The Winter of Our Malcontent, or Why Spring Needs to Hurry the Hell Up and Get Here

WELL, THAT happened fast, didn’t it?

Winter, I mean. One week we were sailing along with late-autumn temperatures in the 50s and 60s, and then, almost as soon as the solstice happened, we found ourselves plagued by single-digit lows and highs that looked up at the freezing mark with envy. On top of that, we had four measurable snowfalls in December. New Englanders may shrug at that frequency, but for us mid-Atlantic types, it was an unexpectedly early time to keep our eyes on Twitter to find out if our kids’ schools were closed.

No 30s and 40s to ease us in. No solitary dusting to remind us that more serious stuff was on the way.

I can take — even prefer — cold, wintry weather through the holidays. Things feel terribly off when Christmastime is too warm.

Now that we’re into the New Year, though, I’d sure love for Mother Nature to cut us some slack. If she’s trying to teach a much-needed lesson to the climate-change deniers, I can understand, but that’s like when the teacher would punish the whole class because one kid was acting like a blockhead.

So maybe, Ma N., maybe give us cold instead of frigid? Give us weather that braces us instead of hurts us?

And if you want to bring the 60s and 70s back a few months early, I’d be okay with that, too. | DL

Quitless Protection, or How Rereading My Old Posts Made Me Want to Try Again

FROM TIME TO TIME I like to revisit the relics of my many abandoned blogs and take a look at what was on my mind at a particular point in time. What I often find is that the writing isn’t too shabby and the thoughts genuine — it’s really me in those pixels. With the benefit of the holiday week off and a desire to write more in 2018, I’m trying again.

So welcome back to Dadlibbing. I enjoyed its mix of observations on fatherhood, pop culture, sports, books, and such, so much so that that’s the one I’ve decided to resurrect. Hope you enjoy, and come back, won’t you? | DL

Severance Hackage, or Why Kenny Cosgrove Has No One But Himself to Blame

MMS7B-Ken-590

AMONG THE MANY entertainments of Mad Men is the train-wreck thrill of watching its talented, pretty characters self-destruct in spectacular fashion. They smoke too much, drink too much, work too much, and sleep with the wrong people over and over and over again. But what secondary character Ken Cosgrove did in Sunday’s episode makes Don’s, Peggy’s, Roger’s, Pete’s, and Joan’s transgressions look like harmless, impish fun.

Continue reading

Lumbar Liquidators, or How Back Pain Is Not Something to Mess With

IF YOU WANT to get an idea of what it feels like for a whale to get harpooned, I suggest you herniate a disc in your lower back so severely that an anesthesiologist has to insert a needle into your spine and inject a dose of steroids in hopes of reducing the inflammation. Twice in the last month I’ve undergone such a procedure, and in each case my mind flashed immediately to Melville.

Continue reading

Tome Swift, or How Smaller Page Counts Are Feeding My Habit

short readsTHE PLAN TO read more in the new year was going well. Until it wasn’t. Even my audio book consumption dropped off. In both formats, I started works only to get into them and lose interest. And before too long, my reading momentum was gone.

Looking for a way to get my nose (and ears) back into books, I recalled a list I’d seen online of well-done quick reads. That seemed like a good way to ease myself back into it — not by taking on a weighty doorstop whose heft could prove intimidating, but by leveraging the psychological boost that a work of smaller scale could provide. The Goldfinch? Um, no, not this week. Dept. of Speculation? Jenny Offill’s novel, checking in at 192 pages, is at the top of the list I’d seen. Perfect.

Continue reading

Creative Righting, or How an Irreverent Marketing Campaign May Inspire Me to Reorient the Ship

kkaprod2_largeWHIT HILER WAS not the presenter I expected to be the one to deliver my annual March jolt of “Get off your ass and create.” That shock of inspiration inevitably happens at CUPRAP’s spring conference, typically courtesy a gifted writer or determined peer. Hiler, though, is not only an agency guy but also a partner in a side project called Kentucky for Kentucky, whose goals include rebranding the Bluegrass State with the tagline “Kentucky Kicks Ass.”

Yeah.

Continue reading