Magazine: The Straggler

Follow the Fleet

Fleet Week! For a few days, the rather distinctly unmilitary inhabitants of New York City find that in hurrying from one commercial deal to another, one fashion show to another, ...

The Voice of the Derg

Science-fiction writer Robert Sheckley wrote a story titled “Protection,” whose first-person protagonist acquires a guardian angel. The angel is actually a validusian derg — an invisible, immaterial being from another ...

The Arts of Cheerfulness

Third Thursday of the month, in season, is club night — the meeting, that is, of my gents’ dinner club in New York City. We are a heterogeneous crowd: lawyers, doctors, ...

No Hiding Place

My breakfast-time reading matter of choice, the New York Post, has regular stories about long-separated friends, lovers, and family members who find one another via Google. Here’s one: “High School ...

Second Childhood

‘All those years we thought we were building Com­mu­nism! Actually they’ve built Communism right here in the U.S.A.!” This gets the biggest laugh of the evening. All seven of us in ...

Car Talk

‘The parking brake, honey. Parking brake. “Sorry, Dad.” She releases the parking brake and we move out into our quiet suburban street. Signaling, she drives nicely to the corner, stops, looks, and ...

Machine Dreams

What shall I do to be saved? Well, I might try uploading the contents of my brain to some more durable substrate. If I survive another 30 years, this will ...

Driveway Drama

So many things to know; so many points of view; so many disagreements, so many mishaps. Compared with home ownership, politics is a breeze. We are waiting for the driveway people ...

The Glorious Eighteenth

Softly the civilized Centuries fall . . . – Alun Lewis, “Raiders’ Dawn”   The monument to Captain Cook is on the western side of Kealakekua Bay, on the big island of Hawaii. It ...

Creative Destruction

My local GM dealer has shut up shop. I drive past the place every day; it is a melancholy sight. Weeds and tall grasses are coming up all around. The ...