I write a lot, and some of it finds its way across the web. Here’s a directory to some of the highlights. In a few cases, the original host has succumbed to link rot, and I’ve reposted the material here on my own site.
is a 1000% true history podcast I do about the somehow-mostly-forgotten conflict between the United States and an ocean full of angry sea monsters just after World War 2. Given how bad it got, it amazes me that people don’t talk about it more. I’m trying to change that.
is a newsletter I write about art every week or so. There’s more info and a signup link on the linked page. It’s informal, it’s fun, and it would be a blog if this was 2005. But it’s 2020(-ish), so it’s a newsletter! (Note: as of summer of 2021, it’s on hiatus, although hey, there’s a lot of fun stuff in the archives)
is a podcast I do with my friend Chad Cook. We started out by going through the catalog of the band Uncle Tupelo song by song; when we finished that, we started doing the same thing with the work of St. Vincent, but got derailed by covid. Now we just take turns picking albums to talk about. It gets pretty lively and funny, and goes to strange places.
is my art podcast. Season one, all of which is posted and available, is a rogue audioguide to a collection of works on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It’s kind of my attempt to make the stuff I learned in grad school fun and accessible. Check it out!
What Louis C.K. Could Learn From the Beastie Boys Book – a short piece contrasting the admirable way the Beastie Boys dealt with their legacy of being awful to women in the early career, as opposed to Louis CK’s approach of being publicly awful.
Jack the Ripper, Now With Extra Red – A review/examination of the colorized reissue of Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell, a landmark work in comics; sort of like if Citizen Kane were to be rereleased in color.
Strange Beast – An article I did for the Slate Book Review about my young infatuation and then disillusionment with the work of author Tom Robbins. Published June 2014.
The Complicated, Slightly Better Manhood of Achewood – A deep dive into the true meaning of one of my favorite pieces of comic work, Chris Onstad’s webcomic Achewood.
Ray Smuckles- Nobody’s Role Model – Companion piece to the previous article, examining Achewood’s treatment of women.
Memes Are Comics, And We’re Living in a Golden Age – Yes, this is a serious argument.
Recent Essays and History / Art History Jams Posted Here
Tom Clancy and the Dubious Comfort of Boomer Dads – I read a mountain of Tom Clancy books and then had thoughts about what some people are looking for in American politics.
Wave That Flag is an ongoing series where I’m looking at the songs of the band the Bottle Rockets.
Approach the Throne: Serena Williams, Sports Illustrated, and Third-Wave Feminsim – Extended piece on the way Sports Illustrated has photographed Serena Williams over the years, and how she turned the power dynamic on its ear when she was named Sportsperson of the Year.
Thomas Eakins, Brushing Against the Limits of Science – Art historical examination about a great American painter of the 19th century who palled around with scientists who thought they’d discovered everything, and how that belief blew up in their and Eakins’ faces.
Your Favorite Band is Probably Just Fine – A jeremiad against music snobbery and gatekeeping, embedded in a discussion of a couple of music podcasts.
Somebody Go Back and Get a Shitload of Dimes, or Postmodernism Is Closer Than You Think – An attempt to explain everyone’s favorite cultural bogeyman by pointing out that Blazing Saddles is a verrrry postmodern movie.
A Brief Visual Walk Through the History of Black Militant Imagery – Just what it says it is. Art historical trip that ranges from Public Enemy to the heroes of the Haitian Revolution, with lots of stops in between.
There and Back Again, for Once – Revisiting Tolkien and trying to figure out how much World War 1 factors into his books.
Wicket Don’t Surf – In 1982, George Lucas tricked a nation still deep into post-Vietnam freakout mode into rooting for thinly-coded Viet Cong analogues.
The Past Is Another Country – Autobio piece about old country music.
Journal of a New COBRA Recruit (2002)
Journal Of A Seasoned COBRA Veteran (2006)
Journal of a COBRA Special Forces Veteran (2011)
Three ridiculous, linked humor pieces mocking the cartoons of my youth. I’m proud to say that I got some nice emails from Larry Hama, the guy who wrote the Marvel G.I. Joe comics in the 80s (which were actually really good, and not much like the very silly TV cartoons) about these pieces.
Portrait of the Artist as a Non-Artist (2003) – An article about National Novel Writing Month, approaching it by reviewing my own terrible NaNoWriMo output.
Go Loudly into the Night (2004) – Coverage of an adult “rock band” class at MacPhail Music Center.
Cover Letters I’d Like to Send (2004) – Humor piece, straight-up silliness.
Drat! (2005) – Piece on comic book movies in general and the first Fantastic Four movie in particular. I don’t remember what my suggested title was, but I know it wasn’t “Drat!”
Reality is the New Fantasy (2006) – Profile of the very excellent St. Paul comic artist Ryan Kelly
Pulse of the Twin Cities
Bob Mould: “This is my life’s work.” (2005) – Interview and profile of musician Bob Mould
A Bad Day to Be A Sturgeon (2005) – Essay I wrote about a bizarre sturgeon-spearing season in Wisconsin. Originally appeared on the now-defunct American Nerd.
Eschaton Lite (2010) – Set of playable rules I wrote for the Eschaton game which figures prominently in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. This piece was in turn the basis for a story in Outside Magazine.
The People Who Run Things (2004) – Weird physics-based fiction piece that ran in the lit anthology The Diagram.
You may also want to look at my index of my comics, music, and other stuff.