• My Café Life: Memoir as Cultural History

    Reading Time: 12 minutes As a boy, I never liked coffee, or thought I didn’t. Dark, bitter, mysterious, and forbidden. It was for adults somehow, and the last thing I wanted was to be an adult. Some things don’t change. Liking coffee did change for sure. And as it did for so many people in so many different ways, going to college—the mythic “rite […]

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  • Skinny Legs & Other Attractions

    Reading Time: 16 minutes Adventures and Musings on the nether end of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands Taken from the travel journals of Howard Dinin, circa 2003-2005 Skinny Legs is a bar and grill at the Coral Bay, the eastward or windward, end of St. John, USVI. It is a real place, though it has all the earmarks of a fiction, a made-up place […]

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  • The Homeless of Provence : Summer 2004

    Reading Time: 15 minutes The following story written originally as a journalistic first-person account of the state of the social order in rural France 12 years ago is, naturally, in the present tense and conditions described concurrent with the time. There are hints, here and there, though with no pretense to prescience—I could only report on what I myself observed, buttressed by readily available […]

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  • Patriotic Flamingos

    Reading Time: 3 minutes a very short story The fading sun on a warm New Hampshire summer day, a man confronts the lay of the land and the condition in which his life lies Herm whizzed the weed whacker closer and closer to the edge of the ridge at the front of the lawn. It was the piece that jutted out beyond the croquet […]

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Poem: Night Walk Late Summer

Reading Time: < 1 minute Night Walk in Late Summer I walk the dog for her evening pee. She prances. I lumber. Past the park; pools of green spotlighted in the blackout. Her lead delicately taut, we advance in stages, sniffing our way to that night’s just right grassy spot. Everywhere an aural fog. Ceaseless chirring: soprano maracas; piccolos. Finally she squats, her gaze inward […]

Shorts & Briefs | It’s Not as Simple as Red and Blue

Reading Time: 2 minutes There’s no mention of the political implications in this account (the link is below) from the hit-or-miss variety of curiosities on Atlas Obscura, this necessarily superficial account of an important facet of determining the cultural nuances of what otherwise seem to be aspects of differentiation and group behavior (including hard to quantify qualities of it, including belief, ideology, and the […]

Miss me yet meme of GW Bush

Testing the Depths of Our Incredulity

Reading Time: 3 minutes There’s that meme again, a jocular George W. Bush. It does take me back, almost 20 years, with the strange effect of persuading me that my 50s just possibly might have been still occurring in the flush of my youth. I remember especially trying to explain what’s what with American politics and how we choose our leaders to French neighbors […]

Au Pied de Cochon

Reading Time: 6 minutes There was talk in a blog I sometimes follow of crubeens and pig’s feet – a perfect aide-memoire, almost of the Proustean sort – that reminded me of my experiences with this delicacy. I’d always thought of it as quintessentially French, but this only reveals a lingering personal bias. I think everything that is supposed to be not only really […]

With a Sharpie® what can go wrong?

Reading Time: 4 minutes You just can’t go wrong with a product like Sharpie Well, you might, if you happen to be a recent chief executive of the United States who happens to have problems with way more than one or two words in the lyrics to “God Bless America”… It’s OK with that to hum along and bob your head to the rhythm. […]

Vesuvius remains

Free thoughts

Reading Time: 4 minutes It’s another day, just another one out of what really is an uncountable succession of days, seems like years, well it is years, but I’m talking days and then I have to do the quick math of figuring for the sake of easy arithmetic that a year is 350 days and it’s like, what? nearly three years, more like two […]

Walk Signal

Reading Time: < 1 minute   The little avatar of a trudging man blazes white above the curb opposite the one I stand on, the street you’ve just crossed eyes down your golden hair suddenly blown out full by a gust of wind; sure to be dry no tell-tale damp in it when you reach your destination. Stay, you said, or rather didn’t say, but […]

James Madison, 4th President of the United States

Whose Job Is It To Undo the Damage?

Reading Time: 5 minutes It was James Madison who was the great champion of separation of powers, that is, an active and robust separation, so that each branch of government with its several well-defined assigned powers is itself always potent, equally so compared to the others, so the overall result is a state of active equipoise. Madison saw a danger in any form of […]

Shorts & Briefs | 24 July 2019 | Just What Is Expected from Grilling Mueller?

Reading Time: 3 minutes Not to suggest that the House and Senate have a statutory sworn, not to mention ethical and moral, duty to perform in the areas of inquiry and oversight of all branches of government as the people’s representatives within that government, but it seemed clear enough how these sessions with Special Counsel Robert Mueller would go. It was sort of clear […]

Is Donald Trump Now the Most Trusted Man In America?

Reading Time: 5 minutes Before I get into it, I know the meaning of trust has eroded over the past several decades. The particular admixture of credence, confidence, and faith we invest in certain individuals who earn it – at least among the public – has seen a decline, noted in the first world from the United States to New Zealand. Then there’s the […]