It hurts me when people who’ve never landed foot in Baltimore casually declare that the city, my hometown, is “so depressing” when seen through the windows of an Amtrak train. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this, or how wounding it always feels—because it’s true.
Once you’ve racked up four episodes of a TV show, it’s hard to say goodbye, but I’m calling it quits with Fargo, the month-old FX series inspired by the Coen brothers’ 1996 film of the same name. This decision hurts a bit: I loved the movie and was so hoping the FX series would live up to its cinematic predecessor. It doesn’t.
I’ve gotten old and cranky enough that I mostly don’t read new poetry anymore, or even old poetry that’s new to me. But at the Brooklyn Book Festival last September, I stopped by the Academy of American Poets booth and, without thinking, signed up for its Poem-a-Day service, which emails you a different poem every morning.
For me, the most emotionally satisfying aspect of Academy Award season is the grousing. This year, I’ll again be complaining about how much better the Oscars broadcast used to be, back when it was a whole lot worse: when outrageous outfits (Björk’s swan dress, whatever insane getup Cher poured herself into) trounced tasteful designer ensembles on the runway, and, especially, when Debbie Allen was choreographing all those wince-worthy dance routines. Seth MacFarlane’s (delectably) groan-inducing turn as host last year aside, the program’s gotten so staid, so controlled, that one could perish of decorum.