All posts by John Burdick

What we’re going through

What we’re going through

The age we are living in is starting to feel like an omni-trigger, a cosmic strategy to tease it all out right now. The great tabling of pathos and pathology may account for sharp spikes in suicide rates and opioid relapse, a marked uptick in Kingston gunplay, and in my general observations a soaring epidemic of ragged despair and public displays of end-of-rope rage against the air and sky!

It is all a conspiracy

It is all a conspiracy

I have no idea what’s behind the outages. Downed tree, Liz thinks, but well into the calm after what wasn’t much of a storm anyway, I prefer to suspect a creeping infrastructural collapse, a climate-related over-taxation of the Eastern Seaboard power grid and SCADA systems, regulatory and staffing insufficiency, and the malignant let-it-rot indifference of the one percent.

Stormy weather

Stormy weather

For many in New York, Irene and Sandy were startling awakenings to the fact that, yes, we get real weather here, too, weather that can destroy, disrupt, reposition large structures, and burn permanent and surreal images in our minds, like Avenue C turning into a river along which taxicabs merrily floated by toward New York harbor and the light of Liberty.

Four brutal, short works

Four brutal, short works

The superintendent of a tiny, predominantly Mexican Arizona school district struggles out loud over an agonizing decision he has to make whether he should open his schools or lose five percent of his annual funding. He’s already had a teacher die of Covid-19, contracted at one of his schools when only two other teachers were present and all protocols strenuously observed.

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.