Bruce Springsteen on his 2012 European tour / photo by Juan Ramon Rodrigeuz Sosa, courtesy Creative Commons

Singin’ for the Lonely

LET ME tell you about the Bruce Springsteen concert I went to in London this summer. I first got fascinated with Springsteen the same way I learned to shave, in secret imitation of my father. I remember in junior high…

Breaking Badlands

Breaking Badlands

Having grown up in the country, perhaps it was the rural setting of Breaking Bad that first addicted me to the show. The desert and scrubland around Albuquerque, where Breaking Bad occurs, are a far cry from the Midwestern forests…

Reflections on running and the terror attacks

Last Friday, with one Boston Marathon bombing suspect dead and the other subject to a massive manhunt, I left their picture open on my laptop all day. I wasn’t even in the U.S. when the bombing occurred, but a kind…

Imagining America imagining Israel

Imagining America imagining Israel

Last month, I spent a week in Israel on an educational seminar, experiencing the country’s stunning diversity and trying to wrap my head around its wrenching contradictions. Moments of ecstasy and heartbreak felt like they were tearing me in two….

Checking out the competition… I mean allies

Thought everyone would enjoy These Fifty States, which takes a similar approach to telling stories from around the United States.

Trailblazing the Internet

Trailblazing the Internet

When I was a kid on camping trips, I always made sure on the last day to carve a special mark into the tree closest to where I’d pitched my tent. I thought of it as my signature, two small…

Lit Mags as a Cultural Locations

Yesterday I went to a talk with the founders/editors of n+1, that hippest of Brooklyn literary magazines. They spoke about the magazine’s changes over its eight-year lifespan. n+1 began as almost pure polemic (the word “denunciation” got thrown around a…

Getting lost in the iPhone Age

Boyce told me this week that I can go home again, but that assumes I remember how to get there. I flew into Philadelphia two weeks ago, and this week I drove back to Wooster, Ohio, for the holidays. Now,…

Arguing with the Weather

Arguing with the Weather

Talk, talk, talk:  the utter and heartbreaking stupidity of words. –William Faulkner, Mosquitoes Since I moved to England last year, I have a hard time talking about anything other than the weather. I start most conversations by griping about the…

Seeing Spaghetti Everywhere

Seeing Spaghetti Everywhere

I recently re-watched Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western Dollars Trilogy:  the classics A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). These, of course, are the films that made Clint…