Credit: Marques Kaspbark https://unsplash.com/@popcornmatch

When Netflix and Spotify first emerged, my barely post-adolescent self was ecstatic — a low-cost way to binge on music and movies. I could fill all those empty hours and late nights with a seemingly endless stream of content, a much-needed diversion from perusing the DVD racks at home for something I hadn’t seen a million times. $10 was throwaway Starbucks money for any given week and it gave me access to more music than god could have possibly intended. …


There comes a time in every citizen’s existence that we each become susceptible to the creeping (but warm) fog of political nihilism. The transition starts from the sort of “lesser of two evils” thinking that so often characterizes elections to phrases like “Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic”; “The system is just too big and too powerful”; and my personal favorite: “Everybody’s a fool” when describing, well, everyone who doesn’t see things with equivalent nihilism. One becomes so cynical of the process as to take for granted that our progress as a species is something we’ve stumbled into, rather than…


Michael Reynolds / Pool via AFP — Getty Images

While I was unsurprised by Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, like many, I was disheartened. Once again, privilege and political gamesmanship won, and the rest of us lost. The pillars of supremacy still stand tall. Many rejected Dr. Balsey Ford’s testimony out of hand, with senator and layman alike confusing the standard between what our law requires to take away someone’s physical liberty and what might disqualify them for a seat on the highest court in the country. This, tied together with the ongoing fantasy of political conspiracy, seems to leave us exactly where we were nearly 30 years ago during Clarence…


Eric Thayer/Getty Images

I admit to being shocked and then crestfallen at the announcement of Justice Kennedy’s retirement. Despite passionately disagreeing with his vote in Citizens United, I was ecstatic at his opinion in Obergefell, finally opening the door to marriage equality. His “swing vote” as we have come to see it, was the crucial fifth one in the Obergefell decision. I had never before witnessed, nor believed possible, such profound joy brought by a single Supreme Court decision. Of course, the painful opposite was also true, as in his vote recently upholding the President’s power to ban people from Muslim-majority countries in…


Sarah Sanders | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sarah Sanders’s recent expulsion from the Red Hen in Lexington, VA has prompted a rather extremist debate about the nature of civility. One side clamors that this signals the end of decency amongst civilized but politically opposed people; the other says civility be damned, we’re living in less-than-civil times. But I’m here to tell you what you already know — civility, like most other human endeavors, is a question of degrees.

For purposes of clarity on this particular issue, let’s separate civility into three loose groups. The first is general interpersonal civility, the kind we expect to have when waiting…


Watching the angry mob of mostly white men descend on Charlottesville with tiki torches to protest what they believe is an affront to their identity has been, well, perplexing. Not because I lack awareness about Neo-Nazis still lurking in the midst of our society a la spy-sleeper-cell-organization kind of thing. Nor because I am unfamiliar with the racial issues that persist in our cultural landscape (personally been on the receiving end of that one on enough occasions to remove doubt). Then there’s this whole bit about historical figures with deep ties to racism, a President who has pandered to the…


After his recent passing, I spent two weeks re-listening to the audiobook version of Robert Pirsig’s perennial classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. If you haven’t read/listened to it, drop whatever you’re doing, borrow it from your local library, Amazon, or wherever and put it on your shelf to collect dust with all your other books. At least that way your collection will be complete.

It’s a beautiful tale of Pirsig’s journey across part of the Midwest with his son, Chris. All on the back of a motorcycle. Pirsig weaves between the reality of what’s taking place along…


Even faceless robot man has better abs than me.

I’ve been skinny my entire life. Have never struggled with weight gain. At every milestone where people get fatter, e.g., the “freshman 15” of college or the potbelly one is supposed to derive merely due to the fact that nuptials have taken place, has not only missed me, but seems to have gone out of its way to avoid me. Being skinny is so natural to me that if I were to write a book on weight-loss, it would be titled “Eat whatever you want and tap your feet a lot,” which expresses the length of depth and effort that…


Me at any given party.

Just about everyone who has spent an evening with me has, at some point, accused me of being an old man. Back troubles aside, they’re quite correct. When 8:30 pm rolls around, I start to feel the haze creep into the back of my skull like the fog that lingers over Civil War battlefields in those long, dreadful documentaries. My body feels heavy and sluggish, and my give-a-fuck meter quickly starts rolling back towards “no-fucks.” Sometimes, if there is food around or something snappy or exciting happening, I can rally a little (we’re talking 10:30, maybe 11 pm). I can…


I’ve been having lower back trouble for a few months now. Well, to tell the truth, for about the last year or so. I would extend my back too far backward in bed while stretching in the morning (you know, that weird, tense writhing that most of us do when we wake up) or while lifting weights, and pain would shoot throughout my lower back the way that I imagine it would feel to actually take a chair to the back during a WWE match. From there it would be sore for days, keeping me from exercise, flights of stairs…

Daniel Melo

Uniquely average.

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