Category: Culture, High & Low

The Alpine Heart

Liechtenstein is the 6th smallest country in the world, larger than San Marino but smaller than the Marshall Islands, and is roughly twice the size of the island of Manhattan.  The Principality is ruled by a stable royal family that is so p...

Going Down to Vanity Fair

Over a long and colorful career, the phrase “Vanity Fair” has called up wildly divergent associations, while often seeming to mean nothing at all. Is it a place? A quality? A feeling? A mood? Like such idioms as “under the weather” and “cut...

Would Rabbit Angstrom Vote For Trump?

Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, a former high school basketball star with a spiritual yearning and an outsized libido, may be both John Updike’s most famous and most despised literary character. But Rabbit is also something of a George Babbit for ...

The Web, Our Brains, and You

Like most avid readers I have a queue of books I’m reading and plan to read. When a new book gets added to the queue it gets bumped to the top either by plaintive recommendation or because I will see the person who gifted me that book...

Palio

On an intercontinental flight these days one has dozens of options. Not only do they have the most recent movies available for your enjoyment, but classics as well. They even have classic television. I pulled up an episode from the original...

Branding Disaster

Earlier this year, after the Charlie Hebdo shootings, I reflected on the conversations that may or may not ensue from the changing of a facebook profile picture.  As my facebook news feed in the last few days has changed into a wash of the ...

A Better Place to Watch a Game

Only an idiot would really miss the old Durham Athletic Park – or, if not an idiot, then only someone who hadn’t actually spent much time there and didn’t know that at the old stadium there wasn’t enough electricity available to cook ...

Saving Life on Mars, and in Appalachia

Recently, I watched as the people of Earth came together to bring The Martian home. Interstellar, Gravity, and Wall-E all tell the “lost in space” tale with more filmmaking skill and subtlety. But despite its over-reliance on shots of appla...