Short WIRED piece

Eyelids open; flowers blossom; tiny beaks tap cracks in eggshells; crops sprout; creatures stalk, slide, and wriggle from their burrows; teenage elk scrape hooves in the dust, lower antlers, and charge their com­petition. So: Did you—yes, you, clutching your fourth Keurig of the day and still feeling sluggish—really think you were immune to the effects of circadian rhythm, aka the clock cycle of practically all living things? Please.

My Grandfather’s Imposter

The Explorer’s Club headquarters fill a five-story Jacobean townhouse on East 70th Street in Manhattan. The inside looks lifted from the opening scenes of an Indiana Jones movie: Wood panels, stuffed leopards snarling, mounted expedition flags, and photographs of triumphant explorers line the walls. Founded in 1904, the Club has twenty-six chapters all over the world. To become a full-fledged member, you must “carry out or assist in field science expeditions to study unknown or little known destinations or phenomena in order to gain knowledge for humankind.”

Bearded Oklahoma for Oklahoma Today Magazine

Oklahoma is one of the country’s most beard-friendly states. The American Mustache Institute, a St. Louis-based group advocating for the rights of mustachioed Americans since 1965, ranked Oklahoma City the nation’s fourth-most facial-hair-friendly metro. They achieved this humorous ranking using data like monster truck ownership and the number of nightclubs admitting adult males wearing tank tops. Tulsa wasn’t far behind at number 32 out of 100. Humor notwithstanding, in recent years, beards have become as common on men as whiskers on a walrus.

Confidence in Culture

New work in the March 15, 2014 issue of This Land

When the Rodeo Clowns Came

I live surrounded by retirees in rural Oklahoma. They are spry. They own arsenals of gardening equipment: lawnmower-tractor hybrids that grind through the fibrous local flora with cruel efficiency; they wield wicked contraptions, whirling motorized blades that allow withered men to sculpt hedges into forms of sublime and delectable complexity.

On Bohemian Life in the Sooner State

 

HOMEWARD BOUND: Tahlequah via Brooklyn: James McGirk writes notes from a screened-in porch in a city that sleeps.

Destination Oklahoma: Route 66

What you really need to live here is a truck. Maybe not in the cities, but out here, in the foothills of the Ozarks, where the roads flood when the creek overflows its banks, and even traversing a parking lot means tumbling into tooth shattering ruts and axle scraping bumps: you do.

The Metropolitan Trilogy

After writing a spate of reasonably successful—and very autobiographical—novels, James Ellroy and Martin Amis took the cities surrounding them and used them as test beds, experimenting with new voices and forms and populating this familiar terrain with doppelgangers and villains and foils and sexual obsessions.

Constitutional Crisis

This Land Press cover

Cherokee Nation has what seems to be an unusual fixation with lawyers and writing—at least for an outsider looking in. Cherokee museums are dense with detail about treaties, newspapers, and literacy.

North Korea’s Nerve War

The Moranbong Band is best imagined as a North Korean version of Celtic Woman: an all-female ensemble band swaddled in fetching formalwear, blasting highly produced, energetic nationalist kitsch. Of course, no matter how much vigorous fiddling Chloe, Lisa, Susan and Mairead can manage, Celtic Woman is unlikely to attract as much scrutiny from intelligence agencies as the Moranbong Band’s cover of Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now”, which is perhaps better known as the theme from Rocky, and was performed – complete with a video backdrop featuring cuts of Sylvester Stallone working out – for none other than Kim Jong-un, the number one of the sinister and secretive Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.