Triumphal Return

With the Patriots back in the Super Bowl, my thoughts naturally turn to Gnassingbé Eyadéma, who ruled Togo for thirty-eight years.* On the very day of Super Bowl XLII, you see, when the Patriots played some other team, I purchased this book.** It’s a heck of a tale. A young farm boy impresses all, not […]

Hat Trick

I have of late, but wherefore I know not, been blessed with three very interesting books after a stretch of ones worth finishing if life were a thousand years long. Wings Level I was up at the high school for a meeting and, walking through the library, spied Yeager, which enchanted me as a high […]

Idiot Winds

  “Giscard considered the Americans ‘a little naive in an involuntary way.’” – Jimmy Carter in Africa, Nancy Mitchell   I read the above and thought “Voilà le shade!” For whatever reason it recalled this verdict on la condition humaine:   “Yet we are chemosensory idiots.” – The Meaning of Human Existence, Edward O. Wilson […]

Soft Landing

“I live on an air force base. I know what I’m talking about. If a plane manages to avoid radar detection up to its landing, it could land and come to a quiet halt at the end of a runway without anybody noticing.” -Major Ido Embar, Israeli Air Force When I first started living near […]

Rainmaker

  I’m reading the second volume of The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, a graphic novel trilogy by Riad Sattouf. The first one, which is excellent, is out in English; I’m muddling through the second, which is excellent, under the power of my four-cylinder French. These frames are uncanny in their depiction of a typical day […]

Canada Guy

  It doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but well wishers still stop me on the street to encourage my candidacy for prime minister of Canada. No amount of protest on my part – I’m happy with my current job, it’s increasingly unlikely I could obtain even a plurality in the House of […]

Secret Agent Man

  If teaching doesn’t work out, I may offer my services to British intelligence. I’ve been re-reading Maugham’s excellent Ashenden: Or the British Agent and I’m like, I could do that: He made up his mind that, on getting back to his hotel, he would have a fire lit in his sitting room, a hot bath, and […]

Wild & Rocking Bob

  If you are a student wishing to derail my lesson, just ask me about the Challenger, or the Battle of Stalingrad, or the 1986 World Series. Thereafter I will be interrupted only by the bell. Regarding Game 6, I speak with great warmth (in the 18th-century sense) about the unjust vilification of Bill Buckner. You […]