Gobble, Gobble, Spend and Swallow

I will admit that I’m almost aggressively apathetic about stores opening on Thanksgiving day. What interests me the most about the burgeoning debate, though, are cultural contradictions we see emerging from those ready and willing to hit the stores and those rejecting the unbridled leap into capitalism.

On the one hand, we need to willingly admit that the entire holiday has its roots in a necessary blending of the religious and the political. By roots, of course, I’m talking about George Washington’s proclamation that we give thanks to God for God’s mercy and bountifulness not those people in the goofy hats and leggings. Subsequent presidents kept the tradition alive, designating a day in late November as a day we might set aside to give thanks to God. Interestingly, Thomas Jefferson ignored the tradition and up until the Civil War the holiday was observed sporadically and, often, only in individual state.

Old Honest Abraham Lincoln revived the tradition and proclaimed the holiday as an opportunity to pray, practice humility, and stop killing our relatives on the battle field. Turkey, not love Lincoln believed, could bring us together. It was, like so many other things Lincoln did, a brilliant reminder that we were one nation and we could, if we so desired, gather around the table and share communion.

Talk about federalism run amok! First he wants to end slavery and now he wants to centralize holidays! Geez, our 1863 radio talk show host might proclaim. Who knew Lincoln was such a big government Republican? The 1860’s federal government can’t even decide who is human and a citizen. What makes us think they can manage a national holiday!

But let’s not get overly sentimental (or goofy) about American history. Our founding fathers were, as we all know, brilliant men who recognized that for us to survive both internal and external threats against our nationhood, we must unite around shared ideals. Thanksgiving, then, becomes both a religious moment and an opportunity to begin creating uniquely American traditions. We not only, Washington might say, cast off our European oppressors, we declare our independence and uniqueness by celebrating our humility and our nation’s birth. United we stand, and all that jazz.

Yet, as I tell my American lit students, we can’t talk about America if we don’t recognize the delicate blending of commerce, religion, and politics. (Don’t believe me–look at the back of a one dollar bill.) While the holiday begins with these nationalistic and religious roots, our modern version reflects a growing industrial nation’s appetite for goods and commerce. It might not be pretty to think so, but FDR recognized that we could spend our way out of the great depression. Once everyone was all fat, happy, and filled with good cheer (and beer) toward men (and grandma), they were more likely to spend money buying presents. Give them another week and they would remember how much they disliked all those in-laws and other relatives and close that pocketbook. (There’s that big government again! I’m starting to see a trend?)

Simply put, our modern Thanksgiving is a gluttonous celebration of excess: food, football, family, and fighting, er shopping.

But I don’t think we like to admit such a thing. Oh, we’re fine with the food and family, but I don’t think we want to recognize the blatant commercialism run amok in American culture. In many ways, our educational and cultural treatment of the holidays resembles yet another great contradiction of American culture. We celebrate by spending one day with our family and the next day buying things for them. (And a whole year paying it off!)

Until last year when Walmart and others realized we could, as we are always so want to do, have it all and have it now.

And here is where my apathy begins. I can say with great pride I’ve only been out on Black Friday once and I refuse to shop on Thanksgiving day. My choice isn’t noble or principled–I mostly don’t like being around people all that much. Some have nightmares about spiders: I fear Walmart at 5:00 am on Black Friday morning.

But I also don’t really care if Walmart and Target open. They are privately owned companies who can make their own choices. In many ways, they are simply feeding the inevitable desires of a country for whom shopping has become our national sport. If, one might note, no one went out shopping this Thursday, neither store would open next year.

Of course, if that pesky federal government hadn’t forced us to celebrate Thanksgiving at all, we wouldn’t be in this mess anyway.

Changing the Oil–A poem

 One of the more interesting sites I’ve come across lately is Mike Rowe’s Profoundly Disconnected. Rowe, of Dirty Jobs fame, wants to challenge the “absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only path to success.”  Rowe’s S.W.E.A.T. Pledge is worth reading and I’m hoping to return to this idea in a later blog. It surprises folks when they hear that I, a tenured college professor, don’t think everyone needs to (or should) go to college. 

But it’s really cold outside, 4:30 on a Friday, and I’m not sure I’m intellectually capable of much more than promising to write at a later date.

I was, though, reminded of a poem I wrote a while back as I was looking at Rowe’s site. 

Like plenty of folks, there was a time in my life when I did many of the hard, menial tasks around the house. Not only did I save money, but working with my hands, in some ways, was a nice change of pace from writing, teaching, and grading papers. When my kids were little, I tried to get them involved. We have pictures of them painting, working with a hammer, and even crawled under the car helping me change the oil.

Of course, all those photo ops ended when they became teenagers, but that’s another story too. These days, I’m not sure they know the difference between motor oil and canola oil. Since it’s late, and almost the weekend, I’ll just blame our ascent into the middle class and smart phones. No self-flagellation heading into the weekend.

Either way, I’ll post the poem below. My advice: go visit Rowe’s site and skip the poem, but if you read I hope you enjoy.

Changing the Oil

My son’s hand stretches toward the
Oil filter. It’s not easy being five
And working on a car.

“What’s that?” his finger lost in
Dirt and grime.
He reaches up with his other hand.
“What’s a transition . . . mission?”
He corrects himself.

“What would happen”
His head turns, eyes serious,
“if the car falls.”

He asks so many questions his
Hands can’t stay focused
On the work to be done.

It’s not easy being patient,
Under a car, dirty, hot, busy.
I want to be finished. Oil
Changed, filter recycled
Grease out from under my nails.

Loosening the plug, I
Tell him we’ll get squished
“But I’ll use the bike pump
To fill you back up.”

He laughs and reaches his
Hands toward the plug,
Telling me it’s his turn.
And the oil slides down his arm
Like syrup. “Nasty”
He says laughing.

Crawling out from
Under the car is easier
When the job is complete.
“Why did we empty it,
If we have to fill it back up?”

Standing on the bumper,
Holding the funnel
He looks at me
And I keep answering
Questions. A
Labor of love. A
Job I hope never ends.

The Precious Ordinary: A Review of Kent Haruf’s novel Benediction

When I teach Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town, my students are often befuddled by the play’s simplicity. Nothing, they tell me, really happens in Grover’s Corners. People are born, get married, and die. 

Well, I say in my most professorial voice, they also have breakfast, eat lunch, go to school, kiss, drink beer, sing in the choir, and sleep late whenever possible. Those are pretty easy to forget, though.

Like the people in Grover’s Corners, I point out, it’s easy to read past the simple seeking the complex. Too many people, Wilder argues, spend their lives looking for the extra-ordinary event, expecting magic and excitement. We forget, as his characters remind us, that the bulk of our existence is dominated by the average and everyday. 

How many hours are in a week? A year? Twenty years? I ask.

How many hours of those hours are exciting and magical?

It’s often a disconcerting answer for 18 year old students when they realize they will spend more of their lives eating breakfast on Monday mornings than experiencing life-changing events. And you should see their faces when I ask them how many hours they spend in the bathroom.

We must, Wilder seems to propose, remember to appreciate the ordinary moments. What makes Wilder’s play such a fine work of art, though, is his ability to craft a work whose form supports and mirrors its function. The stage is stripped bare, the characters simple. The dialogue reflects the core values of the play.

It is a mistake, though, to assume Wilder is imploring us to adopt a kind of carpe diem philosophy. Appreciating and valuing the ordinary is different from seizing the day. Everyday life, Grover’s Corners shows us, isn’t great and wonderful. But we must live all of our days, not just the fun ones.

In many ways, American writer Kent Haruf carries on Wilder’s literary tradition. His novels, all set in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado, reflect the flat lands of eastern Colorado. The characters embody the cold, dry plains of an American mid-west that consistently sees itself outside the mainstream of cultural change. His language is sparse, direct, and driven by narrative necessity. We might encounter philosophical moments in Haruf’s novels, but we rarely find philosophical characters. The narratives of these character’s lives are built in the concrete particulars of their actions. 

His novels aren’t driven by politics or complex, self-reflective characters searching for truth in troubling times. Like Wilder, Haruf focuses on story and character, allowing us to witness the every day, ordinary, simple lives of the men and women who people his novels.

Benediction (2013) begins as Dad Lewis and his longtime wife Mary learn he has cancer. The opening chapter ends with Dad telling his wife he “might get me some kind of better grade of beer before I go. . . . If I can get it around here.” His follows this dry humor with the simple observation that “he was dying. That’s what they were saying. He would be dead before the end of the summer. By the beginning of September the dirt would be piled over what was left of him out at the cemetery three miles east of town. Someone would cut his name into the face of a tombstone and it would be as if he never was.”

It’s a powerful opening that holds throughout the novel as we witness Dad Lewis’ final days. His wife Mary and his daughter Lorraine, on leave from her job in Denver, help ease his passing. There is an emphasis on Dad’s failing bodily functions and his wife’s willingness to help him maintain some semblance of dignity. As the days pass, we learn about Dad’s life via his visitors, flashbacks, other characters in the town. Intermingled with Dad’s story, we read about Berta May and her granddaughter, Reverend Rob Lyle and his family, and Willa and Alene. Everyone, Haruf shows us, has a story and these lives are a part of the tapestry of daily life in Holt.

No one, though, is perfect. Reverend Lyle’s family is slowly falling apart and his sermon about faith and forgiveness in a time of war costs him his congregation and his family. Alice lives with Berta May after her mother dies; Alene has moved in with her mother after teaching elementary school and having a long-time affair with a married man.

And we learn that Dad Lewis and Mary have a homosexual son who has been effectively banished by intolerance and ignorance. Franklin Lewis looms large as an absent presence throughout the narrative. He visits Dad’s hallucinatory memories. Dad admits, at the end and too late, his ignorance and he realizes what he lost.

At the same time, though, Haruf reminds us such deathbed conversions aren’t so simple and we have to be careful judging people too harshly. Dad Lewis’ life was one filled with success, hard work, and he has “come a long way” from his hardscrabble childhood on a Kansas farm. He abandoned his son, but we also know he saved other lives. Life, we realize reading the novel, isn’t a simple ledger where we subtract the negatives from the positives and hope we come out with more checks than minuses. Throughout the novel, in fact, we recognize in the simple daily lives of the characters that the men and women here are simply trying to live day to day.

There is no doubt there is pain in Haruf’s world. Dad Lewis’s son abandons the family after being bullied and rejected, Rob Lyle is attacked one night and his son attempts suicide. Alene and Lorraine live, in many ways, lives of quiet desperation wondering why they can’t find the same loving companionship their parents had.

Like Wilder’s Grover’s Corners, though, Dad Lewis and others are too often missing something. Late in the novel, Rob Lyle is wondering the streets late at night. He “stood in front of houses  . . . watching people. The little drama, the routine moments.” He goes out that night hoping, he tells a local policeman who stops to question him, to “recapture something.” He thought he would see “people being hurtful.” Instead, he finds “the sweet kindness of one person to another. Just time passing on a summer’s night.”

There are no grand epiphanies for Haruf’s characters. His novels end quietly, venturing slowly toward the closing pages. As readers, we enter the novel searching, perhaps, for what’s “behind the curtains,” but we find instead “the precious ordinary.” At the end of the day, and the end of the novel, the “days turned cold and the leaves dropped off the trees.” Dad Lewis was buried. Life goes one.

And that ordinariness, that simplicity, Haruf seems to say, is the greatest blessing and, perhaps, the only benediction we need.

Baltimore Isn’t All Crab Cakes and Harbor Tours: Smoked Duck Pizza and Cold Beer

Baltimore isn’t all crab cakes and harbor tours. I was on my way out the hotel door Friday night when, on a whim, I decided to ask the front desk for a dinner recommendation.

Wearing my baseball cap and Angelo State baseball hoodie, I clearly wasn’t in the mood for upscale and high class.

I probably should buy some lottery tickets because I’m on a hot streak, getting rock solid suggestions here of late. The guy in New Orleans pointed us to Coops and the woman tonight sent me up Federal Hill to the Metropolitan.

“It’s my favorite place,” she said looking at my clothes, “and definitely casual.” I decided to take her comment as an observation not a judgement. I was, after all, wearing my cleanest hoodie and my least stained cap.

Federal Hill, if you don’t know Baltimore very well, is the area where Nora Ephron filmed parts of Sleepless in Seattle. Meg Ryan and Rosie O’Donnell eat dinner in the Mount Vernon area, Ryan has her apartment in an area near Federal Hill, and they hang out on S. Charles Street. (Ephron, just as an aside, was an underrated screen writer and her films captured a simple but important romantic sensibility in contemporary America. What, Ephron’s screen plays asked, does it mean to be in love in the face of shifting social ideas regarding relationships in America? If you don’t know her works, you owe her movies a viewing.)

But romantic comedies can be a post for another day.

Federal Hill is one of those rejuvenated areas so common to American cities this day and age. If you travel to St. Louis any time soon, head over toward Washington University or St. Louis U and walk among the town homes and old industrial areas. Like so many places, governmental investment in the inner city areas in the form of tourism, professional sports teams, and tax deductions have revitalized run-down neighborhoods, rescuing them from crime, poverty, and drug infestations. These are areas that began as working class family homes but fell into ill-repute as the blue collar jobs fled to China, India, and anyplace else corporate bosses could find cheap labor.

With a little spit and polish (and a healthy dose of police, money, and hotel taxes), though, these areas have been transformed into homes and communities where the pretty people live. I was worried I might get kicked off the streets as an interloper. Cool and groovy I am not.

The Metropolitan is about 3/4 of a mile off the harbor down a tree lined S. Charles street. The coffee house and wine bar sits across the street from the Federal Hill Wine and Spirits Liquor store and in the midst of townhouses and walk up apartments. The streets have that vaguely European-feel, reflecting their architectural birth as homes for immigrant, industrial workers. The Metropolitan is a true neighborhood bar and restaurant.

It’s also worth the walk. The bartender downstairs sent me up the stairs with a friendly wave of her hand. I scored a seat near a window propped up by a liter beer bottle. Necessity and invention is always a good sign.

The music sets the tone. Neil Young, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Dylan, Hendricks–I heard them all but they weren’t dominating the scene. A group of folks sat at the bar holding a conversation. They didn’t have to yell to beat out the music and, in what probably says more about me than the bar, I didn’t hear a single cuss word while I was sitting there. It’s an odd thing to notice, but I’ve grown weary of language that shows about as much imagination as a football locker room.

Don’t go to the Metropolitan if you only drink Bud Light, though. They serve craft beers from around the world. The waitress brought me samples since my palate tends toward Schlitz and Lonestar. I never really know what kind of beer I like. I did reject the Pumpkin Beer. If I want pumpkin, I told her, I would order pie. No one has ever accused me of being a beer snob. I thought about just asking for more samples, but instead I started with a Green Flash Saison Diego. It’s a lighter beer with just a hint of hops. Crisp and clean.

Like so many things in life, our moods are a product of the historical and contextual moment. I was tired of big meals and the waitress, to her credit, didn’t try to sell me the most expensive thing on the menu. And take note that the Metropolitan has a full menu for such a small place. When I told her I just wanted something light, she pointed me to the Smoked Duck Pizza and a house salad.

“It’s better than it sounds,” she told me.

She was right. The pizza is about 8 inches, the size of a medium size plate, with a thin, fire cooked crust. They use a pesto sauce with basil covered in mozzarella and a slice of smoked duck sitting on top. There is just enough of the smoked flavor that each bite carries the meaty duck taste as it blends with the cheese and pesto. Importantly, they keep the pesto mild enough that it helps keep the pizza moist without getting too wet as it sits on the plate.

Combined with the house salad, it was just enough food to satisfy my hunger but not leave me waddling back to the hotel. And that’s good because I’m not sure waddling is allowed among the young, good looking people in that area.

Don’t Let the Neon Sign Fool You: Eat At Phillips

All I really know about Baltimore I learned from reruns of the Wire, Edgar Allen Poe stories, and watching Cal Ripken, Jr. play baseball. It’s easy to forget that Babe Ruth was born here, Baltimore is the home of America’s first umbrella factory, and our first post office system began right here in Charm City. (It is also easy to admit that I looked up everything after Babe Ruth. Thank heavens for google.)

This isn’t my first foray into the city, though. About three years ago, I stayed in the inner harbor area for a conference. During that trip, I spent most of my time exploring the area around the harbor with an evening walk to the Federal Hill area. Supper one night at the Rusty Scupper, breakfast each morning at Bohemes, and a late meal at an Irish Pub near Federal Hill park. I’m headed to the Scupper tonight to see if it is as good as I remember, Bohemes is closed, and for some reason Federal Hill seems way too long a walk this time around. You know you are getting old when after one beer and a good meal you start wondering what cable channels you have in the room.

As a general rule, I try to avoid chain restaurants when I’m in a city. Sure, Outback makes a decent steak, but I can get that steak in any city in America. I want, if at all possible, recipes built on local traditions with, I hope, quirky hometown twists. It’s no guarantee the food will be any good, mind you, but at least my taste buds will be disappointed in new and unique ways.

And they were let down my first meal this time around. The M&S Grill looks promising. It faces out toward the harbor, sits across from my hotel, and provided easy access after a day flying and sitting in airports. The front staff was friendly, the waitress, like so many people in cities these days, was from someplace not Baltimore (with an accent that screamed Boston)–they did live up to the Charm City slogan, though.

But friendly workers don’t make the food taste good or excuse the fact that M&S Grill is part of the Landry’s seafood chain.

Now, I’m sure Landry’s is delicious, but too often chains aim to democratize their dishes, ensuring they can please the family from Indianapolis while not offending the couple from San Francisco. They might use local seafood, but the spices and approach is the same.

Nonetheless, the beer was on the table before I knew what I had gotten myself into and a friendly wait staff and a cold beer can go a long way to helping food taste better.

Sometimes. I ordered the parmesan-encrusted flounder, mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies. Props to the folks in the kitchen because the potatoes and veggies where tasty. The potatoes had just enough flavor to make them worth eating and the vegetables were cooked just right without seasoning so I could taste the squash.

It’s good they were both so tasty because they must have forgotten the parmesan and just encrusted the flounder. Anything with parmesan should let the cheese dominate the first bite while the thing coated emerges somewhere near the back of the tongue. Maybe someone else’s fish got all the flavor?

The good news is another meal always awaits us.

I had been avoiding Phillips, partly because it has this massive neon sign and it sits next to the Barnes and Nobles. I’m a bit biased in favor of the understated and distrust blaring, garish signs.

I should probably rethink that philosophy.

Charm City again at the front desk and with the wait-staff. They were in the midst of seating a gigantic party of 48. I only know this because some grizzled guy standing near my table leaned over and told me he’s always wanted to just slide into an empty seat with these big company dinners and see if anyone notices. Since he was wearing a Phillips insignia on his shirt, I thought I might check his recommendation for dinner–get the inside scoop as it were.

He asked where I was from, told me he’s worked there for 26 years after owning a place on the beach, and then asked what I was thinking about eating. “What’s good?” I asked.

“The steak is great, but overpriced,” he said. “Beef prices are killing us and we have to charge too much for it.” He sat down at my table. “We are known for crabs so that’s a safe bet if you are hungry. Big chunks of crab.”

“What about the flounder stuffed with crab,” I asked.

“That’s one of mine. Delicious. Been making that for about 26 years.” He stood up, looking at the party of 48. “Gotta go. Hopefully, we can get these guys out of here by closing.”

The waitress stepped in, like a choreographed move, and asked what the executive chef recommended.

Yeah, it’s that kind of place, neon sign or not.

Practice makes perfect, by the way, on the flounder stuffed with crab.

Flounder, to me, is an interesting fish. Like most white fish, you have to be careful cooking it. Too long in the skillet or in the oven and you get a gloppy mess that feels like sawdust in your mouth. It’s one of the reasons you encrust it in something or pile lemon, tomatoes, or onions on it while it cooks.

At Phillips, they cook the flounder in its own cast iron dish sitting in what I assume is olive oil with garlic and other spices. The crab cake rests on top in the center of the fish.

Start on the edges as you eat, savor the fish that holds together long enough to chew. The fish definitely holds up on its own. Take a bight of the crusty french bread that is light and airy on the inside, and then make your way to the center. Before you begin blending the two, take a bite of the crab cake, let the flavors wash across your tongue and then eat the meal as the chef intended. The crab cake jumps out at you but the flavor lasts only until the fish’s garlic flavor and different consistency kick in. As the disparate but complementary flavors mix, there is (or at least should be) that almost inaudible sigh as your stomach knows you made the right choice for dinner.

I ordered the house salad and creamed spinach on the side. They recommended the season vegetables, but squash two nights in a row didn’t seem like a great idea. Plus, I’m a sucker for creamed spinach. In retrospect, the vegetables make more sense. Their spinach has a light, garlicy cream sauce. Combined with the fish and crab cake, I was definitely safe from vampires that night (and probably for another week.) I would have, as I say, been better off with a clean vegetable to avoid conflicts with the main course.

In the interest of fairness, I should warn you to take your appetite and your wallet. The meal is deceptively filling and the folks at Phillips aren’t cooking in the name of charity, but you will, I think, feel like it’s money well spent. After all, they have to pay for that neon sign out front.


Heading Down the Highway–Finally

My youngest son got his drivers license yesterday. While I’m not a particularly religious man, I just want to say

Thank you, Jesus or Buddha or Allah or Zeus or any other deity that helped make this happen.

Our joy, as you can imagine, was matched only by his. Those car keys, if I may wax both philosophical and delve into the cliched, represent freedom and adulthood. On a daily basis, he controls some measure of his own destiny in a way that is both exciting and terrifying. He knows, in the back of his mind, that he now has the ability to move around town (or anywhere else in theory) without supervision.

The world is his oyster. He is, in so many ways, one step closer to leaving the nest.

And that’s not a bad thing. It is our job, after all, to slowly prepare our children to fly the coup, go out on their own, and hit the highway. Life, I think, is about movement and growing up not standing still and laying low.

Certainly, driving a car isn’t the only pathway to gaining independence, but we should note that the automobile holds a special place in American culture. We are, in many ways, a nation built on movement. The very infrastructure of our growth begins with rail tracks spanning the continent, followed shortly thereafter with interstate highway systems. Roads offered us a way to create new identities and opportunities to seek out new lives, new worlds, and new selves.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that my 16 year old son grab the car keys and head to California next week, but I am recognizing that he is one more step closer to having that opportunity. If, as many of us might argue, where we live helps define who we are, he will have the opportunity to put that theory to the test.

And I’m glad.

But I’m also struck by the growing trend that many people my son’s age are not getting drivers licenses at 16. While we might definitely argue the world is a safer place with fewer teen drivers, I think we are also seeing an interesting cultural shift that begins to redefine the value and importance of physical travel and identity.

I recognize there are a myriad of reasons 16 year olds don’t get licenses. As city populations grow and we increase access to public transportation, owning a car becomes less important. We can, in many ways, move throughout most major cities without a car. Cars, like so many other things, are also becoming increasingly expensive. Gas, insurance, taxes, inspection stickers, maintenance–these all push the cost of ownership outside the financial means for some families.

It’s also true though, that those things all existed 20 years ago. We all knew friends who had a license but no car to drive or, for some, no real reason to drive.

But they could if they needed to.

We also know that cell phones and social media have created abilities to stay connected and to interact in ways unique to this generation of kids. They can text, tweet, post, and instagram, creating electronically tethered friendships–4G service means never having to face the night alone. Google maps offers a chance to see cities, towns, and even their own houses via satellite, all from the comforts of their couch.

There is no doubt virtual travel has an impact on the impetus to slide behind the wheel and roll down the road, but there are plenty of studies also showing us that this generation values human contact. We know, for instance, incoming first year students don’t like online classes. They want to be with live, real, honest to god people.

As with so many milestones, as my son prepared for his big day, my wife and I bored him with stories. In Texas, or I should say, in our high schools, drivers education was part of the curriculum. We both took the class, starting when we were 15, culminating in our learners permit. The clear message, then, was that part of our educational journey in public schools was learning to drive. Like writing an essay, doing algebra, and learning to read, driving was part and parcel of being an educated citizen.

Upon high school graduation, the system said, we should have the skills and mobility to move on and move out.

Somewhere along the way, that mindset shifted (perhaps in more ways than one) and definitions of independence and growing up became the province of individual families, something private and personal. “We just didn’t feel like he was ready to move out,” some parents tell us when they explain why their sons are still living at home.

I’m not judging. Part of me fully recognizes the value of treating maturity individually.

But it also feels like we have lost something along the way. I don’t want my son to jump in the truck tomorrow and head for Montana, work on a ranch, and call home once a week.

There is a part of me, though, that is glad he could if he needed to. Plus, I’m awful tired of driving him to school every day.


Things I Read

And Things I Learned

Washington Monthly

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Joanne Jacobs

Thinking and Linking by Joanne Jacobs

Inside Higher Ed

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

NYT > U.S. > Politics

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Balloon Juice

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Dilbert Daily Strip

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)