• The analog way

    The analog way

    I mentioned the other day that I’ve been enjoying the Solti Ring, and enjoying it the way it was originally meant to be enjoyed, on vinyl LPs. This, and a few other preferences for an analog versus a digital way of life, may be a form of nostalgia, sure, and I’m as guilty as the […]

  • Aesthetic appetite

    Aesthetic appetite

    Today’s New York Times brings Pete Wells’s three-star review of Markus Glocker’s new restaurant, Koloman, in the Chelsea district. My wife and I are particularly delighted about this, since we’ve actually been enjoying Glocker’s restaurants for almost fifteen years — since 2010, when he was the chef de cuisine at the now-shuttered Gordon Ramsay at […]

  • Ring resounding

    Ring resounding

    I spent several pleasant hours this holiday weekend with Putting the Record Straight, a 1981 memoir by John Culshaw, the legendary Decca Records producer who oversaw many of the great postwar opera recordings. His autobiography begins with his years as a soldier in World War II and takes him through his career as the manager […]

  • Richard Foreman

    Richard Foreman

    I stopped writing about theatre a decade ago, around the same time that Richard Foreman retired from the stage. I’ve been back to the theatre a few times since then, but I haven’t yet come across theatrical experiences quite as liberating as Foreman’s plays. His work was something of an acquired taste, perhaps, but I […]

  • Fearless stupidity

    Fearless stupidity

    Cunk on Earth, a new documentary series parody co-produced by the BBC and Netflix and premiered on the BBC in September, packs more laughs into every minute than any show I’ve seen in years. Grimly moronic broadcaster Philomena Cunk, played by Diane Morgan, hosts a six-episode series about the history of civilization, endlessly spewing inaccuracy […]

  • From the north

    From the north

    I first became aware of Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophy through a reading of Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks during my sophomore year of college. Towards the end of the book, middle-class merchant Thomas Buddenbrooks, in late middle age and grimly contemplating the slow disarray into which his business and family had fallen over three or four generations, takes […]

  • Anniversary day

    Anniversary day

    Today, November 17, marks the 33rd anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the 1989 protest in Czechoslovakia that led to the overthrow of the Communist regime there and the rise of Václav Havel to the presidency of the new republic. I visited Prague for the first time the following year, and, as the saying goes, “Bliss […]

  • The gospels according to E.V. Rieu

    The gospels according to E.V. Rieu

    After a glancing-at-best familiarity with the bible as a young man, I started to turn to it more and more over the past twenty years, and back in 2018 I came across E.V. Rieu’s contemporary version. It engendered the below consideration of bible translation (more recently I’ve been intrigued by this new translation of the […]

  • A portrait of the artist as a young satirist

    A portrait of the artist as a young satirist

    The title of this post, first published here in April 2016, is I’m afraid somewhat misleading. As I look over all I’ve written in my life, I find that very little of it might be characterized as “satire,” however much I admire the form and find a perverse comfort in it. Maybe I missed my […]

  • Ribbon cutting

    Ribbon cutting

    Over the past few days I’ve been putting some finishing touches on a redesign of this web site, which debuted over twenty years ago as Superfluities. Since then it’s gone through a variety of iterations as my interests and indeed my life have evolved, and with the onset of my sixtieth birthday earlier this year […]