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Preview: American Fez

American Fez



Online Journal of the StephenEsque Organisation



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

 



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...



After His Fashion

2017-06-28T13:02:30-04:00

Writing a book about John Cowper Powys is an undertaking somewhat akin to grappling with Grendel's mother when it's her "time of the month." He is a literary monster whose reputation currently dwells in what might as well be an...



Thrill of the Chase

2017-06-20T10:13:44-04:00

I've thrown myself into numerous short-lived interests over the years. Marine Engineering, Oriental History, Vegetarianism, the Nobility of the Gold Standard, the Art of the Cobbler. All these interests and more have been stalked by my insatiable desire to possess...



My Cocoon

2017-06-15T11:50:23-04:00

Every morning I awake to a new madness in the world. Well, at least it seems that way from listening to the news media; from reading outraged remarks on Facebook; from overhearing gloomy prognostications and observing the wringing of hands...



Till Excel Spreadsheets Wake Us And We Frown

2017-06-09T10:44:16-04:00

My attempt to return to some sort of semblance of a daily routine after vacationing on the Amalfi Coast is thwarted by instant nostalgia for the time spent in Italy. Distant cruise ships disappearing into the gleaming mediterranean sea; whitewashed...



Italian For Beginners

2017-05-19T11:43:10-04:00

I'm currently brushing up on my Italian as I'm visiting that country in a few weeks. Alas, when comes to understanding the romance languages, Cupid's enabling arrow missed me by a mile. I have no facility with foreign grammar whatsoever....



Foreward

2017-05-10T14:52:53-04:00

The used bookstore on the north-west corner of Grede Street has been demolished. It was a pleasant stucco and glass faced store-front from the nineteen-thirties. I once bought a John Cowper Powys novel from them: Porius, I remember it well,...



Beer And Its Discontents

2017-05-01T16:15:18-04:00

The inventory of available beers at modern restaurants is quite extensive these days, often requiring two sides of an A4-size menu to describe the various ales, lagers, stouts, saisons, and so on that can be ordered from your waiter. Then...



Ovid's Office

2017-04-26T14:00:13-04:00

"I have the Midas touch," announces Ken, nodding approvingly to himself while parading around the office. "Oh yeah!" he adds suggestively, snapping his fingers and switching his hips in some sort of macabre, mid-life crisis travesty of a disco dance...



Matinee Idle

2017-04-21T11:57:14-04:00

I've long wondered why no witch burning historical reenactment societies exist. There is the Salem Witch Museum and whatever tediously educational role-playing dramas it presents, sure. But as far as I'm aware no just-for-the-Hell-of-it recreational organizations devote their weekends to...



Healthy Mind, Etc

2017-04-19T11:36:51-04:00

Lower back pain: the great leveler, literally, since I am currently as horizontal as the x-axis on a graph measuring absolute zero verticality. Recumbent in my bed, I am laid out like that patient etherized upon a table Eliot likened...



Easter Meets Wester

2017-04-11T11:12:31-04:00

I once did business with a Chinese national who only knew the Kumbaya aspects of Christianity. He'd never heard of Hell or fire and brimstone. I'm not even sure he was aware that Jesus was crucified. It was all "Michael...



Brain Weather

2017-04-03T11:12:36-04:00

Brain weather is unpredictable. High pressure in the cerebellum means it's often overcast with periods of heavy rain in the morning. Some sunlight will possibly break through towards late afternoon. Then again, a dense fog might drift in without warning....



Named And Shamed

2017-03-28T10:04:39-04:00

On Saint Patrick's Day, after work, we encounter shamrock-tattooed Ben tying himself into Celtic knots to affirm his Irish ancestry. "My grandparents came over on the boat from Dublin," he explains while wiping a beard of Guinness foam from his...



Oh Brother

2017-03-23T15:40:48-04:00

Talking to Dumb Dave is tough going. His cognitive skills are not good, hence his unkind nickname. It's like the painstaking procedure of typing a memorandum on an old, manual QWERTY typewriter with a single, sprained finger. Click-clack, I stab...



School of Thought

2017-03-20T14:00:28-04:00

There is a school of thought that claims individual consciousness does not emanate from the human brain. It believes, instead, that brains merely act as receivers for consciousnesses residing elsewhere, somewhere "out in the ether" as old-time folks used to...