Monday, March 27, 2017

Retroactive advice

Saturday was voting day, a small election to choose between three lawyers who want to be civil court judge. Nobody shows up for these; probably the candidate with the biggest family has the edge. I voted for the one whose campaign invoked Faith the least. The next day I saw a Vermont license plate, pretty rare down here. The motto was “Green Mountain State,” which is sort of silly, because that’s what “Vermont” means. Like if Pennsylvania’s said “Penn’s Woods State.” Then I passed a leftover sign that said “Vote Today.” And I thought, “Actually that should say ‘Vote Yesterday.’”

Monday, March 20, 2017

You finally lay your burden down

The first LP I ever bought was called The Beatles' Second Album. I must have recently turned 10. Took it home, put it on the turntable. My dad’s stereo was, as we used to say, bitchin’. A McIntosh 240 into a pair of AR 2a speakers, which if you had that stuff today you could sell it a collector and use the money to buy it back. Anyway, the first song started with this great guitar intro and then George Harrison’s reedy double tracked voice came in and that was it. “Roll Over Beethoven” is still my favorite Beatles’ song.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Oh, ick.

Look, you don’t have to like anything about Steve Bannon and his ideas to concede that he is an educated, intelligent, accomplished, and imaginative creature. Yeah, he’s some kind of monster. He’s also a working-class guy who’s managed to earn a couple of master’s degrees and had successful careers as a naval officer, an investment banker, a media executive – before becoming maybe the most powerful grownup in the entire world. He gets paid to tell a rich kid what to do. Tough gig. I’m guessing probably the hardest part of the job is concealing his utter contempt for Donald Trump.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Candyland

If you’re like me, you’ve had it pretty good so far. We got to watch Howdy Doody and Whirlybirds and Man from UNCLE. We listened to Chuck Berry and Brenda Lee and Sheb Wooley, noshed on McDonald’s and Hostess and Bonomo Turkish Taffy. They dressed us in Keds and Levis, drove us around in Fords and Chevys and Oldsmobiles and Kaisers, immunized us against polio and smallpox and diphtheria and pertussis and tetanus. We had Schwinns and Yoyos and Silly Putty and Barbies and GI Joes. Nobody’s ever had it better. Ever. So where did all this meanness come from?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Writing feverishly

When a really terrible viral infection started killing off millions of people in 1918, Europe was still having what we call the First World War (they called it the Only World War). To keep up wartime morale, newspapers in countries like Germany and England didn’t report on the deadly epidemic. But Spain was neutral, and those death tolls were made public earlier. So that’s why it got called Spanish Influenza, though it actually may have come from Kansas. Graham crackers also come from Kansas, and are sometimes given along with lukewarm tea to people who have the flu. Coincidence? Perhaps.

Monday, February 6, 2017

My golden hour

I like going to Walmart, because that’s where America is. One time I was in the Walmart in Lewisburg, West Virginia, and a little girl said, “Come on, Daddy, the shoes are over yonder,” and he said, “Alright.” Bet nobody says yonder at Nordstrom. Yesterday I rode to the one on Tchoupitoulas and we were all cheerfully bumping into each other and saying excuse me and I got 11 dollar pants and a cellophane package of Israeli tea biscuits. The package fit nicely in my shirt pocket, so I rode my bicycle home at dusk, eating cookies all the way.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Nope

No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no.