To tip or not to tip?

Tipping: It’s a form of payment, an expression of gratitude, a sign of respect. Or is it a mark of condescension?…
Tipping: It’s a form of payment, an expression of gratitude, a sign of respect. Or is it a mark of condescension?… [More]

Sad songs

A pop song’s life on the pop charts is short, even brutish. Maybe that’s why a strain of sadness has long run through the songbook…
A pop song’s life on the pop charts is short, even brutish. Maybe that’s why a strain of sadness has long run through the songbook… [More]

Claude Debussy

Life was not going well for Claude Debussy: bad marriage, bad health, debt, writer’s block. Then he escaped Paris for Normandy…
Life was not going well for Claude Debussy: bad marriage, bad health, debt, writer’s block. Then he escaped Paris for Normandy… [More]

Frame of reference

Do you know what “sprezzatura” means? How about “starboard out, starboard home”? Secret frames of reference govern writing…
Do you know what “sprezzatura” means? How about “starboard out, starboard home”? Secret frames of reference govern writing… [More]

Dylan Thomas, bohemian

Dylan Thomas excelled in the role of doomed poet: Drinking, debt, squalor, petty theft, not-so-petty theft…
Dylan Thomas excelled in the role of doomed poet: Drinking, debt, squalor, petty theft, not-so-petty theft… [More]

East India Company

Robert Clive, an unstable sociopath, plundered India. His was a supreme act of corporate violence, and a harbinger of our own times…
Robert Clive, an unstable sociopath, plundered India. His was a supreme act of corporate violence, and a harbinger of our own times… [More]

Fake musical genius

Mamoru Samuragochi was hailed as a great classical talent of his generation. His story was amazing – a deaf composer genius. And it was false…
Mamoru Samuragochi was hailed as a great classical talent of his generation. His story was amazing – a deaf composer genius. And it was false… [More]

Rimbaud in Ethiopia

Rimbaud in Ethiopia. How did the enfant terrible of the Parisian literary scene end up in the ancient-walled market town of Harar?…
Rimbaud in Ethiopia. How did the enfant terrible of the Parisian literary scene end up in the ancient-walled market town of Harar?… [More]

Blame the dog

Roughly 40,000 years ago, Neanderthals dwindled and then vanished from Eurasia. What caused this die-off? Modern humans and their dogs…
Roughly 40,000 years ago, Neanderthals dwindled and then vanished from Eurasia. What caused this die-off? Modern humans and their dogs… [More]

Wings of Desire

When a man loves a pigeon. Nikola Tesla had one true object of affection. She was pure white, with light-gray tips on her wings…
When a man loves a pigeon. Nikola Tesla had one true object of affection. She was pure white, with light-gray tips on her wings… [More]