After Paris, seeing red — and blue and white and black and green

French flag

Bleu, blanc et rouge

A thoughtful friend on Facebook reminded me today of my cultural blindness.

Yesterday terrorists claimed by the Islamic State committed an act of war in Paris: eight known attackers, seven bombs, five locations, and a storm of bullets.

The death toll is currently at 127, with 300 more hospitalized, 80 in critical condition. It’s incalculably tragic. My eyes well up when I think of the bullet holes, the shattered glass, the chaos, the lives cut short, the families damaged beyond repair, a nation terrorized yet again.

Friends of mine posted messages of support on Instagram and Facebook yesterday. I myself changed my Facebook profile picture to a beautiful photo of the Eiffel Tower lit up bleu, blanc et rouge. It was a gesture so simple as to be nearly meaningless, but it made me feel good for a minute.

This morning, dozens more have added transparent overlays to their photos, blue, blanc et rouge. It’s a move familiar to us, whether it’s the purple of anti-bullying or the rainbow of marriage equality. Simple gestures of support. Facebook makes it easy to show we care.

I don’t remember a similar outpouring when 147 were killed and scores more were injured in April at Garissa University College attack in KenyaContinue reading ‘After Paris, seeing red — and blue and white and black and green’


like a tornado, gurl!

Saw this going around yesterday. Just want to say, I envy this guy’s fearlessness and, frankly, his respectfulness. I say bravo to all of this. (Except … I think the library is open on those eyebrows.)

Continue reading ‘like a tornado, gurl!’


‘Manspreading’ is merely silly, not a sign of the apocalypse

“Manspreading” is a thing, and bloggers of the world are desperate to prove it. Every day I see men on public transportation sitting with their legs spread, sometimes at a comically obtuse angle, taking up more than one seat. It can be annoying and look a little weird—but is it a swiftly sweeping global scourge that we must be hyper-vigilant against and merciless in our mockery and shaming of?

I’m going to say no. Continue reading ‘‘Manspreading’ is merely silly, not a sign of the apocalypse’


Mass transit is an unwise place to nap

Not until the bus took off did I notice the ball rolling toward me. It was about two and a half inches in diameter, pale brown. It looked like a dusty lump of clay, a fuzzy ping pong ball. It went directly for my feet. Then there were two. Then three. I shifted my legs to avoid crushing, kicking or otherwise interacting with them.

When the bus stopped and the trio skipped along forward, I realized they were stale powdered cinnamon Munchkins from Dunkin’ Donuts. They rolled too well to be soft and fresh.

(Image stolen from Maryann's Baking Company in Sacramento, California.)

(Image stolen from Maryann’s Baking Company in Sacramento, California.)

Following their trail toward the front of the bus, I saw a puddle spreading forward and backward along the ravines in the floor. It was the same color as the Munchkins. Coffee with cream. Ah, someone had been to Dunkin’ Donuts and spilled something.

I traced the coffee to its source. A woman seated near the front of the bus was reaching down to the floor, concentrating very hard on gathering up the donut holes in the clear plastic cup they came in. What is she going to do with them? I thought. Does she actually want to eat them, or is she just cleaning up after herself?

The coffee cup, on its side on the floor under her seat, rolled helplessly back and forth in a lazy half-circle. Continue reading ‘Mass transit is an unwise place to nap’


With Thanksgiving safely behind us, I am still puzzled by #grapegate

About a week ago, the New York Times published a cute feature called “The United States of Thanksgiving,” which profiled a signature dish for the Thanksgiving table from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

And then Minnesota lost its damn mind. Continue reading ‘With Thanksgiving safely behind us, I am still puzzled by #grapegate’


‘Today I introduced Terry Gross to (the real) Klaus Nomi’

The album cover of Klaus Nomi’s 1981 self-titled debut album.

Last week, a colleague posted the following to Facebook:

Today I introduced Terry Gross to (the real) Klaus Nomi by sharing this video.

She says “(the real) Klaus Nomi” because her cat is named Klaus Nomi. (Not, I quickly regretted asking, “Claws Nomi”?)

But that Facebook post is amazing for two reasons. First, Terry Gross has interviewed so many people, it seems impossible that, in all that studio time, not even a passing reference to Klaus Nomi came up. Not only that, but she’s from New York City, and she was like 30 years old when Klaus Nomi was at his peak.

Second — Klaus Nomi. I mean look at him. This is the video my colleague Christine shared:

Continue reading ‘‘Today I introduced Terry Gross to (the real) Klaus Nomi’’


vicious old queens

Frances de la Tour, Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi and Iwan Rheon. (Image: Patrick Redmond)

There was a time when a show like “Vicious” might have seemed daring, but today it feels quaint, comfortable, silly. And I don’t think it intends to be much more than that, and that’s OK.

Continue reading ‘vicious old queens’

the untallied hours

the tweets


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