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]