A Tradition of Open Arms

Mike Pence, man. Trying to make political hay out of a terrorist attack while dumping on immigrants (and war refugees, to boot). It’s hard to imagine a more quintessentially hard-right response to the recent attacks in Paris and Beirut. Well, except for Mike Huckabee, who recently ranted that “it’s time to wake up and smell the falafel”…


Dear Peyton Manning: Save Yourself (and the Colts While You’re at It)

“I’m asking—no, begging—you to retire next year and become the next general manager of the Indianapolis Colts.” Matt Gonzales makes his case to Peyton Manning.


Left and Leaving

“I tacked a note to the door: ‘Superintendent working in apartment. Do not close door.’ Anyone seeing the note would think twice before entering. They wouldn’t rob a place with the super around. And the door would still be open for Andi.” New fiction by Michael Mau.


The Prodigal Son

“He brings home her war glass first: easter yellows, pinks, blues. Her corner hutch follows (the glassware needs someplace to live).” New fiction from M.E. Kopp.


Lyricbuster: Communion and the Corazón… and ón and ón and ón.

The Song “How Will I Know?”, a 1985 song penned by George Merrill, Shannon Rubicam and Narada Michael Walden, and sung by Whitney Houston on her debut album. It was originally intended for Janet Jackson, who astutely turned it down, perhaps instinctively sensing the cardio-spiritual mayhem lurking in this deceptively effervescent song. The Culprit “I…


Classic Review: Middlemarch

Middlemarch is a book about marriage. But this is no story of marital kamikaze (like Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary), nor is it the script for a “Love Conquers All” press conference penned by Romance’s PR team (like The Time Traveler’s Wife or anything by Nicholas Sparks).  Middlemarch is a realistic book about marriage—and it should be, as part of the “literary realism”…

September 2, 2015
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A Review of Empire of Deception

“Like a moth to a flame, Koretz had seen the light, but did not know the extent of the darkness that would consume him—and those he loved.” Lauren Jonik reviews Dean Jobb’s new book, Empire of Deception, about Leopold Koretz – an idealistic, generous swindler from the 1920s.

September 2, 2015
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The Worst Thing

“The worst that might happen / is that you go blind in one eye.” Worst-case poetry from Meg Eden.

August 10, 2015
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Classic Reviews: “The Magic Mountain”

Let’s start at the very beginning, Sound of Music-style. Hans Castorp (who always goes by his full name for some reason) is a perfectly healthy and “simple-minded” man who goes to visit his tubercular cousin, Joachim, at a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps. He intends to stay for just three weeks but ends up with his own…

August 4, 2015
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An Open Letter to Wes Anderson about a Potential Film Loosely Based upon My Life

“Pastel condos, mumbling Cubans, Owen Wilson serving as a metaphor for pretty drowning. The Rolling Stones’ “19th Nervous Breakdown” playing in the carefully choreographed background.” Amy Suzanne Parker pitches Wes Anderson a movie sorta based on her life.

July 23, 2015
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Love & Mercy Unpacks the Brian Wilson Legend

Have you ever spent a whole day listening to Pet Sounds, from “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” to “Caroline No,” again and again? Each song is an epiphany, but rapid-fire epiphanies are hard to absorb, so…you have to go back to the beginning. When you step into the world of Pet Sounds, you’ve stepped into the…

July 22, 2015
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Lyricbuster: The Cetera Fire Sale

The Song: “If You Leave Me Now”, 1976 hit penned by Peter Cetera and performed by him and the band Chicago, who were presumably unaware of the hideous consequences of Pete’s girlfriend leaving him. The Culprit If you leave me now, you’ll take away the biggest part of me. The Biggest… Something Pete and his…

July 16, 2015
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Newyork1973_22_1 Newyork1973_22_1

I Coulda Been a Contender!

“Back in the 1970s, almost everyone I knew was writing poetry – or at least trying to.” Steve Slavin recounts life as a poet (and economist).

July 13, 2015
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Nicole Kidman Nicole Kidman

Classic Review: The Portrait of a Lady

Isabel Archer’s biggest problem is that every man she meets wants to marry her. She is so charming, so overwhelmingly endearing, that her aunt can’t resist taking her on an all-expenses-paid Eurotrip; her uncle is compelled to leave her half his fortune (70,000 pounds in the 1860s); and her cousin views her as his sole reason to live….

July 10, 2015
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The Chicks on the Right are What’s Wrong with America

“This is classic victim-blaming. After being kidnapped, enslaved, segregated, ghettoized, and marginalized for centuries by an overwhelming majority, people of color are supposed to forget their heritage—forget themselves—and become part of the Borg.”

July 9, 2015
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The People I Hate

“One of the guys I hate doesn’t know I exist, and I only hate him because of the way he rode his bike. That sounds mean, I know, but he rode it in a real holier-than-thou kind of way.” Robin Wyatt Dunn hates some guys. This is where the list currently stands.

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