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 life; 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 31, 2014 6:08PM

Autocomplete's Id

By Daniel Rigney

Google’s Autocomplete feature is a great word toy. Not only is it fun to play with, but it can also reveal surprising things about our culture.

Autocomplete is that dropdown menu under your search box that tries to anticipate what you’re hunting for. If you… Read full post »

JANUARY 29, 2014 1:36PM

An Interview with Autocomplete

By Daniel Rigney

Danagram: Today we're interviewing Autocomplete, the Google search 'smart feature' that offers to complete people’s thoughts for them. You've seen it before. It's the menu that drops down under the Google search box after you've entered a word or phrase. It tries to guess what… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

Let’s play the autocomplete game. Type a search phrase into Google, like “Why is [X] so …," and Google will try to complete your sentence for you. Autocomplete guesses what you’re going to ask, basing its predictions on billions of past searches stored in it… Read full post »

JANUARY 24, 2014 9:44PM

Car Show of the Future?

By Daniel Rigney

What kind of fool pays $10 to walk into the world’s largest car showroom and be sales-pitched to buy cars he doesn’t need at prices he can’t afford?

Oh. That would be me.

I’ve never seen a car show before, so when I found… Read full post »

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…

Read full post »

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 »