Our skulls are smiling still. #PlagueSongs, no. 38 AND my Best of 2021 music playlist

Since They Might Be Giants Are my favorite band and have several songs suitable for the Corona Era, you’d think I would have performed one of their tunes for this series before now. But I haven’t. Here’s my “Happy New Year 2022” plague song — “By the Time You Get This,” from the band’s I Like…

“With Pleasant Swab in the Anterior Nasal Region”; or, Traveling in Europe During Omicron

In the Before Times, I often travelled internationally. But I have not left the United States in over two years. Until last week. For the December holidays, my sister invited me to visit her, my brother-in-law, and niece in Switzerland — where they live. Since I no longer take international travel for granted, I decided to…

Children’s Literature, Comics/Graphic Novels, and Childhood Studies at MLA 2022

Here are all of the Children’s Literature and Comics/Graphic Novels sessions at the 2022 MLA, held this year in person in Washington, DC! Some of the conference will also be held on-line at [insert your location here]! I plan to be there in person, which will be my very first in-person conference or invited talk…

I remember when you were here. #PlagueSongs, no. 37 AND Seven Xmas Playlists

Welcome to your second pandemic Christmas (or Solstice or Hanukkah or whatever you celebrate)! Since you and I and the plague are still here, I’m doing a holiday installment of my ongoing PlagueSongs series AND sharing seven — that’s right, SEVEN! — playlists of mostly secular seasonal music. Enjoy! Let’s start with the song, written by…

Good Grief

Because my mother is dying, I think a lot about grief. Indeed, because we’ve been in a pandemic for most of the past two years, you too might be drawn into grief with greater frequency than you typically are. In the past year, I’ve listened to countless podcasts and done a bit of grief-themed reading….

The Lost Film Footage of Crockett Johnson

        I recently finished writing my notes and afterword for Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby, Volume Five: 1950-1952 (Fantagraphics, forthcoming 2023). When I opened up the “Afterword” document, I found a two-paragraph fragment chronicling a holiday that Crockett Johnson (whose friends called him by his given name, Dave) and Ruth Krauss took in 1950 or 1951. A…

I guess this might well be it. #PlagueSongs, no. 36

I keep thinking that each PlagueSong is the last one I’ll post. But then both the plague and I continue on. And so, I do another. This time, since we’ve just finished season two of Ted Lasso, I give you the theme to that show! Written and performed by Marcus Mumford and Tom Hove, the…

Don’t weaken. #PlagueSongs, no. 35

And now the song that you’ve all been waiting for since I began the “Plague Songs” series in March of 2020 — a song that, despite your eagerness to hear my rendition, you have not requested. Not even once! With thanks for your patience, here’s the song made famous by Maurice Chevalier, back in 1930 —…

“a nest of trying”: the pandemic at 500 days

If your plague began (as mine did) on March 14 2020, then today is day 500 of our plague era. (If it didn’t, then adjust your count accordingly.) As I noted at plague day 250, very early on I decided that day 500 would be the end of the plague. I know that the plague…