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…

Get back up again. #PlagueSongs, no. 34

The plague is, alas, not yet over. So, I’ve recorded another Plague Song. Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping,” a massive pop hit in 1997. I chose this song because of the lyric’s central contribution to our collective human wisdom: when one gets knocked down, it is generally advisable to get back up again. Or, as Chumbawamba’s lyricist more…

In Defense of Critical Race Theory

In this post, What CRT Is and Is Not: my defense of Critical Race Theory from 30 June 2021 resources for learning about CRT For Culturally Responsive Teaching: my defense of CRT from 2 June 2021 1. What CRT Is and Is Not: A Defense of CRT, 30 June 2021 Yesterday afternoon, my friend Lisa…

Situation’s tolerable. #PlaugeSongs, no. 33

Yes, it’s yet another Plague Song. Some people reading this will be vaccinated and venturing out into the world. Others may not yet be vaccinated. Either way, we’ve all been through a lot — and some of us much more than that. So, we need to handle each other with care. And that’s why I decided…

Breaking up with your favorite racist childhood classic books (Washington Post)

Head on over to the Washington Post for “Breaking up with your favorite racist childhood classic books,” in which I point out that         It is possible to cancel a culture. There were once more than 300 indigenous languages spoken in the United States. Only about 175 of those languages remain today. Colonization, genocide, forced…

That’s what storms were made for. #PlagueSongs, no. 32

Another of the great happy-sad songs, though — on balance — happier than sad. Introduced by Bing Crosby in 1936, it has music by Arthur Johnston and the lyrics by Johnny Burke (who also wrote the lyrics to “Swinging on a Star,” another hit for Crosby). You likely know the chorus, but not the prologue. I…