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The other things in life

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


The More Nobel Prize

Book awards are about commerce and artistic corruption. Reading is about the intimate privilege of living more than one life.

A Life In Movies

The road to becoming the first film critic to win the Pultizer Prize and the first to be awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was paved with Ebert's hard work, his ability to write at typing speed, ad his unflagging optimism and cheer, even in the face of obstacles.


Wait To Come Unstuck

They were having their rails lubricated. Underneath they had discovered blockage, and it was all they could do to free themselves, like a kind of jellied meat.

Her Mind's Eye

In The Beginning There Was The Word

Love Poem

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tech & Science

A Pair Of Wings Took Evolving Insects On A Nonstop Flight To Domination

A little over 400 million years ago, their six-legged ancestors came out of the water onto dry land. They have evolved into an estimated five million living species — dwarfing the diversity of all other animals combined. Even if you throw in all the known species of platns, fungi and protozoans, insects still win.


Fine Dining In The Sky

Food served on airlines is steadily worsening or disappearing, but caterers on private jets are aiming high to satisfy elite appetites.

A Cross-Atlantic Cable

The accent is on experimentation as BBC America works to find its U.S. niche.

Waiting For Havana

Cuba, with its magnificent, unspoiled beauty, seduces in many ways. To American business executives, it is an untapped market of 12 million people eager for American goods. To American hoteliers and cruise ship executives, it represents a tantalizing glimpse of the future — of future — of future ports for their passengers, of future resorts for their customers. To American tourists, it represents the taste of a forbidden fruit — of a land that has been off limits since 1961. And they are all waiting for one thing they believe will all but certainly make their dreams come true: the end of Fidel Castro.

Can The Jews Save Christmas?

Hanukkah is late this year. Will this help retailers?

They Shoot Helicopters, Don't They?

Houw journalists spread rumors during Katrina.


Wenlock Edge

Monday, November 28, 2005


Could You Please Make Me A Shade Lighter?

How Indians came to view fair skin as an ideal — and a business opportunity.

Peanuts In The Gallery

Comics, slowly becoming appreciated as literature, are being celebrated in museums too.

Upstart From Chinese Province Masters The Art Of TV Titillation

Here at the headquarters of Hunan TV, the station's producers say their formula for success is simple: create zany, off-beat and even risque entertainment programs in a country still dominated by bland and predictable state-run television programming.

For You, Half Price

Since the Brooklyn bridge was completed in 1883, the idea of illegally selling it has become the ultimate example of the power of persuasion. A good salesman could sell it, a great swindler would well it, and the perfect sucker would fall for the scam.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


A Family Interrupted

A writer asks his Japanese American in-laws about their experiences during World War II, long obscured with silence.

Dave Chappelle Is Alive And Well (And Playing Las Vegas)

Just six months ago, Mr. Chappelle seemed dangerously close to becoming a different kind of punch line — starring in the kind of spectacular career flameout normally reserved for philandering clergymen and disgraced politicians.

Bring Bridge Back To The table

Bridge will never have the spectator appeal of games like poker. But it's worth trying to bring back some of the glory of bridge by getting young people engaged in the game.

All The Right Moves

How can chess save itself? No doublt it would make purists protest, but chess should steal a few moves from poker.

Our Jennifer Fixation

We've seen her laugh, we've seen her cry. We've seen her almost-exposed breast. Will we ever get enough of Jennifer Aniston?

Sex And Chess. Is She A Queen Or A Pawn?

While Vaness Reid is clearly no novice at the game of chess, she isn't exactly taking it by storm. She is ranked 47,694th among both men and women. But Ms Reid is arguably the top player in the world based on a more subjective criterion: her looks.

Mardi Gras To The Rescue? Doubts Grow.

Mardi Gras has been plagued by harsh financial realities, indecision, lowered expectations and the possibility that this year's parade lineup could be absent some of its most popular krewes, or social clubs.

Friday, November 25, 2005


Average Joe

New York is suddenly brimming with Dunkin' Donuts stores. And with a Starbucks on every corner, a coffee class war is brewing.

Turning Academia Into A Cafeteria

Offering students a buffet of bogus 'choices' only undermines intellectual integrity and corrodes academic freedom.

The Wrap Artist

Diane Von Furstenberg's signature dress endures, just as she has.

This Time It's Personal

That old favorite, the horror movie, is back — with a vengeance. But what's driving films such as The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Flightplan to the top of the box office is a very modern fear: America's global war on terror.

A Bayou Thanksgiving, With The Queen Of Sheba

There was never going to be a traditional Thanksgiving on Salt Bayou, not after Hurricane Katrina picked up Liz LaBue's house and pushed it across U.S. 11 as if it were a stalled car. But she lived a scapbook life. Always up for a party, Ms. LaBue orchestrated one on Thanksgiving.

Roam, Sweet Roam

You see it on their faces as they sit in train station waiting rooms listening to the Richard Bray Orchestra, or as they stand in line looking up at blinking departure signs, or as they wait at the Greyhound station for a bus that may leave too early or arrive too late. Not so much worry or exhaustion, but anticipation of what the holidy will bring. What is on their minds?

Thursday, November 24, 2005


A Party Girl Leads China's Online Revolution

Chinese web logs have existed since early in this decade, but the form has exploded in recent months, challenging China's ever vigilant online censors and giving flesh to the kind of free-spoken civil society whose emergence the government has long been determined to prevent or at least tightly control.


Ten Commandments Of Restaurant Behavior

As a critic, I acknowledge that there are three sides to every story: the patron's, the restaurant's and the truth. But as a former waitress, I'm inclined to wag my finger at those who've taken the "hospitality business" hostage and beg: "Oh, behave!"

Kung Pao? No, Gong Bao, And Nix The Nuts

Guizhou province in south-central China is the ancestral home of the dish, and one visit to Guixi, one of Guiyang's most famous restaurants, makes clear that where this popular concoction is concerned pronnciation was not the only thing lost in translation during its migration around the globe.

Native Foods Nourish Again

As American Indians try to reverse decades of physical and cultural erosion, they are turning to the food that once sustained them, and finidng allies in the nation's culinary elite and marketing experts.

'Second Wives' Are Back

Mistresses are again a status symbol in China.

Nobody Bikes In L.A.

But they'd be a lot of happier if they did.

Hung Up On Tentpoles, Studios Think Too Big

No studio is going to admit the obvious: They can't afford to make all their movies at top-tier prices.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


The Misleaders

Powell's old colleagues now defend themselves by saying they didn't know their claims about Iraq weren't true. But the truth is most of them didn't care whether their assertions were true or not, and they still don't.


An Anchor Who Carried Weight

In the 25-year history of "Nightline," millions tuned in not because Koppel seemed like the man who thought he knew everything but because he gave the impression of wanting to know everything.



Reflections of green pixelled phrases hover in the thick panes of Malcolm Collier's spectacles whenever he leans close to his computer screen. I noticed this when we sat together in the study of Malcolm's comfortable home, Fo'c'sle, just outside Letchworth, one evening earlier this year. Malcom is a burly man in his late forties and there is a gap between his two front teeth that suggests a single ebony semi-tone on a piano keyboard.

Walking Wu Wei's Scroll

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


President Thelma

The heat this show generates suggests that men have calmed down enough to contemplate the pleasures of female power.


In A Losing Race With The Zeitgeist

The era of moviegoing as a mass audience ritual is slowly but inexorably drawing to a close.

What If They Open This Hotel And Nobody Comes?

The bravest man in Syria these days may well be a mild-mannered hotel manager named Markus W. Iseli.

75-Year-Old Jewel Thief Looks Back

Style and cunning allowed her to confuse store clerks.


Love And Obstacles

Self-Protrait, Masturbating — after Egon Schiele

Monday, November 21, 2005

Tech & Science

Charles Darwin: Evolution Of A Scientist

He had planned to enter the ministry, but his discoveries on a fateful voyage 170 years ago shook his faith and changed our conception of the origins of life.


Looking Abroad For A Few Good Teachers

Foreign educators are filling a need in one city's classrooms — and getting a crash course in cultural diversity.

Puny Headline Score Can't Top Scrabble Kings

In the end, the zobo and the ogive could not quite triumph over theqanat and the euripi on Sunday, and thus the contender was brisled — Scottish dialect for scorched or toasted.

Brazil's First Black Television Channel Tackles Legacy Of 300 Years Of Slavery

With non-white faces a rarity in media and politics, a new station aims to bridge racial divide.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Rebirth Of The Phoenix

When the Vietnam War stripped them of everything, they found a way to rebuild their lives. Unfortunately, they did in New Orleans.

What Do You Expect For $99.23 A Night?

In the middle of Manhattan and at the neon-bright Crossroads of hte World, the hotel has been a little-known source of grimy hospitality, low-budget accommodations and equal numbers of satisifed and dissatisfied customers from around the world.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


For A G.M. Family, The American Dream Vanishes

The G.M. that was once an unassailable symbol of the nation's industrial might is a shadow of its former self, and the post-World War II promise of blue-collar factory work being a secure path to the American dream has faded with it.

The Image Culture

We will become a society of a million pictures without much memory, a society that looks forward every second to an immediate replication of what it has just done, but one that does not sustain the difficult labor of transmitting culture from one generation to the next.

To Be Young And Hip In Bangkok

The heart of all this innovation remains Bangkok, and Soi Thonglor in particular.

How I Gave Oprah Her Start

I was also the person who suggested that Jerry Springer not go into syndication, for which I have received too little credit.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Tech & Science

Timid Mice Made Daring By Removing One Gene

Scientists working with mice have found that by removing a single gene they can turn normally cautious animals into daring ones, mice that are more willing to explore unknown territory and less intimidated by sights and sounds that they have learned can be dangerous.


Deadline Hollywood

Blame Ovitz: When art started imitating Hollywood.

Paradise Lost

When the High Line above Manhattan's West Side turns into a park, a secret world will disappear.

Let's Go To Print

And find the answer as to why San Francisco is so resistant to change.

The Pilgrims Didn't Brine

Serious cooks spend entirely too much time thinking about the Thanksgiving turkey.

Fleiss Plans A Brothel To Serve Women

Former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss bid farewell to Los Angeles on Wednesday, and put out the word: She's looking for a few good men.

Made In U.S., Shunned In China

For a long list of reasons, American products are struggling these days in the Chinese market, where they have trouble measuring up to European brands and even some Chinese brands.

How To Start Your Own Town

Can you name it after yourself?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Why Myths Still Matter

The religious rituals that surround them are gone, but we're still drawn to stories that transform the world — and ourselves.



Tuesday, November 15, 2005


The End Of News?

The environment in which the press works is often inhospitable, but it's precisely in times of crisis and upheaval that some of the best journalism gets done.

Tech & Science

Antigravity Machine Patent Draws Physicists' Ire

A perpetual-motion machine may defy the laws of physics, but an Indiana inventor recently succeeded in having one patented.


Less Style, More Substance

On a web site for frequent fliers — many of them business travelers — a lively debate was unfolding in response to a question posted by a member: "Do people really like 'hipness' in hotels?"

Me & Mary-Louise

A fan hopselessly smitten with the award-winning actress gets to fall for her all over again at a BU exhibit.

My Life As A Penguin

They are the flightless birds everyone is talking about this winter, after a film about their mating and chick-rearing skills became a surprise U.S. hit. But can penguins really teach a man how to live, as some claim?

Their Misspent Youth

Why is it so hard for politicians to understand that kids in juvenile detention need treatment not punishment?


The Year Of Spaghetti

Nineteen-seventy-one was the Year of Spaghetti.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Salon At 10

Ten Years Of Salon

From the dot-com madness to our Blackbeard-like refusal to die to making online jounalism history, it's been one hell of a ride.

The Salon Report On Kenneth Starr

We now know more than we ever wanted to about the president's private life. Here's what the public should know about the prosecutor who may drive him from office.

"This Is Not America"

In Miami, police unleashed unprecedented fury on demonstrators — most of them seniors and union members. Is this how Bush's war on terror will be fought at home?


How Rupert's red-state cable channel waved the flag and beat CNN.

Cheerio, "Seinfeld"

Saying goodbye to the greatest sitcom of all time.

Meet The Metrosexual

He's well dressed, narcissistic and bun-obsessed. But don't call him gay.

Finding Fargo

For years, I fought fiercely for my autistic son. WHen he came back, I was still driven and relentless. Now, celebrating his 17th birthday in this strange city, I must learn from him the art of softness, and forgiveness.

Getting Away With It

The Justice Department's settlement mocks antitrust law and leaves Microsoft free to ravage new markets at will.


Programmers who hack their own bodies don't need exercise and never get sick.

The Age Of Computer Heroes Is Over

Apple fans demand nothing less than "insanely great." But is it even possible to be a revolutionary anymore.

Fear Of Links

While professional journalists turn up their noses, weblog pioneers invent a new, personal way to organize the web's chaos.

The Books That Changed Our Lives

The essays in this special issue of Salon — written by accomplished novelists and by Salon's own staff — remind us that reading is at heart a passionate act.

Feasting On The Island Everyone Loves To Hate

Don't criticize Singapore until you've tried the kaya at the Chin Mee Chin.

The Last Temptation Of Kinsley

Did Slate's editor blow the New Yorker editor's job by not leaping immediately into S.I. Newhouse's lap?

The First Drag Queen

America's smoothly efficient First Lady has taught herself how to act like a woman.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Wrestling With History

Sometimes you have to fight the war you have, not the war you wish you had.


Writing In The Dust

The fabulist literature that's peculiar to Los Angeles is the only American fiction that's really worth reading.

Iran's Transexual Revolution

An unlikely religious ruling has made Tehran the sex-change capital of the world.

Above The Arctic Circle, Answering The Call Of The Wild

The vast highlands north of the Arctic Circle in Norway and Sweden are sometimes called Europe's last remaining wilderness. Across much of this lonesome landscape, mankind's only trace is a network of cross-country skiing trails.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


"Commander In Chief" A New TV Drama Raises Constitutional Questions Worthy Of Discussion

I will consider the fictional first female President Mackenzie Allen's defense of the way she gained office.

Tech & Science

Intelligent Evolution

The consequences of Charles Darwin's "one long argument."


Fish Market's Salty Souls Bid South St. A Misty Adieu

These were the market's final hours on the East River, and moist-eyed tough guys were running around with disposable cameras, hugging one another and popping bottles of homemade wine.

Supersize Comeback For Fast Food

There seem to be more health-unconscious consumers than anyone have guessed.

Friday, November 11, 2005


For City Kept Sleepless By Colic, No End To Cures In Melting Pot

Nearly 200 languages are spoken in New York City, and in all of them, the wail of a colicky baby needs no translation. Is it indigestion? Gas? Nostalgia for the womb? Nobody really knwos. So in this city where 6 of 10 babies have at least one foreign-born parent and pediatricians come from every corner of the world, a cornucopia of colic cures serves as a kind of Rorschach test of child-rearing culturre in migration.

Green To The Core

How I tried to stop worrying and love nuclear power.

McDonald's Spills Its Guts

Big Mac to come with a warning label.

The Secret Language Of Jeans

Why some people are willing to shell out for designer denim.

Romancing The Globe

Latin American soap operas have circled the globe and made a splash in places as far flung as Poland, Russia, and Indonesia. Their secret? Plotlines that keep the poor and underprivileged glued to their sets. Now these surprising Latin exports are part of the global cultural establishment — and taking on Hollywood heavyweights.

New Yorker On DVD Is Readers' Delight, Surfers' Frustration

Why does The Complete New Yorker feel so low-tech? The explanation lies in a years-long battle over a clause in U.S. copyright law concerning the ownership of rights to magazine articles written by free-lancers.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Tech & Science

The Big Idea: No More Breakthroughs

We live in a period of explosive scientific progress. But admitting that science has limits may be our greatest achievement.


Why Vote On Tuesdays?

If Andrew Young has his way, never again will we have a Tuesday election. The former mayor of Atlanta and ambassador ot the United Nations wants to switch the antion's voting to the weekend.

Gotta Scoot

In Southern California, motor scooter clubs are riding a wave of nostalgia — and sweet gas mileage.

My Dinner With Google

I typed 'tofu oranges cauliflower.' And my computer concocted a meal.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005


A Miracle And A Menace

Hu Jintao is visitng London as president of a China at its most powerful for 200 years. It now needs resources to keep its factories running, its people sated. Its leaders want the economy to more than triple by 2020. For some, it is the business opportunity of a lifetime, but for others, the geostrategic and environmental threat of the century.


His Night In The Sun

After 25 years, Ted Koppel is leaving the show that did it his way.

Making Books: The Politics Of Publishing

If you can't say anything nice, the current thinking goes, maybe you should be an author.

For Tourists, A Calmer Paris

For a city under siege, Paris, in its center, is oddly pleasant these days.



I remember it differently from Mom and Dad. Of course, they werenít around all the time like I was back then. Even Mom had started working again, after I had shown her that I wasnít one of those hyperactive kids we always saw in the supermarket, running down the aisles yelling and screaming as though war had just been declared. Being an only child had something to do with that, I think. I was so used to living out of my own head I had no reason to cause trouble for anybody. And the times were a little different back then, too. The towns were a little smaller. You could leave a kid alone in the house for an afternoon without one of the busybody neighbors calling the police and reporting you. But Cutty was also living with us by that time, so I wasnít exactly all by myself.

Advice For Little Girls

Lines Written Upon A Prophylactic Found In A Brixton Gutter


Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Tech & Science

Science And Religion Share Fascination In Things Unseen

Mathematicians, artists and writers may choose beauty over truth. Scientists can only hope that we do not have to make the choice.


Some Meditations Upon The Enigma That Is Stonehenge

My earliest memory of Stonehenge is, like so many childhood memories, as much fiction as fact.

On The Wal-Mart Money Trail

As the nation's wealthiest family, the Waltons could be a force for social good. But when they choose to spend their fortune lobbying for pet projects, tax cuts and charter schools instead of providing a living wage for their workers, they are dangerous (and costly) to the nation.

Star Wars

Did Michelin lower the bar for New York?

Book Hunting In Britain

Book collectors are thrill-seekers. It is a vegetarian hunt to be sure, without much exertion or risk, but the endorphin rush of the chase and the adrenaline high of the capture are much the same with first editions as I imagine they must be in the pursuit of 10-point stags, largemouth bass, or 20-foot waves at Maverick's.

The Naked Truth

I'm not an exhibitionist. I don't even particularly like being nude. I get cold easily and I'm usually the last person in a room to take off his coat. The answer: It's a part-time job paying $13 per hour.


The Best Year Of Life

I got the appalling news as the whole family watched, all of them chewing and gabbling at the kitchen table, near where the phone hung on the wall. It was a few days before Christmas, so everyone was at home, all six of my siblings, the entire cast assembled at the footlights for this—not tragedy, since tragedy seldom visits the young—this cruel farce. I had just turned nineteen.

Monday, November 7, 2005


We Americans Are Like Recovering Addicts After A Four-Year Bender

Like recovering addicts who have taken a step into a 12-step programme, we are ready at last to hear how we have harmed others — and to try to make amends.


Will This 'Lion' Roar?

It's a $180-million gamble on a spiritual children's tale, with "Shrek's" direcitro in charge of real kids. A peek behind "Narnia's" magic door.

The Boomer Files

Here's the boomer credo in a nutshell: there are good years left.

Endangered Species? Not Tonight, Thank You

With the world at its door, China takes a crash course in Western etiquette.

The True Story Of The Poppy Girl And Her Mother

'Daddy would be so proud' — the words to her daughter of Anna Aston, soldier's widow and face of this year's British Legion Appeal.

Saying Goodbye California Sun, Hello Midwest

The same factors that have made California so alluring also made it unaffordable for many young families, retirees and recent immigrants to the United States. Some are heading to fast-growing cities like Las Vegas, as they have been for decades. But even less-glamorous destinations, like the Rust Belt and Texas, are on the receiving end of the migration.

Dr. Pill To The Rescue

As the FDA stalls making Plan B emergency contraception available to women, a New Mexico doctor has stepped in to help — now.

Sunday, November 6, 2005


Migrant Worry

In a sense, the debate boils down to culture and politics versus economics.

Tech & Science

Just Hang On A Second

The leap second may seem insignificant. But what's really at stake is whether we as a civilization, for the first time in history, decide to uncouple our time-keeping from the rotation of the earth. That would be, to my mind, a serious mistake.


A Literature Lover Strikes It Rich

There is a mother lode of independent bookstores in two towns in California's Gold Country.

Political Fictions

Novels by politicians may meet with snide reviews and tepid sales, but they can't seem to stop writing them.

Seeking An Honest Marshmallow

A tale of deep weeds and strange experiments, with a satisfying end.

Trading Places

A night school English teacher and a Honduran construction worker share lessons about literature and life.

Do-Over Dads

The first batch of kids is grown and gone, but these men are becoming fathers again at 50, 60, and 70. How a second chance at fatherhood is changing men — and both sets of families.

London Loses Its Culinary Cool To A Star-Studded New York

Michelin has launched its first US restaurant guide, putting the Big Apple ahead of London in the world cuisine league.

The Right To Be A Father (Or Not)

Case study one: a pregnant woman wants an abortion. Her husband doesn't. Should he have a say? Case study two: a woman wants to become pregnant with frozen embryos. Her ex-husband opposes the decision. Should he have a say?

Saturday, November 5, 2005


Watching Al-Jazeera

Al-jazeera is at the forefront of a revolution in Arab political culture, one whose effects have barely begun to be appreciated.


Singled Out For Special Treatment

A while after the Schism of 2002 (the end of my most recent relationship), I decided to try the once unthinkable — I would join an introduction agency. There, I've said it. But most middle-aged single men apparently won't.

Iraq's Lethal Traffic: Warning! Anarchy Ahead

For all the frustration they cause, the sea of idling cars are also a sign of progress.

Does that F-16 Come With A Warranty?

What happens if the U.S. government sells you a lemon.

Friday, November 4, 2005

Tech & Science

Einstein's Mistakes

Science sets itself apart from other paths to truth by recognizing that even its greatest practitioners sometimes err.


Divine Destruction

'Wise use,' dominion theology, and the making of American enviornmental policy.

Glass Menagerie

Ditch it to court yuppies and armed robbers, or maintain their low-risk but cramped existence? At least for now, the degradation seems to be worth it. In D.C., plexiglass will be the last relic of riot architecture to go.

Thursday, November 3, 2005


Truth, Justice, And The American Way

Is Scooter Libby innocent until proven guilty?


The Real Cost Of A Free Meal

A restaurant critic dines on the house, raising serious questions about the ethics of reviewing.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005


Is New York Woth A Trip? Oui

It may have been only one more review among many, but when Michelin announced its first ratings for restaurants in New York City yesterday morning, superstar chefs and proprietors reacted with joyous tears, resignation and, in some cases, dismay.


The Din Of Solitude

Self-Portrait As Cadaver

Last Meal


30 Day Guarantee

Ready, set write: Thousands of aspiring authors have vowed to create an entire novel in one month.

College Yearbooks Become Irrelevant

Students of the iPod and instant messaging age have little tolerance for the yearbook medium.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Tech & Science

Speaking In The Third Person, Removed From Reality

Teenagers are embracing lies on a wholesale (and retail) scale.


Hotels Trot Out Perks From The Extravagant To The Restful

Many high-end hotels realize that, by now, guests have become a bit jaded about all the extras that have been lavished on them in recent years, like free bottled water, wireless internet service, flat-screen plasma television in rooms and ubiquitous helath clubs and spas. To stand out, many of them are devising over-the-top perks to pamper guests and to make them want to come back for more.

Those Forgotten Mummies In The Cellar Must Be Cursed

Egyptian archaeologists, who normally scour the desert in search of treasures of the past, have discovered that one of the greatest caches of antiquities may well be in the basement of the Egyptian Museum.

Women's Studies

Chick lit is often dissed for being trashy and dumb. Back off! These novels of fashion and family are recording women's history.

How Many Ways Can You Say "Lie"?

The difference between perjury, false statements, and obstruction of justice.

The Redhead And The Gray Lady

How Maureen Dowd became the most dangerous columnist in America — on her own, very female terms.


The God Of War

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