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The other things in life

Sunday, December 31, 2006


Story Of My Wife

Calvin Trillin brings his greatest love to life on the printed page.

That Blasted Year

It was a momentous year, a year of events that will echo in the annals of history the way a dropped plate of calamari echoes in an Italian restaurant with a tile floor.

Can Google Come Out To Play?

You could be forgiven for not knowing that a satellite Google campus is growing in downtown Manhattan. There is no Google sign on the building, and it's hard to catch a glimpse of a Googler, as employees call themselves, on the street because the company gives them every reason to stay within its candy-colored walls.

The Graying Of Naughty

The pornography industry, that multibillion-dollar-a-year symbol of airbrushed American carnality, is aging. The advent of viagra, the maturing of sexually aware baby boomers and overall improved health and beauty are all contributing to the graying of naughty.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Dying Languages

The death of languages is typically described in a rueful tone. However, I'm not sure it's the crisis we are taught that it is.

A Test Of Faith In Strangers

There are a billion people on theinternet, and perhaps someone, somewhere, had a kidney to spare.

Friday, December 29, 2006


The Collector Of Experiences

Mark Allen and his Machine Project.

Clowning Around: McDonald's Takes An Arch Approach To Its Image Makeover

Welcome to the new McDonald's: Built for your comfort. Just don't get too comfortable.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Believe It Or Not

Presidents and their convictions.

Tech & Science

Motorists Switch Satnav On, Brain Off

Motorists who seem to turn off their brain when switching on their car's satellite navigation system have had a number of spectacular crashes in the past year — but occasionally they're right to blame the machine.


Japan, Home Of The Cute And Inbred Dog

Rare dogs are highly prized in Japan. But the real problem is what often arrives in the same litter: genetically defective sister and brother puppies born with missing paws or faces lacking eyes and a nose.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Food For The People, Whipped Up By The People

It was the year the people took back the food.

Repeat After Us: I Will Stop Eating Candy In 2007

She gave up her addiction to strawberry laces and Milk Duds, and lived to tell the tale.

Easing The Inward Journey, With Modern Amenities

In its many forms, spiritual tourism is the "oldest and now one of the fastest-growing segments in the travel industry."

Running Low On Role Models

Miss Nevada's out, Tara Conner's wobbly reign continues, and we're left wondering: What are beauty queens for, anyway?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tech & Science

13th Century Text Hides Words Of Archimedes

The pages of a medieval prayer text also contain words of ancient Greek engineer Archimedes. It takes high-tech imaging to read between the lines.


Of Country I Know

Monday, December 25, 2006


A Real Gem

Sunday, December 24, 2006


The Pleasure Of The Present

Take a deep breath and unwind.

What's Wrong With Cinderella?

Diana may be dead and Masako disgraced, but here in America, we are in the midst of a royal moment. To call princesses a "trend" among girls is like calling Harry Potter a book.

Old Typewriter Intrigues A Jaded Web Generation

It was strange to see my son and his actor friends mesmerized by a machine similar to one I used to use. I still fondly recall the downtown Sacramento shop where I took my Olympia for repairs.

Jewish In A Winter Wonderland

I blame the Pottery Barn holiday catalog for the fact that my husband and I, both Jews, spent last weekend at Home Depot picking out a Christmas tree.


Mrs Radinsky

Saturday, December 23, 2006


The Man In The Red Suit

An endearing enigma in a scarlet fur-trimmed jacket, Santa has spent the past 150 years spreading joy — and shilling for Macy's, Maxwell House and Dewar's scotch.

Those Inflatable Santas: Eyepoppers To Eyesores

Whatever else Christmas in America means, it now also includes these gargantuan, inflatable outdoor decorations, called "Airblowns" by their chief manufacturer.

Friday, December 22, 2006


The Blog Mob

"Written by fools to be read by imbeciles."

The Jewish Problem

My family, my city, my religion.

Sying Yes To Mess

An anti-anticlutter movement is afoot, one that says yes to mess and urges you to embrace your disorder.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Romney's Religion

Someone who refuses to consider voting for a woman as president is rightly deemed a sexist. Someone who'd never vote for a black person is a racist. But are you a regligious bigot if you wouldn't cast a ballot for a believing Mormon?


Sick With Excess Of Sweetness

A great poet's brushes with the world's first onsumer boycott.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Chinese Success Story Chokes On Its Own Growth

Few cities anywhere have created wealth faster than Shenzhen, but the costs of its phenomenal success stare out from everycorner: environmental destruction, soaring crime rates and the dissillusionment and degradation of its vast force of migrant workers.

Tech & Science

Women In Science: The Battle Moves To The Trenches

Studies show that women in science still routinely receive less research support than their male colleagues, and they have not reached the top academic ranks in numbers anything like their growing presence would suggest.

Sometimes, The Why Really Isn't Crucial

It is time to retire the myth that insight is a prerequisite for change.


Post-Modernism Is The New Black

How the shape of modern retailing was both predicted and influenced by some unlikely seers.

The Sovereign Vs. The Idiot

What kind of gift-giver are you?

Fore Shame

Did the Vatican steal Jesus' foreskin so people would shut up about the savior's penis?

Visiting Asia Without Crossing The Pacific In Portland, Ore

Different as they are, these two Asian gardens both rely on pattern, structure and metaphor instead of the floral can-can of typical American gardens. Rain, especially the mild intermittent rain of the Pacific Northwest winter, is their varnish.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tech & Science


Mathematical proof is foolproof, it seems, only in the absense of fools.


A Struggle To Preserve A Hawaiian Archipelago And Its Varied Wildlife

This was the real stake: a vast collection of some of the world's least damaged reefs and the home to the nedangered Hawaiian monk seal.

Nothing But Nog

It's got a mysterious history and a texture that's more lubricant than libation. But old-fashioned eggnog is still America's holiday cocktail of choice.


Old Newspaper Clipping In An Old Novel

On Chesil Beach

The Bible

Monday, December 18, 2006


Walt Disney: Man Or Mouse?

Those who pigeonhole him s everyman or kitschmeister are missing the big picture.

Please Let It Be Whale Vomit, Not Just Sea Junk

In this season of strange presents from relatives, Dorothy Ferrelra got a doozy the other day from her 82-year-old sister in Waterloo, Iowa. It was ugly. It weighed four pounds. There was no receipt int he box.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Why They Deny The Holocaust

On top of nearly constant anti-Semitic propaganda, much of the Muslim world hasn't even heard of it.


The High C And The Low Rumble

Among the dedicated, much of the debate revolved around whether these performances justified the boos, not whether booing in general is acceptable.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Tech & Science

Smart Elevators

Instead of a button to call the elevator, there's a keypad. Punch in the number of the floor you want, and the computer will direct you to a particular elevator.


At $300 A Bottle, Do You Have To Tip?

The liquor industry looks alot like the perfume business these days, with dramatic packaging and rich price tags that often have little direct connection to the liquid inside.

Men Who Do Breakfast

If the old-fashioned Hong Kong teahouse is on the wane, the dim sum tradition itself is flourishing.


Are iPod Shrinking The British Vocabulary?

A new study finds that most British teens don't have a large vocabulary — 12,682 words. By comparison, those aged 25 to 34 know more than 21,000 words. The cause, at least in part, can be chalked up to the use of too much technology that isolates teens from interacting with real people.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Why Identitiy Politics Distracts Us From Economic Inequalities

We live in a society where the struggle to achieve racial equality is not the most profound of the challenges that face us.


The Genius Collector

Louise MacBain uses her classified-ad fortune, her string of art magazines, and her stunning appearance to bring some of the world's most talented people into her orbit. To what purpose? Even she doesn't seem to know.

Blood, Sweat And Type O: Japan's Weird Science

In Japan, using blood type to predict a person's character is as common as going to McDonald's and ordering a teriyaki burger.

Some Pig

The development of the piggy confessional.

The Ups And Downs Of Flying 'Lateral Class'

Why pay an arm and a leg for the latest business-class "sleeper" seat when you can buy three or four adjoining seats int he back cabin for about one quarter of the price, and sretch out and sleep?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tech & Science

Bad Habits: Why We Can't stop

Scientists have come up with a host of reasons why humans stick to bad habits, and they are zeroing in on what to do about it.

Knowing The Ingredients Can Change The Taste

In the study, Dr. Lee and two M.I.T. researchers found that they could change beer drinkers' taste preferences by telling them about a secret ingredicent in a beer before they drank it.


The Old-Fashioned Secret Of Holiday Treats?

For bakers everywhere, especially during the season of fruitcake and gingerbread, the distinct spicy, earthy flavor of unrefined cane is irreplaceable.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tech & Science

Back To The Moon! But Why?

There's water on Mars, so we're going to live ont he Moon. Does that strike anybody as weird?


Beware The Skyscraper Curse

A bizarre suggestion, perhaps, and certainly an unscientific one. Yet history shows an uncanny correlation between tallest building projects and financial crises.


At The Window

Monday, December 11, 2006


Has Politics Contaminated The Food Supply?

The idea that every meal can be risk-free, germ-free and sterile is the sort of fantasy Howard Hughes might have entertained. But our food can be much safer than it is right now.


How Dickens Did Me In

I've written lots and lots of films for television, and some have even won awards. But when I tried to write a film about Dickens and Ellen Ternan, it was as if I'd had no previous experience.

Higher Education In Asia: Really Old School

The West has a long tradition of rediscovering its ancient Greek and Roman roots, and is much stronger for that. Asia could and should do the same.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Fathers And Sons

How George W. Bush has ruined the family franchise.

Tech & Science

Red, swirling And Perplexing

New satellite images will offer clearer look at what's happening on Jupiter.

Saturday, December 9, 2006


Why The Dead Sea Is Dying

Decades of a policy to drain water from the Sea of galilee and Jordan River to turn the deserts green have inflicted a heavy cost — the shrinking of the Dead Sea, and the alarming appearance of fissures and sinkholes on its shores.


In Praise Of Chain Stores

They aren't destroying local flavor — they're providing variety and comfort.

Friday, December 8, 2006


His American Dream

The Bloomberg-for-president scenario starts with the mayor's growing sense of himself as a man of destiny. Throw in the country's disgust with the two parties, add a half-a-billion bucks, and you've got yourself a race.


If You Lived Here, You'd Be Cool By Now

Ever get the feeling that the New York of your dreams is happening elsewhere? These days, the half-life of a hot neighborhood can be measured in mere weeks. To find the optimal balance of commodious bistros, tasteful urban decline, and cheap(ish) rent before it disappears, run like hell to... Jersey City?

Thursday, December 7, 2006


What's Wrong With Our Food?

E. coli at Taco Bell, Listeria in our Thanksgiving turkey, a report of unprecedented contamination in our chicken. Michael Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma," explains why.

Seat-Of-The-Pants Tourism Without Belt Or Suspenders

I often take my wife, Debra, on business trips with me. She believes in something she calls "travel by serendipity" — no reservations, and let's see what wonderful things we find. But every year I get more worried that our luck will run out and we'll be stuck somewhere with no place to sleep.



Wednesday, December 6, 2006


When Science Sniffs Around The Kitchen

I'm confident that never before in history have so many peole in so many corners of the world used so many powerful instruments to peer into food — and into people as they consume food.

The Wall Street Journal Gets Small

Making sense of the publisher's preview of the redesigned paper.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006


The Olympic Effect

In preparation for the 2008 Games, foreign media will have greater freedom to travel and report. How will the new rules play out at the grass roots?


Wonderful World

What Walt Disney made.

Dining Room Diplomacy

As bombs fel on the Middle East, I cooked a gourmet meal for a group of Arab artists — and between bites of roasted tomatoes and bay lettuce, the world seemed at peace.

Oh, Go Ahead And Insult Us

What is it about Los Angeles that annoys people so much? Let's face it — everyone needs some place to despise. And we're it.



Monday, December 4, 2006


Pitfalls For Tourists

Here is a guide to spending an utterly hideous weekend as a tourist in Manhanttan, taking full advantage of absolutely nothing that the city has to coffer, and getting entangled in as many of its provocations and vexations as possible.

Sunday, December 3, 2006


Do Immigrations Make Us Safer?

The most prominent advocate of the "more immigrants, less crime" theory is Robert J. Sampson, chairman of the sociology department at Harvard.

He's The Worst Ever

Ever since 1948, when Harvard professor Arthur Schlesinger Sr. asked 55 historians to rank U.S. presidents on a scale from "great" to "failure," such polls have been a favorite pastime for those of us who study the American past.


The Apartment Atop The Garage Is Back In Vogue

The granny falt is back — and not just for grannies.

Saturday, December 2, 2006


Bonfire Of The Puggle

Two forensic pathologists, an ex-con, and the hunt for one irresistable designer dog.

The U.K. In L.A.

Or, How to be Cary Grant.

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