Talking about guns

I’ve been conducting a summer tour de café, opening my MacBook in the fug of coffee shops in Durham and beyond. Normally, I’m solitary. No space-sharing, no talk-radio hum, definitely no music. The occasional chatter of a Meet Up (I’m talking to you, Carrboro Entrepreneurs at the Looking Glass) or grad students (bless them as
Category: featured

Closing of the Tar Heel mind

Flor de Liz Perez is lightning bottled, a pint-sized streak on the esplanade in front of London’s National Theater. She has light green eyes and a laugh that seems to chase away gray English skies. Perez just opened a new play, “(Expletive) with a Hat,” by a Pulitzer-prize winning playwright. “The Good Wife” fans will
Category: featured

Memory of iron

The news of the discovery of a sunken Portuguese slaving ship off the coast of South Africa is both exciting and deeply moving. According to the Washington Post, in 1794, the São José-Paquete de Africa carried 400 slaves bought in Mozambique and headed for Brazil’s sugar cane plantations. Half of the slaves died. The survivors, valuable property, were resold.
Category: featured

Duke History 101

Working in a university is a little like living in a fast-forward nature video. While I molder in my chair, the students swirling around me only get younger. They blossom, bloom and before the petals fall are off changing the world. I’ve learned to ration the Star Trek references – yes, even the J.J. Abrams
Category: featured

A post from Monica Byrne on “Wired”

From Monica Byrne’s blog A month ago, with the Hugo fracas in full swing, an editor at Wired wrote me and said, “If you have something to say, you have the platform.” Given Wired’s enormous readership, what an incredible thing. I wrote the piece in an afternoon, they put it up, and it did well.
Category: featured

Flame Wars

  I’ve rarely witnessed a fist fight between neighbors. Yet some days I feel like we fight constantly. Instead of using our fists, we battle with the words typed into that little email square we send off to the listserv. Sticks and stones seem somehow quaint in comparison to the vitriol that seeps though my
Category: featured

Comey and the Holocaust

FBI director James Comey has caused a dust up between the United States and Poland with a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post (and reprinted in the Raleigh News and Observer). Titled “The most frightening lesson from the Holocaust,” Comey calls the Holocaust “the most significant event in human history. And I mean ‘significant’
Category: featured

The uriniferous lair

In which I participate in David Abrams’s “Sunday Sentence” project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.” Not being paid an administrator’s exalted salary, I have no intention of violating the sanctum of his uriniferous lair in order to do anything corrective, and it occurs to me that this
Category: featured

The plague

In which I participate in David Abrams’s “Sunday Sentence” project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.” There’s no cure for the hungry plague, but in the end the plague becomes its own cure. M.R. Carey, The Girl with all the Gifts   Related articles The Girl with
Category: featured

Oval Park Pensieve

I live a half block from Oval Park, one of Durham’s little jewels. The park is split in two by West Club Boulevard. To the south are a battered tennis court, a basketball hoop and a picnic shelter. To the north lies the playground and a small baseball field. Both sides are shaded by loblolly
Category: Robin Kirk