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Hoard d’Oeuvres

Art collecting for the 1% percent, and what it means for the rest of us:

Bernie Madoff’s prized piece of office art was a four-foot sculpture of a screw that he frequently dusted off himself (he, like Donald Trump and scores of other plutocrats, is a notorious neat freak). A defense lawyer pleaded for the valued object to be photoshopped out of court documents, lest it be prejudicial to members of the jury. When Madoff’s Ponzi scheme went bust, J. Ezra Merkin, whose feeder funds supplied Madoff with investors, was no longer Mastering the Universe quite so comfortably. So he sold his stunning batch of Rothkos for $310 million. Whenever I see a Rothko I think of Madoff, and how the afterlife of modern art is now yoked to the pissing matches performed by the big swinging SHLONGS of Wall Street.

PUBLISHED: March 15, 2014
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5634 words)

NOTE: The following text is a transcription of John Lilly's article published in The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism, edited by Harold A. Abramson, M.D. (Bobbs-Merrill, 1967, pp.47-52. )…
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3320 words)

Outdoor Adventure

COMEDY IS TRAGEDY PLUS TIME, and I'm telling you, not enough time has passed. Two years now and my friends automatically start cracking up when anyone says, "How's your cabin?"I just get mad. I don't…
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4685 words)

Ghosts on the Mesa

On the morning of December 18, 1888, Richard Wetherill awoke at his camp on Mesa Verde and prepared for a morning chasing stray cattle across the desert that surrounded him. White powder draped…
LENGTH: 29 minutes (7436 words)

Slavenka Drakulic Italy: old Europe, new Europe, changing Europe

Venice versus Lampedusa: travelling around Italy, Slavenka Drakulic observes one kind of Europe being replaced by another. Instead of attempting to conserve the cultural past, we should accept that…
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6446 words)

The Paul Clement Court

A little before noon on March 23, 2010, President Obama sat at a desk in the East Room of the White House, where—surrounded by Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Ted Kennedy’s widow, among…
PUBLISHED: March 18, 2012
LENGTH: 3 minutes (779 words)

The Man Who Broke Atlantic City

Don Johnson finds it hard to remember the exact cards. Who could? At the height of his 12-hour blitz of the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, last April, he was playing a hand of…
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3906 words)

The Grandmaster Experiment

The world's first female grandmaster was ready to deliver her regular Thursday-night lecture. Susan Polgar was perfumed, coiffed, made-up and dressed in a sleek black pantsuit, an elegant contrast…
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4672 words)

The Big Reveal

The Bible, as every Sunday-school student learns, has a Hollywood ending. Not a happy ending, certainly, but one where all the dramatic plot points left open earlier, to the whispered uncertainty of…
PUBLISHED: March 5, 2012
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2928 words)