All posts by John Burdick

Pizza-dependent

Pizza-dependent

I did not know until today that pizza entrepreneur Cosimo DiBrizzi was murdered in his home in May 2004. It was all over the news, of course. DiBrizzi was a fairly big deal nationally. In 2002, his pizza empire had been ranked number 72 among the nation’s top 100 pizza chains by Pizza Today. I am mildly surprised I have no memory of the story, but the early aughts were some fairly bleak and inattentive years for me.

Conditions for forgiveness

Conditions for forgiveness

“I can’t forgive you until you blame yourself.” You think you are getting a stock emotional platitude from the heart of the self-help 1970s: no one can love/accept/forgive you until you love/accept/forgive yourself. Then it pulls a fast one at the end, suggesting that meaningful forgiveness may be impossible unless some degree of guilt and complicity has been copped to. Otherwise, what good forgiveness?

Tracking it down

Tracking it down

It is likely Eamon got E. coli because of all the changes in the business environment at Times Square. He and one of his friends and I had raced there on a bus the weekend before to see Punch Brothers and Jesca Hoop at Town Hall. We got there without enough time to sit down to eat. The glitzification of that part of Manhattan has really reduced the pizzeria count. He settled for a kabob from a street vendor.

Rights of passage

Rights of passage

There’s a moment in the life of every New Paltz parent when you realize you just aren’t on the scene any more. You have passed from recognition and relevance in this family-fired town, cut loose from all support systems and it-takes-a-village load-sharing. No more friendships formed, affinities and antipathies recognized amidst the four-season electric crisis of young children.

The one-stop vibe

The one-stop vibe

This futuristic quality is common to all corporate, end-to-end medical specialty facilities with that one-stop, under-one-roof vibe. It is the opposite of a romanticized old-world office experience, where the maverick, clue-hunting Sherlock of a doctor sees beyond the textbooks and AMA guidelines and saves the day, your day.

Short season

Short season

As comforting as a nightly baseball habit seems at times, the game has not been a big part of my media diet for years. Most summers, I just keep half an eye on the standings and stats so that I am positioned to know what is going on when the playoffs roll around in the fall. Then I’m all in, because there is nothing like playoff anything.

Poops and Wake

Poops and Wake

Finnegans Wake comes straight from the teeming crevice of the mind-body split, a very high temperature demonstration of how kooky it can get in the mind of someone who struggles to accept his own sin-freighted body. Powered by polylingual puns, shapeshifting characters who can be anyone at any time, and narrative schema exactly as complex as world history, Wake killed modernism simply by setting the bar way, way in outer space.

Lessons in appropriation

Lessons in appropriation

“The future of this country must be founded upon what are called the Negro melodies,” said Antonin Dvorak, the child of poor Czech peasants. “This must be the real foundation of any serious and original school of composition to be developed in the United States.”

The case for low standards

The case for low standards

A noncommittal dilettante’s right to dabble, right to probe, right to flounder and, yes, right to party in politically incendiary ways, are the beauty and essence of the liberal-arts education. When it comes with 80 grand of debt that locks you into the economic systems you thought you were learning to subvert, to question, to reform – well, you see the friction. This, more than anything, is what makes dissent such a dog-and-pony show.