Essays

Has Binge-Watching Hijacked Your Dopamine?

I don’t trust anything that I look forward to too much. And topping that list is the double-edged sword of prestige television. For over half a century, critics have railed against what we used to call the “boob tube,” usually objecting on moral or political grounds.

If they knew dopamine like I know dopamine, they could have made a stronger case.

I’m neither a Puritan nor a Luddite. I’ve thrilled to the Emmy-winning dramas of television’s new Golden Age. And like so many others, I fell victim to what TV critic James Poniewozik calls “The Suck“: “that narcotic, tidal feeling of getting drawn into a show and letting it wash over you for hours.” But after spending too many precious hours with my neo-cortex on hold, I had to reassess my priorities. Continue reading.

Flash Fiction

Subcontinental Drift

yak-and-red-bestBryce Cranwell thought himself very clever. And he was, for a quant. Most quants were narrowly focused on using mathematical abstractions to help Wall Street extract profits from the real economy, but Cranwell had been taking classes in Personal Evolution and was now on track to get his Hero Belt, having already mastered the King and Warrior archetypes. This according to Nadine Tremblay who ran the School for Evolving Nerds. Nadine was an exacting coach. It was her idea for him to take refuge here, in this cave high in the Himalayas, until he was called upon to rescue a family of Tibetan refugees.

“Would Master care for some yak butter tea?” his man-servant Melvin inquired from the chilly depths.
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Featured Video

A Snake in the Sand

Poetry

Too Busy To Die

busy-bestAre you busy?
I’m busy
In fact, I’m so goddamn busy
it’s a miracle I found the time
to come down here and
tell you all about just how busy I am
and have been ever since I hit college
and discovered a whole world
ripe for salvation— by me!
Everything from nuclear proliferation to the rainforest
to the tyranny of cellulite
required my personal attention
God must have known I’d be so busy and not blessed me with children
Where could I possibly have
squeezed them in?

 

Though I might have had a chance if I’d mastered multi-tasking
Efficiency at its most exalted
I could check my email on the toilet
eat breakfast in the car while driving to work and
much like a certain former president
have my sexual needs attended to
while conducting business on the phone
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Improv Theater Scenes

Naked in the Wilderness

An Oklahoma virgin is entranced by a clipboard-wielding ranger with a very big belt buckle in this improvised scene by Betsy Morris and Lisa Martinovic.