Posts by Bruce Grierson

The Triumphant Day of Fernando Pessoa

On March 8, 1914, in Lisbon, Portugal, “I found myself standing before a tall chest of drawers, took up a piece of paper, began to write, remaining upright all the while since I always stand when I can. I wrote thirty some poems in a row, all in a kind of ecstasy, the nature of…

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Back-Pocket Day

“I thought I was a hoarder. Turns out I’m a prepper.” That New Yorker cartoon captures the spirit of the last three months. Everybody holed up, thinking long thoughts, mentally bracing for what might be coming — while at the same time rueing that we didn’t snap into prep mode sooner. (It’s not like we…

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King Lear Can Wait

The guilt-trip phase of this lockdown is mercifully over. Remember about six weeks ago when people seized on the idea that this is actually an opportunity for creative types? That we all could — should — be super-productive with the oceans of time that have opened up? The backlash was swift. “It’s tough enough to…

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Lessons in follow-through from the backyard marathoners

Say this about the Covid-19 lockdown: it has separated those who keep their promises from those who are happy to take a mulligan in these extraordinary circumstances. By now you’ve likely heard of a UK man named James Campbell, and not because he is a Scottish record-holder in the javelin. A month ago, grounded in…

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Pi and I Scream

With Spring Break upon us and there’s nowhere to go because everything’s cancelled and everything’s closed, what better way to spend the cooped-up hours than thinking about something equally irrational and never-ending: Pi. Happy Pi Day, folks. When math geeks the world over consider the almost mystic ratio of the circumference of a circle to…

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Stuck in the Airport

Edited Jan 14, 2020 On August 28, 1998, Merhan Nasseri’s plane touched down at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, and the Iranian refugee strode into Terminal One. In the departure lounge he found a seat. And there he remained until July of 2006, when he took ill and had to be hospitalized. For 18 years,…

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Make a Killer Halloween Costume

Halloween is like Ocean’s 11: You’re in you’re out, right now. “Half-in” doesn’t really fly. Like wearing sweatpants in public, making a lame last-minute costume broadcasts a depressing lack of both imagination and initiative. Why bother? On the other hand, we’ve all had the experience of going all-in on a great costume that ended up…

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Workplace Switcheroo: CEOs swap jobs

“Trading places,” as a social experiment and story hook, is older than Eddie Murphy, older than Mark Twain, older even than Shakespeare. But it’s likely no two CEOs had stepped into each others’ shoes before Kip Tindell and Maxine Clark gave it a go one February day. Tindell, co-founder of the Missouri-based Container Store, hopped…

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Inspired Lunacy

Adbusters magazine is no stranger to high-concept one-day actions. Call them provocations, call them statements. Call them invitations to live with greater depth, meaning and resistance. The calling-card example is Buy Nothing Day, an international protest against runamok consumerism held, not coincidentally, on Nov. 29 — “Black Friday”— one of the biggest shopping days of…

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The 10,000 Steps of Leopold Bloom

Lisa Simpson: “Oh, it must be Bloomsday. Every June 16, lovers of James Joyce follow the route traveled by Leopold Bloom in the novel Ulysses.” Bart Simpson: “What you’re saying is, we’ve run out of fun things to do.” … Even if the Irish family vacation planned by that other Homer, the dim one, failed…

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