Day 5 of the Trump Presidency

January 25, 2017
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Democracy has tripped on itself; the people have been fooled; and the American Republic, that great experiment, is at risk. The Trump era begins. What can one do? Oppose, refuse, resist: it is hard to know which word best captures what has now become necessary. Perhaps the best thing, or the only thing, is to […]

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Paris: Irritations and Pleasures

December 10, 2013

On my first day back in the city after a spell in the US, I needed to take care of some banking business. French banking is bizarrely awkward. The place is over-banked, a bank on every corner it seems, but one cannot go to just any branch of your bank and, with the right account […]

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American Health Care vs French Healthcare 3

November 29, 2013

AMERICA HEALTH CARE FOLLIES With my finger tip, I could feel something on my back,  but I couldn’t see it. Since I had been out in the garden, in an area of New England where Lyme Disease is an issue, I thought that might be a tick. I had no friends around, so went to […]

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France and Food: America Compared

September 3, 2013

Forty years ago, when I still lived in the United States, I had a vegetable garden. I lived in the sun. I dug in the dirt and grew squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers. Both the labor and the product gave me great pleasure. Every morning I went out to see how much damage […]

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Paris: The Man With the Blue Guitar

August 29, 2013

I am in the process of excavating the social, historical and architectural terrain where I live. I go to a different area of the city once a week, or more often if my other tasks release me.  I use Metro stops as my landmarks, much the way a geologist might use an distinctive outcrop of […]

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Proust: The Narrator Himself

August 29, 2013

Marcel lui meme   Yes, always Marcel, the central figure. The tyranny of Marcel’s neurosis  – his obsessive need to be accepted, to access worlds he imagines more perfect than his own, his fantasies concerning certain idealized people, as Mme Swann, – dominates this second book. Yet, however “weak” or “sickly” Marcel may appear to […]

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Proust: Hints of the “Accomplishment”

August 29, 2013

(midway through  “Within a Budding Grove”   as before,  overwhelmed by the scope of Proust’s ambition and by how successfully he is accomplishing it.  I use the present participle “accomplishing” because the narrative has not yet arrived at the conclusion, the “accomplishment” that I don’t yet know how to define. But I suspect that it […]

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Proust: Proustian Time

August 24, 2013

    There are dizzying time-warps. We begin with the author remembering, in extraordinary detail, the world of his childhood, Combray, the house of his grandmother, a lush orchestration of sights and smells, of people, particular incidents, 200 pages of it, and then, snap, we are fully and deeply into the story of M. Charles […]

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Paris is the World: The Sacred and Not So Sacred

August 22, 2013

Paris giveth and Paris taketh away. It dazzles and disillusions, pleases and disgusts. Beauty and filth. Not, of course, a tension unique to Paris, one found in all great cities, but Paris is where the world and I rub shoulders.   I’d arranged to meet my daughter at the Sainte Chapelle, King Louis IX’s private […]

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Proust: An Informal Guide

August 20, 2013

A la recherché du temps perdu rises up before me,  the Himalayas of literature. I have started the climb and am keeping a journal of the adventure. Since Proust allows metaphors to cross and conflict,  I will permit myself the same liberty. Thus: climbing into rarified regions of language and letters, I go for swim and […]

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