Recommended Reading: Anya Groner’s short story “Suspecting the Smiths” at The Oxford American. “From the ages of nine to eleven, I worked as a spy… I discussed my cases with my partner, who went by code name Mountain Chicken Mother of the Buddha.”
“We tether ourselves to others as a path not taken, a dream unfulfilled. A lesson unlearned, a responsibility unmet. We mourn idols as ourselves because even that unachieved road must end.” Paul Taunton has written a heartfelt Hazlitt essay on Frederick Exley, Frank Gifford, and passionate idolatry. Exley’s cult favorite A Fan’s Notes, published in 1988, is a fictional memoir that centers on a quasi-obsession with Gifford, who passed away earlier this week at the age of eighty-four.
“According to the biography, Hadden designed the fact-checking system with the thought that putting a male writer and a female researcher together in a quasi-adversarial situation would create a sexual dynamic that could lend energy to the process.” Calvin Trillin’s memories of the Time offices in the early 1960s are at times more Mad Men than Mad Men.
“What I didn’t know then was that these decorations evolved from the Jewish menora, the Hebrew festival of lights. I don’t think my mother knew that either, but if she did she never mentioned it. And I certainly never contemplated the resemblance of a sleigh to a cradle. A sleigh is basically a very large cradle.” Mary Ruefle on Christmas trees.