latest from Culture Clutch

The Biden-Ryan debate: Tarzan and Pinocchio meet the Blue Fairy

We’ve now thrilled to the thrilling showdown between Joe Biden (or Tarzan: virile, sincere, not-exactly-a-spoken-wordmeister, long-haircut-in-the-back) and Paul Ryan (or Pinocchio: no need explaining this now oft-used reference, is there?)… … and we had the Beautiful Blue Fairy in the form of Martha Raddatz presiding — someone whose showing as moderator so many amongst

This Isn’t the ’90s: Why Obama Won Last Night’s Debate

Could we take exception to this blanket disparaging of President Obama’s debate performance last night? The very fact that some people thought a very calm Obama “lost” is exactly why I’m for him, in my heart, more than I was  a week or so ago. People are behaving as if President Obama could have

The Bee Man of Union Square, NY

Recently on a Fall day in Manhattan, I found myself at the Farmer’s Market at Union Square. For a few blocks the white tents of the vendors make an arcade where one can stroll, browse and shop. I was beginning to reach the point where my feet were starting to tire of walking, and

How to say goodbye to Endeavour and NASA’s space shuttle program

The parking lot on Twin Peaks is no place for a San Francisco resident from September to October. Huge tourist buses and shiny new rental minivans disgorge hundreds of visitors from England, France, Japan and especially Germany, who line the viewing area to marvel at and photograph the beauty of the City from the

The Deadly Desert of Burning Man

I go to Burning Man each year, and I went this year. Yes, it’s difficult to explain the experience. Moreover, although non-attending acquaintances may politely ask you how it was, their eyes glaze with incomprehension and boredom before you are half a minute into your description of the strange vehicles and buildings, the glowing,

It’s the Congress, stupid

Now that Mitt-flop has pretty much put the nail in his political coffin, it’s time for the nation to turn to what’s been painfully obvious to many of us since the minute we heard Willard “Mitt” Romney was the Republican nominee for President: Barack Obama is going to win in November. But he’s going

Microlife Stew Report

It’s already Halloween in a little jar on my dining room table. Earlier this week I started breeding tiny monsters in earnest so that I’d have plenty of protist-porn to watch through my two microscopes. I have a jelly jar full of stomach-turning life that I started with muddy water and a few rotting

… for a man

Neil Armstrong turned 82 three weeks ago, on the day that the Curiosity Rover landed safely on Mars. Two days later he underwent surgery on blocked coronary arteries, the procedure led to complications and his death Saturday. One should hope that this modest hero can be remembered and respected by all, without reservation. Such

We Are All Hillbillies Now

I blame sportscasters, mostly. As the dumbing down of intellectual discourse in the U.S. continues to occur, the era is marked by certain characteristic grammatical mistakes. Solecisms which would have been corrected by style-mongers, or by proofreaders, in even the recent past, now go on to become the default standards of the shared American

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