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The other things in life

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


The New Magic Man

John Lasseter, Pixar's wacky genius, is hoping to bring the magic back to the Mouse's animation studio.


The Deposition

Monday, January 30, 2006


Masters Of Chocolate Look Abroad And See Something Even Richer

For the Belgians, who know their ganache from their gianduja, and relish the difference, names like Mr. Boey's have become household words. And now they are stretching their palates to create new chocolate recipes, and looking abroad, above all in the United States, to find connoisseurs for them.

My Diner (A Love Story)

My diner doesn't have old-school credentials like the original pantry or Du-par's, and it's not as trendy as Fred 62 or Swingers. There are no jokes on the menu, no retro signs on the walls, no mustachioed waiters and no waitresses with gravely voices who call me "hon."

The Flip-Flop

Every parent has a birth story, and everybody loves their children. My larger point is this: We almost made a huge mistake.

Friday, January 27, 2006


On The Far Side Of The World, Watching Her Sister's Back

When your twin goes off to war, she never really returns. And you are the one left desperate, grasping for an arm, a leg, anything familiar to hold onto, to push her back into the womb you once shared.

For The Year Of The Dog, Beijing's Big Bang Will Be Perfectly Legal

This year, Beijing becomes the latest Chinese city to rescind a ban on fireworks during the Lunar New Year.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


A Chinese New Year Resolution: This Is The Year I Will Rock That Wok

To live surrounded by a world of Chinse ingredients, cooking implements and cookbooks in one thing. To create the complex flavors and intriguing textures that put Chiense food high on my list of favorites is another reality entirely.

Scene And Be Seen

How to get ahead in show biz? Invest in a restaurant. Lately, everyone's doing it.

My Week As A Waiter

Last week I traded places and swapped perspectives, a critic joining the criticized, to get a taste of what servers go through and what we put them through, of how they see and survive us.

Just Like Lao Lao Used To Make

The world may be changing, but traditions are not. It's good luck to eat dumplings on the New Year, and you may have to do as the Chinese do: Eat out.

The Worst Word In The Language

The worst word. The worst noise. The screech of Flo-Jo's fingernails down the biggest blackboard in the world, the squeak of polystyrene on polystyrene, the cry of a baby when you're hungover, is "beverage."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


My Mother, My Hair

Does your mom think yours is too long, too short, too sexy or too repressed? Where you see criticism, she sees caring — and she may be right.

The Pornification Of America

From music to fashion to celebrity culture, mainstream entertainment reflects an X-rated attitude like never before.


Death Of A Child

Two For The Montrose Drive-In

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Going Nowhere

By doing business with Burma, Asian countries help its brutal mlitary regime stay in power —- while the Burmese people remain trapped in a time wrap of poverty, oppression and economic misrule.

Tech & Science

It May Look Authentic; Here's How To Tell It Isn't

Among the many temptations of the digital age, photo-manipulation has proved particularly troublesome for science, and scientific journals are beginninmg to respond.


'Mommy, I Know You'

The study of adolescent girls bears on problems boys have with school by solving a longstanding psychological puzzle.

Time Machine Cuba

I learned of science fiction and history in a single season.

Three Decades After Roe, A War We Can All Support

The lesson of those decades is that you can't eliminate the moral question by ignoring it.

Monday, January 23, 2006


David's Friend Goliath

The rest of the world complains that American hegemony is reckless, arrogant, and insensitive. Just don't expect them to do anything about it. The world's guilty secret is that it enjoys the security and stability the United States provides. The world won't admit it, but they will miss the American empire when it's gone.

Tech & Science

Message In A Bottle

Even before New Horizons discovers anything, it raises a question we'll have to answer closer to home: What kind of messages should we accompany our space probes?


The Anti-Anti-American

A French philosopher retraces Tocqueville's steps to see if America is really as bad as his countrymen say it is.

Rail At Crossroads

Commuter rail has long had a daunting task: getting people in the suburbs to forsake their cars, if only for two trips a day. But attracting riders is getting even harder.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Why America Has To Be Fat

In many ways, my being fat also makes me pretty good for the economy.

Eat, Memory: Orange Crush

To think that all the dreams of my youth were once contained in this Tang commercial drink.

The Pleasure Of The Text

This may be the universal attraction of text-messaging, in fact: it's a kind of avoidance mechanism that preserves the feelling of communication — the immediacy — without, for the most part, the burden of actual intimacy or substance.

The Mystery Of The Rude Waiter

I don't want to complain, but my favorite lunchtime haunt has the rudest waiter I've ever encountered — and I don't think it's an accident.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Black Humor

It's always struck me as odd that there hasn't been a colored Calvin Trillin, Bennett Cerf or Mark Twain.

Why Lawyers Are Liars

They don't want to: It's their ethical obligation!

Why Is Everybody Going To Cambodia?

Change has come at an amazing pace.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Dinner With Porn Stars — And My Wife

If you have a dinner date with three beautiful stars of adult films, it's a no-brainer that you bring your wife.

I'm Pro-Choice And I Fuck

True choice means more than just the option not to become a mom.

Uncle Sam-I-Am

Dr. Seuss celebrates the American virtues of slaesmanship and open-mindedness.

In Winter, It's Scallops

Fans of seasonal, regional foods have little to celebrate in the depths of winter, especially those of us in the Northeast. Among the notable exceptions is the bay scallop.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Tech & Science

The Myth Of The Midlife Crisis

It's time we stopped dismissing middle age as the beginning of the end. Research suggests that at 40, the brain's best years are still ahead.


Adventures In Storyland

Indie bookstores catering to young readers in Southern California offer some surprising tales — far beyond just the classics of kid lit.

Veni, Vidi, Vici, Vino

Coffeehouses? They're so last year. Now wine bars are conquering the city.

The Spreadhsheet Diet

How a personal chef got his high-powered client to embrace the whole grains we all need.

The Broken Windows Theory

Who suffers when the DVD is released before the movie has left theaters?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Oprah's Grand Delusion

Oprah finds herself incapable of seeing that she has been twice fooled — once by Frey, a second time by herself.

Hardwired To Seek Beauty

The existence of a universal aesthetic psychology has been suggested, not only experimentally, but by the fact that the arts travel outside their local contexts so easily.


Two Million Feet Of Vinyl

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Why Mecca's Pilgrims Need Engineering, Not Just Prayer

Each year, pilgrims pelt three columns at the site, known as Jamarat, to re-enact the moment in a symbolic rejection of temptation. But the site, where an imposing two-story overpass was built to carry the waves of pilgrims, has also been the scene of catastrophes.


When 'Natural' Seems Too Risky

More women are choosing cesareans — with support of doctors and research. But some say nature has its reasons for vaginal delivery.

The Lottery

Once you have a green card, what's next?



Monday, January 16, 2006


The Most Dangerous Game

Fred Kovaleski and Yuri Rastvorov were secret agents, sworn enemies on opposite sides of the Cold War. When they finally came face to face, a mutual love of tennis spawned the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Is The Big Lie No Big Deal?

It's official. Fibbing is OK if it serves a higher purpose. Oprah said so.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


It's Raining In Seattle... No, Really, This Is News

The stretch of wet weather is currently the second-longest on record for the Emerald City — behind 33 straight days in 1953. Forecasters think that record may be in jeopardy, with more tain expected in Seattle over the next 10 days.

Plucking Hell

More complex removal methods will evolve. It'll all hurt more too. And cost more. And of course, I already know that I'll willingly comply.

Seeking Our Sages

In a scattered society, we turn to others in search of ourselves.

The Pressure To Cover

Now a subtler form of discrimination has risen to take its place. This discrimination does not aim at groups as a whole. Rather, it aims at the subset of the group that refuses to cover, that is, to assimilate to dominant norms. And for the most part, existing civil rights laws do not protect individuals against such covering demands.

Crusty Macaroni And Cheese

What's wrong with the New York Times' weirdly popular recipe.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Tech & Science

Math Will Rock Your World

A generation ago, quants turned finance upside down. Now they're mapping out ad campaigns and building new businesses from mountains of personal data.


No Fire Without Smoke

"There would be no bohemia without smoking," said David Hockney at the Labour Party's Brighton conference last September. A particularly dotty thesis, it may seem, but art history can furnish it with some lively supporting footnotes.

China Beat Columbus To It, Perhaps

An ancient map that strongly suggests Chinese seamen were first round the world.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Strat-O-Matic, The Throwback, Endures The Era Of The X-Boxes

Somehow, in a video-game age in which the landscape is ruled by John Madden, an old-fashioned sports board game stubbornly hangs on.

Group Therapy

Can a sober, settled-down front man and a great new record solve the problems of New York's most dysfunctional rock band?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Tech & Science

Astronauts And Area 51: The Skylab Incident

Groom Lake, aka Area 51, is the Air Force's most sensitive installation, and one that the military has gone to great lengths to cloak in secrecy. Whant happened when the crew of a Skylab mission took a photograph of the base from orbit?


Wait Wait! Don't Tell Me!

While I'm as big a fan of time shifting as anyone, I also believe there's a bargain implied. If you watch on your own time, you give up complete control over the information.

The Bread Is Famously Good, But It Killed McDonald's

First, an inconvenient truth: This is not a new story. But somehow the tale of how the city with the best bread in Italy forced its McDonald's out of business never really got told, and is spilling out now.

East Meets West, Adding Pounds And Peril

Asians, especially those from Far Eastern nations like China, Korea and Japan, are acutely suscepitble to Type 2 diabetes. And that peril is compounded by recent immigrants' sudden collision with American culture.

Mmm... Samples!

Good luck dodging the demonstrators.

Desktop Dining

The question is, do we lose something valuable when we eat alone at our desks?

Can New Orleans Save The Soul Of Its Food?

Among those who care about New Orleans food, the debate is whether the high can survive without the low.

You Don't Know Jack?

Jack radio is cheap and souless and all about random sex; it's also the new love of my life. Who needs Howard Stern?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Tech & Science

Science Seen Under The Right Conditions

The image of the mad scientist is a stereotype which reflects a sense of anxiety amongst the general public about the way science impacts on their daily lives.


I've Got A Secretion: The Sociology Of Spitting

Hawking a loogie, spewing, spluttering or whatever you want to call it is very human. And inhuman.

Dr. Fun

Kenneth Koch was one of the merrier in the bunch known as the New York School of poets. But he was more than just a poet of humor. He sought the essential nature of human existence, and displayed his infectious awe of the universe in enchanging verse.


Three Days

Tuesday, January 10, 2006



Monday, January 9, 2006


Harvard Sq. Is A Banker's Dream - Or Nightmare

The United States averages one ATM every 8 square miles. Harvard Square has at least 50 ATMs within a two-block radius.

What Mr. Right Doesn't Read

If men won't ask for directions in a car, why would they buy an instructional book on dating?

High Risk

Last summer's death of 14-year-old Ashley Burns illustrates why cheerleading, with all of its highflying, acrobatic, crowd-pleasing stunts, is the most dangerous sport of all for young women.

Speed Bump

The experts are telling us we're in the driver's seat. It's up to us how to handle the ride.

Dividing The Man From His Mother

Once, I chafed at any hour my husband spent with his mother, somehow viewing it as time stolen from me. Now I realize it's not a competition.

Illegitimate Dad Of 'Kong'

One of the Depression's highest-grossing films was an outrageous fabrication, a scandalous and suggestive gorilla epic that set box ofice records.

Sunday, January 8, 2006


It's A Life, Not A Feel-Good Moment

We all know the devil is in the details, so why the charade?

Saturday, January 7, 2006


Starbucks Economics

Solving the mystery of the elusive "short" cappuccino.

Cantonese Is Losing Its Voice

Speakers of the spicy tongue that can make words of love sound like a fight are having to learn its linguistic kin, the mellower Mandarin.

Friday, January 6, 2006


Indie Record Stores Doing Slow Fade Out

It'd be harsh exaggeration to say independent record stores are going the way of typewriter repair shops, but in Southern California it's been painfully evident of late that grand, eccentric music merchants are wheezing badly in the modern marketplace.

Bar Car

Thousands of Baltimoreans practically live on the MARC train — some of them live it up.

Thursday, January 5, 2006


Lhasa Cafe Brings Tibet To Western Mass.

When the wind blows, the Tibetan prayer flags hanging in fromt he awning of the Lhasa Cafe flutter in a swirl of yellow, green, red, white, and blue. Each flag is marked with blessings for peace and long life. In the breeze, the prayers are set free, and according to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, are released into the world to do their good.

In Oregon, Thinking Local

At the six New Seasons markets in and around Portland, Ore., "homegrown" is not only the coin of the realm, it's the heavily promoted mantra.

Can A Recipe Be Stolen?

"What this reflects is a rising awareness over the last 20 years of copyright issues... and the chilling effect of copyright enforcement... people being intimidated out of using basic common sense about things that would or should never generate a lawsuit."

Wednesday, January 4, 2006


Do The Poor Deserve Life Support?

A woman who couldn't pay her bills is unplugged from her ventilator and dies. Is this wrong?

Mascot For A Day

My adventure as a 10-foot-tall, inflatable George Washington.


First Water

Too Late


Tuesday, January 3, 2006


The Cute Factor

Scientists who study the evolution of visual signaling have identified a wide and still expanding assortment of features and behaviors that make something look cute.

Going To Extreme Measures

Even as digital countdowns and televised timers fill our waking hours, does anybody really know what time it is?


The Cryptozoologist

Monday, January 2, 2006


Camembert With That, Sir?

Move over, Ronald McDonald: gourmet burger joints — selling posh meat, in posh buns, and with posh extras — are the next big thing.

Twilight Of A Year And An Old Teenager

On "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," Mr. Clark was as much of a spectacle as the dropping of the crystal ball.

Food Slut

People say great food is like great sex. But after two years of reviewing trendy restaurants, chatting with charming chefs, and indulging in fatted duck breast, I've lost my appetite.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Tech & Science

Einstein Has Left The Building

Will there ever be a second coming of Einstein? I have my doubts, but not because I think no modern physicists can match Einstein's intellectual gifts.


Auld Lang Syne In The Big Easy

This weekend, New Orleans got what it has been missing since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city four months ago: tourists.

The Little Channel That Could

Since taking to the air on Sept 8, 1992, New York's smallest and youngest major TV station has been the subject of considerable mockery. But NY1 has quietly turned into a force to be reckoned with, one whose strengths were powerfully apparent during the strike that ended 10 days ago.

A Year On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown

It was the Year of the Woman. But not in a good way.

Our Vaginas, Ourselves

These are cruel times for vaginas.

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