Monthly Archives October 2020

Zombie Apocalypse Alert: Reviewing “The Social Dilemma”

Last night, at the end of my viewing “The Social Dilemma,” a documentary now streaming on Netflix that launches a howitzer at the purported addictive evils of modern social media manipulation and the technologies that enable it, up popped on my screen one of those “You might also like” blurbs that are attached to most every piece of media these days. They’re designed, of course, to keep us glued right where we are rather than take the dog for a walk or finish up the dinner dishes or read a bit of poetry from a paper book before turning off the bedside light.

“Hmmm,” I said to self, while warmly considering the walk down the hall to the bedroom—“I’ve never seen (the 2005 Bob Dylan documentary) ‘No Direction Home’…maybe I’ll just peek in on the first 10 minutes!”

Two hours later (it was now midnight), I paused it for a moment and saw on the screen that there was an hour and forty-eigh...

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“Abundance” and “Crossroads”: Two Poems by Nobel Prize Winner Louise Glück

Pretty much all students read and study and are even required to write some poetry through their school years; it’s one of those universal planks of education considered essential to turning out well-rounded human beings. Alas, this profound aesthetic pleasure of language and its subtle, sometimes rapturous meanings, symbols and rhythms sticks with all too few students once they clutch their diplomas. They tend to avoid it for the rest of their lives as they might the memorized geometry theorems or chemistry symbols that they never see fit to use again in their daily lives.

Which leads to the old joke: Why are poets so poor?”

“Because rhyme doesn’t pay.”

All too true, for the most part. Which is but one reason why it is always a fine thing when poets win awards—especially ones that come with whopping cash stipends like the $1...

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What a Wondrous Time To Be Alive

So we lurch from crisis to crises, seeming to come in multiples now. Pandemics, hurricanes and fires. Protests erupting anew with each same-old same-old death-by-police of a black person. A mad king’s 98-minute prime time tantrum giving way to a shocking mid-of-night revelation, and before the sun descends again, a 5-minute helicopter lift straight to a fabled army hospital’s “presidential suite.”

Things falling apart, the center (was there ever a center?) no longer holding, dark possibilities going darker with the coming winter and its portents of an ever greater discontent.

We gasp at the news, the world going freeze-dried, suspended, instantly unforgettable as we take quick stock and begin to consider the implications, vast and sprawling and mind-bending as they are.

Up against that dismal constellation, just why is it that I walked out into the slightly chill October air yesterday morning and discovere...

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