote memorization is no longer a necessary part of education.”
  • “Teachers are no longer the fountain of knowledge; the internet is…”
  • “Kids should learn about history to understand the world and why things are the way they are. But they don’t need to know all the dates. It is enough that they know about the Battle of Hastings, without having to memorize that it was in 1066. They can look that up and position it in history with a click on Google.”

(These last two are quotes directly from Tapscott, by the way, and I need to go pick up this book. It seems awfully interesting – but for now the RWW report will have to do.)

That one item – “Teachers are no longer the fountain of knowledge; the internet is…” – is among the most terrifying concepts I’ve ever run across, by the way. Continue reading “Educating the 21st Century cyberstudent…or not?”

The Scholars & Rogues Manifesto: what are we doing here?

It has been alleged that Scholars & Rogues is not, strictly speaking, a political blog. Sure, we write about overtly political issues and devote our share of time to things like media policy, energy and the environment, business and the economy, and international dynamics. Yes, we were credentialed to cover the DNC, but we don’t really do hard, insider, by god politics. Daily Kos is a political blog. Firedoglake is a political blog. Little Green Footballs, The Agonist, Politico, The Seminal – these are real poliblogs.

S&R, on the other hand, writes about music. About literature and poetry. About art. Education. Sports. Culture and popular culture. The Ramsey case and what it tells us about the state of media. And now that the election is over, S&R is writing about politics less than ever.

So really, what is S&R? Continue reading “The Scholars & Rogues Manifesto: what are we doing here?”