Has society progressed AT ALL since literature’s “Ten Best Sentences” were written?

You’ve probably already read The American Scholar‘s list of the “Ten Best Sentences“.  It went instantly viral in a way that only lists can these days, following me in the form of NPR spots, e-mails, workplace small talk, and newsfeeds.  (And sadly, you know “viral” isn’t an exaggeration when a literary magazine gets more traffic than its servers can handle.) Of course, there’s almost no real merit in such a subjective ranking.  Even the biggest awards don’t actually determine which book or film is “better”than the rest.  That’s what makes art so enduring: how intimate it feels, how much its power relies. . . keep going

Is Angelina Jolie trying to represent refugees through the plot of Maleficent?

That clever vixen. I have a sneaking suspicion that Angelina Jolie slipped something serious into her delicious new role as the most unapologetically evil Disney villain of all time.  I’d be excited even if she didn’t, of course. I haven’t seen her on a big screen in almost four years.  Even when she was working regularly, her face was a rare theatrical treat, so I’m already looking forward to this summer.  See for yourself: Now, not just any old movie can get me into a theater seat — the last actual movies (vs. one-off Rifftrax or Doctor Who specials) I saw in. . . keep going

My selfish reaction to a 12-year-old girl’s suicide


So the sickening pattern continues.  Last month, another child chose death over the hell of her own emotions.  And with that one impossibly permanent decision, twelve-year-old Rebecca Sedwick’s short life instantly became another narrative to feed the victim-hungry news cycle.  Her suicide has already sparked debates over everything from bullying (the question “are girls getting meaner?” got its own Today show segment yesterday) to freedom of speech (with shock jocks taking calls from the sheriff accused of violating it).  But the same selfish thought keeps nagging me: if the Internet had risen to popularity just a few years earlier, it would’ve been my name in those. . . keep going

Tabloid, guillotine, whatever, whatever…

Amanda Bynes

The hive mind is at it again, delighting in the downfall of one more member of the young, rich, famous elite.   I’m guilty too; for my moth of a sleep-deprived or overworked mind, celebrity gossip is a delicious flame, just attractive and distracting enough to replace my own flaws and burdens with a superficial narrative, played out by fake faces and their string-pulling publicists. Sometimes it’s not so fake, though.  Sometimes someone is so uncomfortably raw that it can’t be an act, but the public forgets not to treat it as such.  No one trapped behind the gloss of. . . keep going

Why not another?!

goodbyejune 253

A (non-painful!) deposit for his neuter and first round of vaccinations makes it official… after planting himself in our car port for weeks, Kingsley finally broke us down (what a feat that was…) and made it inside for good. Just in time, too; the Tampa skies have been predictably temperamental this week.  It’s hard to fully grasp the nature of Florida weather until you’ve seen a violent downpour flood your backyard while brutal sunshine pounds your bone-dry driveway.  Today one less kitty has to weather (hah!) another week of any of it, and for that I’m 100% sure we did. . . keep going

Happy birthday, sweet girl.


Today my cat Lucy — my first cat, my first love, the first creature who’s ever trusted and relied on me and me alone (even before I could manage the same) — turns five. I know how loopy and laughable pet birthdays can sound, but is it more meaningless an occasion than a birthday party for a one-year-old human who’s just as oblivious?  For me it’s a tradition that recalls fuzzy memories of sticking candles in cans of tuna fish for my sweet, grumpy Gumball.  I’m thankful for every one of the eighteen August 25s she spent with us, and. . . keep going

The Underground Woman

After some precursory Googling something-ing revealed my “Cubicle fatigue” title wasn’t the snowflake I hoped I’d coined, I decided to turn elsewhere for my titular inspiration.  And if I’m going to get derivative, I may as well turn to the Original , the Bard of Bitter Drones himself, Fyodor Dostoevsky.  I don’t think he’d be surprised to learn how relevant Notes from the Underground has stayed or how ubiquitous its sentiment has become in the twenty-first century. We’re destined to keep matching then raising it, too, especially if there are any foreboding truths to be found in science fiction. I type. . . keep going


Driving to work one recent morning, I heard Ta-Nehisi Coates telling NPR’s Bob Garfield about his efforts to moderate his blog on The Atlantic.  Coates suggested that reading vulgar and ad-homonym attacks in the comments section of a well-written, thoroughly researched piece was akin to finding a child’s name crayoned on the wall below a framed masterpiece. His words resonate as I make an attempt to dip my toe into the river of blogs once again (and what they say about rivers is true; the last time I tried, it was a puddle).  If I ever manage to draw any. . . keep going