Archive for October 2013

Uncle John is Dead, But I Look Fabulous!

When I think we can’t hit new lows, I run across something like this: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/10/selfies-at-funerals/280972/ I am hardly familiar with this “selfie” phenomenon, but I can’t see ...

A spook speaks–just in time for Halloween

For those readers at all interested in Angela Merkel’s dismay, or the reach of our homeland spy agencies, here are a few pertinent quotes from Paul Pillar, speaking on NPR’s Here and Now radio program on October 29. According to...

To Quantify the Complexity of a Book

There’s a computer program called Lexile that purports to measure the complexity of books and thereby determine the grade level for which they are best suited. Here’s the description: Lexiles were developed in the 1980s by Malbe...

Gardnering at Night, Again

Anyone blessed enough to be within shouting distance of Batavia, New York, this Saturday, October 26, at 8 pm is invited to drop by the Pok-a-Dot, venerable and funky diner, for the Sixteenth Annual Batavia Reads John Gardner, during which ...

The Joy of Being Edwin Arlington Robinson

Every semester, on the first day of the poetry courses I teach, I hold up Lilla Cabot Perry’s portrait of Edwin Arlington Robinson and tell the students an only slightly embellished anecdote. This first great American poet of the 20th centu...

Politics on a Human Scale: Historiography

The language of “human scale” politics originated, at least in modern America, among the New Left and the Counterculture. More recently it has been adopted by traditional conservatives (appropriately enough).

Pursuing Happiness

Arthur Brooks dropped out of college when he was nineteen. He played French Horn in orchestras and ensembles around the country. He joined the City Orchestra of Barcelona. He had a wife and a small child. And he was unhappy. Brooks called h...

It’s the Scale, Stupid

Hidden Springs Lane. The great shutdown charade (less than 50% of workers furloughed) is over for now. However, though our leaders are patting themselves on the back for ending the stalemate and avoiding the uncertainty of default, they hav...

Too Big To Fix

Hillsdale, Mich. Misery loves company, they say, but maybe not if the company is Comcast. Yes, I have returned to a subject of previous kvetching, though this time I am commiserating the difficulties that my favorite Chestnut Hill columnist...