It’s a Really Weird Time to Be an Umpire

Remember that scene in “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!” when Lt. Frank Drebin disguises himself as the home-plate umpire at a California Angels game to stop the future Hall of Fame slugger Reggie Jackson from assassinating the queen of England? If you haven’t seen the movie, just go with it. With … Read more

Poem: The Life of Sun Ra

Short poems operate in that liminal space between “literary object” and “jotted-down thought.” They are usually casual and generally cunning, seeming to spontaneously respond to everyday stimuli — a half-read library book, the music in the air, a movement seen out of the corner of one’s eye. They are so often hidden away in notebooks … Read more

Judge John Hodgman on Office Candy Bowl Etiquette

Molly writes: My co-worker Innis eats candy from my candy bowl at work. He often opens two-packs of Starbursts and throws back colors he doesn’t like. He also tosses the wrappers on the floor. Please order Innis to eat all the candy he opens and put his trash in the trash can! Is it possible … Read more

I’m an Underpaid Professor. Can I Do the Bare Minimum?

I am a tenured professor of chemistry, currently in my 14th year at a small public regional college. I enjoy teaching and mentoring students. I am underpaid, however, and increasingly feel that my passion for teaching is being exploited by the administrators who make salary decisions. In the past, I have been willing to take … Read more

The Incredible Challenge of Counting Every Global Birth and Death

The roads surrounding the Jerusalén-San Luis Alto Picudito Indigenous reservation in Putumayo, Colombia, are treacherous on a good day. Made mostly of gravel and mud, they narrow to barely the width of a small truck in some places, and in others, especially after a storm, they yield almost completely to the many rivers with which … Read more

This Vegan Soup Is Rich With Peanuts, Potatoes and Comfort

On the last morning of his life, in a little adobe schoolhouse in the Bolivian high-mountain village La Higuera, the Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara ate a bowl of sopa de maní. It was Oct. 9, 1967. There was no road to the village, only a horse trail. Guevara was wounded and captured by the Bolivian … Read more