The 4:00 AM Birds


As the Spring semester grinds inexorably by, I see rare hours of the clock on a more consistent, more intimate basis.  Last year as a freshman, I often wrote papers in Lamont library, and any truly late-night battle with the Lamonster resulted in a small but meaningful ritual: conversing with the 4:00 AM birds.

The reading rooms in Lamont are overheated, and the air is dead.  Noise  Continue reading


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Filed under Stories, Visions

Sometimes A Lemon…

… is all we need to withdraw from numbness. For those with time, I offer a short, delicate tale — in decent translation — from Kajii Motojiro, a tuberculosis-stricken predecessor to the modern angst-ridden hipster. This work has inspired generations of Japanese students to leave lemons in department stores, and to extricate themselves from over-intellectualized absurdism.


From Francisco de Zurbaran, “Still Life with Lemons, Orange, and a Rose” (1633), in the Norton Simon Museum.

Soundtrack: “Disengaged”, Grouper. Or, like, Schoenberg.


P.S.  The Zurbaran is now on show on this side of the nation, at the Frick Museum in New York, until May 10.

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Filed under Caterwauling, Literature, Music

…Or, “It was so much harder than I ever imagined.”

Because sometimes men are confronted with things that simply and inescapably reduce them to what evolution has designed them for: a lusty, hopeful, lecherously awkward adolescent looking to spread his genes.

Case in point: Jessica Biel.

Ahh manhood.  Sometimes being a guy is just fun.


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Testosterone Shopping

Yesterday I bought an Underarmour workout shirt.  It is black, men’s size L, and the tag says things like “ColdGear®” and “Our compression fit is about maximizing performance.”  The advertising copy is really top-notch.

I tried it on in the store, because I’ve never had a compression workout shirt before, and I instantly felt the way the gear, engineered tight to my skin, began to accelerate moisture transfer and to bolster muscle support.

There was hardly any need to look at the price tag.  I manfully swiped my debit card.  With my jaw muscles set to “extra-square,” I punched in my PIN.  In a gruff, deep voice I told the checkout lady she could toss the receipt in the bag.  That would be great, thank you. 

I haven’t worn it yet, obviously.  Look how warm and sunny it is today – ColdGear® would be womanish.  When the temperature drops again, though, I’ll brave the Cambridge cold in my new purchase.  I plan on snarling and sweating.

Already I’m looking forward to never washing it.  When you smell me coming, you’ll know: that is the scent of man.



Filed under Caterwauling

This American Altar

I have this poster — the work of “street artist” Shepard Fairey — taped above my dresser, not because I’m in love with Barack, but because I like how it looks.  Also, I got it for free (thanks, Ev!):


And it turns out some other people (who, unlike me, know stuff about design) like it, too — the whole series won the Brit Insurance Design of the Year award.  Kitsch Americana validated!


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Starlight, Star Bright…

The other night, driving home for the first time in a long while, I kept getting distracted.  I’d catch a little glimmer of light in the corner of my eye, and turn to look.  It was the first time in a long time I’d been able to really see the stars.  After I got home, I stood outside in the cold for a long while, just staring up at the stars.  

I’d forgotten just how many there are, and how much I’d missed them.


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Animal Collective

After reading Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, I went to the zoo.  This was a mistake.


We wanted to check on Gus, the neurotic polar bear.  He wasn’t there.


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Filed under Caterwauling