Now Available on Amazon

A compendium of the best essays from Mortal Coil from 2018 to 2021, this new volume includes ruminations on the fiftieth anniversary of the first moon landing, the realities of aging in America, the enduring genius of mid-century disaster fiction, and the misadventures of a hapless time traveler who finds himself in the era of … Continue reading Now Available on Amazon

Vaccination Etiquette 101

Could we talk about your Covid vaccination etiquette? Mine too, of course, but mostly yours. First, if you’ve been lucky enough, obsessive enough, or sneaky enough to have already gotten your first or second Covid shot, don’t brag about it. Don’t repeat five times in every conversation that you’ve been vaccinated. Especially don’t do this … Continue reading Vaccination Etiquette 101

The Real Grounds for Trump’s Impeachment

The chances of two-thirds of the Senate backing the impeachment of Donald Trump are slim to none, so what’s going on in the Senate must have other purposes: to consolidate the record of what happened on January 6, to publicize it in a way that can make an impact on the voting populace, and in … Continue reading The Real Grounds for Trump’s Impeachment

Re-Imagining America, Part II

National elections like the one we've just suffered through are, among other things, quadrennial CAT scans of the body politic. This last exam turned up cancers and lesions of all sorts, some in peripheral limbs that can be safely ignored, but others in critical organs where, left untreated, they could be fatal. In our post-election … Continue reading Re-Imagining America, Part II

Moving Day

It's Inauguration Day,* when we observe the peaceful transfer of power from one party -- one individual -- to another, a day when we breathe a momentary sigh of relief that, against all odds, the fragile fabric of the republic has held one more time, a day when, no matter our political affiliation or private beliefs, … Continue reading Moving Day

Re-Imagining America

Updated 1/15/21 3:30 EST How is the average citizen to deal with the feeling of helpless outrage that descended on us this last week? What should we be thinking, asking, and doing about it? What can we learn that isn’t cast in the starkly political, partisan terms that have become our first reflex? The events of January … Continue reading Re-Imagining America

More Unimaginable Things That Trump Might Really Do

Pardons himself and anyone named Trump.Declares November’s presidential election “invalid” because it was “stolen” by all those people who voted for the other guy.Shows up at the joint session of Congress for the electoral vote count, sits in front, and stares at Mike Pence throughout the proceedings.After the votes are counted, declares the Electoral College … Continue reading More Unimaginable Things That Trump Might Really Do

On Being Modified

Like many who fancy themselves writers, I’m extremely wordy. Specifically, I’m a wanton aficionado of what English teachers of old taught us to call “modifiers” — that is, adverbs and adjectives. You’ll note that just those first two sentences contain three adjectives and an adverb, which is a really low modifier-per-sentence ratio by my standards, … Continue reading On Being Modified

Coda: The Last Buffet

Originally posted in March of 2020, this seemed a good coda for a very bad year, and a reminder of what to take into the next one. Onward. Our grandsons and their parents were visiting us in Florida this last week, and on Sunday we took them to the bi-weekly seafood buffet at the local … Continue reading Coda: The Last Buffet

The Grace of Covid Capitalism

It’s been a uniquely cruel year. Fires, hurricanes, police brutality, vicious disinformation, a concerted attempt by those in power to overturn a national election, and looming over it all, a global pandemic, killing almost two million, hospitalizing millions more, striking great cities silent, shrinking most forms of human interaction into little boxes on a screen. … Continue reading The Grace of Covid Capitalism