Does everything have to be about something? Can’t a work of art stand as a thing unto itself, without reference to any external touchpoint? Shouldn’t it be possible to create a brave new oeuvre of pure prose, unsullied by topic or intention, free from the limitations imposed by any perceived imperative to communicate an idea or transmit information? Must all human endeavor be shoehorned into the narrow confines of pure utilitarian functionality like a great big monkey foot jammed into a narrow and inflexible cordovan wingtip? I hope not. Because I’ve not got the vaguest idea what to write today.
Monday, April 18, 2022
I found out on NPR, which has never lied to me, that the common word beginning with “G” that we have customarily used when referring to Romani people is a hurtful racial slur. Bad news for Django Reinhardt emulators the world over who may need to change the name of an entire musical sub-genre. Ditto for a cool Curtis Mayfield song and a certain industrial vacuum cleaner. And possibly my opera “Meredith, or How The Elephant Lost Her Stripes” will, on the basis of a single scene, be subject to widespread protests and calls for its withdrawal. Assuming anyone notices.
Monday, April 11, 2022
Okay. Bear with me. Ithaca, New York, is named after the Greek island where Odysseus, alongside his son Telemachus, killed a whole houseful of suitors who were sniffing around his wife Penelope while he was away. Ithaca, New York, is not home to the world’s largest watering can. That’s in Utica. Ithaca, Michigan, is named after Ithaca, New York, and it’s where you’ll find Pencil Craft LLC, providers of high-quality giant pencils. Pencil Craft owner Vic Flegel offers several sizes, all of them featuring real wood, real graphite, real pink rubber erasers, and genuine copper ferrules. They are surprisingly affordable.
Monday, April 4, 2022
It turns out that you contain more than 50 glands. And some of them have extremely funny names. Like Meibomian gland, Ebner's glands, and the unforgettable Glands of Zeis. Research has revealed that each gland produces its own specialized goop that does something vitally important, at least for the tissues and organs in its immediate vicinity. As an example, if you didn’t have saliva glands you’d have nothing to spit. As it is, they are so active that the average human swallows between 1 and 1.5 liters of saliva every day. Fortunately, not all at once, from a big mug.