Tagged: smart

Poem: A Comforting Notion

The multitudes of now-anonymous soldiers on the fields Of Agincourt And at Hastings And everyplace else Where unimportant men took the sword in their guts So that their betters, the royal ones, Might have more land to control and glory to drink, As though the applause of history were nectar that could be stored For...

Rosa Parks, Shirley Horn, and America’s Enduring Schism

Rosa Parks, an unintentional maker of history, was buried this weekend. She was an ordinary citizen of the United States who did something extraordinary, something that today seems so normal and reasonable that the courage Parks must have summoned at the time is easily forgotten. She refused to abide a transparently unjust law, and she was...

In Praise of Sarah Silverman

Her new movie, “Jesus is Magic,” proves (to us anyway) that Sarah Silverman is one of the funniest people in America. Essentially a video record of her stand-up comedy act — with some superfluous musical numbers and off-stage vignettes thrown in to make the project a “film” — J.i.M. features most of Silverman’s best stuff,...

Poem: Inequity

Have another dry-aged steak cooked medium-rare, sir. And more creamed spinach? They go nicely with your claret, that ruby nectar that inspires Torrents of adjectives. Like “plummy.” And “herbaceous.” Never mind, sir, that your belly is full. It can be fuller. We ask only that as you shovel chewy morsels between your teeth, Like a...

Do We Really Believe in Education?

Aside from the concept of family, few pursuits are more important to Americans than education. Our politicians return to the theme as insistently as the repeating leitmotif of a pop song: We must invest in our future; we must spend more, do more, care more so that the quality of education improves — and, the...

Poem: High Culture

Plato wrote about a cave Mr. Wren designed a nave: Would it be so wrong to sing a song Wearing nothing but a bright blue thong? Drama draws the geriatrics Attending matinee theatrics: Could we frankly say about a play It shan’t succeed if they won’t pay? King Tut’s remains have been a hit with...

Fast Food

On a recent scorching day, I was riding my bike to an appointment, feeling parched. I had an urge to drink one of those semi-frozen concoctions known on “The Simpsons” as a “squishy.” I’ve heard them called “slurpees” and “icees,” and I recall my notoriously strict anti-sugar parents allowing my brother and I to have...

The Truth About Travel Writing

Since there’s probably a good novel or two in this subject, I can’t divulge all the dirty secrets at the moment. But I can say summarily that spending close to 15 years as a professional travel writer exposed me to the weakest sense of ethics and the highest exchange rate of quid pro quo you’ll...

Poem: Consumption

Living here, this stage set of a city, where ersatz glamour trumps Verisimilitude, Where fakery — or as Holden Caulfiield called it, “phony” — gets celebrated Like a two-year-old’s birthday party, One learns to eat or be eaten. The all-you-can-gorge buffet combats the all-they-can-steal machines, Those short-change artists that bleed away your work, Mechanical chiselers...

Never Let it End

If it’s true that time flies when you’re having fun, then I’m frightened that my life will be over before I’m ready. Lately my days have been full — overflowing even — with challenging fun, with creativity, with laughter and beauty. I catch myself thinking, “I wish this would never end,” and I feel a...