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Monthly Archives: May 2015

E was for Ebola. F was for Fear. Now G is for Go to Africa

May 29, 2015, 5:13 pm

Lately, people like Judith Miller and Jeb Bush have appeared on TV acting as though the war in Iraq was some kind of natural disaster, as though they (and their friends) had nothing to do with maintaining a post-9/11 climate of fear in America – as though a climate of fear isn’t something simple humans like them could influence. Miller, Bush, and a few others have already been rightfully taken to task by others in the media (so I don’t […]

Rollercoaster of love. Rollercoaster. Oo oo, oo, oo.

May 27, 2015, 12:45 pm

Last Saturday, Dar had one of those days. And got me thinking about his perception and how it relates to rollercoasters. It started well enough. Dar had woken up without his maniacal giggles, but also without a lot of undue whining. In other words, he was relatively calm. I told wifey that I would walk Dar and our dog to Peet’s to procure our morning coffees. It’s a walk Dar has done dozens of times. This time, something about it […]

Defending “Person to Person”

May 24, 2015, 11:08 pm

I hadn’t expected to write one more word about Mad Men. I thought I’d said it all two weeks ago. Then, after the final episode, I saw one too many think-pieces coming out with a little too much snark. One more time, then, with feeling: The last episode of Mad Men was perhaps the greatest series finale of all time, of perhaps the greatest show of all time. Writer-director-showrunner-series creator Matthew Weiner struck just the right tone, all the way […]

The 100 Dos and Don’ts of Life by Daniel Smith-Rowsey

May 22, 2015, 6:52 am

Hello Class of 2015! When I was your age, I got really sick of advice. I also didn’t like something I’d heard: “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” Really? Am I supposed to read every law on the books? How am I supposed to know? I just wanted a manual, a very brief guide that would tell me what to do and what not to do. Sure, I planned to break the rules, but I wanted them all in […]

Dar Goes to College (well, sort of)

May 20, 2015, 3:07 pm

Perhaps every parent thinks twice before taking any 5-year-old to a memorial service. I know I did. When I heard Nick Vecchione had died, I really wanted to pay my respects…the last time I’d seen him, three years ago and twenty years since he mentored me in college, he’d treated me like an old chum, remembering my college self better than I did. But still…Dar at a memorial service? And at a college reunion? Wifey and I considered driving to […]

Bye-Bye, Dave, From the World You Should Have Made

May 18, 2015, 9:10 am

As readers of Marvel comics know, there isn’t just one universe, but many of them. Perhaps you’ve read the New York Times interview with David Letterman in one universe. We thought you might want to read the Times interview from the universe where Dave’s career had a slightly different path: This week, David Letterman retires after 23 highly successful years as host of The Tonight Show. We caught up with the legendary host and asked him to share his thoughts. […]

Regionalism versus Populism? False Choice

May 15, 2015, 12:24 pm

Britain has given us so much – the Magna Carta, Newton, Darwin, football, rugby, the Beatles. And now they’re set to help us with a little 21st century problem – the false choice between regionalism and populism. This blog has been advocating populism for quite a while now. Why? One reason is that I don’t know of anyone else doing it. We hear from very serious pundits that populists are dragging Hillary Clinton to the left and the GOP candidates […]

Putting the Dar in Dar-Tay

May 13, 2015, 11:57 am

  Dar attended his first big birthday party a few weeks ago. That may sound strange, so let me clarify. We have thrown small birthday parties for him and his brother (perhaps 3 or 4 other kids plus adults). At his two years in pre-school, which was all special-needs kids, we didn’t get any invitations to parties; I doubt that the parents organized any (it’s not like they don’t have enough on their plate!). He has now been in kindergarten […]

Why “Mad Men” Was About Advertisers and the 1960s, And Not, Say, Doctors and the 1990s

May 11, 2015, 11:31 am

As Mad Men arrives at its series finale this Sunday, you’re going to (or at least you should) hear a lot about the only show to win the Emmy for Best Dramatic Series four times in its first four years. You can expect generous encomiums to the show’s sumptuous period details, right down to the unshaking, fulsome camerawork. What you can not expect is an explanation of why advertising and the 1960s mattered so much to the show – why, […]

I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me

May 8, 2015, 11:44 am

Should the National Security Agency spy on all Americans to prevent terrorism? You can click this article without worrying about landing on a blacklist; after all, traffic on surveillance stories is spiking this week, with dramatic developments in France, Germany, and right here at home. In reaction to the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, the French Parliament is preparing to very publicly approve comprehensive domestic surveillance on the same level practiced in America since 9/11. This week German Chancellor Angela Merkel, […]