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The other things in life

Sunday, October 31, 2004


Calling The Shots

Boston police are facing a surge in violence, the Suffolk County sheriff's office was disgraced by prisoner abuse, and the state prison system needs a drastic overhaul after the death of a convicted pedophile priest. Is it just a coincidence that all three agencies now have women at the helm, entrusted to bring about change?

A Death In The Box

By the time Jessica Lee Roger was discovered on the floor of her prison cell on Aug. 17, 2002, it was too late. In the 24 minutes since guards had last checked her, she had tied a bed sheet around her neck and, after many attempts over three years in prison, finally strangled herself. When word of Roger's suicide spread through the cellblocks of the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility that sultry weekend, two correction officers cried. Fellow inmates were angry. The superintendent, who was away for a few days, was devastated. A mentally ill young woman had died, and she had died in the most stressful and isolating place in the New York state prison system. Jessica Roger, 21, killed herself in the "box," and many thought she didn't belong there.

Jon Stewart, Seriously, Here To Stay

Stewart, once host of a small cable comedy show, has become the most popular late-night talk show host on television. He now has more cachet than David Letterman or Jay Leno. In the parlance of TV industry hacks, Stewart has "popped" — like a Roman candle.

Saturday, October 30, 2004


You Must Vote. It's The Law.

Australia requires citizens to vote. Should the U.S.?


Defacing The Skyline, A Heartless Act In The Heart Of Chicago

I do not doubt Mr. Trump's sincerity. But I hate his building. It may be sleek and shiny, but it's also a soaring monstrosity, a vertical S.U.V., a McMansion in the sky.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Tech & Science

Who Got To Name The Tiny Humans?

Species identification 101.


Red Sox Joy, Beyond The Grave

My grandfather died in 1986, shortly after Boston's worst sports humiliation ever. He's smiling now.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


When The Car Beside You Is An XXX Theater

On-board video has become widely popular with dirvers, especially those with children. But while many motorists entertain back-seat passengers with DVD's like "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," a surprising number choose racier fare.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Through The Ages, A Fried Fish Triathlon

You don't think fried fish can migrate? You underestimate it — or you underestimate at least one fried fish tribe, which has made it from Spain to England, China and many points in between, including your local Mexican restaurant.

A Day In The Subway, As It Rolls Up A Century

For a New Yorker just one day shy of turning 100 years old, the subway kept crazy hours yesterday.


Late Self-Portrait By Rembrandt

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Tech & Science

Game Theory For Swingers

What states should the candidates visit before Election Day?


After A 28-Year Hiatus, Miss (Er, Ms.) Subways Is Back

Yesterday, a new Miss Subways was crowned, just in time for the 100th anniversary of the subway system.

Monday, October 25, 2004


Not To Worry — The End Is Very Near

As pre-election anxiety disorder sets in, just remember: you'll live. Probably.

Growing Up With Mom And Mom

Raised from birth by trailblazing lesbians, Ry Russo-Young has a boyfriend, a gay sister, a tangled history with her sperm-donor "father" — and the outlook of a generation that has come of age between gay and straight cultures.

Sunday, October 24, 2004


To Be Silenced, Or Not To Be: That's The Question

It's we the people who've handed over our power to the media, to corporations, to the government. We're the ones who left the store, leaving the door wide open and the keys in the till.

Saturday, October 23, 2004


Fear And Loathing, Campaign 2004

All we have to do is to get out and vote, while it's still legal, and we will wash those crooked warmongers out of the White House.


How Desperate Women Saved Desperate Writer

Two years ago, Marc Cherry was a 40-year-old television writer who felt his career was rapidly sliding downhill. His script, "Desperate Hosuewives," had been sent to every broadcast and cable network as a black comedy and was rejected by all of them. His agent was arrested for embezzlement and went to jail.

Take The A Train (Or THe F, The Q, The 1, The 7...)

If anything truly revolutionized the way New Yorkers live, work and play, it's the subway.

The New York Subway, 1904-2004

One hundred years ago next Wednesday, at precisely 2 p.m., a wall of sound shook New York City from Battery Park to Harlem. Church bells and the sounding horns of ferryboats competed with the steam of whistles of hundreds of power platns and the firing of salutes. Cheering citizens flooded the streets, creating what this newspaper described as a "carnival" atmosphere that had the city "in an uproar from end to end."

Friday, October 22, 2004

Tech & Science

Girl Power

Single mothers are more likely to have daughters.

Isaac Newton's Gravity

How a major new exhibition gets the scientist wrong.


We've Created A Monster!

How three programming geeks turned the Sci Fi Channel into the best little horror house in the movie business.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


Sex, Politics, Religion, And Egypt

Want to know how complicated the Mideast can be? Go to the movies.


Iphigenia's Dissent

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Winners Of City Paper's Fiction & Poetry Contest

The Town Of McManus


In July, 2057, My Great-Granddaughter Considers An Old Photograph

The Biker Mermaids

Grandpa Was A Fisherman

I Love You When You're A Real Dog


No Jokes Or Spin. It's Time (Gasp) To Talk.

There is nothing more painful than watching a comedian turn self-righteous. Unless of course, the comedian is lashing out at smug and self-serving television-news personalities.

Tech & Science

From A Physicist And New Nobel Winner, Some Food For Thought

As reflected in the talks at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, the history of physics is, like the universe, a story of expansion.


Breaking Ramadan's Fast With A Family Meal

For millions of Muslims in the United States, food takes on a new significance this month: in a land of gratification they spend a month denying themselves pleasure.

Looks Like Diversity, But It Tastes Like Tuna

Behind a comforting illusion of diversity lies an even more comforting reality of sameness. In a city of supposedly inexhaustible options, there seems to be one meal, shaped by tyrannical culinary trends, pervasive nutritional fads and the economics of supply and demand.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


September 26, 2001

Monday, October 18, 2004


Do Good! Win A Prize!

While Nobel Prizes are given for past performance, other types of inducement prizes are intended to spur innovation. Do they do the job?


Old Friends

Sunday, October 17, 2004


Our Electors, Ourselves

The Electroal College is so interwoven with our political system that it could not be abolished without raising more questions than even most advocates for reform would wish. But as a vote-counting system, the Electoral College has been sosufficiently robbed of its logic that is survival is not assured.


Gathering Moss

There is no technical manual for moss gardeners, for that would defeat the purpose. Moss gardening is not technical. It is sculptural. Intuitive.

The Taste Of Right Here

If you stray a bit from the six-lane superhighways, you'll find another America, a place where the menu still includes regional delicacies like lobster rolls, buttermilk pie and tamales, foods that cling tenaciously to their native territories thanks to the powerful loyalties of personal taste.

Our National Eating Disorder

Carbophobia, the most recent in the centurylong series of food fads to wash over the American table, seems to have finally crested, though not before sweeping away entire bakeries and pasta companies in its path, panicking potato breeders into redesigning the spud, crumbling whole doughnut empires and, at least to my way of thinking, ruining an untold number of meals.

Saturday, October 16, 2004



Why the commandments make for such messy law.

Friday, October 15, 2004


Having The Blues Lifts Hearts Of Color-Conscious Collectors

When blue crops up in nature, it startles us because nature is pretty much brown and green.

Big Mac's Makeover

The world's biggest fast-food company has pulled off a remarkable comeback.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


When A Kiss Is Not Just A Kiss

Reality TV comes to the Arab world.


The Donkey

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Tech & Science

The Greatest Equations Ever

Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism and the Euler equation top a poll to find the greatest equations of all time.


Will Satellite, 'Podcasting' Bring A Renaissance To Radio Journalism?

Longtime NPR host Bob Edwards goes to XM satellite radio. Schlock king Howard Stern jumps to Sirius. People are using RSS feeds to get radio shows on their portable MP3 players. It's a new day in radio, but will journalism flourish?

Disney Is Tailoring New Park To Fit Hong Kong Sensitivities

Disney had rotated the orientation of the entire park by several degrees in the early design phase after consulting a master of feng shui, a Chinese practice of seeking harmony with spiritual forces.

The Life He Left Behind

People who never met Christopher Reeve were emblodened by his crusade. If only President Bush had been one of them.


Poem In The Manner Of The 1990s

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Tech & Science

A Lesson In Linguistics From The Mouths Of Babes

"Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin," the three little pigs taunted the big bad wolf. When Ann aVan Valin was 4 years old, she pronounced the phrase "not by the chair of my hinny hin hin" and unwittingly advanced the study of children's language when she did.

How Technology Failed In Iraq

The Iraq War was supposed to be a preview of the new U.S. military: a light, swift force that relies as much on sensors and communications networks as on heavy armor and huge numbers. But once the shooting started, technology fell far short of expectations.

At Mount St. Helens, The Big Eruption Is Of Data, Not Lava

Technology developed over the last two decades "has allowed us to do a better job of monitoring and allowed us to interpret the data much more quickly."


Why your ballot isn't as meanngless as you think.


The Alpine Slide

Monday, October 11, 2004


The Case For Fearmongering

Do candidates alarm people when they talk of danger? They should.


Truth Or Dare

If historians want to be believed on the big things, we should exercise care on the little ones.

Can I Get You Some Manners With That?

So often it was the 'professionals' who looked down on me who were lacking in social grace.

Sunday, October 10, 2004


Truth Stranger Than 'Strangelove'

"Strangelove" is far more than a satire. In its own loopy way, the movie is a remarkably fact-based and specific guide to some of the oddest, most secretive chapters of the Cold War.

Tech & Science

Going To The Moon, Sponsored By M&M's

Space sponsorship is, seemingly, everywhere.

The Genome In Black And White (And Gray)

Research scientists are increasingly studying the genetic basis of race. It could lead to better medicine, or to new kinds of stereotypes.


Eat, Memory

At the lowest point of my life, I was cooking all the time. Normally, I cook most when I'm feeling contended, say, when the writing is going decnetly well and the family is happy. But during the fall of 1990, I was cooking and miserable.

Saved, And Enslaved, By The Cell

Is the sense of security engendered by a cellphone as much illusion as reality?

Saturday, October 9, 2004

Tech & Science

Cloning A Bad Idea

The idea of cloning a kitten may somehow seem to be about the cat, but it's really only about the owner.

Friday, October 8, 2004


Radio Karabagh, The Station With Local Identification

The letters that arrive at the three-room studio of Radio Karabagh are small works of folk art.

Can You Buy Votes With Underwear?

Regardless of the briber's intentions, paying for turnout is illegal in federal elections.


When Women Wore Heels To The Market

But Marion Crane. Oh, her morality!

You Can Buy A Seat, But Can You Fit In It?

Unlike major movie chains, which have introduced all sorts of cushy innovations (stadium-style tiering, reclining capabilities, cup holders), or the airlines, which advertise their legroom like barkers at a circus, many Broadway theaters have lagged behind (pun intended) when it comes to the most basic of audience amenities: their seats.

Thursday, October 7, 2004


Latte, Tea Or Me?

We've all been majorly smitten with that hot barista or bartender. Inside the steamy (literally) world of customer service lust.

Great Views And Serenity At Volcano

There is a rhythm to the volcano-watching day.

Historical Fiction

How do medieval-themed restaurants get it wrong?

The Long Tail

Forget squeezing millions from a few megahits at the top of the charts. The future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream.


The Paris Of Stories

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Tech & Science

Do Not Adjust Focus, Those Blobs Are Atoms.

This is the sharpest picture yet taken of atoms, with a resolution of 0.6 angstroms, or roughly one 400-millionth of an inch.


A Writer's Journey: Botswana To Boswell Terrority

As if he were not busy enough, the Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith decided some months ago to embark on the Dickensian pursuit of writing a serial novel for his local newspaper.

Apples, Honey, Caution

In these times of uncertainty, with a worldwide jihad against America, and as ever againast all Jews, it is no time for joy and celebration. It is time for caution, preparedness, alert, consideration and concern.

Real Fur Is Fun Again

It's less expensive and more popular than ever. But as young people snuggle up, where are the protesters?

Forward Thinking

Oracles, futurists, visionaries — some people make their living by trying to divine the shape of things to come before anyone else. And we all avidly await their predictions.

The Spark Of Genius

Thomas Edison created the first light bulb 125 years ago. But he was not only America's greatest inventor. He was also a master entrepreneur.

Starbucks Vs. Its Addicts

The coffee chain bets you'll pay even more for your caffeine fix.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Tech & Science

What A Story Lice Can Tell

A spectator with an especially intimate view of human evolution is beginning to tell its story and has so far divulged two quite unexpected findings.


Art That Goes On The Blink

When TV's burn out, videotapes age or wires fray in technology-based works, which is more important, the medium or the message?


The Scheme Of Things

Monday, October 4, 2004


How The White House Embraced Disputed Arms Intelligence

The White House embraced the theory that aluminum tubes bound for Iraq were for uclear centrifuges despite contrary views from America's leading nuclear scientists.

Sunday, October 3, 2004

Tech & Science

A Virtuoso And His Technology

Yo-Yo Ma has found technology an ally, not only in making music but in imagining its audience, too.


Life Without Miramax?

Because of Miramax, which took chances on challenging pictures and maverick directors, independent film is thriving. Because of Miramax, which ran roughshod over the artists it claimed to nurture, independent film is dead. In the wake of recent layoffs, however, the more pressing matter is whether Miramax itself will survive.

Saturday, October 2, 2004


Flour, Eggs, Sugar, Fortune

Inside the factory behind all these happy messages.

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