The end-of-the-semester-head-clearing hike

As the semester grinds down, I catch myself looking intently at any stand of trees I encounter. For 16 weeks, I’ve allowed my urge to hike, bike or kayak be suppressed by teaching duties. It’s bullshit, really. I could easily carve out time to spend in the woods during the semester. But I don’t, leaning […]

These books I have shorn against my ruin: from hobbits to Pynchon to the Tao

In a recent Wall Street Journal Saturday essay, Will Schwalbe made the case for reading. “At the trial in which he would be sentenced to death, Socrates (as quoted by Plato) said that the unexamined life isn’t worth living,” Schwalbe wrote. “Reading is the best way I know to learn how to examine your life. […]

Somewhere over Gravity’s Rainbow …

I’ve tripped on Gravity’s Rainbow already. Several times. I don’t think I made it more than 100 pages in during my previous attempts. This time has been different. to some degree, I’m taking guidance from the Right Rev. Dave Shaffer (Drinking Straw apostate that he may be) and letting Pynchon’s masterpiece flow over me like the […]

Isabel Allende dazzles D.C.

When Isabel Allende asked how many Latinos were in the audience last night during her interview/book signing at the Washington Post, more than half the audience answered with raised hands. Very impressive. Almost as impressive as the interview. Allende was hilarious, mixing self-deprecating humor with broadsides against the patriarchy, smart women who refuse to identify […]

Metropolis art …

I stumbled across German photographer Michael Wolf‘s photography this morning. Fascinating stuff. He uses mega cities as a concrete palette, mixing the colors, geometries and human faces of urban life into images that vibrate tensely between order and chaos. I particularly liked Architecture of Density and Tokyo Compression … Thanks to Slate for pointing me Wolf’s […]

Quotes: Shakespeare’s take on ‘eat the rich’

We saw the Globe Theatre’s production of Hamlet last night at the Folger here in D.C. Wonderful production. It also was my first time seeing a play at the Folger, which is a fantastic space despite the fact that some sight lines are obstructed. (That’s the Capitol at right as viewed from the entrance to […]

Wendell Berry vs. Godzilla

Wendell Berry was hitting stride while delivering the 41st annual Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities at Kennedy Center last night. The great agrarian poet was calling out the excesses of corporate America, technology, capitalism and our rampant disregard for nature. Our wanderlust has destroyed our rootedness, our sense of place. It suddenly dawned on me […]