a reader’s progress

March 17, 2004: “Far be it for me to step in the large pile of turds that Mel Gibson has left behind”

Far be it for me to step in the large pile of turds that Mel Gibson has left behind with his deft marketing of his deity-inspired rendering of Christian mythology. As Joseph Epstein replied when I queried him about his intentions to weigh in, it would require him to see the movie, which he was …

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February 25, 2004: “I was going to write about the unrefined thoughts…”

I was going to write about the unrefined thoughts I had on the passing of Golden Age of TV icon Jack Paar. Which involved some teleportation back, against time's arrows, to the past, when television was Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bill and Kukla Fran and Ollie and Studs Terkel (this was in Chicago) and Dave …

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February 8, 2004: “Regular garden-variety cantankerousness”

Regular garden-variety cantankerousness—now regularly euphemized as “contrariness” or “curmudgeonly behavior”—is responsible for my life-long (as least adult life) disregard of the Justinian calendar. The lapse in my attention to my journal was superceded by the end of the annual end-of-the-year hysteria that has firmly rooted itself in the American culture—it might be thus in other …

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December 1, 2003: “Despite industrial imperatives that focus on current releases…”

Despite industrial imperatives that focus on current releases with the hopes of creating bestsellers, hopefully in the giga proportions of Harry Potter, there are occasional reminders that the literary moment is not coincident with the commercial one. Jonathan Yardley's "Second Reading" columns in the Washington Post are some of those. Recently Yardley revisited the prodigious …

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October 28, 2003: “The dismal direction of American history…”

One recent visit with Cuba's kindergarten teacher, Karen Derusha, reawakened both my fear and my loathing of the dismal direction of American history as represented and presumably directed by, as Robert Stone opined in a recent conversation, a bunch of "truimphalist babbits." The stench of disingenuous posturing, as exhibited by George Bush's claims to aspiring …

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October 1, 2003: “Mildly attending to the shenanigans of the so-called major candidates”

I'm the innocent bystander Somehow I got stuck Between the rock and the hard place And I'm down on my luck… -from "Lawyers, Guns and Money" by Warren Zevon It's been years since I have been able to muster up much enthusiasm for any political candidate in this country. This did not result in what …

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