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Writer, thinker, diaresis fanboy. Topics: Politics, sports, and disability rights. Email:, or caffeinate them @

Personal History

Or, The Pound Cake Madeleine

In Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, he talks about how the combination of a madeleine and a cup of tea unexpectedly brought memories from his childhood rushing back. In the years since Proust wrote about his madeleine, the idea of a smell or taste causing the reappearance of a long-forgotten emotional event has become known as the Proust effect.

Today, I was having my breakfast coffee. Nothing unusual about that, but my fiancee had gotten a random craving for chocolate pound cake, and although I’m not much of a poundcake guy generally, I decided to have a piece…

2020 in Review

Brad’s Best of 2020

Bright blue and pink confetti tossed into a dark blue sky.
Bright blue and pink confetti tossed into a dark blue sky.

A friend of my father’s once said to me, “There is no ice water in hell.” I was 10 and had no clue what he was talking about. That phrase came back to me recently, as I realized that even in this annus horribilis, there are some things worth celebrating.

A few notes regarding this list:

  1. While there are links in this post, none are affiliate links, as I find myself almost completely unaffiliated with any money-making concern. If you are “I own the color blue” wealthy and wish my affiliation, my email is at the bottom of this post.

  1. The Little Drummer Boy (TLDB in future references) is homeless. Alternatively, he is the champion of a tribe of desert-dwelling LDB’s (which is why he is TLDB as opposed to ALDB), but this analysis is highly problematic for reasons I will elucidate later in this work.
  2. TLDB is not only the first Christian busker, but an unsuccessful one at that. As the carol says, he has no gifts to bring. Are we to believe he has never played for anyone before the Christ Child (from now on abbreviated tCC)? If he is so poor, how did he happen to get…

Years ago, when Facebook was still a toddler, I used to post the best thing I saw that day. Now that I have divested myself of all social media, I’m…

Having seen my first dramatic performance, Eugene Ionesco’s Macbett, at the Wilma Project on Sansom Street in 1987, and having kept up with the theater ever since, I contend that the last 18 months have been the most powerful, fecund, daring, and fully realized stretch of productions in the Wilma’s long history. Its current piece, Heroes of the Fourth Turning, written by Will Arbery and directed by Blanka Zizka, continues to prove this.

Intellect and feeling

Heroes of the Fourth Turning, winner of the 2020 Obie Award for playwriting, serves the audience a dégustation menu of deeply felt emotion and…

If sports fans can have fantasy teams, politics wonks can have fantasy cabinets. This is a community activity, and the point is to get someone on the Biden Transition team to notice and take the will of the people into account when making their choices.


  1. DO NOT RESPOND IN THE COMMENTS! Create your own post and use the following tags #Politics #Biden #Cabinet #Democracy.
  2. As this is a fantasy cabinet, there’s no need to take possible Senate confirmation issues into account. Who do you think is perfect for the position is the only question you need answer.
  3. Although this is…

The Philadelphia 76'ers will win the 2020 NBA Championship. That’s a guarantee. You seem confused by my statement. Oh, I’m sorry. I was unclear. There is a chance that this current 76'ers team might be champions — A Horford, Tobias Harris, and Josh Richardson isn’t a bad big three. What I mean, however, was that a member of Philadelphia’s vaunted Process will almost certainly be crowned NBA Champion.

As I write this, the Grizzlies, Spurs, and Suns are still in contention for the 9th spot in the Western Conference. The Suns feature Dario Saric and 76er- for-10 minutes Mikal Bridges…

Let’s Decriminalize The USA

A pair of locked handcuffs on a table.
A pair of locked handcuffs on a table.

As a white male, I cannot possibly understand what black folks have gone through and are currently going through in this racist country of ours. Because I cannot understand, I can neither sympathize nor empathize, as both of those require understanding. Some writers have a problem with the concept of white allyship, as they feel it’s tantamount to me offering to help them clean up my mess. Out of respect for that position, I will not call myself an ally. The body I currently inhabit is not able to march. 10 years ago, sure, but no longer. So I have…

A long-time reader demystifies the selection process.

Recently, I read one article about sending your book manuscript to an agent, and another about getting your short stories published in magazines. As I looked around, I didn’t see anything similar for playwrights, and since I am a theatre worker through and through, I decided I’d write one.

In the last five years, I’ve read for five major new play fellowships and conference opportunities, as well as a host of smaller ones. Over this period, I’ve read approximately 250–300 new plays. I feel like the process is shrouded in unnecessary mystery, and so I’d like to explain what happens.

Brad Rothbart

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