February 27, 2017

Welcome to the working week


Otti Burger, “Book,” Mid-1930’s. Via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Oh, hi. How was your weekend? Well you look terrific. Rested. Ready for another run of holding up and getting by, seven more days living under a president who’s basically a chewed-up wad of cheerios left to fester in a yard until it attained sentience.

Here’s some Monday morning caffeine for you:


We have broken
the internet
that the president
doesn’t like

and which
he is probably
hoping to turn
into a golf course

Forgive us
it was delicious
because Sean Spicer is
a tiny li’l baby

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio.

And hey, a lot of big birthdays today!

For starters, the astounding Marion Anderson was born 120 years ago today (and died in 1993 at the age of ninety-six). Some advice: definitely listen to this. Maybe take a second so you’re not distracted:

Goddamn. Right?

It’d also be the 115th birthday of John Steinbeck, who died in 1968 at the age of sixty-six. A fine time to watch his Nobel Prize acceptance speech from a few years earlier. Not all of this has aged well—surely what American literature must combat is not its “emasculation”—but there’s much wisdom, too, and you don’t hear phrases like “tinhorn mendicants of low-calorie despair” every day. For that matter, Steinbeck’s articulation of his civilization’s dilemma—“Having taken god-like power, we must seek in ourselves for the responsibility and the wisdom we once prayed some deity might have”—sounds ripped from today’s headlines. The speech is worth watching:

Today would also be the ninety-second birthday of poet Kenneth Koch, had he not died at seventy-seven in 2002. Here he is, talking about William Carlos Williams, reading poems, taking questions, and utterly slaying an audience at the New York Studio School in 1974 (audio only):