Friday, May 11, 2018


As I strolled along the grocery store aisle, intent on selecting a new salad dressing, I marvelled at the benefits of the free market. In the fierce competition of the marketplace, dozens upon dozens of contestants for my pocketbook presented themselves, each hoping to find a home in my cupboard. “Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend” said Chairman Mao; but that seems quite tame compared with how many salad dressings contend under capitalism. How many there are!  In fact, there may be a few too many… how to choose…

Suddenly my scrutinizing eye beheld a bottle whose label proclaimed  “Calorie Free, Sugar Free, Fat Free, Carbohydrate Free, Gluten Free, Cholesterol Free. 100% Guaranteed”.

I wondered if it was a bottle of air. But no, inside was indeed a glutinous mass of Honey Dijon Dressing. And around its long neck was a card, which I read further: “Save 10,000 calories a month.” “Lose 34 pounds a year!”

Hmmm… I hesitated. Although I am about five pounds above my desired weight, losing 34 pounds would reduce me to a wraith, an ethereal effigy whom my friends would not recognize.

Perhaps, I thought, I can use it for only eight weeks, thus losing those five pounds? Or… or maybe this marvelous elixir will enable me to eat lots of chocolate, snack crackers, and ice cream, thus compensating for the reduction brought about by the dressing? What a notion: a garnish that enables one to eat more while not gaining weight!

How could I resist? This is the best nostrum since the one sold by Dr. Dulcamara in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore!  The bottle of Walden Farms salad dressing must go home with me.

Only later, as my initial euphoria faded somewhat, did I slowly come to see that there might be a flaw in my reasoning.

 Oh, well. Back to Newman’s Own. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018


Several years ago the school at which I used to teach, having received a generous donation from a kindly alumnus, built a gigantic field house in the form of an inflatable dome. It was a truly noteworthy structure, especially in a small town, where, adjacent to our two hockey arenas, its alabaster bulk brooded over the surrounding fields like a Zeppelin about to rise into the ether.

The dedication of this imposing erection was of course attended by suitable festivities, including assemblies and speeches; but I felt the ceremonies lacked something—to wit, an ode. Certainly in times past it would have been unthinkable for so mammoth an accomplishment to occur without suitable words from the local Poet Laureate.

But my school lacked a poet laureate (although I suppose it might someday add one to the staff, provided, of course, that he could also do something useful, like coach a sport) so I decided to supply the need.   


                                   THE DOME

                                 (A Poem)

            Oh muse! To Troy I need not roam 
            A noble epic theme to find: 
            I need not wander far from home     
            For inspiration; no, my mind           
            Of thoughts is full--in fact, inflated--
            And my spirits are elated
            And my ravished eyes dilated       
            As I contemplate THE DOME.        

            Vast expanse of supple plastic--
            Strong and sleek and so elastic--  
            To our eyes a sight fantastic           
            Towering o’er the new-dug loam.   
            In its splendor so stupendous         
            In its grandeur so tremendous        
            Kind indeed the gods to send us   
            Such a marvel. Hail, O DOME!

            To limn its glories sure requires
            David’s and Apollo’s lyres,
            Tolstoy’s pen and heavenly choirs
            And a very weighty tome.
            Rapt with wonder we behold thee
            As the air-pumps do unfold thee
            And thy wonders yet untold be
            Laid before us, mighty DOME.

            Through all lands thy fame is ringing;
            Guns are booming, choirs singing,
            Cars are speeding, planes are winging,
            Ships are tossing on the foam:
            Kings and scholars, folk discerning,
            All to Minnesota turning,
            All consumed with febrile yearning
            In their haste to view THE DOME.

            Athens now will be forgotten,
            London seem quite misbegotten,
            And who gives a hoot for Rome?
            Taj Mahal and Notre Dame, too.
            Chartres? Invalides? Versailles? Pooh!

            Our school proudly boasts THE DOME.

But, alas, the works of man are transitory. All comes to an end. The Dome came to an end on April 15, 2018. It seemed appropriate that I add additional verses to my original confection:

Elegy for the Disaster of April 15, 2018

Muses! Hear me in my sorrow!
Cloaks of mourning I must borrow...
Here today and gone tomorrow:
Thus it was with the great DOME.

So it came, that fatal one day!
We will not forget that Sunday--
Not a Saturday or Monday--
When cruel nature crushed the DOME.

For in April bloomed no flowers,
Sang no robins, fell no showers,
It just snowed for hours and hours
And the snow destroyed the DOME.

Tiny flakes accumulating
In abundance, not abating,
Piling ever higher, waiting
For the flattening of the DOME.

Nature’s wrath was not yet sated
So the storm had not abated...
It was suddenly deflated
And in ruins lay the DOME.

And so came the news appalling:
With a crash, like empires falling.
The great structure meanly mauling,
Little snowflakes felled the DOME.

No, we’ll not forget that Sunday
In mid-April--’twas no fun day.
Ah! Sic transit gloria mundi.
R.I.P., once-mighty DOME!

                                -- Brian A. Libby, 4/16/18

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Second Thoughts May Be Best

When at the store today I almost asked if they had considered moving Tide Pods to the snack foods section; but then I thought they might not have a sense of humor.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

"Tis the Season to be Reading"

A Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and general Felicitous Holidays to all, and a reminder that books make wonderful presents--especially these books.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Yet Another Video!

Here is a short video on Hodgepodge, my collection of humorous and satirical essays. If you like it (the video), why not buy it (the book)?  


Monday, September 18, 2017

Sheet Fits

I may be neater than many bachelors; at least, I like such things as bed linen, socks, and underwear to be folded and stored properly. But after many moons, I concede that I have met my match in that diabolical monstrosity called the fitted sheet.

Removing a fitted sheet from the dryer and attempting to fold it neatly, or approximately neatly, or just in a way that results in something other than a mound of crumpled cotton, is an exercise in frustration.

You would think that folding these sheets would not be very difficult. But handling one eventually leads to the conclusion that fitted sheets were designed by M.C.Escher. They have the properties of Möbius strips or Klein bottles. When you think you have the ‘inside’ facing in one direction and begin folding, you discover that the infernal thing has no inside and no outside. By some esoteric sorcery the inner seam magically appears on the outer side. The ‘long’ and ‘short’ sides somehow change positions randomly. You become impatient, grouchy, irate. Life is too short to try to make sense of the thing. Miserable wretched object, I’ll show you… and you wind up stuffing the misshapen mass of fabric into your linen closet, where it sits smugly on the shelf, a clean but smirking reproach to your sense of decency and order.

Of course that source of solutions to every human ill, the Internet, will provide you with guidance on this matter as it does on all others. I have watched a video in which a woman, with a few deft twists of her wrist, causes a fitted sheet to assume a perfectly docile, rectangular shape with no more effort than would be required to fold a napkin. I cannot follow. I can only gasp in awe and say, like Professor Quirrell, “What is this magic?”   

Sunday, September 17, 2017

How About A Movie?

I have made a 4-minute video about my novel And Gladly Teach: