The Daily

On the Shelf

The Allure of the Roller Rink, and Other News

April 18, 2014 | by


Photo: GuillaumeG, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Marianne Moore’s strange, sad childhood: “Mary [her mother] established a pattern whereby Marianne, in family conversations and correspondence, was invariably referred to as a boy and identified only with male pronouns. Furthermore, Mary encouraged the siblings to regard each other as ‘lovers,’ and to think of her as their ‘lover,’ too.”
  • In the Paris of the eighteenth century, elite prostitutes were monitored by the fuzz—but why? “A final and enduring theory is that the reports were meant as bedtime reading for King Louis XV and his mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour, who had been the protector of the police lieutenant general most responsible for establishing the unit in the first place. According to this theory, the reports were meant to enliven the reputedly jaded, enervated royal sex life.”
  • Japanese astronauts took some cherry pits into space. Now, one of them has grown into a mighty cherry tree, perhaps with superpowers.
  • Adventure Time is a smash hit cartoon aimed primarily at kids age six to eleven. It’s also a deeply serious work of moral philosophy, a rip-roaring comic masterpiece, and a meditation on gender politics and love in the modern world.”
  • “I can’t articulate exactly what it was that turned the roller rink into fantasy-on-wheels for me … the feelings I sought only came from visits to those dingy rinks—their smell of ashtrays, sweat, and desolation. In retrospect, part of what I craved was the roller rink’s ability to detach me from the everyday. Because I frequented roller rinks as they were on their way ‘out,’ they seemed to exist apart from the regular world.”




  1. Anne Walsh | April 19, 2014 at 5:17 am

    I love The Allure of The Roller Rink! Oh, I roller bladed too! Once or twice, but in the late eighties. And to Champaign’s “Try Again.” And one of those two times a girl in 8th grade, graceful as a deer,skated the rink with me for two goes. Unprecedented because I was in fourth grade. More walks, more talks, I knew something was up. She, on the second go round, told me that she liked my brother. I don’t know why this felt like I was jilted, alone at a beautiful altar of ice. Maybe how I kept falling and she kept gliding, half smiling. A swan like Patton, graceful strategy , invisible pith helmets skating. But I felt outside already, in fourth grade, of whatever love was. The beautiful mystery of how you stay up. Whatever it was that didn’t fall like me. And I, both go rounds, never landed on my ass. I landed, at least twenty times, on my knees. And I smiled. Don’t know why. Just to keep the secret at my elbow whispering close.

Leave a Comment