“Choose to Stay” (Or, Virtute the Cat Contemplates Her City)

One reason I love the Weakerthans is that their songs are set in their hometown. The louder you yell “I Hate Winnipeg” the more I know which city holds your heart. So let's listen to "Reunion Tour" and get emotional. Welcome to Washington, DC! The local time is 1987. Like every other week I meet somebody who says, “Oh, wow, I've never met anybody from DC before.” Guess these people's race! I meet people from DC all the time; you can probably guess their race, too. (I think I've been a gentrif … [Read more...]

“In Search of Lost Time”: I review an art show

at the Hirshhorn: I got the idea for how to start this review when I was supposed to be praying.I try to “do” ten minutes a day of contemplative prayer, kneeling and opening my mind and heart to whatever God wants to say to me: shedding my own opinions and judgments, turning away from all screens and distractions. It turns out to be a great way to get ideas for my writing. Not such a great way to surrender to silence and inner peace. The distractions are coming from inside the hou … [Read more...]

The Mayor-for-Life, At Least

Marion Barry, RIP.Look, Barry started out as a civil-rights organizer throwing block parties in the hood, and ended as an advocate for people coming out of prison. In between he presided over a decade and a half in which DC suffered disproportionately from the violence which swept through all US cities in the '80s and '90s. I know it started before we even had "home rule" (ish) and everybody else's city also suffered and hey, at least he didn't declare a state of emergency and try to call … [Read more...]

“The Gift Shop of the Dead”: I Visit the Museum of Crime and Punishment

for AmSpec: For the past twelve years I’ve volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center serving mainly low-income women in the District of Columbia, and I’ve noticed something about how our clients talk: Nobody ever says “prison.” Boyfriends, husbands, fathers, sons were never “locked up,” “in jail,” or “serving time”; they were always “incarcerated.” There is an unexpected poignancy to the bureaucratic term—a lacy Latinate word suffused with so much pain, as if standardization and abstraction coul … [Read more...]

AltFem Magazine Launch Party: I’m There! Tomorrow!

I'm on the first panel at this conference/party to launch "an online magazine that seeks an inclusive definition of feminism that resonates with women of faith." Uh, I'm not actually a feminist, but I hope to talk about the problems with the concept of "empowerment" as a goal--basically riffing on the issues I raised in this book review. Hope to see many of you there! … [Read more...]

“United Sweets of America”: Slate

makes an important contribution to national comity:Alabama Lane cake Also known as Alabama Lane cake, Lane cake is one of those boozy, eggy, dried-fruit-filled confections we don’t eat enough of these days. Invented by Emma Rylander Lane in the 1890s, a Lane cake is a sponge cake layered with a raisin-bourbon filling and frosted with a marshmallow-y “boiled white frosting.” Lane cake is also to Harper Lee what the madeleine is to Marcel Proust: The baked good makes several appearances in th … [Read more...]

Friday Link Round-Up: The Road to Ferguson, And Some Paths Away

Hey it's my birthday, let's have some fun! This is a very, very scattershot link round-up. Mostly snagged from people I follow on Twitter and you should too.Walter Olson, "Petty Offenses and Police-Community Relations in Ferguson": It seems so random and meaningless that a legal offense as minor as walking on the roadway would set in motion what was to prove the fatal confrontation between officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown. But in the wider scheme of how Ferguson came to have its … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X