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The other things in life

Monday, October 31, 2005


Why Race Isn't As 'Black' And 'White' As We Think

The ultimate point is that none of us really know who we are, ancestrally speaking.

Shack Attack

Birds do it, bees do it. Brad and Angelina, too, do it: Shacking up may be 70 years old, but it's as spry as ever, cocking its skeptical eyebrow at live-in lovers everywhere.


How To Greet The Accused So You Won't Feel Guilty

So, you run into Scooter Libby, Tom DeLay or Marion Barry at a party. Awkward, huh?

Sunday, October 30, 2005


In Blame Game, Take A Number

The New York Times clearly wasn't the only journalistic institution that failed, and the duty to set the public record straight about how this mistake was made is a shared one.

Tech & Science

Dreams Are Made Of This

Studies are shedding light on the mystery of sleep.


Breaking The Chain

An African American women reclaims thesexuality that history tried to steal from her.

The Same-Name Game

Not that she needed it, but one woman gets a little more incentive to keep her name just as it is.

The Industry: Gastronomics

Why high prices at the pump aren't touching your plate — yet.

The End Of Pensions

Corporations were happy to offer rich retirement plans to their workers as long as accounting tricks and federal insurance made it easy to delay the day of reckoning. But now the game is up.

Why Series Games Won't See Light Of Day

The World Series is over, but certain fan questions are eternal: Why can't games start earlier? Why can't there be day games? Why can't Major League Baseball take less money to put one or two games on in the daylight?

At The Holidays, Few Gifts For Travelers

Renee Coon, a travel agent in Erie, Pa., has some advice for her clients who want to take a trip the week between Christmas and New Year's Day: Don't go.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Village Voice 50th Anniversary Special

'Mass Naked Happening'

The way of all flesh: stripping for inaction.

The Detached Cool Of Andy Warhol

A Rape In Cyberspace

How an evil clown, a Haitian trickster spirirt, two wizards, and a cast of dozens turned a database into a society.

Stage Beauty

Downtown theater and the 'Voice' grow up together.

To Tell The Truth

What if Clinton had said he loved those blowjobs?

Generation Ex

Some get a decade; we get a moment.

Terror Attack

A New Kind Of Abortion War

Stealth pro-life campaign erodes reproductive rights.


On Not Having Sex

Three months of sleeping alone yield some surprising conclusions.

It's A Marriage Of Sorts

With people spending so much time at the office these days, the notion of work wives and husbands is a growing phenomenon in offices across the country.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Curse Of The Second Term Leaves US Presidents As Lame Ducks

Part of what has vanished since last year is the famed discipline of the Bush White House and the Republican Party.


Bush has so thoroughly destroyed the Republican establishment that no one, not even his dad, can rescue him now.

Tech & Science

On Science And Religion

The priest must become a teacher if he wishes to do justice to his lofty educational mission.


You Know What? Just Shut Up

The world is noisy enough without adding completely useless aural pollution to the mix.

Where Cooks Learn, Eat And Dance Together

The Pigpen's rules: Stop by any time unannounced. Bring friends and something to cook. Expect to feed 2 to 40 mouths and teach everyone your recipes.

For Oyster Lovers, It's Ready, Set, Shuck

Oyster shucking is serious business. And the pros who compete do so with all the bravado of seasoned athletes.

Portion Distortion

Your breakfast bagel might have looked perfectly normal this morning, but during the past 30 years it has grown freakishly large.

Budget Airline Aims For A Taste Of 1st Class

In an age when passengers are lucky if "airplane food" means a bag of pretzels and a half-cup of diet cola, Song is trying to carve out a niche as the carrier that actually offers some decent food.


Zen News

The art of reporting that nothing happened.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Mirror, Mirror...

Women are supposed to be the fairer sex, but Asian men are spending a lot of time and money on their looks. Why? Because the girls like them that way.


The Epidural

Moon Of The Falling Leaves

To Opinion: An Assay


Coughing Cats May Be Allergic To People, Vets Say

Humans can trigger asthma attacks in cats.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tech & Science

Y Chromosomes Reveal Founding Father

Did conquest and concubines spread one man's genes across Asia?


The Lap Of Luxury

It's acceptable to indulge your James Bond fantasies, but it's not acceptable, when the bill comes due, to remain convinced that you're James Bond.

Does Anyone (Under 30) Really Know What Time It Is?

To most young people, the wristwatch is an obsolete artifact.

A Happy Feat

You know what's funny about Twain prize winner Steve Martin? Everything.

America's Aquarium, Seen From The Inside

There are ways to be pampered, but more ways to be adventurous.

And Now, A Warning About Labels

Health literacy experts worry that many patients, overwhelmed by a proliferation of paper warnings — often written in turgid prose — are relying instead on the stickers to tell them how to take medications.

How Do You Fire A New York Times Reporter?

For the msot part, they don't.


The Children

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Good Bye, So Long... Until We Meet Again Next Tuesday

Well, I'm off to my computer-less and internet-less weekend — that means no web, no e-mail, no instant-messagine, and no updating of this web site.

This website,, will go dark starting now, until Tuesday, Oct 25th, 2005.


Seeing Right Through The Times' Transparency

The age of the blogosphere has produced a new genre of mainstream journalism: fake transparency.

Tech & Science

Old Ways Of Life Are Fading As The Artic Thaws

For the four million people who live north of the Arctic Circle, in remote outposts and the improbable industrial centers built by Soviet decree, a changing climate presents new opportunities. But it also threatens their environment, their homes and, for those whose traditions rely on the ice-bound wilderness, the preservation of their culture.

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Nanotechnology...

But were too afraid of quantum spookiness to ask.


The Bakeries Are Here!

The city finds a new reverence for pastry and bread with a capital B.

Game Over?

Video arcades might seem like a totally '80s thing, but they still have their charms.


That Girl We Killed

The Blues Are All The Same

On The Morning That You'll Die

In The Bulrushes

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


The Fate Of 'Made In The USA'

The decline mostly reflects higher efficiency. Americans make more things with fewer people. This is generally a good thing. It frees more workers to produce services (software, education, health care) that Americans want.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tech & Science

Can Brain Scans See Depression?

After almost 30 years, researchers have not developed any standardized tool for diagnosing or treating psychiatric disorders based on imaging studies.


How To End Airplane Boarding Bottlenecks

"These initiatives sound good, until it becomes clear that you are boarding humans, and not cattle. The cattle will line up and get into a pen. People won't."

Between Math And Writing — All Things Being Equal

The degree in math was simply stubbornness and a desire to prove something to myself, although I am not sure what. It seems to reflect my lifelong habit of pursuing the wrong thing: wrong boyfriend, wrong husband, wrong diet.

Lingerie Moves Further Into The Light Of Day

Lingerie is multitasking so much (Is it a blouse? A camisole? Shorts? Underwear?) that it's outgrown its label.

Cheers For Tears

Why women should feel free to cry in the workplace — and anywhere else they damn well please.

The Trouble With Hypotheticals

Given that philosophers not only launch hypotheticals, but have long puzzled over them, might these folks offer any insight into the latest blowup?

The City That Ate The World

It's goodbye to mao and hello to Europe's top architects, all Australia's iron ore... and half the world's concrete. With its sights set on Olympic gold, Beijing is being rebuilt round the clock.

Who's In Charge?

The Miller affair, like previous Times fiascoes, raises questions about the paper's editing and decision-making.


Judging A Magazine By Its Cover: The Top 40 From 40 Years

The best magazine cover of the last 40 years was Rolling Stone's January 1981 cover photograph of a naked John Lennon curled up in a fetal position around his wife, Yoko Ono. That is the judgment of editors and art directors from about 50 of the nation's top magazines.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Early Warning System: MyAppleMenu Goes Dark

I will be computer-less this weekend — from 21st (Friday) to 24th (Monday) of October. This website will not be updated during this time.


The Price Of Low Expectations

Some combination of forces has convinced dismayingg numbers of black men that they are largely unnecessary.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Tech & Science

Measuring The World: From Material To Ethereal

As science measures ever tinier bits of the universe, measurement must become more precise.


'They Said You've A Call From The Nobel Committee. I Said, Why?'

In his own words.

Literature, More Than Ever

In a fractured, traumatized time, it's the power of fiction to alter our interior world, and connect at deep levels, that keeps it vital.

The Accidental Nudist

Shedding years of programming in one weekend.

Meet The Life Hackers

Lots of people complain that office multitasking drives them nuts. But Gloria Mark is a scientist of "human-computer interactions" who studies how high-tech devices affect our behavior, so she was able to do more than complain: she set out to measure precisely how nuts we've all become.

Italy's Arrivederci To Cafe Culture

The tradition of going for a cappuccino or an espresso is under threat from a new menace — the coffee machine.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


When Only Slabs Of Pink, Jellied Byproduct Will Do

If you're looking for a gift that bespeaks elegance and taste, you might try Spam. The luncheon meat might be the subject of satire back home in the U.S., but in South Korea, it is positively classy.

Reopening New Orleans: B & B's See A Future

New Orleans B & B owners assess the damage and plan their comebacks.

Classes In Chinese Grow As The Language Rides A Wave Of Popularity

The future of foreign language study in the United States might be glimpsed here at Louisa May Alcott Elementary School, in a classroom where lanterns with cherry blossoms and pandas dangle overhead, and a paper dragon, an American flag and a Chinese flag hang from the wall.

Diaper Genie

Babies without diapers? No, thanks.

A Lost House, A Lost Life

A bloggger's words took me back to that rainy day when everything began to fall apart.

Friday, October 14, 2005


More Than Tsunami Damage Keeps Tourists Away From Phuket

By all accounts, the ghosts should be gone. But as hard as they tried, some ghosts "probably fell through the cracks," according to my wife.

Stop Time

It's the ultimate New York careerist dream: Work (and play) now, conceive later. Has science finally made it possible? The promises and pitfalls of putting your eggs on ice.

The Kids Are All Right

Cornish comes back from the brink of mediocrity.

Crash Course

Shaun Matlock's death dealt local motorcycle stunters a hard lesson. But did anyone learn anything?

The Ass Master

Levi's Fit Experience knows exactly what size jeans you wear.

Surfing Whodunit

Who created the neoprene wetsuit? That's long been a sore point among the two entrepreneurs and a professor who each claim to be the inventor.

Britain's Secret Service Indeed! Spy On It On Its Web Site

At midnight, Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, introduced its first publicly accessible web site, raising the hem of its cloak (if not its dagger) to just a modicum of scrutiny.

Southern California's Offshore Wilderness

Since 1980, the Channel Islands, off the Califronia coast, have been a national park, but despite their great beauty and abundant wildlife, they remain one of the country's least-known.

How Do You Steal A Plane?

Open the door and get in.

Hard Times

Under fire from all sides, will the paper of record finally come clean on Judy Miller's role in Plamegate?

Thursday, October 13, 2005


The Lunch-Box Battle

Hey kids! It's National School Lunch Week.

The Contemporary Dining Scene, Est. 1985

How a handful of chefs and restaurateurs reinvented dining in New York.

Morphing Outrage Into Ideas

Search for solutions is born out of anger over a student newspaper piece about the Latino-Asian academic gap at Alhambra High School.

Why Do We Believe In God?

Faith in a higher being is as old as humanity itself. But what sparked the Divine Idea? Did our earliest ancestors gain some evolutionary advantage through their shared religious feelings?

I'll Have A First Impression, With A Twist

If there's truth in wine, then what about tequila? Or a Cosmo? To your date, that drink order may speak volumes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tech & Science

A Big Debate On Little People: Ancient Species Or Modern Dwarfs?

Discoveries in Indonesia give additional support to the idea that a separate species of little people now extinct lived there.


The Rise Anf Fall Of Pop Culture

It now grows so broad and so fast, it is no longer the great connector.

The Hand Of Time

Time is moving backward in Kurt Vonnegut's living room. The writer perches on a sofa and grins.

Ramadan Ritual: Fast Daily, Pray, Head To The Mall

Once an ascetic month of fasting, prayer and reflectionon God, Ramadan has gradually taken on the commercial trappings of Christmas and Hanukkah, from the hanging lights that festoon windows to the Ramadan greeting cards and Ramadan sales and advertising campaigns that have become the backbone of commerce for the month.

America's New Jazz Museum! (No Poor Black People Allowed)

Jazz musicians warn against the Disney-fication of New Orleans.


A Drop In The Bucket

Parachute Girls

These Beautiful Territories


The Dancer

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Tech & Science

In The Classification Kingdom, Only The Fittest Survive

Between 1.5 million and 2 million species have been named, and a deluge of what could be millions more appears imminent.

Viagra Helps Out Endangered Species

Switch to western medicine may save certain animals from slaughter.


Dare To Bare

The diaper-free-by-three movement — and the three here is three weeks, not three years — claims that babies need never wear diapers again.

Visitors Won't Discover Some City Areas Via Map

Where the heck did Dorchester go?

The Trouble With Films That Try To Think

Sexual harassment, political corruption and blood for oil are a few of the weighty, star-driven themes to appear as Hollywood heads into Oscar-bait season.

Just Like A Woman

Thousands of men are shelling out $6,500 for hyper-realistic dolls that answer all their needs... and don't talk back.

The Number That's Devouring Science

The impact factor, once a simple way to rank scientific journals, has become an unyielding yardstick for hiring, tneure, and grants.

Scattered In A Storm's Wake And Caught In A Clash Of Cultures

Word spread fast after the evacuees arrived. Everyone wanted to see one up close.


Path Lights

Monday, October 10, 2005

Tech & Science

As Polar Ice Turns To Water, Dreams Of Treasure Abound

The Arctic is undergoing nothing less than a great rush for virgin territory and natural resources worth hundreds of billions of dollars.


Just Don't Do It!

Are we teaching our kids way too much about sex? Or not nearly enough?

After The Nip And Tuck

There's an emotional fallout with cosmetic surgery that few patients — or their families — expect.

Sorry, Did You Say Something Momentous?

Never before have there been so many tempting incentives not to pay attention to what's important.

A Cubicle For You And Your Muse

Hominess is part of the appeal at Paragraph; writers, after all, notoriously crave nurturing. But those who use this space have a practical reason to show up as well: to overcome the temptation to procrastinate, and to get down to the hard work of writing.

Americans In The Tropics

The imperialist imagination from filibustering to reality TV.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Tech & Science

Scientists Finding Out What Losing Sleep Does To A Body

With a good night's rest increasingly losing out to the internet, e-mail, late-night cable and other distractions of modern life, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that too little or erratic sleep may be taking an unappreciated toll on American's health.


The George Effect

Ten years ago, one magazine showed that politics and entertainment do mix. The rest, for better or worse, is history.

My Subject, Myself

A great biographer needn't know his subject personally, but he must know him deeply.

Who Knew Math Was So Prime Time

Problem: calculate the odds that a drama featuring forensic mathematics would find ratings success in prime-time network TV. Factor improbability based on casting of Judd Hirsch. Express answer in scientific notation. Show your work.

Their War, Their Words

Bookstores are filling with instant memories by troops fresh from the front and eager to tell us what war is like. But are they helping us understand what it means?

The Secret Life Of A Restaurant Critic

Sure, it's a fun job. But when an owner threatens to get a gun because of my review, that's not so fun.

Eat, Memory: The Sixth Sense

Growing up I dreamed of garlic the way some dream of bright city lights.

Fads Are So Yesterday

Trends are hot. Cool isn't. As culture morphs worldwide at internet speed, forecasters fight to stay ahead of it all.

In A Land Of Leaves, Seeking Cheese

Artisanal cheese, handmake in small batches, is a growth industry in vermont, with 35 cheesemakers sprinkled across the state and producing roughly 17 million pounds of specialty cheese — artisanal, farmhouse, organic — a year.

A Fast Track To Toilet Training For Those At The Crawling Stage

For many parents in the United States, the idea of potty training before a baby is able to walk, or even before age 2, is not just horrifying but reprehensible — a sure nightmare for parents and baby, not to mention a direct route from the crib to the psychiatrist's couch. But a growing number of parents are experimenting with infant potty training, seeing it as more sanitary, ecologically correct and likely to strengthen bonds between parent and child.

Saturday, October 8, 2005


The Man Who Took On George Bush And Won (The Nobel Peace Prize, That Is)

In a dramatic rebuff to President George Bush, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the man who dared to tell the Americans that the main plank of the US argument for waging war on Iraq was based on a lie.

Welcome To The Hackocracy

If there's an underappreciated corner of the bureaucracy to fill, the administration has found just the crony (or college roommate of a crony), party operative (or cousin of a party operative) to fill it.


In A Perfectionist City, A Gritty Neighborhood Beckons

Imagine, if you will, a neighborhood that combines Times Square and the Meatpacking District in Manhattan, circa early 90's, before "The Lion King" chased the porn theaters from 42nd Street and the Meatpacking District traded in its butchers and transvestites for stretch limos and stores that sell $500 shoes.

Friday, October 7, 2005


Virginity Becomes A Commodity In Uganda's War Against AIDS

Scholarship program for proven virgins aims to encourage girls to resist entreaties from older men offering them money and security in exchange for sex.


Do Dogs Think?

Owners assume their pet's brain works like their own. That's a big mistake.

Everyone's On Board

On a Caribbean cruise, a mother and a teen find common waters.

We Need A Poetry Idol

Today's sadly neglected writing needs a dynamic, fashionable ambassador to get people reading it.

Opening Arguments, Endlessly

Inside every lawyer, it is said, there is a brilliant writer, held back by professional ambition or by fear of failure. Nowhere is that truism more evident than in the explosion of online blogs by, for and about lawyers.

Chinese Town Loses Hyperlink To Future

A remote Chinese village was poised for prosperity after a tycoon introduced it to the internet. Then fate stepped in.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Tech & Science

Seeing Creation And Evolution In Grand Canyon

Two groups examing the same evidence. Traveling nearly identical itineraries, snoozing under the same stars and bathing in the same chocolate-colored river. Yet, standing at opposite ends of the growing creation-evolution debate, they seemed to speaki n different tongues.


Follow Directions And It's Cake

Baking is a cinch. More, it is a joy. You need know nothing to be proficient. Proficiency engenders confidence. And confidence breeds an attachment that can become habitual.

College Cafeterias Serve Food Grown Close To Home

"Seasonal" and "local" are the watchwords of the food world today.

Hurry! Only 81 Days To Go...

Tesco stores are covered in baubles, Boots has its 'Xmas' gifts out and John Lewis staff are already wishing customers 'Merry Christmas.' Can they be serious?

The Tiger Strikes Again

After an early bedtime, Calvin and Hobbes are up and running in a new collection.

Scrambling To Fill A Vacancy After Stern

With less than three months to go before Mr. Stern is expected to shift his show — belching, porn stars and all — to the subscription-based Sirius Satellite Radio service, dozens of competitors are making a less than subtle play for his listeners.

A Writer Not Fusty, If Addicted To Mystery

When the Nobel-prize winning novelist Toni Morrison is drained after finishing a book, she once said, there is sometimes only one other author she can bear to read — the British writer Ruth Rendell.

News Come In COde: Judy Miller's Return To The Times

Just one man's opinion, but now is a good time to say it: The New York Times is not any longer — in my mind — the greatest newspaper in the land. Nor is it the base line for the public narrative that it once was.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Tech & Science

My Deep Sea Dreams

Part of the giant squid's allure was that it couldn't be found, despite repeated attempts. Now that it has ben found, have we lost something? I don't think so. Perhaps this discovery will invigorate a natural history market. I know it's inspired me.


It's A Case Of Who Owns The Words

I spoke with two smart copyright lawyers who were unable to state definitively which side had the correct interpretation of this dusty little corner of copyright law.

Calling In Sick, While At Work

The company doctor is back in vogue. Once considered a luxury, the corporate medical clinic just might be a money saver.

With Lein's Ideas Dead, Russia Weighs What To Do With Body

Time has been unkind to Lenin, whose remains here in Red Square are said to sprout occasional fungi, and whose ideology and party long ago fell to ruins. Now the inevitable question has returned: Should his body be moved?

Hey, TV Execs, I've Got One Word For You: 'Hello?'

What's with this sudden craze for one-word titles, especially in the television industry?


Stump Louie

Simile, Analogy, Mimesis

Kowloon City

Tuesday, October 4, 2005


Why Ask Why?

Terrorist attacks aren't caused by any policy except that of the bombers themselves.

Tech & Science

9 Planets? 12? What's A Planet, Anyway?

In my daughter's circle of friends, one 3-year-old named Jared can reel off the names of all the planets. He and his parents are pretty proud, justly in my estimation, of this achievement. Little does he know, however, that the lords of astronomy are working against him.


Getting In

The social logic of Ivy League admissions.

Women In China Embrace Divorce As Stigma Eases

Divorce was once a dreaded fate for women in China. Now, many younger urban women view it almost as a civil right, which has helped drive up divorce rates.

Parent-Child Bond Knows No Borders

"How do you say 'You're my daughter' in Russian?" When I told him, he turned to his newly adopted daughter. "Ty moya dochka." She looked up at him and slowly, slowly her face lit up as a smile spread across her face. "Ty moya dochka," he said again, pointing at her earnestly. I sat on the other side of my window, invisible now, while father and daughter threw their arms around each other and my own baby kicked inside me.


The Elephant Poet

Early Music


Dolphins Sing 'Batman' Theme

Scientists have taught dolphins to combine both rhythm and vocalisations to produce music, resulting in an extremely high-pitched, short version of the Batman theme song.

Monday, October 3, 2005


Voyage To The Great Outdoors

Cave-tubing is no National Geographic expedition. But compared with the standard ports-of-call activities of even a few years ago — the air-conditioned bus tours, the fingering of trinkets on the dock — it's practically high adventure.

Sunday, October 2, 2005


Are Babies Not Equally Innocent?

Bill Bennett's statement about blacks and crime shows that we have not yet achieved America's greatest value: Equality.


World Of Their Fathers

On the High Holy Days, the West Side is shadowed with ghosts of the Jewish emigres whose world this was half a century ago.

Playing Catch-Up

The owner takes battling practice, the general manager doubles as a janitor, winning is optional. In the minors, it's a whole new ballgame.

Dog-Waste Management

The DNA of dog dirt.

Saturday, October 1, 2005


The Missing Apology

Before being sentenced to three years in prison and a dishonorable discharge, Lynndie England apologies to just about everyone in sight. What she did not do is demand an apology in return. She's entitled to one.


Bed, Breakfast, Gas: Inns Try To Coax Their Guests To Keep On Driving

Free-gas promotions, which began a few years ago when gas prices were moving up but the economy wasn't, have spilled over from the lodging industry into everyday life.

Students Discover Economics In Its Natural State

Over the years, my students have posed and answered literally thousands of fascinating questions.

The photo used in MyAppleMenu's header is by elroySF. Recent photos used can be viewed here.

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