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Preview: American Fez

American Fez



Online Journal of the StephenEsque Organisation



Published: 2018-04-19T09:00:26-04:00

 



This. Means. War

2018-04-19T09:00:26-04:00

Today I'm wearing office camouflage: a charcoal suit with a light blue shirt instead of the jungle motley worn by soldiers in combat. There will be no policy of appeasement practiced by me this week. I shall conceal myself in...



Three Day Weekend

2018-04-13T13:44:01-04:00

This week I've been busier than a frantic bee with an eleventh-hour honey collection deadline to meet. Suffice it to say, after all that effort my honeycomb remains threadbare and uninspiring. Everything always happens at once, for some reason, requiring...



Only Connect

2018-04-03T12:22:03-04:00

A phone call at work inviting me to attend an all-day "Digital Marketing Strategy" seminar. I explained that my digital marketing strategy is the same as my analog marketing strategy: would the seminar address digi-anal issues for those of us...



Easter Fool's Day

2018-04-01T16:55:55-04:00

If I were Donald Trump's agent, after his Presidential term is complete, I would direct him towards performance in the theater of Samuel Beckett, rather than a revival of his reality television career. He would be excellent, I think, in...



Vanitas

2018-03-26T10:05:37-04:00

Many, many years ago, an attractive woman at work, slightly senior to me, just happened to mention that I looked good in warm tones: an offhand remark that I took to heart and have lived by ever since. Of course,...



New Tempo

2018-03-20T12:28:48-04:00

Seasonal and professional logistics mean adjustments to my body and time management clocks are required. This is not simply a matter of winding my watch's hour hand forward by one hour, for my internal pendulum does not run on digital...



Death (of a Thousand Cuts) And Taxes

2018-03-13T11:35:47-04:00

Preparing my tax return each year, I feel like a half-drowned conquistador, kneedeep in the Amazon, fruitlessly searching for El Dorado, which in my case is the mythical "refund" I can claim from the IRS. Alas, I am forced to...



High Deductible

2018-03-06T11:24:00-05:00

These days, my doctor's office, hereafter known as "the point of sale," reminds me of an upscale boutique stocked with luxurious merchandise betraying no visible price tag. If you need to ask what it costs then you can't afford it,...



When The Final Trumpet Blows

2018-02-26T14:26:17-05:00

Before you are called to the Last Judgment, there will be a Penultimate Judgment to be faced. This is a preliminary trial adjudicated by all the wise men whose advice you heard but didn't follow, all the authors whose books...



Travel Broadens The Mind

2018-02-21T10:59:12-05:00

My carry-on travel bag features an exterior side pocket that I almost never use. Too insecure for important documents, too flimsy for mobile devices, too small for a book, the pocket has no discernible purpose. It seems like an afterthought...



The Darling Beads of Creation

2018-02-12T10:48:50-05:00

"Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration," according to haughty inventor Thomas Edison. While this may be true of aligning cogs, greasing gears and screwing experimental light bulbs into position, I fail to see how it applies to other...



All The Fun Of The Unfair

2018-02-05T11:44:54-05:00

The financial services euphemism "wealth management" never fails to crack a wry smile on my tense, economically insecure face, when what most of us really need, of course, is a crash course in basic hand-to-mouth management. I swear my checking...



Olfactory Observations

2018-01-29T10:39:57-05:00

When I was much younger, albeit, with a predilection for appearing to be much older, I decided the scent of Bay Rum cologne suited my particular sense of style. I say "style" but of course it was really adolescent affectation...



Clean Money

2018-01-23T11:02:55-05:00

Money reminds me of a bar of soap. Like soap, money is slippery and hard to keep hold of. A satisfying amount held in your hand shrinks to almost nothing very quickly. Watch it literally slip through your fingers. And...



Intimations of the Thurberesque

2018-01-19T15:37:13-05:00

I often think of myself as a cartoonist who can't draw and this blog as a series of single panel scenarios, sketched in words, concluding with a pithy punchline in the last paragraph. If were a clever man, I could...



The Case of the Recycling Bins

2018-01-18T10:58:09-05:00

I am always waiting for the big recycling scandal to break, when concerned citizens will be shocked to learn their municipalities don't actually salvage paper and glass but merely dump it in the same landfills as the regular waste.The sinister...



Save The Aisle Seat For Somebody Else

2018-01-16T10:07:01-05:00

If you mix up the titles of current movies, they actually sound like something you might consider leaving your home to watch .... Black Tonya I, Paddington Jumanji: Welcome to the Darkest Hour All The Commuters In The World The...



Inequality of the Future

2018-01-08T12:41:58-05:00

My latest meal kit has arrived from sunny California. All the ingredients plus instructions (oven not included) for making Moroccan mint stuffed mushrooms. And that's just Tuesday's vegan theme dinner. Wednesday is chicken, couscous and cauliflower. Thursday is the full...



Winter Blues b/w Stir Crazy

2018-01-07T12:49:28-05:00

Perhaps you are familiar with the old Eskimo jazz standard, Inuit Or Inu-ain't My Baby, made famous in the mid-forties by Frankie Nanook And His Shivering Greenlanders. It's not the most romantic of ballads. The vocalist regales his lover with...



The Lazy Lamborghini

2017-12-29T15:16:59-05:00

I want to be a man of accomplishments. I believe I possess the potential but for some reason I can't get started. If I was a sports car, I'd do zero to sixty in about, oh I don't know, probably...



Once. Twice. Three Times In Royal David's City

2017-12-25T10:34:53-05:00

Considering the Nativity of Jesus surely symbolizes new beginnings, it's remarkable that our celebrations of Christmas are so heavily swaddled in an almost neurotic nostalgia for the past. A snowbound Victorian village, wooden Edwardian toys, mid-century decorations and trimmings, fireside...



Downloadable Library

2017-12-18T11:19:54-05:00

These days, when "left to our own devices" we are literally being left to our own devices: the iPhones, laptops, and tablets connecting us to a world where interpersonal human communication is not required. Unless there's no wi-fi, of course....



The One That Got Away

2017-12-05T10:48:25-05:00

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Except, of course, the man will be assigned the most polluted stretch of river, where there...



Goblin Market, Online

2017-11-28T12:05:50-05:00

Apparently I can be an "influencer" by promoting products and services on American Fez in exchange for financial reward. It's an especially insidious form of advertising; fake enthusiasm, in today's Presidential parlance. There is no 'and now a word from...



Leftover Thoughts At Thanksgiving

2017-11-24T16:15:18-05:00

Thanksgiving comes and goes in a puff of smoke, like a stage magician pulling a roasted turkey out of a top hat. We relish this traditional illusion of a sit down meal with family and friends. Ancient enmities, misgivings, and...



Quality You Cannot Trust.

2017-11-14T10:17:11-05:00

"I'm working on my personal brand," said Oliver from marketing, presenting the straggly strands of a hipster beard he was growing for my inspection. This was news to me. I thought he'd simply discovered a foolproof method of concealing the...



New Beatitudes For November

2017-11-10T11:36:16-05:00

Blessed are the religious icons in need of a new lick of paint. Blessed are the tiny leaves obscuring the ugly chain link fence. Blessed are those who pass by and trim the hedge with their mind's eye. Blessed is...



The Unknown Scribbler

2017-11-07T16:55:58-05:00

Although achieving absolutely nothing of note during my time on Earth so far, I still daydream my life and its prospective works will deserve grander commemoration than reduction to ash and the undertaker's second cheapest urn. Ego whispers that my...



Gulliver In The Fitting Room

2017-10-30T10:43:29-04:00

Fashionistas like myself need to be aware of sizing differences when clothes shopping in different parts of the world. For example, I wear a men's size medium (M) sweater here in the United States. However, in the United Kingdom I'm...



The Aeneid In A Manila Folder

2017-10-24T10:27:49-04:00

"Oh well," our project manager says as yet another new business initiative evaporates into blank faces and apathetic shrugs. "I guess Rome wasn't built in a day." Ah, if only we could build Rome. Alas, such marbled magnificence is far...



Opus Zero

2017-10-17T12:09:37-04:00

Many years ago at junior school, being taught the rudiments of music in the last classroom at the end of a gloomy corridor, our teacher played Gustav Holst's The Planets on the refrigerator-sized phonograph he wheeled out when not distributing...



The Pied Town Crier

2017-10-11T13:42:11-04:00

Ah the halcyon days of yore: rising with the yellow tinged mists of dawn; buxom servant girls scurrying around igniting logs in the fireplace and pouring your daily bath; cracking open lead-lined windows to empty a chamber pot into the...



Youth's Magical Economy

2017-10-03T11:25:05-04:00

I worked minimum-wage summer jobs every summer during my high school and college years in the nineteen-eighties. If only I had invested a portion of those paltry paycheck in a retirement account I could probably retire now. As it is,...



Knee Deep in Red, White & Blue

2017-09-27T11:13:26-04:00

I enjoy patriotic pageantry as much as any nephew of Uncle Sam, but I don't play our national anthem each morning. You won't find me standing to attention and saluting beside my recently vacated bed as the flag is raised...



Victory Garden

2017-09-22T12:31:08-04:00

An abandoned birth bath, hidden now in knee deep nettles, its lichen-lined basin flooded with week old rain. It could be a pedestal for the invisible bust of some long dead gardener; a pillar of Hercules for the beetles, ants,...



Mind Over Matter

2017-09-15T10:13:11-04:00

Were I unable to forage for myself in the wilderness, I would follow the example of St Francis who had food deliveries flown-in by the birds to whom he preached, rather like a beatific version of Blue Apron or Hello...



The Funny Pages

2017-09-12T10:31:01-04:00

I remain incredulous that a reality TV celebrity was proclaimed president of the "United" States, but I'm still absolutely astounded "Great" Britain elected the Addams Family to its parliament. They call them the Conservative Party across the Atlantic, which is...



Mysteries of the Sub-Atomic World

2017-09-07T11:47:24-04:00

Even the smallest splash of spilled coffee instantly swells to become an epic tsunami. Its angry torrents crash into every nook and cranny, soaking all surfaces with the sticky residue of vengeful bean. And after the initial deluge, behold a...



A Place of Disaffection

2017-08-29T13:29:18-04:00

To paraphrase T. S. Eliot, time past and time future are both perhaps present in time wasted; and I should know because I've wasted a great deal of time today and will surely waste equally as many hours tomorrow. I...



Casual Brain Fridays

2017-08-25T10:43:26-04:00

When counting seconds in my youth, I was always told to insert the word "Mississippi" between each number to approximate the actual passage of real time. But time is dragging so slowly today that I'm replacing Mississippi with Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch, which...



Video On Demand And Other Animals

2017-08-23T14:57:32-04:00

Of the brick-and-mortar stores disappearing from our high streets, even more than the used bookseller, I miss the video rental stores most of all. Ah, what fun it was to wander down the aisles in search of something to watch...



Greeny-Golden Oldies

2017-08-16T16:34:21-04:00

Most people are unfortunately familiar with the Bee Gees' song 'Night Fever.' It's the one of those trashy, nineteen-seventies hits that sounds like a troupe of eunuchs arguing about how to operate a washing mangle. Which wouldn't be so bad...



Better The Devil You Know

2017-08-08T13:05:37-04:00

"Get thee behind me Satan!" commands Jesus, according to the Gospel of Luke, when the Devil is trying to tempt him in the wilderness, and although apparently successful 2,000 years ago you'd have to say it's rather a poor defensive...



The Prismatic

2017-08-03T11:24:28-04:00

I like to think of synonyms as existing on a vocabulary spectrum, where chromatic shades of variegated intensity are attached to different words that mean more or less the same thing. For instance, there is a vast rainbow of words...



The Neurotic Swineherd

2017-08-01T16:29:35-04:00

I've always readily concurred with Winston Churchill's remark on human relationships with animals that "Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Give me a pig. He looks you in the eye and treats you as an equal."...



Infra Dig Infrastructure

2017-07-27T10:07:19-04:00

Summer in the city is the season of construction sites. As long as the sun shines there is no old warehouse than cannot be demolished and redeveloped as condominiums with ground floor retail space, no empty plot that cannot be...



Thirty Deaths Hath September

2017-07-25T10:57:28-04:00

My everyday wristwatch is a beautiful leather-banded Laco aviator, made in Germany. Besides the Arabic hour and minute numerals common to most watches, it features a small window showing calendar information: the day of the month rendered as another Arabic...



A Foot In The Past

2017-07-19T14:02:57-04:00

Some years ago, goaded by delusions of sartorial elegance, I tiptoed into an intimidating, oak-paneled, uptown boutique selling luxurious cashmere socks in exact foot sizes. There were no cotton-blend, vaguely fitted packs of three in neutral colors for sale in...



Extra Virgin Snake Oil

2017-07-11T12:00:46-04:00

Had I been an eighteenth-century venture capitalist, a wealthy and bewigged cynic, I would most certainly have funded inventions promising to prevent premature burial. The irrational horror of vivisepulture, after all, kept many Georgian and early Victorian paranoids awake all...



A Book And Its Cover

2017-07-05T16:26:20-04:00

About thirty years ago, when I was as impressionable as Silly Putty and as pretentious as paisley patterned lining in a navy blazer, I bought a paperback copy of The Sailor From Gibraltar by Marguerite Duras. It had a beautiful...