Jerry DeNuccio

Jerry DeNuccio
Lamoni, Iowa,
September 18
Professor of English
Graceland University


Jerry DeNuccio's Links
JULY 13, 2011 1:41PM

Robert Frost: The Golf Poems

It is not generally known that the poet Robert Frost was an avid golfer.  Unfortunately, his avidity for the game was not in the least matched by any skill at playing it.  On the golf course, Frost exhibited ineptitude’s ineptitude; it was artlessness syncopated by lavish bungling, in/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 5, 2011 8:59AM

Being Average

For Thoreau, social conformity creates a dull and deadening averaging tendency.  He ends Walden with a parable about a “beautiful bug” that, having been deposited as an egg some sixty years previous in an apple tree, gnaws its way out of the kitchen table built from the wood of that/… Read full post »

JULY 4, 2011 7:36AM

A Pastiche of 4th of July Quotes

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells,Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 23, 2011 9:41AM



If confession is good for the soul, then the process of that unburdening has gotten easier.  An aid to absolution is just a click away with Confession: A Roman Catholic App.  Well, why not?  The so-called “self-quantifiers” have created personal tracking apps to char… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 13, 2011 9:30AM

Dad Thought Better

When I was a boy, Dad practiced a ceremony whenever I asked him to buy me something.  Let’s call it the refusal-surrender ritual.  It went something like this:


Vignette 1:  Scanning the sports section of the Cincinnati Post, I noticed an advertisement for go-carts—we/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 5, 2011 9:06AM

Prefixed and Suffixed: The Grammar of Our Lives

I am prefixed and suffixed.  I am a college teacher (er—one who performs an action) who teaches literature (ure—function, process) and composition (ion—result of an act or process).  I  rhapsodize (ize—engage in an activity) about Moby Dick but sometimes sneak o/… Read full post »

As a boy at St. Antoninus Catholic Elementary School, I, along with most of my classmates, often wondered whether or not the Dominican sisters that taught us were actually female.  Of course, we knew in some abstract sense they were; after all, they were called “sisters,” and the pro/… Read full post »

MAY 17, 2011 11:07AM

Money and Chocolate

“The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain.”  So said Thomas Jefferson, who perhaps had chocolate in mind when he declared that, along with life and liberty, an independent/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 6, 2011 10:14AM

The Absent-Minded Professor

It would seem, judging by topic of the stories with which my wife Kathy regaled family and friends over the Easter holiday, that I have become a stereotype.  In particular, the absentminded professor.  While it is true that I am a professor, and while it is equally true that I have/… Read full post »

APRIL 29, 2011 9:35AM

Raking the Gardens

Last week, looking out the kitchen windows into the gardens in the backyard, I saw that what Edna St. Vincent Millay said about April is true: it had indeed come “like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.”  But amid that exuberant fertility I also saw the clogging mass of dead le/… Read full post »

APRIL 17, 2011 9:41AM

The Missal

Rummaging through a box of memorabilia from my youth that my mother had collected and kept, I came upon the missal I used as a boy: the St. Joseph Daily Missal, the missal especially recommended for children and young adults.  I remembered being endlessly fascinated with the contents of the gilt/… Read full post »

APRIL 11, 2011 9:43AM

Perchance to Dream


Normally, I do not remember my dreams.  Last week, however, I dreamed a dream that has remained stiletto-sharp stenciled in my memory.  Now, I do not know if dreams represent displaced or distorted or symbolized wish gratification, as Freud said; or archetypal deposits in the human c… Read full post »

APRIL 3, 2011 10:55AM

The Language of Grief

Grief agitates us in a spin cycle of sharply opposed desires.  We yearn for the soothing presence of others, and we yearn for the detachment of islanded isolation.  We resent that the world is disinclined to stop, and we pray that, like an engine low on lubricant, it does not seize. Read full post »

MARCH 26, 2011 11:31AM

Scenes from the Mall

The Jordan Creek Town Center in Des Moines is the largest shopping mall—scratch that—the largest “retail park and lifestyle center” in Iowa and the fourth largest in the Midwest: two million square feet, 164 stores plus sundry kiosks, 20 movie screens, 25 restaurants and eater… Read full post »

 Note: A fellow Open Salon writer, Dom Macco, came up with an idea awhile back about a fictional character named “Carl” who has recently died. In the story, other fictional characters have been asked to prepare eulogies for Carl’s funeral, but each has little or no actual knowlRead full post »

FEBRUARY 28, 2011 11:31AM

The Haircut


“Our life is frittered away by detail. . . . Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!  I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand.”  Over the years, I’ve read those words of that styptic nineteenth-century scold, Henry David Thoreau, doze/… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 19, 2011 9:10AM

High School Hell

Hell is endlessly interpretable.  The gospel of Luke records Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the Dives (rich man), in which the beggar Lazarus has the satisfaction of seeing from Heaven the rich man in the “place of torment” and pleading for a drop of water to “cool my tong/… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 5, 2011 10:26AM

Snow Drifts and Mind Drifts


I have left my Christmas lights up, especially the ones strung through the bushes that line my 90-foot driveway.  I say I am celebrating winter, but I am really resisting winter, for the streetlight’s beams do not illuminate the upper-part of the driveway, the part I see from the th… Read full post »

Near the beginning of Part 2 of his Autobiography, a work that studiously avoids intimate details, Benjamin Franklin relates an intimate detail about his marriage.  For some time, he tells us, his breakfast consisted of “Bread and Milk” which he ate “out of a two penny earthen/… Read full post »

JANUARY 21, 2011 10:14AM

Out on a Limb

Looking out the window of my stairway landing onto the backyard, I notice a dust of snow dislodged from the tall elm’s branch. A squirrel is inching its cautious way to the twig-like end of a branch of a limb, arriving finally at the gap of space separating it from the… Read full post »

JANUARY 15, 2011 10:46AM

Why Benjamin Franklin Is Cool

The founding fathers were mostly cool.  George Washington possessed discipline, discernment, and integrity, but seems aloof and was a bit too fond of fitted uniforms that displayed his muscular physique.  Thomas Jefferson had a brilliant mind, wrote the Declaration of Independence, advocate/… Read full post »

JANUARY 10, 2011 2:12PM

Language, Thought, and Politics

Many of the attempts to explain what motivated Jared Lee Loughner’s attempted assassination of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords have centered on language, specifically on the pernicious effect of the intemperately hostile rhetoric that has recently characterized the political scene.  Implic/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 6, 2011 11:02AM

Do We Reason? Do We Have Free Will? Does It Matter?

I’ve been reading lately a good bit of the social psychology and neuroscience literature devoted to human decision-making, especially as it applies to making moral judgments.  It has been a humbling experience but not, I think, a necessarily disheartening one.


By and large, these stu… Read full post »

JANUARY 1, 2011 10:58AM

For the New Year: The Art of the Insult

It’s a new year, and, at some point during it, inevitably, you’ll want to insult someone.  Hurling an insult feels so good; it’s such an explosion of catharsis, such a rapturous rupture of annoyingly ossified social discourse, such a tuft of crabgrass in the Zen garden of civil/… Read full post »

DECEMBER 29, 2010 9:41AM

Celebrating the Hardy Boys

I do not remember myself ever not reading.  I do remember, though, the first books I read with an intentionality budded by sheer breath-held interest, books that I requested as birthday and Christmas presents, books that I embraced and which embraced me back, books that bridled my imagination an/… Read full post »