Politics and Culture in the Comic Zone

Daniel Rigney

Daniel Rigney
New Texas, USA
August 01
free-range writer
In this writing workshop and citizen's blog I'm exploring various short forms, often from a satiric angle. My interests include politics, culture and the human comedy; old and new media; social theory and urban ethnography; the commercialization, corporatization and tabloidization of everything; sustainability; Unitarianism (UU); coffee; and writing (sorry, I mean providing content). Turtle stamp is from Tandy Leather. Interested in republishing a piece? Contact drigney3@gmail.com.


Daniel Rigney's Links

JANUARY 20, 2014 10:07PM

MLK Day: Three Parades and a March

By Daniel Rigney

Cities from coast to coast celebrated Martin Luther King Day this weekend with a host of festive parades. Houston alone had three. Two of these were scheduled in direct conflict with each other owing to some obscure feud that occurred in the 1990s between competing local organizatio… Read full post »

JANUARY 17, 2014 10:38AM

The Lighter Side of Colonoscopies

By Daniel Rigney

I recently underwent (or “went under,” after getting a knockout dose of Twilight Sleep) my second colonoscopy in ten years. For those of you who fear the one-eyed camera snake, let me assure you that your worries prior to the event are probably worse than the procedure… Read full post »

JANUARY 14, 2014 5:08PM

The House of Snuggles

By Daniel Rigney

When Edna Dulcet read about a thriving rent-a-pet service in her local paper, she had an inspiration. Why not offer a rent-a-snuggle service for people who suffer from chronic touch deficit disorder (TDD)? The service might appeal to a potential niche market of embodied souls who long…

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By Daniel Rigney

There’s good money to be made in businesses that serve those unfortunate multitudes who live toward the load-bearing base of the financial pyramid. Just ask the Waltons (the Wal-Mart family, not the nostalgia-TV family), whose total wealth now exceeds the assets of the bottom… Read full post »

JANUARY 9, 2014 1:18PM

The Christie Nickname Contest

By Daniel Rigney

I’m reading in this morning’s New York Times (here and here) about the newly documented collusion between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office and other public authorities to create four days of massive gridlock in a New Jersey city last September, causing traff… Read full post »

JANUARY 5, 2014 2:50PM

12 Reasons Not To Carry a Cell Phone

By Daniel Rigney

When it comes to carrying cell phones in public, every state in the Union is "open carry." In public places from coast to coast, Americans are either talking directly into to their slim plastic rectangles or bowing their heads raptly in textual prayer. Most communications in our coun… Read full post »

JANUARY 3, 2014 2:37AM

Does One Size Ever Fit All?

By Daniel Rigney

In the cliché collection I keep in a glass case in my study, one of my oldest specimens (more moth than butterfly, really) is the familiar saying that for any given problem, whatever it is, there is no  “one-size-fits-all” solution.

From what I’ve rea… Read full post »

DECEMBER 31, 2013 1:35AM

Political Predictions for 2014

By Daniel Rigney

Move over, Nostradamus. There’s a new soothsayer in town. In an exclusive interview with Danagram, noted psychic Florence Gump offers these twelve politically-charged prophesies for 2014.

January: Radio personality Rush Limbaugh confides privately that he often feels “… Read full post »

DECEMBER 30, 2013 10:44AM

Rushing to Meditation

By Daniel Rigney

I’m in a big hurry this morning. Gotta get to my meditation group. It starts in an hour, and it’s about twelve and a half minutes away by car if the traffic isn’t bad. But first I have to feed the dogs, make the coffee, and grab… Read full post »

DECEMBER 28, 2013 10:02AM

An Interview With Anonymous

By Daniel Rigney

This is an edited transcript of an interview we did earlier this month with the oft-quoted writer, composer and philanthropist, Anonymous.

Danagram: We’re here in the studio this morning speaking with Anonymous, the most recent in a long line of nameless predecessors who have… Read full post »

DECEMBER 18, 2013 1:06PM

Executive Robot Replaces CEO

By Daniel Rigney

There’s a new boss in town at PayDayLoanz, a Phoenix-based lending firm that serves down-market clients in the southwest border states. PDL’s new head is no ordinary CEO, but an executive robot, housed in a black box the size of a Rubic’s Cube, that runs algorithms… Read full post »

DECEMBER 15, 2013 1:23AM

The World Becomes a Campus

By Daniel Rigney

Once upon a time, the word campus referred to the buildings and grounds of academic institutions. Not every school had a campus. Harvard, being  Harvard, had a “Yard” instead. UVa had a"Lawn." Stanford’s academic real estate was called “the Farm” b… Read full post »

DECEMBER 10, 2013 12:51PM

Texas To Be Renamed Texxon

By Daniel Rigney

In a bold attempt to meet a projected budget shortfall next year, the Texas legislature met in secret session today and agreed to sell the state’s naming rights to carbon giant Exxon-Mobil for $1.2 billion. The state’s new name will be “Texxon” effective Janu… Read full post »

DECEMBER 9, 2013 12:06AM

Which of These Is Not Like the Others?

By Daniel Rigney


"One of these is not like the others.

One of these just doesn’t belong.

Can you tell which is not like the others

By the time I finish this song?"

                    … Read full post »

DECEMBER 6, 2013 8:26PM

The Algorithmic Society

By Daniel Rigney

“Calculations are in the driver’s seat, and they drive us.”

Many ages ago, as a graduate student in sociology, I enjoyed referring to quantitative social research as the “dance of the variables.” We apprentice researchers were then learning to work w… Read full post »

DECEMBER 3, 2013 11:39PM

The Bucket Game

 By Daniel Rigney 

 Quarry band

This week I’m an amateur anthropologist in the field, reporting to you from the Hoosier state, where I’ve travelled from afar to witness the pomp and pageantry of Big Ten football.*

Here in Indiana University’s Memorial Stadium (a.k.a.… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 27, 2013 11:53AM

Vatican 1.5 and Rising

By Daniel Rigney

Like many other non-Catholics (Acatholics?), I’ve been following the ascent of the church’s new pope, Francis, with interest – and probably with more personal fascination than most. For nearly 30 years I taught at a Catholic university in the southwestern United St… Read full post »

by Daniel Rigney

Move over, Nostradamus. There’s a new oracle in town.

My trusted financial advisor Delphi, gazing into her crystal screen, sees a series of future Wall Street Journal  headlines that foretell major corporate mergers and acquisitions in the coming decades. Together they t… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 22, 2013 11:48PM

Climate Change at the Science Museum

By Daniel Rigney                                               &nbRead full post »

NOVEMBER 16, 2013 10:13PM

Day of the Dead at the Funeral Museum

 By Daniel Rigney 

abuela web

I’m a shameless museum lover. One of my personal goals since moving to Houston has been to visit every last one of the city’s many fine museums.

And I ask you, is there a better time to visit the National Museum of Funeral HistoryRead full post »

NOVEMBER 9, 2013 6:57PM

Is Life a Business?

Satire by Daniel Rigney

Is life a business? Yes, life is a business. With the triumph of global capitalism and economic reductionism, there’s no further point in denying it. The scales are finally falling from my eyes, and I’m seeing the ‘real world’ clearly now, as though fo… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 8, 2013 2:06AM

Greed Floats (Haiku)

By Daniel Rigney


Like a Baby Ruth  

tossed into a swimming pool,*

greed floats to the top.


*recalling this mock-scatological country club pool scene from the comedy classic ”Caddyshack” (1980), a film satirizing American class privilege.

The film opened the s… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

So I began to notice this spreading verbal virus while attending a lecture series on recent breakthroughs in science and engineering at Nearby University.

So I noticed that speakers would often respond to questions from the audience by saying “So the question is …&rdqu… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 4, 2013 1:45AM

Our Precious Commercial Heritage

By Daniel Rigney

Just how complete is your knowledge of our precious television heritage?

How well-versed are you, for instance, in the classic marketing slogans created by that pioneering generation of ad artists portrayed fictionally in “Mad Men”?

How deeply have the parasitic little c… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 2, 2013 1:48AM

Misfortune Cookies

By Daniel Rigney

A venerable custom in Chinese-American restaurants is to complete a meal by cracking open a crisp and oddly-shaped cookie and examining its paper entrails for signs, portents, and words of wisdom.

Fortune cookie messages are typically upbeat and uplifting. “You see the best… Read full post »