Archive for March, 2006


Years ago in the Sugarhouse neighborhood of Salt Lake City a record-store clerk reverently took a CD from my hands. “You are about to buy,” he said, “one of the greatest albums in the history of rock music.” “Dude,” I said, “I know.”


My childhood history with sports was checkered. My dad (who’d been called “Coach” my whole life) would come home, announce he was coaching fourth grade basketball, and suddenly there I was, on a team I hadn’t signed up for, passing a whole season without scoring a single point. One year he announced I’d be playing […]

Musique for the sick and afflicted

As I wait for the N train at Kings Highway, I try to pay attention to the unique sounds of my subway stop. It’s an outside stop, so already I have a different palette of noise to choose from. I hear seagulls (I’m just stops away from Coney Island), pigeons having sex overhead, conversations in […]

Table talk

Nothing triggers a sweaty high school flashback like holding a tray of food and pretending that you are not looking for a place to sit in a crowded corporate cafeteria. Suddenly I am fifteen again, with bad hair and last season’s sweater, scanning groups, heads leaning together — each table a clubhouse with secret passwords […]

My cups runneth over

I never had collections—Baseball cards, comics, coins, stamps—never got into that. Until my 20s. In college I started going to thrift stores and suddenly a world of weird collectibles presented itself to me. I started with t-shirts. At first it was concert t-shirts, especially knowingly unhip shirts: Journey, Poison, Rush, the Doobie Brothers.

I want my ADD: Very short album reviews

One hundred words or less, but words with two or fewer letters don’t count. (A nod to, but we’re just not that succinct.)

The missing links

Two weeks ago in this space, Jeremy Zitter invited us to contemplate our “Cellular memories, A to Z” – to scroll down our cell phone memory lists and see who’s there. I don’t store many numbers in my cell phone, so my trip down that particular memory lane would be short and uninteresting. But there’s […]


My friend (and Great Whatsit contributor) Lane Twitchell is a painter. His paintings are amazingly elaborate and take a long time to make. As a painter, Lane has a line on photography. “It’s too easy to make too many photos,” he says. “It’s a problem of overproduction. There are just too many photos.” Well, this […]

Who are the people in your neighborhood?

I have a bar. I don’t own it — I’m an English professor in the most expensive real estate market in the world; it will be many, many years before I own anything — but I feel proprietary nonetheless. I’ve had friends who had bars, including a place called Charmers in Chicago (I don’t think […]

Resident alien

I am an unlikely suspect in the war on terror. I have lived in the U.S. as a foreign national for several years now. As an employable, white, European, middle class woman I have an easy pass. In fact, as a Brit, the amount of adoration I receive is downright indecent. You want me to […]