Archive for September, 2008


You know, I had a great idea for a post today, then got home and saw that Brad DeLong had already done it. Brad Delong is much smarter than I am, and he’s a world-class economist to boot. I can’t outdo Brad DeLong. So I’ll steal his pictures, instead, and add one or two others: […]

On bath-ing

Doesn’t start with the hot water. Starts with the idea, the plan, the thought like the taste of liquor on your tongue, around four o’clock. Maybe earlier, much earlier, in the shower even, of that very same day.  It’s there, like the promise of a call from a lover, waiting for you. Only this you […]

Truth, up front and daily

I collect stories. I watch, interview, sort and relay with relish and enhanced veracity. Here are three stories from last week that have stayed with me because, as referenced yesterday, they brought “the truth up front in daily consciousness.” One: The protagonist is a freshman in college, first week on campus. He is a context guy, […]

Eyes wide open

As I was re-reading David Foster Wallace online, I received a forwarded email. It was from an aunt whose emails usually contain blinking/singing American flags and/or truisms that would have been cross-stitched on a pillow a generation ago. DFW would have loved her. The emails implicitly assume that I voted for Bush in both cycles […]

Ciao bella

After a sometimes-harrowing bus ride from Naples, the Amalfi Coast revealed itself, and I understood why people from the Mediterranean are stereotyped as dramatic. The landscape! I wondered how one could live a carved existence in these volcanic hills and not be dramatic. Upon tasting the local food I wanted to grab our waiter, kiss […]

Crack House Diaries: Home Improvements

The deal finally closed.  We worked our way through two thick stacks of paperwork, probably signing away spare organs in lieu of bankruptcy, and then it was done.  We were home owners!  No more squatting, we could finally begin making home repairs. We had been camping out in the house for weeks.  When I say […]

Sleeping with the city

I just moved into a fourth floor condo in D.C.  The bedroom has a fabulous window on to a cityscape. The window is huge—it’s about 6 feet by 5 feet. I have no shades or blinds, so every night I go to sleep with the city. I’ve always lived in small places with views on […]

Thursday playlist: Being an incomplete and admittedly haphazard survey of violin jazz

The download is here. The violin isn’t a typical jazz instrument, but it’s got a lot of versatility, as easily used for soloing as it is for comping (plucked or bowed for staccato punctuations). It’s particularly well used in interplay with another instrument, and this is how it entered the jazz idiom, and generally how […]

They can’t take that away

I’ll be the first to admit that I suffer from the Palin blues. Since her nomination, I’ve had a hard time thinking about much else. And I know of at least three of you out there who are in the same boat. The point of this post is to try to soothe those of us […]

Why Olafur Eliasson’s waterfalls are so great even though nobody but me thinks so

Nobody I know really likes them, those four artificial waterfalls lining the Brooklyn side of upper New York Harbor. They’re the summer art blockbuster that fizzled. “Underwhelming,” one friend pronounced. “They don’t stand up to the scale of the Brooklyn Bridge, let alone the whole city,” an acquaintance elaborated. “I don’t know — they just […]