What Makes a Man Start Fires?

The word ‘brain,’ you know, never once occurs in the ancient scriptures of the world. You will not find it in the Bible –the reins, the heart, and so forth were what men felt with. …Every man who thinks for himself and feels vividly finds he lives in a world of his own, apart, and […]

A Dream Deferred

It was difficult to sleep, yet almost impossible to move. It was easy to be irritated about everything that was of no consequence, yet care about nothing that mattered. —Richard Flanagan, The Unknown Terrorist There is no love. There is only proof of love. —Denis Diderot, or maybe Jean Cocteau One of the firemen from […]

The Beginning of a Story That Doesn't Yet Have an Ending

We asked the captain what course of action he proposed to take toward a beast so large, terrifying, and unpredictable. He hesitated to answer, then said judiciously: "I think I shall praise it." —Robert Hass, from Praise Every once in awhile he would experience a disorienting moment –these instances were almost like seizures– in which […]

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Irrelevance

2007 was almost certainly the first year in my adult life that I abandoned more books than I finished. For years I was a masochist about reading, and once I made any sort of investment in a book –bought it, checked it out from the library, cracked the pages– I felt obligated to finish the […]

I, Too, Have A Bone To Pick With Andrew Zimmern

I know I said yesterday that I was going to talk about my favorite books from 2007. I’ll do that eventually, I suppose, although who really gives a rat’s ass? Right now I’m all worked up about something else, so the book nonsense will just have to get shoved aside for the time being. I’m […]

Wamp-Wamp: The Good Stuff from a Very Bad Year

And the empty place got dark, and the fire went out. —Randall Jarrell, The Animal Family   It’s always seemed to me that very little of the music I love in any particular year makes much of a reappearance in subsequent years. If I looked at lists of my favorite records and CDs from virtually […]

An Old Thing, from Somewhere Else: Something Heavy Being Carried Away

I WAS 38 YEARS OLD and washing dishes in a strip bar, forced to wear a ridiculous chef’s hat because the place clung to its delusions and had the audacity to serve food. The all-you-can-eat chili special was a big draw with the oil boys from the refinery across the highway. I’d punch out at […]

Let Nothing You Dismay: Rock the Bells

It’s strange to me that nobody seems to expect anything in the way of an explanation these days. Nothing in the world surprises anyone anymore, unless, you know, someone decides to go all Jerry Bruckheimer with their rage. I guess I’m not a person who can live without explanations or surprise. Does the ticking of […]

A Yo Ivanhoe Holiday Tradition

Let’s suppose you –the hypothetical, perhaps wholly imagined You– stumble in here to Yo Ivanhoe on an occasional, one-time, or even purely accidental basis (one of those Google mishaps, say), completely unaware that this little futility closet is in fact a mere, very minor adjunct to a giant media empire (Rake Media Worldwide), which produces […]

Also Noted

Regarding Fidel Castro: My Life: A Spoken Autobiography (available January 8)— we’re curious about what the old man has to say, and we’re hoping for wardrobe and grooming tips, along with colorful yarns about outlasting ten American presidents. Plus, how can you resist a two-colon title? … As long as we’re pimping atheists and communists, […]