Blog Profile / Literary Kicks


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Filed Under:Academics / Literature
Posts on Regator:557
Posts / Week:1.5
Archived Since:March 2, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Philosophy Weekend: Ukraine as Puzzle

Last weekend I suggested that we attempt the exercise of visualizing global conflicts as Sudoku puzzles, and explained some of the basic techniques typically used to solve these puzzles. I then got a bit carried away discussing the difference between Sudoku and KenKen puzzles, and how some KenKen techniques could also be applied. Show More Summary

Philosophy Weekend: Ethical Sudoku

It occurred to me only recently that I have a revealing habit: when I am under a lot of stress, I find myself doing Sudoku puzzles. I suppose what I crave is the reward of completion, and the illusion (it is only an illusion, I'm sure) that I am a successful problem-solver. Show More Summary

Tolstoy Kept It Brief

(Here's a fresh perspective on a classic writer by Alex Strike, a blogger and an essay writing specialist who can be found on Twitter or Facebook.) When Vladimir Nabokov read his lectures on literature, he closed all the curtains inShow More Summary

Philosophy Weekend: Ethical Sodoku

It occurred to me only recently that I have a revealing habit: when I am under a lot of stress, I find myself doing Sodoku puzzles. I suppose what I crave is the reward of completion, and the illusion (it is only an illusion, I suppose) that I am a successful problem-solver. Show More Summary

Maggie Estep

Maggie Estep, the charismatic and accessible spoken word poet and author, has suddenly died of a heart attack. She was 51 years old. Maggie Estep was a big part of the slam poetry scene that emerged from Chicago and New York City in the 1980s and briefly flared into pop culture via MTV in the early 1990s. Her early published works include records like Love Is A Dog From Hell...

Philosophy Weekend: The Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate

This week, Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken Ham of the Creation Museum in Kentucky spent two and a half hours debating the origin of the universe in a well-publicized update of the Scopes Trial of 1920. I could only endure the tedium...Show More Summary

The Century of William S. Burroughs

He was the oldest of the major Beat Generation writers. That's why William S. Burroughs is today the first Beat writer to celebrate a centennial. Burroughs was born on February 5, 1914. He arrived on this planet the same year as theShow More Summary

Bradley the Buyer (from 'Naked Lunch')

One of the first pages I ever created on this website was a biography of William S. Burroughs, and I also typed in a favorite piece of text from his signature novel Naked Lunch, titled Bradley The Buyer. Today is the hundredth birthday of William S. Burroughs, and as part of the celebration I'm running this excerpt again. The illustration was...

Philosophy Weekend: Wealth and Envy

A video that's been making the rounds about a clueless super-wealthy plutocrat who compares America's treatment of the rich to the Holocaust and brags about his wristwatch that's worth "a six-pack of Rolexes" has got me to thinking.Show More Summary

David Amram Remembers Pete Seeger

After Pete Seeger died last week, I remembered that the last glimpse I'd had of the great folksinger was a video of his Broadway march in support of Occupy Wall Street in October 2011, with his friends Arlo Guthrie and David Amram in tow. Show More Summary

Dave Van Ronk Remembers Pete Seeger

I noticed something strange when I read folksinger Dave Van Ronk's awesome autobiography a few weeks ago. The gruff ethnomusicologist remembered most of his old friends with sarcasm and bittersweet wit... but he had nothing but full-throated words of love for Pete Seeger, his elder journeyman who has just died at the age of 94. Show More Summary

Philosophy Weekend: A Dangerous Method

We need more movies about philosophers. I can only think of very few examples to mention, but David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, a 2011 film about the rivalry between early psychologists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, shows that the format can work. Show More Summary

Eli Stein's Cartoon Caption Contest

Some of you have met Eli Stein before; he's written Litkicks articles about P. G. Wodehouse and Al Jaffee, and he's my father. He's also a cartoonist with a body of published work dating back to the 1950s. If you've read a lot of the...Show More Summary

Philosophy Weekend: The Privacy Policy We Deserve

It's great that Edward Snowden got us all talking about privacy. But are we saying intelligent things about it yet? The most common reaction to revelations of federal invasions of individual privacy is to visualize the government as an "other" looking at "us". Show More Summary

Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn's Negative Space

Back when I was an art class nerd in high school, I once struggled with an assignment to use "negative space". We were supposed to create a painting or artwork that communicated through the shape or presence of what wasn't there, rather...Show More Summary

Philosophy Weekend: Perambulating

I wasn't able to stand still long enough this weekend to put any thoughts together. I've been walking around, in the wind and rain and snow. Sometimes it feels like I'm walking in circles. Sometimes it feels like I should be walkingShow More Summary

Amiri Baraka, Newark Poet

Amiri Baraka, a seminal Beat poet, angry playwright, revolutionary activist and scrappy indie publisher from Newark, New Jersey has died. The Allen Ginsberg Project blog has the scoop. Here's a Litkicks article about Amiri Baraka by Jamelah Earle from 2003. Please feel free to share your memories or personal encounters with Amiri Baraka by leaving a comment below.

The Great Lost Folk Memoir: The Mayor of MacDougal Street by Dave Van Ronk

Dave Van Ronk's The Mayor of MacDougal Street is a constructed autobiography, pieced together by the blues/folk singer's friend and admirer Elijah Wald after Van Ronk died of cancer in 2002. Elijah Wald is a roots-music scholar who has also written books like How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music...

Philosophy Weekend: Respect For Religion

An Atlantic Monthly article by David A. Graham titled "Why Has Republican Belief in Evolution Declined So Much?" made the rounds last week, citing a Pew Research Center study that shows the percentage of self-identifying Republican voters...Show More Summary

2013 Wrap-Up: A Mockingjay Year

I hope my pick for the most significant book of 2013 will surprise you. It surprises me. For one thing, it's not a book. It wasn't published in 2013. And I've never mentioned it on Litkicks before. Before I explain, here's a quick wrap-up of my year of reading and blogging. Show More Summary

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