The little things

Strolling into the front entrance like he owned the place, Dan Juan gave the area a quick scan as nodded to the well-dressed gentleman behind the front desk and handed over his sport coat and hat. As Dan Juan padded across the dark blue carpet to the playing floor, the man took the items to […]

On the road

After hitching Reginald (his horse) to the post in the center of town, Dan waltzed over to the general store. Townspeople of various ages were milling around the place, so no one paid him much attention. A young lady in a white gingham dress that clung to her in all the right places walked by, […]

"Idiot America," by Charles P. Pierce

Idiot America, or more accurately, Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free, is best described as a populist follow-up to Kindly Inquisitors by Jonathon Rauch. This is not intended as dismissive or as an accusation of piggybacking, more an offering of explanation and a ringing endorsement. Rauch’s book, put […]

"The Chris Farley Show," by Tom Farley and Tanner Colby

I will admit to approaching this book with some trepidation. After picking it up and glancing at it in the bookstore, I was worried it would be another “Live From New York.” For those of you who don’t keep up on the “Saturday Night Live” books, “Live From New York” was basically a 656-page set […]

"The Peep Diaries," by Hal Niedzviecki

Now I feel kind of guilty for poking fun at all those people who referred to Facebook’s news updates as a “stalker feed.” Hal Niedzviecki’s book, “The Peep Diaries,” is an exploratiion into what he terms “Peep” culture. In Niedzviecki’s view, modern pop culture has been co-opted and transformed into one that is concerned with […]

"Obama's Blackberry," Kasper Hauser

This? This is the big plan to save the publishing industry? “Now, for the first time, ‘We The People’ are privy to our new leader’s epistolary back-and-forths on his wily hand-held device. Weíre about to discover that his emails (and the replies, from his wife and daughters, Biden, Palen, Rush, Hannity, the new first puppy […]

Sanity? In MY Supreme Court?

In a bit of heartening news as the Spring term draws to a close, SCOTUS announced its decision today in Safford Unified School District v. April Redding. By an 8-1 vote (let’s all guess who dissented), the Supremes agreed that, in fact, strip-searching a 13-year-old because somebody said she might have aspirin is illegal. Souter, […]

It's all about the cover letter

I’ve been poring over the Craigslist jobs postings for the tri-state area and beyond, applying to anything that seems like it could fit. A week or so ago, an ad popped up for I Can Has Cheezburger, creators of the ever-popular LOLCats and the FAIL Blog. They were looking for an editor for a new […]

"The Dumbest Generation," Mark Bauerlein

Honestly, I don’t know why I’m even writing this. As someone born after 1980, I’m scarcely qualified to breathe on my own. This, at least, is the case according to Mark Bauerlein, author of “The Dumbest Generation.” That’s not the full name of the book, but I got bored 15 percent of the way through […]

"How To Be Good," Nicholas Hornby

Nicholas Hornby is the philosopher-novelist every struggling English graduate wishes he were. Though he’s British (strike one) and insufferably upper-middle-class (strike two), he still manages to write his characters anonymously enough to allow them to translate across the point. Hornby frequently attempts to tackle life’s larger questions in his novels – why are we here, […]

Things that annoy me more than they probably should

Some people most likely consider me an … irritable person, in that I appear to be angered and outraged by nearly everything that occurs. In the spirit of overreacting, the following is a list of things that, though relatively innocuous at first glance, are in fact egregious insults that are deserving of death, dismemberment or […]

Deep thoughts with Josh Heytvelt

I realize that former Gonzaga basketball player Josh Heytvelt was trying to give a heartfelt interview and express his remorse over being arrested for possession of ‘shrooms, but there’s a reason why athletes usually have people talk for them. This quote is why: Heytvelt was ordered to do 240 hours of community service. He did […]

Nature always wins

Some people (Capt. E.J. Smith* and Thomas Andrews chief among them) think they can tempt fate and get away with it, ignoring even the most obvious of signs. They pay for their arrogance with their lives. (I’d also like to include Timothy Treadwell [of Grizzly Man fame] on this list, since he was eaten by […]

"Pop Apocalypse," Lee Konstantinou

It’s the near future. Money has been replaced by Reputation, which calculates a person’s net worth based on their popularity. The Christians are fighting the Muslims, everyone’s got a camera trying to record the next big thing and the world is about to come to an end. Perhaps the author has a point with his […]

"The Unlikely Disciple," Kevin Roose

Note: This isn’t intended to be a rant or a cure-all for our socio-political problems – it just seems that way for a few pararaphs. Conservative vs. liberal is the defining archetypal dichotomy of our time. It has come to define us in nearly every situation we encounter in life, from politics to fiscal policy […]

Sarcasm: A play in one act

Our hero, DAN, is at a nondescript grocery store (SIDDMORE’D) attempting to purchase some aloe vera to alleviate his sunburns, and some pretzels to quell his rising hunger. He has acquired both when he gets in line at the register behind BROKEN-HEARTED, who is on her phone wailing (loudly) about RECENTLY EX-BOYFRIEND to UNSEEN FRIEND. […]

"Pygmy," Chuck Palahniuk

Palanic. Pah-looney-ick. Palindromicon. Phonetically, the sight of Chuck Palahniuk’s name causes my eyes and the little voice in my head that reads things out loud to let loose angry torrents of bloody tears. Intellectually, however, the very mention of his name sets my literary nether regions quivering. Palahniuk tends to reach out to the much-maligned […]

"The Custom of the Country," Edith Wharton

Upon reading Custom, I can’t help but come away with the same impression I got from Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady: These are some seriously self-hating Americans. Given the title, one is led to assume the entire novel is intended as a comment on the national character of we uppity colonists. As betrayed by […]

Heckuva job, Souter

All of the Justices seem to have swallowed their crazy pills on this one, but Souter is especially galling. Regarding whether or not children should be able to be strip-searched by principals/teachers at school: For a moment, Justice David H. Souter tried to put himself in the mind of the vice principal who ordered the […]

"The Awakening," Kate Chopin

*blink* As a writer, I have numerous shortcomings, but none so great as the inability to comprehend the actions of certain types of people. This often trips me up in fiction, as I find it difficult to write characters when I have no idea what they’d do in a given situation. It is a necessity […]

Trend story!!!

I hope you all used the trill when you read “trend story.” As any good journalist knows, whenever a group of incidents can conceivably tied together to inspire fear in the person sitting next to you, it’s your obligation to write the trend story. This time, it’s the WaPo, and the story is a classic […]

Oh, the priorities

One of my favorite bloggers, television writer Ken Levine, wrote a post lamenting the stupidity of those who would create a Facebook group bemoaning the death of a fictional character on “House.” Unfortunately, he has fallen for the oldest trick in the book – by worrying about someone else’s sanity, he’s actually taken his own […]