A beautiful fountain pen, dresses torn at the waist, the Dallas Cowboys
What Makes A Life Significant
A few summers ago I spent a happy week at the famous Assembly Grounds on the borders of Chautauqua Lake. The moment one treads that sacred enclosure, one feels one’s self in an atmosphere of success.
I dreamt that a beautiful stranger had fallen in love with me. The only way to find out where she lived, however, was to look her up on Facebook, which I’d steadfastly refused to join. So that’s what I get for my neo-Luddite posturing, for telling a friend yesterday that the world needs an About-Facebook.
Money is a dream. It is a piece of paper on which is imprinted in invisible ink the dream of all the things it will buy, all the trinkets and all the power over others.
Dean Baker On The Price We’re Still Paying For The Housing Bubble
Conservatives tout the free market as the backbone of our economic system but hide the fact that they’re stacking the deck to serve their interests. The option of leaving the market alone doesn’t exist. Show me someone who’s made lots of money, and I’ll show you how we wrote the rules so that he or she made money. Bill Gates is a rich man because the government granted him a monopoly on his Windows software programs. If I sell you Windows without Bill Gates’s permission, he’ll sue me. That’s not the free market; that’s the way we wrote the rules. The government doesn’t have to give Gates copyright protection for Windows; there are other, better ways to finance software development.
Go Fly A Kite
I was on a trip back home to northern California — part work, part vacation — and I had a terrible head cold. My research for a magazine article on the wine country north of San Francisco had brought me to a chilly town on the edge of the San Andreas Fault, a place populated by a combination of wealthy tourists, ranch hands, and hippie holdouts.
The Last Thing I Heard
Everybody has a father somewhere, and mine is at the Sandia Indian Bingo Palace in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Every weekend he sits at the poker table in his cowhide boots, brushpopper shirt, and wide-brimmed felt hat, tapping cigarette ash into a Coke can and saying things like “Hell, yes, I’m in” and “Tell him he’s called” and “Goddamn! I need a queen.”
It seemed possible to me then that our parents might begin to disappear in the night, returning only to feed and water us as though we were a pair of hamsters. A friend at school whose parents had divorced had moved in with her grandmother and saw her mother only on holidays.
Slab City is a squatters’ community located on a desolate swath of Southern California desert, just a few miles from the town of Niland. Drifters, dropouts, artists, outlaws, and other cultural dissidents have been coming here for more than four decades. They set up camps on the crumbling concrete foundations of a former military base and live in trailers, vans, and buses.
— from “A Pittsburgh Poem” | Imagine a man in a hat on a street early one morning in autumn. / This is my grandfather on his way to work at the brokerage firm. / He is a treasurer. He takes the bus down from the southern hills. / It is October 28, 1929.
The Human Realm
Sunday morning in Central Park, chilly September: / I stood, hungry, packed shoulder to shoulder with strangers, / feeling like one of the huddled, shivering Antarctic penguins / I’d observed, over Burmese takeout, on a nature show.