SC Johnson headquarters tour, Racine WI

SC Johnson headquarters: carport (Racine WI)

The SC Johnson headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin is a peculiar little enclave. The company’s heritage campus includes its iconic, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Research Tower and Administration Building, as well as the Golden Rondelle Theater, transplanted from the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, and Fortaleza Hall, an oval glass modernist memorial completed in 2010. Not exactly … [Read more →]

Shaving cream switch: Goodbye shaving gel, hello Cremo

Cremo Shave Cream

After years of annoyance, I have ditched my blue shaving gel for a new type of shaving cream, and I am a happier man. The new stuff is Cremo Astonishingly Superior Shave Cream. It helps my razor glide smoothly across my face, resulting in a nice, close shave. It has a light, pleasant citrus scent. … [Read more →]

Frances Ha (2013 movie, Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig)

Frances Ha (movie, 2013): Mickey Sumner and Greta Gerwig

If you’d like to spend an hour and a half sometime watching a thoroughly enjoyable portrait of an adorable young woman coming to grips with adult life in New York City, Frances Ha is the movie you should see. Directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Greta Gerwig as Frances, it is a simultaneously joyous and … [Read more →]

The historical Jesus: ‘A Marginal Jew’ who became Jesus Christ

A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume II: Mentor, Message, and Miracles, by John P. Meier

Who was Jesus of Nazareth, according to historical evidence? An ample crop of recent books on the “historical Jesus” has offered yet more answers to this perennial puzzle. Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth sounds very intriguing. Bart D. Ehrman’s How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher … [Read more →]

Mitchell School fire in Racine, Wisconsin: Video, photos

Mitchell School fire, Racine Wisconsin

My wife Amy was already up at 2 a.m. when the fire truck horns started blasting down our street. Mitchell School was on fire. Mitchell Middle School and Mitchell Elementary School are co-located. The entrance to Mitchell Middle School is on Drexel Ave. at Webster St. Just south of that entrance, huge plumes of flame … [Read more →]

Barney’s Version (Paul Giamatti movie, 2010)

Paul Giamatti and Rosamund Pike in Barney's Version (2010)

Barney’s Version is a 2010 movie based on a 1997 novel by Mordecai Richler. It stars Paul Giamatti as Barney, a Jewish TV producer from Montreal who goes through a series of marriages. We didn’t read the book nor hear much about the movie, but we like Paul Giamatti and the trailer looked good, so … [Read more →]

Joseph Conrad Complete Works for Kindle: $3

Joseph Conrad: Complete Works

Heart of Darkness was the basis for Francis Ford Coppola’s legendary movie Apocalypse Now, and a major influence on Anthony Bourdain. Victory resounded through Bob Dylan’s song “Black Diamond Bay.” Two separate film adaptations of Almayer’s Folly have been released in the last five years. Clearly, the chord struck by Polish author Joseph Conrad is … [Read more →]

My earliest Beatles memories were counterfeit

Album cover: Beatle Mania! by The Liverpools

With all the nostalgia this past week over the 50th anniversary of the Beatles landing in America and appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show, I tried to reminisce about my own reaction to those first Beatles songs, only to recall that it was all a fraud. At age 3 and a half when the Beatles … [Read more →]

Cancer history: ‘The Emperor of All Maladies’

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee

I haven’t blogged in months. I’ve been mostly absent from Twitter and Facebook as well. Initially, I wanted to spend less time in these scattered and distracted modes of thought, and more time on focused and linear avenues like reading books. But then my wife Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer. It turns out that … [Read more →]

Woody Allen: ‘Midnight in Paris’ (Owen Wilson, movie 2011)

Midnight in Paris (2011): Owen Wilson

Once upon a time, Woody Allen made films like Annie Hall, which featured his angst-ridden but lovable persona, was brilliant yet accessible, and won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay (Diane Keaton also won for Best Actress). The world loved Woody Allen. Then commenced a long period of growth, during … [Read more →]