In what I’ll characterize as AI run amok, this past spring Gmail (Google, that is) snuck in a little auto-suggest module (called ‘Smart Compose’) ostensibly to help compromised Gmail users—I mean, what other explanation is there, gentle reader? I understand the temptation to do this: so many folks these days struggle to cobble together a … Continue reading Dear Gmail: Please Stop Putting
Worms Words in My Mouth
The Episcopal School of Knoxville will turn 20 this coming fall, inconceivably. My 20-something kid was a kindergartner in its inaugural year, 1998. This matters to me mainly because it’s a school my ex and I founded, together with a few other families, the culmination of a mammoth effort that was about five or so … Continue reading Writing Story: A School Is a Place to Learn
When your mom is a ballerina, and other members of your family’s network—friends and other relatives—are involved in ballet or other performing arts, people expect you will go down that road, too: it’s only natural. My earliest memories are attached to ballet mainly, and they are powerful and sensorial: I can’t smell rosin or walk … Continue reading Equivocating My Way Through Life
If an alien visited earth and happened to tune in to any public radio station in America he might get the impression we’re building Utopia somewhere. The adverts for the corporate and foundation sponsors promise all kinds of rainbows and unicorns—equality for all, an end to hunger, obliterating disease everywhere, stamping out global violence, et … Continue reading Rainbows and Unicorns: Trolling for Utopia
Life promises nothing. And everything. An earnest young man named Tristan called me Wednesday night on behalf of the University of Tennessee’s Arts and Sciences Annual Telefund, he said. I found a mailer from my alma mater in the P.O. box last week, so I knew this was coming and already planned to give. Perfect … Continue reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor: What Does Your Life Promise?
About a year or so ago my sister-in-law back ‘home’ in Tennessee observed an endearing habit in my brother. From an adjoining room she could hear him plunking out something on a computer keyboard. Only he was not typing the way somebody, you know, normal, would: his technique was more like firing off a weapon … Continue reading Literary Devices
Some forty years after its publication Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia is still considered a pivotal and authoritative piece of travel writing about this 400,000-square-mile South American region. Ferdinand Magellan called the tall aboriginals he encountered there Patagones after a mythic character, it is rumored, hence its name. Straddling two countries and claiming most of a … Continue reading Idling in Vermont
For years growing up I believed the Edgar Allan Poe short story “Murders in the Rue Morgue” was in fact Murders-in-the-Room Org. I knew of it only because my mom loved to wax poetic about the 1930s horror film based on it. I imagined a bloody scene in a bedroom ruled by a wrinkly, club-wielding … Continue reading Toying with Words: Pondering the Evolution of Language
It's dang cold in Vermont. Last week's record-breaking warm temperatures were but a tease: we woke up to 2° this morning. Still, I managed to run with Scout on Friday after work in frigid air with a bitter wind in my face (his ears were all aflap). On a positive note, I captured the moment he discovered a … Continue reading Simple Living versus Excess (or How Not to be Insufferable)
Scout was mainly charming at work all last week, save his single throaty warning growl misdirected at the company CEO. He was walking towards us with a scary cardboard box, though, so you can imagine. Still, Scout was patient through long hours of copy writing and editing, and for that he was rewarded with a romp—the second in … Continue reading Oh, Just. Let. Me.