A Better View of the Abyss

Note: From time to time, I hope to include posts from guest writers whose preoccupations align with All of That. The following piece is by my wife, Barbara Black, who teaches nineteenth-century British literature at Skidmore College.  Pascal famously claimed that we live by situating something between us and the abyss so that we can … Continue reading A Better View of the Abyss

Banksy and the Hypocritical Talking T-Shirt

On a recent excursion to Notting Hill in London, I stopped in a shop where, I’d been told, they sell lots of cool Banksy t-shirts. Banksy has become quite a phenomenon worldwide, particularly after his “Girl With Balloon,” up for auction at Sotheby’s in London, shredded itself in front of the astonished auctioneer and bidders. … Continue reading Banksy and the Hypocritical Talking T-Shirt

Bradley’s One Lucky Guy

Watching A Star is Born with its avalanche of acting talent and jaw-dropping musical performances, I was struck with one thought over and over again. Bradley Cooper’s lucky I didn’t accept the role. Sure, it would have been amazing to get back on the stage and growl into the microphone with my whiskey breath—to feel the heat … Continue reading Bradley’s One Lucky Guy

Middle Age by Any Other Name

Maybe it’s just me whining about my late fifties, but I think we need a better name for this stage of life. “Middle-aged” doesn’t cut it. Calling myself "middle-aged" feels vaguely mendacious. It’s like referring to yourself as a “seasoned veteran” on LinkedIn to skirt the fact that you graduated from college 15 years before … Continue reading Middle Age by Any Other Name

The Case for Owning Inequality

There’s one thing I’ve learned for sure from reading about race: A quick way to find the fault line between Left and Right is to broach the subject of reparations. Nothing quite gets Conservatives riled up like a $1.4-trillion transfer of wealth to the African-American community to restore it to what economist Robert Browne described … Continue reading The Case for Owning Inequality

Making a Good Business, Brick by Brick

Until embarrassingly late in life, it never occurred to me how much my upbringing affected how I ran my marketing communications business. I was a Presbyterian minister’s fifth and last kid, but because I went into marketing, I didn’t see a lot of obvious connections between his world view and the gritty world of business … Continue reading Making a Good Business, Brick by Brick

Forty Years Later, the Irony of Race

Martin Luther King famously remarked that “11 o’clock on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours” in America. When I was in high school in the “integrated” Denver Public Schools, I could have made the case that AP American History was just as segregated. For a school that had bussed its way to … Continue reading Forty Years Later, the Irony of Race

Kickin’ It With the Class of ‘98

A few years ago, I went back to my college for a class reunion. I met up with some friends at our hotel, did a couple of tequila shots at the hotel bar, and headed to the cocktail mixer for the class of 1983. All the alumni mixers were held in separate rooms at a … Continue reading Kickin’ It With the Class of ‘98

Reading the Livestrong Wall

This picture is of a wall at the Saratoga Springs branch of the Saratoga Regional YMCA where I work out and serve as a trustee. Located on the second floor at one end of the indoor track, it refers to the Livestrong at the YMCA program which promotes physical fitness for people dealing with cancer … Continue reading Reading the Livestrong Wall

Doing the Art Thing at Frieze London

This October, when I went to visit my wife in London, where she taught English for the 2018 fall semester, she told me she had bought tickets to Frieze London. She was very excited about it. I asked her what Frieze London is, and she explained it’s a huge, very high-end international contemporary art fair … Continue reading Doing the Art Thing at Frieze London