A Year Most of Us Would Like to Forget

Gebhard Fuge: An den Wassern Babylons

Gebhard Fuge: An den Wassern Babylons

A couple of posts ago, I stated that I wasn’t going to do my annual review because I lacked the courage; however, I’ve changed my mind hoping that the exercise might provide some catharsis, serve as a purgative to wash away pity and terror, as I rent my sackcloth and tear out my few remaining  strands of hair.


Prophetically setting the tone for horror over the horizon, my very first post this year was a New Year’s Day comparison of Hank Williams and Townes Van Zandt, two doomed cool rocking daddies who both died on New Year’s Day 44 years apart.  Click Here.

hank and townes

Of course, David Bowie would die later that month while those undelightful Bundry Boys, who later would be acquitted, occupied federal property in Montana.  Instead of going there, I’ve linked the cautionary tale of my first acquaintance with alcohol.  Read it and weep. Click Here.

Folly Beach Tales of Intoxication


In February my Aunt Virginia died, which led to musing on mortality as my siblings and I scattered her remains to the Folly River.  Click Here.

ashes to ashes

Here’s also a review of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, which I listened to driving to a funeral home after a stranger in a bar the previous evening showed me photographs of her husband’s severed finger stumps, which he had acquired a couple of hours earlier. Click here.


patPat Conroy, the father of a close friend, died.  She and her sister stayed with us during his hospitalization. Click here.

In addition, March brought us the news of the return of Judy Birdsong’s T-Cell Lymphoma, which, of course, was profoundly disheartening.

This post was created on Good Friday right after finding out the news.  Click here.


Teaching Keats while in despair proved quite difficult but do-able.  Click here.

And, of course, Prince, whom I dubbed “the Lord Byron of Pop, died.  Click here.




Yet another death, this time a student’s.  Click here.

And I review Don DeLillo’s just released not-exactly-upbeat novel, Zero K.


Edward Hopper: "Morning Sun"

Edward Hopper: “Morning Sun”


dylan-ali-2-300x201June brought us a mass shooting in an Orlando Nightclub.  Click here.

Ali, a sort of boyhood hero died, which took me back to the early 60’s when my father tried to teach me how to box.  Click here.

So I decided to cheer myself up by reading the Brothers Karamazov.  Click here.

the author fleeing from an ant attack

the author fleeing from an ant attack


Trump + Putin = Love. Click here.

Also, there was that festival of bad taste known as the Republican convention. Click here.

Adelson's luxury suite

Adelson’s luxury suite


Okay, how about a little sunshine.  I donned my anthropological pith helmet and crashed a bachelor’s party at Chico Feo (click here) and talked a colleague into letting me publish a brilliant letter she wrote to her students (click here).


Snazell, Sarah; Doppelganger; Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/doppelganger-178168

Snazell, Sarah; Doppelganger; Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/doppelganger-178168

In September we travelled to Houston for treatment, and my Judy Birdsong met the other Judy Birdsong, a bright light in a year of darkness (click here).


Before Leonard Cohen died, I published this piece after reading David Remick’s splendid New Yorker article.  Click here.


Blow Hurricane Matthew, break your checks, rage blow. Click here.


Oh my God NO! Click here.


So here we are.  On the edge.  Waiting.  But, hey, thanks to all for reading, especially my regular crew.  Happy New Year!


Halloween on Folly Beach

Jack of Cups Saloon by Wesley Moore
     Jack of Cups Saloon by Wesley Moore

Last Thursday, I was at one of my favorite Folly Beach oases, the Jack of Cups, talking Halloween with the Jessie, an impressively sophisticated twenty-something bartender who double majored in philosophy and theater in college, a young woman who can expound on Kant and Hegel as well as Kurt Cobain and Patti Smith.

I confessed that I rarely indulged in dressing up for Halloween, but that perhaps the most creative costume I put together was in grad school when I decided to transform myself into the personification of a libido. After I described the costume (black tee and jeans, white pancake makeup, red-laced fringed Lone Ranger-like mask, phallic walking stick), Jessie said that coincidentally she had been talking to three of her friends about doing Halloween as the chorus of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – you know, a mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, a libido.

She went on to say that when she had mentioned the idea to someone else, the person had made a sour face and declared the concept “offensive.” What was really cool, Jessie claimed, was that her friend who originally had come up with the idea was biracial and loves the word mulatto and that she, Jessie, has been diagnosed with Ocular Albinism, Type 1, so coming up with a mosquito and libido would have been all they needed to pull it off.

I said, “Go for it. How humorously inappropriate for the politically correct crowd to chide, given the ironic brilliance of the concept.”

b21261aladdinsane-cropped-975x731 cmpltunknwn-inspiration-david-bowie-4Naw, she had abandoned the idea for an easier one. She was going as David Bowie from his Ziggy Stardust days and her fiancé was going as the mid-70’s David Bowie a la the Young Americans album. She said she and her fiancé were going to make out at parties, which, I said, made delicious narcissistic sense.

I had just reposted my “You Won’t Believe These Killer, Innovative, Somewhat Offensive Halloween Costumes,” and when Jessie disappeared into the kitchen, I checked my email to find this costume suggestion: Sylvia Plath with cardboard box oven.

Now, that’s what I call spooky.

Anyway, last night I decided at the last minute to wander down to Center Street on Folly to see what was out there, hoping against hope that I might run into twin Bowies sucking face. No such luck, but I did run into Thomas Ravenel and Kathryn Dennis.

Southern Charm

Southern Charm