Josh Ruffin

Josh Ruffin


The looming tragedy of AQR

The looming tragedy of AQR

About an hour before I sat down tonight, I had a whole Ferguson-related column planned out that was going to be, hopefully, better than the last one I did. The catalyst: protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, are now using the chant “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” as their rallying cry. Depressingly, infuriatingly and predictably, there are now […]

I’m at a Loss

I’m at a Loss

I generally make no effort to choose background music based on my mood; rather, it stems from what I wish my mood to be in the ensuing moments. It might seem a roundabout way of saying that, truly, I do make such decisions based on my state of mind at any given moment, but that […]

Triathlon, beer… they’re not that different

Triathlon, beer… they’re not that different

Over the weekend, three major festivals/events occurred here in Wisconsin that drew various sorts of lunatics to the state from around the world: Great Taste of the Midwest, Triathlon National Championships and the Wisconsin State Fair. The first is the second-largest beer festival in the country, just behind the Great American Beer Festival. The second […]

U-S-A! U-S-A!

U-S-A! U-S-A!

Someone — Thomas Jefferson, I think, or Fela Kuti or Chthulu or somebody — once said that America needed a good war every 20 years or so to keep the economy going. Of course, that was based on a consensus rationale during a period in our country’s history when it was totally on the up-and-up […]

Female Rappers

Female Rappers

Every now and again, we as a culture stop throwing awards at the Foo Fighters long enough to develop an obsessive, almost childlike fascination with a new female rapper. The rather infrequent timing with which we tend to do this owes, I think, to two different, nearly at-odds aspects of this society: 1) we’re actually […]

World Cup Massacre

World Cup Massacre

I was sitting in Gate E at Logan Airport, waiting for my plane and reading through the Apache massacre section of “Blood Meridian” when the Germany vs. Brazil World Cup semifinal game started. My wife and I had just finished eating lunch at the airport bar that boasted the terminal’s only six televisions and, though […]

The Scope of Our Lives

The Scope of Our Lives

Whether we realize it or not, we tend to measure the scope of our lives in events. Sometimes, these events are seemingly disconnected, held together by the common thread of their sheer historical gravity: my grandfather fought in World War II, was around when the Stock Market crashed, experienced the cultural gut-punch of integration in […]

The Ever-Shrinking Buffer Zone

The Ever-Shrinking Buffer Zone

After about 15 years’ procrastination, I’m finally reading “The Stand.” I’m not sure why I resisted actually tackling the book for so long. Its length doesn’t bother me; I’ve read denser stuff in graduate school. Likewise, the horror, to my palate, comes across as fairly muted; it’s harrowing in some parts, gruesome in others, but, […]

Raging Storms

Raging Storms

About a week ago, I sat in my living room on the third story of our apartment building in a quiet suburb of Madison, drinking coffee, watching World Cup highlights and listening to a tornado siren caterwauling. I don’t know whether it was the fact that I’d closed the bar the night before and was […]