Sunday, June 03, 2018

Suicide was something adults did

Suicide was something adults did when they got in a really bad mood. Failure at suicide resulted in hospitalization, which was shameful and thus a secret. The adult had simply “gone to Toronto.” Sharing such a secret made children friends.
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Monday, May 28, 2018

T h e L a t e T w e n t i e t h C e n t u r y

The poet James Wright (1927-1980) was wholly of the twentieth century, dead now these 38 years.  Like William Dean Howells (1837-1920) he was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio, wrote a few books, and died in New York City.  Howells was a bigger deal, editing The Atlantic; like his hero Silas Lapham, Howells faded away. Wright seemed to die young. My interview with Wright appears in the print edition of Unmuzzled OX.


Emotionalism is everyone’s philosophy, pervasive as greed, producing some marriages and all divorces. People know their parts. Excitement is the goal of the coolest gambler, ambition pervades society because – triumph excuses hysteria. People mount hysteria, a mountain whose feet they suck. But history violates hysteria. What violates the judgement sculpted in sand, lost at each turn of the moon? Conviction.

Thursday, February 02, 2017


Our North American Ground Hog Day seems to secularize the British Candlemas. Both occur February 2. A sunny Candlemas presages a cold spring.
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Saturday, July 09, 2016


Her: Do I look different?
Him: You look much better. Your new apartment and new job in this new town have transformed you and made you radiant.
Her: That’s not it.
Him: What is it then?
Her: I lost twenty pounds.


I really love Obama. I also love Jennifer Lawrence but our relationship is special and secret. Obama's hair has gotten gray and he's cut it short and I'm not enamored of the look. But his ears seem to stick out even more. I think that's a sign of intellect and vigor. He's a great president and an even greater guy.

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Sunday, January 17, 2016


At the New Year’s Peace Gathering Saturday night in the Princeton Chapel, pretty much everyone pounds a drum and chants Give Peace a Chance. Sprouts directly descended from those sprouts sold in 1969 at Woodstock are for sale here. Suspicious brownies. Sweet 16!

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Sunday, January 10, 2016


As Mein Kampf rolls once again off the presses of Germany, I’ve been reading Peter Longerich’s Goebbels. Gregory Corso’s worst advice? Unmuzzled OX should publish Goebbels’ novel. Goebbels would have loved Donald Trump.
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Sunday, January 03, 2016


The media lynching of Bill Cosby recalls O.J. Simpson 20 years ago. Things look bad for Cosby. He claims he is “skilled at interpreting female reaction to him.” But the lawyer for Andrea Constand, the sometime Temple basketball coach and designated victim, noted in a filing Cosby “did not realize [Constand] was gay until police told him.”  Even the guilty are occasionally lynched.
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