At Home During Coronavirus 2020

A few weeks ago, when the Coronavirus was still holed up in Central China and not the global pandemic and international catastrophe it has become, my apartment flooded. Late in the quiet hours of a worknight sleep, my wife woke me up with frantic screaming. She had gotten up to pee and stepped in it. The wet floor could be a dog-related effluvium or a spilled water cup from the nightstand, but this was too deep and too cold for that. Gurgling up from between the doorframe was clean, clear, cold water. I stayed awake all night in a cycle, alternating every towel in the house between soaking up the unknown stream and the washing machine spin-cycle. Continue reading

The Magic of Coffee and Caffeine

I didn’t regularly drink coffee until reaching my thirties. I didn’t need it. People used to make any variety of this faux-joke, “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my first cup”, and I thought that was just a nice way of telling me to shut up or go away. It seemed like a bad idea to start habitually using a “drug” that could so enormously impact your day. Continue reading

Parasites

Parasites have a pretty nasty connotation. Vermin such as: fleas, lice, ticks, worms—are tiny monosyllabic terrors. They’re selfish takers. They bite. They suck. They kill. Parasites target bodies and blood. In Bong Joon Ho’s Oscar-winning movie Parasite, the broke Kim family targeted the wealthy Park family. Through a series of unfortunate events, the four poor Kim’s come under the employ of an outrageously opulent family, who are living their idyllic life, shuttling in their chauffeured Benz between high-rise offices, classy supermarkets, garden parties and their ultra-luxe home. Continue reading

Thinking About Memories and Anniversaries

“It was twenty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.”

–Lennon/McCartney

The year of anniversaries. Ten years ago, 2009, Obama was inaugurated and I tried to get my students interested in watching history in the making. Not everyone is interested in history. Kids ask, “Why do I need to learn history if it already happened?” “Why do I need to learn about dead people?” I usually respond with some confounded response about how history lays bricks for future roads. Continue reading

Thanks to Netflix

Aziz Ansari just blew me away with his new stand-up special, Right Now. He’s always been a good comedian, but this was his giant leap into great. His Netflix show, Master of None, was pretty good. It’s not as funny as Tim Robinson’s new show, I Think You Should Leave, which is curse out loud, spit out your food, fall off your chair ridiculous. With this special, Aziz hit the buttons of the moment and made them funny. Continue reading

If I Had a Million Dollars…

I taught a writing lesson to first graders this week about “If I Had a Lot of Money.” I remembered the old Barenaked Ladies song, “If I Had a Million Dollars” and played it for them. One kid said, “Why can’t I stop singing this song?” One kid said, “That’s not true, you can’t buy love.” He got a star for saying that. Continue reading

Wealth Impacts Success More Than Grit

You just woke up, it’s a chilly Saturday morning, you have nothing to do, nowhere to be and there’s a gentle rainy mist outside, your significant other says, “I’ll get you a coffee, but you have to wait two hours while I drive to the best coffee shop in the next town.” How many of us will wait for that primo java and who will take the leftover instant package collecting dust in the back of the cabinet? Your answer might be able to provide answers about your income level, emotional stability and chances for obesity. Continue reading

Politics Is Pro Wrestling Where the Bad Guy Wins

Watching the chaos from the aftermath of Nurmagomedov’s win over McGregor in the Octogon of UFC 229, I felt a tangible sense of tribal fury. Russia and Ireland. Champion and contender. Victor and vanquished. Combatant and spectator. Humans are followed by the contradiction. Choose a side. Pick a team. The only two states of matter: alive or dead. Continue reading

Panic and Public Pools: Looking Back/Forward

Having reached what is statistically speaking the midpoint of my life, I’ve learned a few things: good shoes are important, Indian food is better than Chinese, going to bed early is a delightful privilege, people notice your clothes, Tuesdays suck, and recently, that I don’t particularly care for public pools. Continue reading