Tuesday, July 31, 2001
The Times' CAFE Crusade
Give them a column inch, they'll take a mile per gallon.
Spokespeople For The Little Wheels
In the media age, flacks have found their voice.
An Amazing Journey
The mirror of the census reveals the character of a nation.
Bad Writers Never Had It So Good
Bad writers never had it so good. Largely thanks to increased exposure on the Internet, prices for their works have been rising.
Monday, July 30, 2001
The Web made me a successful author, but getting people to respect me as a "real writer" has been harder to come by.
Why Don't Men And Women Play Golf Together?
The truth is, there is no sport in which men and women are able to compete more equally, thanks to golf's handicap system, which renders all players potentially equal, and to the placement of forward (or ladies') tees at most clubs, so that male and female drives wind up in more or less the same place.
I Am In My Room, And I'm Never Coming Out
Jane Read Martin is a freelance writer who lives in New York. Patricia Marx is writing a movie for Miramax.
Saturday, July 28, 2001
Within The Sounds Of Silence
Amid the Olympic pomp and circumstance, not even a handful of Beijingers know that last Tuesday morning, on a nameless street in Beijing, at the famed No. 1 Intermediate People's Court, a US-based Chinese scholar, Gao Zhan, was convicted of spying for Taiwan and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Fellini Was Simply Mad About 'Satyricon'
Roger Ebert visited the set of "Fellini Satyricon" in 1969 and wrote this interview with Federico Fellini.
A Revelation That Took Two Decades
The re-cut "Apocalypse Now" plays in a way the original never did. The passage of time amplifies the power of the 1979 Vietnam epic.
This Way, Please
From passing the plate to calming the crowd, ushers discover there's method in their mission.
Thursday, July 26, 2001
My Name Is George, And I'm An Alcoholic
Nearing the 15th anniversary of the president's sobriety, a fellow ex-drinker tells what he sees when he looks at George W. Bush.
How To Bait A Mousetrap
Hong Kong hopes Disneyland can revive its tourism industry. But an offshoot of China's biggest travel firm plans to entice thousands of mainlanders to spend most of their yuan in Shenzhen.
Back To The Bad Old Days
Too young to remember the three-day week? What about negative equity? Well, they spelt recession for past generations, and now the R-word is being whispered again.
Wednesday, July 25, 2001
A Lousy Investment
Social Security made sense in 1935. In 2001 it's dangerously outdated.
Making Provisions For Sky-High Dining
Rather than continuing to complain about the state of, or absence of, food in the sky, I always take along something good to eat.
Happy Birthday, Miss Welty
Eudora Welty, dead at 92, was an unmarried, childless woman who spent her entire life living in the home of her parents — and became one of America's greatest short story writers.
Murphy's Law: Running Of The Fools
One ingredient of Greek drama is the inevitability of tragedy. It need not be so in the great outdoors.
How caffeine created the modern world.
David Lehman's most recent book of poems is The Daily Mirror.
Woman Sees Treasure, Not Trash, In Free AOL Discs
Yes, there's something different about Lydia Cline. She's the only person in her family with red hair. She's the only one on her Overland Park cul-de-sac with a yellow house. And she's one of the few people around who collects America Online software discs.
Tuesday, July 24, 2001
The Public Will Play A Part In The Future Of Newspapers
Over the years, I have had many occasions to ask the question - what good is a newspaper?
Monday, July 23, 2001
In Howard County, as in a lot of places, educators seem to have lost our trust. Restoring it, they're finding out, is no simple task.
The Sexual Culture Of Washington Has Always Been Uniquely Predatory
D.C. has a uniquely strange demography, skewed toward young interns in their 20's and elder patrons in their 50's and 60's.
Tech & Science
Science doesn't need subsidized embryo research.
The Thinking Tools' Man
Was a time things were useful and people smart. Now the things are smart. What does that make us?
The End Of The World As We Knew It
Taking a tour of cold war Baltimore.
The horror of watching a loved one sliced open may be so traumatic that relatives could need treatment themselves.
Next to the turnip, the cabbage is probably the most reviled vegetable in the Western world.
Thursday, July 19, 2001
The War Against J-Lo
Critics who bash Jennifer Lopez for using the "N" word should aim their anger at blacks who made the ugly word trendy again.
The Incredible Vanishing Book Review
In the age of market research, newspaper editors have decreed that their readers just don't care about books.
Wednesday, July 18, 2001
Tech & Science
Thank God For The Internet
"Next" author Michael Lewis says that the Net makes lawyers look foolish and Wall Street analysts irrelevant. And that's a good thing.
Nothing Personal: Nice Rebound!
Penelope Cruz and Tom Cruise admit to dating; Minnie Driver denies tension with Streisand. Plus: Eminem's ex busted for drugs; and Iggy Pop demands dressing room dwarves!
Poem That Begins With A Prayer By The 14th-Century Hebrew Author And Translator Qalonymos Ben Qalonymos
Richard Chess is director of the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. He is the author of Chair in the Desert and Tekiah.
Tuesday, July 17, 2001
How To Rule The World
Rich nations should stop running the planet and give way to global democracy.
Tech & Science
How could installing a screensaver be a crime against the state?
Imagine living with just two of your five senses: vision and hearing. That's the sensory-deprived state of personal computing today.
The Disappearing Comic Book
Superheroes reign on screen, but in print they face a mighty foe: apathy.
American Style From The 60's Captures New Imaginations
Style, whether casual or otherwise, is increasingly the face of globalism, surface evidence of the mysterious subterranean movement of markets.
After watching several hours of "Fear Factor" and "Spy TV," I just don't know who NBC is anymore.
The Silent Treatment
Her show has made Oprah Winfrey the most famous woman in the world. In the early years she was open and accessible to the public and the media. But burned and blindsided by former employees and the press, and a target of the tabloids, the queen of talk has learned to clam up and clamp down, protecting that priceless brand — herself.
Monday, July 16, 2001
How Bush Took Florida: Mining The Overseas Absentee Vote
Their goal was simple: to count the maximum number of overseas ballots in counties won by Mr. Bush, particularly those with a high concentration of military voters, while seeking to disqualify overseas ballots in counties won by Vice President Al Gore.
Behold the great postmodern two-headed monster, the spokesperson-client: Both mouths move — out comes surrealism.
A Do-It-Yourself 'Star Wars'
"The Phantom Edit" is predicated largely on hatred of Jar Jar, a rabbit-eared ambulatory lizard whose pidgin English oscillates between crypto-Caribbean patois and Teletubby gurgle.
Sunday, July 15, 2001
The Gibraltar Of Wessex
All you need to take to the lighthouse: a pair of binoculars, and The Oxford Book of the Sea. Actually you won't even need binoculars.
Frames Of Mind
Take sides in the new century: Are you flush with success or more drawn to despair?
His Brother's Keeper
When David Kaczynski let the FBI know that his older brother might be the Unabomber, he knew he was doing the right thing. But it's still hard to live with.
Friday, July 13, 2001
Bush Rests Comfortably After Surgery To Implant Pacemaker In Brain
Thanks to a device similar to the one in Vice President Dick Cheney's heart, the nation has healthy, clear-thinking, plain-speaking leaders again.
Thursday, July 12, 2001
Big Red Lies
Communist systems were meant to re-engineer the basic nature of mankind, a project grounded so deep in unreality that it encouraged, and often required, dishonesty at almost every level.
Quorn: 'Meat' From Mushrooms
It has a Zelig-like quality, taking on the appearance and taste of whatever meat it's supposed to be copying.
Youth Is Served
What's behind tennis' adolescent revolution? Shouldn't game experience and physical maturity count for something on the court?
Ambitious 24-Year-Old Pushes Plan To Buy Salon And Turn It Into A Clearinghouse For Other Publications
When your stock price hits 13 cents, you'd be surprised who comes out of the woodwork with big plans. Bhu Srinivasan, ex-CEO of ThinkView and a veteran of Infospace, wants to slash the staff and substitute high-brow syndicated material.
This fall Elizabeth Arnold will begin as an assistant professor of English at the University of Maryland.
Wednesday, July 11, 2001
How Critical Are Critics To The Industry?
To the best of anyone's knowledge, nobody has bothered to fabricate a TV critic lately, though there are executives convinced the Washington Post's Tom Shales was dreamed up by a modern-day adherent of the Marquis de Sade.
The New Face Of Loyalty
In an age of free agents and divorce, we are true to ourselves.
A Bit Of Tuscany, All Over The World
Here in America, chefs are waking up to the possibilities this timeless classic presents, taking their ideas (and the basic ingredients) from Mediterranean countries. And, of course, adding their own spin.
Surly? They Jest.
Rock stars have reason to smile. It's just uncool to grin and share it.
Tuesday, July 10, 2001
Stem Cell 'Compromise': Let Congress Legislate
When does life begin? Answer the question democratically.
Tech & Science
Newest Sweetener Stirs Up Old Debate
Sugar-like sucralose is popular, but experts say that it's no answer to obesity and diabetes.
Particle Physicists Plan The Next Big Thing
The directors of major physics laboratories in Europe, the United States and Japan gathered at this mountain resort this week to make plans for a new particle accelerator they all agreed would be so large, powerful and expensive that it could be built only if they all cooperated on a scale without parallel in scientific history.
Hey, Gorgeous, Here's A Raise!
As for you fatties, we're cutitng your salaries.
Me-Zine Journalism For Fun And (Sometimes) Profit
Mr. Kaus is just one participant in a growing journalism format now known as the "me-zine," electronic magazines that feature the opinions of one man or one woman, writing alone, often late at night and often wearing pajamas, and indulging in the opinionated wordplay they all went into print journalism for and now find is much more fun ó and sometimes profitable, however slightly ó on the Internet.
Monday, July 9, 2001
Who's Really President?
If you need a wheel greased, who should you call? "The Indispensable Man" (Cheney)? Or "the man to see in Washington" (Rove)? If you're measuring influence, which is better: Cheney spending "half the working day" with W., or Rove talking "constantly" on the phone to Bush? Is Rove the shadow president? Or is Cheney?
Tech & Science
The original king of the consoles is 24 years old, boasts clunky graphics and dinky sounds, yet is still doing quite nicely, thank you.
Crass Customers, Vanishing Comforts Irk High-fliers
First class isn't what it used to be.
Progress has given us a world in which the polite person refrains from uttering anything that is not strictly accurate, fresh and circumspect. But it has also given us something to take up the time formerly spent in spontaneous chatter. It has given us computer games.
It's Only Rhyming Quatrains, But I Like It: Do Songs Succeed As Poetry
The worst of the fighting has long been settled. Poetry is thriving — on the Internet, in slams and public readings — but for most of us, song lyrics now do the work of modern verse: they organize the truths that rattle around in our skulls.
Sunday, July 8, 2001
Gone is the Joy of Cooking. Today's celebrity chefs are serving up a menu of global doom and politically twisted snobbery.
Friday, July 6, 2001
It's All About Her, Isn't It?
Andrea Yates killed her children, but to our pundits she's a really harassed housewife, not a multiple murderer.
Tech & Science
Intermittent Aberrations: Can Mature Companies Innovate?
A whole literature has grown up around the apparently intractable hostility between innovation and bureaucracy, between those who create and those who control. Smart and speedy start-ups blindside mature companies with their inventiveness then grow up into mature companies and are outsmarted in their turn. The only way for innovation to survive in mature companies is to isolate the creators from the managers in protected enclaves. If this is true, it means that it is virtually impossible for sustained innovation to be built into the everyday operation of mature companies; it can only ever be an intermittent aberration.
More than a decade ago I wrote about the virtues of the drinking life and the comforts of what I called a "bar bar." Then I hit rock bottom.
Thursday, July 5, 2001
Tech & Science
After a few years of mad creativity it looks like a desert out there.
Welcome To Pottersville?
Hong Kong isn't the free-market showcase many think it is.
On Board The Bombay Express: A Rolling Feast Of India
The most important thing when travelling by train in India is not whether you have a seat in first class (more comfortable) or second class (more congenial), not whether you have confirmed tickets or even your destination. The most important thing is the size of your neighbor's tiffin carrier, the Indian lunchbox.
Yates represents nature's aberration as a mother, but also a rather textbook example of postpartum psychosis.
The Black Virgin
Lilly Prize-winner W.S. Merwin's latest book of poetry is titled The Folding Cliffs. He is the author of The Vixen.
Wednesday, July 4, 2001
Not So Elementary, My Dear Watson
Let's face it, Sherlock Holmes wasn't very good. His methods of detection veered from the merely unscientific to the ludicrous. Yet more than a century after his creation in 1887, Holmes is still the only fictional detective with an international reputation.
Tuesday, July 3, 2001
Tech & Science
New Economy: Selling A Vision Of The Future Beyond Folders
The time has come to fix a problem that has not been addressed in some 15 years: Computers are lousy at organizing our information.
Melbourne Man Patents The Wheel
John Keogh said he patented the wheel to prove the innovation patent system was flawed.
Monday, July 2, 2001
Tech & Science
The Made-to-Order Savior: Producing A Perfect Baby Sibling
Two families, two sick children, one revolutionary solution: technology that allows parents to conceive a donor child who is a perfect genetic match. Only one would succeed, and make medical history.
What Are Friends For?
This whole business of friendship is growing murky in an age of sentimental overload and politically correct vapors.