Friday, January 20, 2017

The wit and wisdom of George Eliot

Despite my best intentions, I've never got around to rereading Middlemarch, and I haven't read anything else by George Eliot in a very long time.  But at last, years after a former roommate raved about it, I'm deep into Daniel Deronda, her brilliant last novel.  Besides a gripping story and vivid characters, she supplies, on virtually every page, deep insights into the human condition, as relevant as ever to our times.

Here's how she begins Chapter 21:

"It is a common sentence that Knowledge is power; but who hath duly considered or set forth the power of Ignorance?  Knowledge slowly builds up what Ignorance in an hour pulls down.  Knowledge, through patient and frugal centuries, enlarges discovery and makes record of it; Ignorance, wanting its day's dinner, lights a fire with the record, and gives a flavour to its one roast with the burnt souls of many generations.  Knowledge, instructing the sense, refining and multiplying needs, transforms itself into skill and makes life various with a new six days' work; comes Ignorance drunk on the seventh, with a firkin of oil and a match and an easy 'Let there not be'--and the many-coloured creation is shriveled up in blackness.  Of a truth, Knowledge is power, but it is a power reined by scruple, having a conscience of what must be and what may be; whereas Ignorance is a blind giant who, let him but wax unbound, would make it a sport to seize the pillars that hold up the long-wrought fabric of human good, and turn all the places of joy dark as a buried Babylon."

We must not let those about to run the show in our government this term "wax unbound."

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Poem and a Story

Another poem of mine, "Show Time,"  debuted today on Bookends Review.

And my story "The Secret Carer" has just been published in the UK journal Riptide's latest collection, Volume 11: Carpe Diem

The new, improved Village Voice

After years of diminishing content and quality, the Village Voice is beginning to look more like the former self that many of us relied upon for in-depth investigative reporting, local political news, and cultural coverage.   The Voice used to be one of the few places that regularly reviewed off-off Broadway theater and dance--now there's hope that it may be again, with former staffers Elizabeth Zimmer as lead dance critic and Michael Feingold once again heading the theater department.

The July 6 issue featured a gripping and disturbing investigation by Nick Pinto into the new LinkNYC network--a must-read that you can still find on the Voice's website.
The Village Voice still comes out every Wednesday.  If you miss it in the kiosks, you can find it online:

Monday, July 4, 2016

A Poem

Today, July 4th, one of my earlier poems, "Shelter," was published in an online journal:

Their format is to post a new poem each day (typically at an appropriate time) but if you don't actually get to it the day it's posted, you can find it later by the contributor's name.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


For those of you who don't follow it already,  Defenestration is a lively online humor magazine.  Check out their April issue--and in particular my short piece "Pitch Meeting: Election 2020: Running Mates":

Defenestration: April 2016 - Defenestration

Friday, April 22, 2016

Three Poems

You can find three of my poems--"Giving Up," "Flypaper," and "The Secret of her Pickles" in the latest issue of Badlands Literary Review--a literary magazine published by California State University San Bernardino Palm Desert's writing program.

Go to

and click on Issue 6, for a downloadable pdf

Why aren't the Berrymans famous?

Well, Peter and Lou Berryman are famous among folkies who've heard "A Chat With Your Mom"--better known as "The F Word Song."

But that's not enough of us to fill halls that hold thousands.

Lucky for us--and maybe for them.   We get to hear them in intimate venues--coffee houses,  church halls, etc.  They get to see their fans up close, meet them,  chat with them, stay with them.

Last weekend in Princeton,  perhaps a hundred of us got to hear them do an assortment of their terrific songs, old and new, including "Cheese and Beer and Snow," "Artiste Interrupted," "Your State's Name here," "Djver?" "You Gotta Do More," "When Did We Have Sauerkraut?" "Dupsha Dove," "Acme Forgetting Service," and one of my all-time favorites, "Why Am I Painting the Living Room?"

Once briefly married to each other, the Berrymans have been writing and performing together for decades.  Lou, who plays accordion, writes the music; Peter, on guitar, the lyrics.

Brilliantly original, deep, and clever views of our lives and times; usually funny, often satirical/political, sometimes touching, full of insight--their songs are like no one else's.  

On May 11, says their newsletter,  they'll be back home at:

Madison, WI  Olin Park Pavilion, Free Concert sponsored by Friends of Olin-Turville Park tables & chairs provided; bring a picnic!  6 - 8 PM  Rain or shine (or snow?)

Eighteen of their albums are available for download on their website, and they usually offer a free song or two as well:
Their Big Songbook is currently sold out, but they're updating it.  I can't wait!  And I can't wait for a chance to see their music-in-progress, More Later.