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FEATURED COLUMNS

burn this office to the ground
all it takes is horrible writing
by joe procopio (@jproco)
topic: television
5.2.12 • CLASSIC

I can't understand how something could go so bad in such a short amount of time.

Don't get me wrong. I've been in relationships with seemingly unpsychotic women, I've had an eighth or ninth drink that I felt pretty good about before it delivered poison into my bloodstream, I've left milk out on the kitchen counter on a hot day. So I know how something can go from dream to nightmare in an extremely small window.

But what the shark has happened to The Office?

The Office wasn't always a great show, but it was the most consistently funny show from its second season until Steve Carrell left, with an incredible amount of realism that was never overshadowed by the comedy or the brief moments of excellent drama, most of which had to do with Jim and Pam and their non-romance.

Within the space of half-a-season, The Office has devolved from an honestly funny and relatable workplace comedy to a ridiculous circus of unbelievable setups and dick jokes, including a five minute conference room discussion on impotence.

My point is this never should have happened. And here's why:

read on



40 weeks of a new life
what the books don't tell you
by jael mchenry (@JaelMcHenry)
topic: general
12.5.11 • CLASSIC

First of all, it makes a liar out of you.

You become sneaky, underhanded. For example, take alcohol. You pour yourself half a glass of wine so no one asks why you're not drinking, but then you carry it around for an hour just touching it from your lips to time to time and not actually ingesting it. You carry your wineglass to the kitchen and/or the bathroom so you can dump out an inch or so, or you "forget" it on a side table, or you make an agreement with your husband to switch glasses every now and again so he is gradually emptying both his and yours. Or, if it's too much hassle to pretend, you lie about why you're not drinking: red wine gives you a headache (which is true, but it's never stopped you before); you're on antibiotics (not true); you're hung over from last night (definitely not true); you haven't been sleeping much and don't want to pass out at the dinner table (actually, that one's not far off.)

read on



how do i love and insult thee?
let me sing it in a couple different ways...
by adam kraemer (@DryWryBred)
topic: music
2.13.12 • CLASSIC

So, this is February. A surprisingly warm February. I say "surprisingly" because I mentioned global climate change in my last column and don't want to sound like a broken record. Broken record. Broken record. Broken record.

February, for those of us old enough to remember last year, is usually fraught with much more peril - snow, wind, sleet, sub-zero temperatures. In addition, there are so many pitfalls awaiting us, in terms of holidays. We stress over whether Phil will see his shadow (and in New York, why he and Chuck disagreed so vehemently). We fondly remember the days when Lincoln's Birthday and Washington's Birthday were two separate holidays, and not this hybrid "Presidents Day" that's all too confusing - people walking around in a daze wondering how to celebrate James K. Polk. And, given this week's big holiday, we all just go a little crazy.

I don't know why Tu B'Shevat does that to people.

read on



glee
the worst show you can't stop watching
by michelle von euw
topic: music
10.11.10 • CLASSIC

Despite what the Emmy voters and popular press may tell you, Glee is not a good television show. I know; I’ve watched every episode. I am a connoisseur of TV. I appreciate and celebrate television shows as an art form. I champion the creativity and the intellect it takes to achieve a good series. I will talk to you about the brilliance of The Wire and Everwood; I will describe in great detail the perfect arcs of season one Veronica Mars and season two Buffy the Vampire Slayer; I will tell y

read on



how did i get here?
it has stopped making sense
by mike julianelle
topic: humor
10.6.10 • CLASSIC

A friend of mine recently remarked that a picture of me striking the Heisman pose – with my baby standing in for the football – is strikingly similar to something one of the characters does in the soon-to-be released piece of garbage Life As You Know It. My immediate reaction was to scold my friend for seeing a movie co-starring Josh Duhamel ("Vegas"; on the arm of a frying pan) and Katherine Heigl ("Roswell"; the DVD bargain bin at Wal-Mart). Then I considered the ramifications of his comment,

read on



two tales of one city
rebuilding lives after hurricane katrina
by tracey l. kelley (@TraceyLKelley)
topic: news
9.29.10 • CLASSIC

“You would not believe how many people on my street have cancer,” the delivery woman said as she placed box lunches at my feet. “Sure, our houses are repaired, but our hearts--well, some of us still have hearts flooded with despair.” I was standing on a sidewalk of the flood-ravaged home of Mrs. Goff in the Gentilly neighborhood in New Orleans, fingers stuck together with window glazing and Dover White paint, my face slick with the humidity and 90-degree heat at 10:30 in the morning.

read on



on meeting adam yauch, who had nothing to lose
by jason gilmore (@JasonGilmore77)
topic: pop culture
5.7.12 • CLASSIC

It doesn’t even matter what happens after this: One of the best summers of my life will always be the summer of 1997, when I, fresh off my junior year of film school, found myself in New York City interning at the now defunct October Films. It was a sweltering trimester of script coverage and flirting with fellow interns from Hampton or the University of Wisconsin and wandering aimlessly through Manhattan most evenings, eventually emerging at my friends’ brownstone in Newark.

Headed home one of those early evenings, I passed a park and glanced over to see three white adult men skateboarding. Not a noteworthy vision in and of itself, except that one of the three men kind of looked kind of like one third of a rap group that had dominated my preteen years in Toledo, except that it couldn’t be him because of OH MY GOD IS THAT MCA FROM THE BEASTIE BOYS???

I had learned that summer that I was not normally the starstruck type, as a casual jaunt through the streets of Manhattan will almost certainly find one face to face with all manner of celebrity. None had so much as provoked a second look from me, prior to that moment. Another thing I learned about myself that summer is that if you were big to me in junior high, you will always be big to me. Before I knew it, I was approaching him.

read on



the little red obama
obama is working, while everyone else sits on their ass
by jeffrey d. walker
topic: news
6.14.12 • CLASSIC

I recently again read The Little Red Hen to my toddler. As those familiar with the tale may recall, The Little Red Hen finds seeds, and then asks the other farm animals for help planting them. No one volunteers to help her. As her work progresses through harvest, threshing, milling the wheat into flour, and finally baking the flour into bread, the hen continues to ask for help from the other animals, but still gets no assistance at any stage. After the bread is done, she asks who will help eat the bread, and this time all the animals volunteer. But the hen doesn't share, and instead eats it with her chicks, leaving none for anyone else.

It’s not a perfect analogy for the current state of our nation’s jobs problem, but I kept thinking about the story, and likening Obama to the Little Red Hen, doing all the work to try to help boost our nation’s jobs, while the other animals (specifically in this case, Congress) do nothing to help.

read on



do you hear the words that are coming out of my mouth?
maybe we should work on our communication skills
by maigen thomas (@Maigen)
topic: general
8.22.11 • CLASSIC

Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. It is what moves us through every day, through each interaction with another human being. Hand gestures can ask for more and say stop, can suggest movement and sketch ideas, can say thank you and disparage. A touch can convey compassion, sympathy, joy, exhilaration, excitement. Even silence can hold space for yourself or someone else when there are no words that seem tremendous enough to express the right meaning.

Verbal communication, using words and building a dialogue, is what sets us above the animals. We have millions of expressions at our disposal; we should carefully select simple but effective sentiments for any occasion – but it is increasingly rare that we do so. In the age of Twitter, Facebook status updates and texting, communication between humans has decayed in so many ways. Intentional verbal missteps have been made common, and due to their commonality, are being included in the ever-expanding communal lexicon. Despite these questionable advancements, it has never been more widespread than now – the age of instant communication – that communication itself has been so neglected.

read on



does this make me a mistress?
the socially gray place of being close friends with a childhood sweetheart
by alex b (@Lexistential)
topic: writing
3.21.12 • CLASSIC

It's 2007. You're on the New York subway with your mother, and straining for a conversation topic that won't result in any telenovela-style fights. You write off money (those unpaid student loans), and also know mentioning God is a no-no unless you'd like to discuss going to Mass again. Therefore, you blurt out your childhood sweetheart's first name. Surely, your mom would be okay at hearing how he's doing, and the train ride to Little Italy won't feel so claustrophobic.

No such luck.

To your surprise, your mother arches her eyebrow and fixes you with the same gaze she used when you were in trouble. And, she tells you right then and there that you shouldn't talk to him anymore. After all, he's married.


read on



loving
a part of our speech
by sarah ficke (@DameMystery)
topic: news
4.16.12 • CLASSIC

Loving: Noun
Loving begins as a noun, but not just any noun. Loving is a personal noun; it is something we experience only through the prism of ourselves. We can’t point to the source of love, diagram its location, or dissect it from our body, and yet it is there. Loving is also a noun in the stricter sense: Richard Loving, a white man born in Caroline County, Virginia, in 1933.

Loving: Verb
Loving may begin as a noun, but we know it best as a verb. We recognize love only because we see it in action: caring, sharing, laughing, kissing, touching, soothing, healing, helping, grieving. These actions can shape our lives, yet we can’t trace them to a source. Love – of nature, of creatures, of music – is a mystery in the abstract, but vibrant in reality. Something happens in your spirit, your physical heart might thump, your nerves might jitter, and suddenly that potential for love comes out into the open. That kind of spark caught Richard Loving (noun: white) and Mildred Jeter (noun: black) and whirled them into action. They were loving each other, and – as it always does – that love was shaping their lives.

read on



the great american sameness
a plea for difference
by erik lars myers (@TopFermented)
topic: pop culture
8.24.11 • CLASSIC

A few weeks ago I went on a road trip. My wife and I drove from our home in North Carolina to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a wedding. A smart man may have flown, but that man was probably not transporting kegs of beer to serve at said wedding. During this trip, we went across an amazing array of American countryside.

The trip spanned North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and finally, Minnesota and it struck me again - as it did when we drove across the country about a decade back - just how vast and variable our country is. To put it simply, it is amazing and majestic.

From North Carolina driving north into West Virginia we drove through the Blue Ridge Mountains, these beautiful verdant green, sheer-drop landscapes. It feels as though the forest is soaring over your head and flowing under your feet as you bend through the roadways there.

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socialgeist
slimed by digital ectoplasm
by jeff miller (@jmillerboston)
topic: pop culture
3.14.12 • CLASSIC

Man, I've worked with some really fantastic people. People I'm proud to call friends 20 years later; folks I hope to know for many years to come. Others, despite our natural chemistry and the sharing of a thousand pizzas and coffees and cigarettes (I've since quit), I keep only in my memory, for whatever inexplicable reasons people have for maintaining distance in the face of friendship.

But then sometimes – and it's a fortunate rarity – there are people I just want to forget completely. Inevitable adversaries that've had such an ill effect on my psyche, I not only want them out of my life, I want any residual smears of negative energy they’ve left in my airspace GONE. FOREVER. The idea that they might irrevocably occupy some part of my brain is not only depressing, it’s offensive. All I want is for their memory to just...peter away, down the drain of my subconscious, and with any luck...poof! Gone.

“TOO BAD!” say Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

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RECENT COMMENTS

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