Archive for the ‘History’ category

End-of-year playlist: what year is it, again?

Today I really loved my job. In the morning I taught Colson Whitehead’s Sag Harbor, which takes place in the summer of 1985, when the narrator is 15. (The book’s climax, if it can be called that, is the day that Lisa Lisa—and Cult Jam!—come into the ice cream shop where the narrator works and […]

Irene’s mother

Six years and a week after Katrina, New Orleans is still bustin’ open with music and oysters and muffalettas and floats and masks and slang and cocktails and friendliness. At night the street corners spill over with virtuosic brass bands. In the “right” parts of town, you’d never know anything had changed. Just like always, […]

Come back to the five and dime, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

The Husband and I have just delved into the first two episodes of “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” the cult TV show from the mid-70’s starring Louise Lasser as the title character of a Norman Lear soap-opera send-up set in fictional Fernwood, Ohio. The cast also includes Dodi Goodman as Mary’s ditzy mother and Mary Kay […]

2,841 and counting

I was straightening clutter in my front room the other day when, at the fluke edge of my eye, I saw a piece of cardboard wedged behind a cabinet. The color of the paper seemed vaguely familiar but I couldn’t quite determine what it was. Frustrated from trying to flatten my hand behind the back […]

Easter at our house

This weekend we will hard boil two dozen eggs. We will layer newspaper, line up every teacup we can find and open several decorating kits. Combining dye pellets, vinegar and water in the cups, we will argue about the best way to color the eggs. Do you just plop them in, suspend them for perfect […]

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the first International Women’s Day, declared in 1911 by the Socialist Party of America. Celebrate!                      

Tuesday updates

For your reading pleasure, a few updates from previous posts. 1. The New Yorker caption contest. In March 0f 2009, I wrote of my frustration at never getting a cartoon caption in the final three in the New Yorker’s contest. The first of the rather astonishing 34 comments included  AWB’s link to a site (since […]

Not to be reproduced: New Year’s open thread

Rene Magritte, La Reproduction Interdit / Not to be Reproduced (1937) On January 1, 2011, I was lucky enough to wake up in the home of dear friends, with whom I had joyfully celebrated the night before (at a party complete with bicoastal buddies, disco dancing, and a “gorgeous gateau”). As we eased into the […]

Death may have no mercy, but it frequently offers some fascinating stories

I’m a big fan of the obituaries page in the Sunday paper. It may seem a little morbid, but I love the mini-biographies and micro-histories of the semi-famous and somewhat influential that can be found there. Reading an interesting, well-written obituary is among the most entertaining ways to learn a sliver of knowledge about a […]

Photoshopping the past onto the present

Many of you have probably seen this already, but Sergey Larenkov has a fascinating series of altered photographs at his Live Journal site here. Larenkov has taken photographs from World War II, found the exact locations (in Berlin, Prague, Moscow, St. Petersburg et. al.) where they were shot, and grafted the old images onto contemporary […]