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Diplomatic Baggage

In 1949 the Vice Marshall of the Diplomatic Corps advised new British diplomats that they “should always take the option that is more pompous and old fashioned”. 842 more words



It was my birthday a couple of days ago; thirty-nine, the final one of my thirties. The decade began with a party at my old house; a little terraced two up, two down, that I bought upon the end of my short-lived marriage. 807 more words


Sixty Reasons: An Illustration

It was my friend Justin’s 60th birthday last week. You know – the chap with the chalet in La Clusaz where the self-styled ‘Sonneteers’ gather for their annual ski trip? 488 more words


Unpleasant Is Necessary

This post is about part of the creative process that I seldom, if ever, see discussed.  Probably because it’s unpleasant.  Probably because it doesn’t make for good copy.  933 more words


The Archive is Open

I walk a difficult tightrope on this blog. I want to be as authentic as humanly possible, but I’m also a professor-in-training; I don’t want to put anything out into the world that I would have trouble explaining to a hiring committee, to my colleagues, or to my students. 920 more words


Mexico's Charro Horse Tradition

Photos by Marco Ugarte

Since their arrival aboard Spanish ships in the 1500s, horses have been part of the story of the New World. 593 more words

Photo Essay

Amanda Bynes, Robin Williams, and the Spectacle of Mental Illness

Internet, we need to have a talk.

I’ve had a number of readers ask why I’ve neglected to write about Amanda Bynes this last year. It’s simple, really. 1,274 more words

Mental Health

The Millennium Negro: The "New Black"

“To put it bluntly, the likes of Pharrell and Raven-Symoné can afford to declare their independence from blackness.”

In April of this year, Pharrell Williams declared the “new Black” in an interview with Oprah Winfrey… 2,810 more words


An Immodest Proposal for Medical Education

Right at the very beginning of their studies, medical students have strong ideas about what kind of doctor they want to be, even if they know very little about how to actually be a doctor. 649 more words


Love Poems are a Dime a Dozen

i write this
blind no experience
no background. write without
the benefit of stanza
verse or prozac. i

write to you:
a thousand words of… 342 more words


Interview: Simon Rich on Guilt, Humor Writing, and Being the Worst Person Ever

Jessica Gross | Longreads | Oct. 2014 | 17 minutes (4,290 words)

By the time Simon Rich graduated from Harvard, where he served as president of the… 4,325 more words


Day 7: Brutal Triage

Les Roberts – Freetown, Sierra Leone – October 11th, 2014

Day 7: Brutal Triage

The prediction landscape is looking bad.   The official numbers reported are laboratory confirmed cases.   932 more words


In Our Backyard: Sex Trafficking in the Midwest

Today’s post comes from Criminal Justice professor Erin Heil. She began studying domestic human trafficking in 2008 and has since published numerous articles on the subject, as well as the book, … 1,476 more words

Human Trafficking

The WHATEVER, DUDE Guide to Surviving Your Two Year-Old

I’ve lost track of how many readers have asked for advice about two year-olds, because, well, two year-olds. Two is the heart of toddlerhood and the noisy swan song of babyhood. 400 more words


In Praise of Friends Who’ll Read Your Manuscripts

When students ask me what my “one piece of advice” is for aspiring writers, it’s usually: Read. But my second piece of advice — something people rarely ask for — is almost as important. 775 more words


How To View Critics Telling You How to View Art in a Museum

I have a confession to make: art critics baffle me. Especially when they venture to make grand pronouncements about the right way to go about experiencing art in museums. 2,910 more words

Art Criticism

Of Secrets Beneath the Waves

More imaginary places. I’ve blogged before about how I love to draw make-believe places, and in the last few days I’ve been doing more…

I’d like to visit all of these places. 102 more words


How to Pretend to be Fluent in Norwegian

Becoming fluent in Norwegian is a long and bumpy path, full of “YEAAAHHHH I am so good at this” and “Oh my God I will never make it” moments. 1,106 more words


Air Travel and the Ebola Circus

Air Travel and the Ebola Circus.

“If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.” –Jimmy Buffet

Government leaders are frantic to do something, anything, to assuage concern about the potential spread of Ebola. 812 more words

Air Travel

I’m a Christian Voting "No" on Tennessee’s Abortion Amendment

Roe v. Wade was never about the “rightness” or “wrongness” of abortion…. It was always a case about privacy. A woman named Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe, for privacy) went to a doctor in Texas (a state where abortions were illegal, but allowed for in the case of rape or incest) and asked for an abortion claiming she had been raped. 1,162 more words


My Friend Was Kidnapped by ISIS. Here's His Story.

The following is a story written by Erin Cory about her friend Abdul-Rahman Kassig, formerly known as Peter Kassig, who has been held by… 1,354 more words


Five O'Clock


I miss my mother most at five o’clock.

When I was a kid and came home after school, the TV was my babysitter — Gilligan’s Island at 3:30 followed by The Brady Bunch followed by The Partridge Family — until five o’clock came and it was time to do the few chores my mother had left for me (as fast as possible) before she got home.   556 more words


Technology and Hardware: Some Sentimental Reflections

It’s funny how I still remember getting my first Game Boy. It was the original one, 8-bit in a lovely yellow colour, feeling heavy and smooth in your hand. 1,500 more words


Top Ten Writing Mistakes Editors See Every Day

In addition to writing and teaching, one of the things I do for a living is to evaluate manuscripts for their suitability for publication. I read fiction (and non-fiction) across several genres, and write comprehensive reports on the books. 2,564 more words


The Curated Self

My first stop in any city is the art gallery. I’m passionate about great art, I like to buy works from local artists when I travel (a habit my financial planner is desperate to break!), and I’ve often fantasised about going back to university to study art history. 494 more words


A Dream Remembered: Watching Gone with the Wind

Why do we like Scarlett O’Hara?

Perhaps some moralizing readers will interject here, “Well, I don’t.” And there might be something to their reservations. Indeed, in his treatise… 1,061 more words


Planes Don't Fly and Guns Don't Kill

There are so many multiple murders these days that it’s hard to keep up. I have written elsewhere about the manhood/gun angle to all of this, and it’s time now to look at the guns themselves. 1,425 more words