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August 31, 2007

What's So Good About British Architecture?

by Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times

British architecture, so often talked about as one of our biggest cultural success stories, is dull, corporate and profoundly uninspired.

The Waiting Game

by Steve Rushin, Time

Depending on whom you believe, the average American will, over a lifetime, wait in lines for two years (says National Public Radio) or five years (according to customer-loyalty expert Nick Wreden, whose post-office branch you might want to avoid).

The crucial word is average, as wealthy Americans routinely avoid lines altogether. Once the most democratic of institutions, lines are rapidly becoming the exclusive province of suckers. Poor suckers, mostly.

A Fight To Be Heard

by Matt Snyders, City Pages

A rare disorder left him deaf, blind, and quadriplegic. Then the county took away his voice.

Watching Matt Drudge

by Philip Weiss, New York Magazine

He hides, but craves attention. He is prurient and prudish, powerful and paranoid, an icon of the right who seems obsessed with makign Hillary Clinton our next president. And he has America caught in the grip of his contradictions.

So Many Exclamation Points!

by Jacob Rubin, Slate

A new style guide says we should pepper our e-mails with them. Really?

August 30, 2007

The Ethics Of Handling - And Manhandling - A Book

by Parick T. Reardon, Chiacgo Tribune

Every reader has a personal ethic for how to treat a book, a morality for what can and can't be done to the physical object. Here are mine.

See Jane Run. See Her Run Faster And Faster.

by Gina Kolata, New York Times

Are women really trying in these races and, if they are, why are older women beating younger women?

Roll Over, Hot Dogs

by Walter Nicholls, Washington Post

Friends jumps into an expanding street-cart scene with shawarma and a dream.

August 29, 2007

To Be Or Not To Be?

by Art Winslow, Chiacgo Tribune

Death seems to have provided William Shakespeare the best route to superstardom.

Wake Up, Manhattan

by Tom Dyckhoff, The Times

New York's skyline is one of the most distinctive in the world. But the city should stop trading on past glories.

August 28, 2007

The Conquerors

by L.S. Asekoff, Slate

Dinosaur House

by Ali Fahmy, Identity Theory

August 27, 2007

A Man In The Kitchen

by Donald Antrim, New Yorker

When I was a boy, it was said in my family that my mother, an otherwise respectable cook, had prepared for my father, during the first days of their marriage, a very bad dish. The dish was a hot tuna-and-mayonnaise casserole with potato chips as a decorative garnish. It was this tuna casserole that had, as it were, driven my father to teach himself to cook.

The Devil Sells Prada

by Caroline Weber, New York Times

In "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster," Dana Thomas investigates the business of designer clothing, leather goods and cosmetics, and finds it wanting. Hijacked, over the past two or three decades, by corporate profiteers with a "single-minded focus on profitability," the luxury industry has "sacrificed its integrity, undermined its products, tarnished its history and hoodwinked its consumers."

In Nature's Casino

by Michael Lewis, New York Times

With the cost of natural disasters far beyond the insurance industry's ability to pay, a new market has sprung up to spread the risk. But how do you calculate the odds of catastrophe?

The Family Jeans

by Katherine Ozment, Salon

Since high school, I'd battle my curvy body into "skinny" jeans. But it wasn't until I wrestled my young daughter's round belly into stylish, slim pants that I knew the fashion madness had to stop.

A Nation Of Outlaws

by Stephen Mihm, Boston Globe

A century ago, that wasn't China — it was us.

August 26, 2007

Orientation 101 For Parents And Freshmen: Letting Go

by Susan Kinzie, Washington Post

Forget the quick goodbye hug after unloading the car. As campuses in and around Washington fill with new students this weekend and next, parents, it seems, are finding it harder than ever to let go.

August 25, 2007

To Woo Europeans, McDonald's Takes An Upscale Turn

by Julia Werdigier, New York Times

McDonald's is introducing healthier foods and items that cater to regional tastes, like caffe lattes. Hoping to attract more young dults and professionals, in addition to its core customer base of children, the chain is also adding amenities like internet access and rental iPods.

On Vacation, All By Myself

by Pete Jordan, New York Times

Little did I realize at the time how much this venture foreshadowed the kind of restless traveling (Greyhound/minimal baggage/half-baked plans) that, as an adult, I would spend more than a decade doing.

Stop Making Sense

by David Brooks, New York Times

Reason and rationality play a limited role in political decisions.

August 24, 2007

Relative Stranger

by Emily Weinstein, Salon

A writer sifts through the wreckage of her schizophrenic sister's short life. Can she penetrate the helter-skelter chaos to understand what was going on in her mind?

August 23, 2007

Already Chewed News

by Jack Shafer, Slate

What my beloved newspaper has been reduced to serving.

August 22, 2007

In Beijing, Orwell Goes To The Olympics

by Ross Terrill, New York Times

Behind the attack n Chinglish lies an Orwellian impulse to remake the truth.

Seizing American Supremacy

by Dilip Hiro, Salon

Throughout history, rising powers have overtaken superpowers. The United States will not prove an exception.

August 21, 2007

A Guide For Spiritual Tourists

by Hannah Faith Notess, Slate

Shakespeare Hovers Over Bush's Administration

by Jeremy McCarter, The Guardian

Bush's former speechwriter has penned a column in praise of Shakespeare's plays. Maybe it's time someone gave the president a copy of the Complete Works?

Is This The End Of English Literature?

by A. N. Wilson, Telegraph

What do the following have in common: Oscar Wilde, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, T S Eliot, W B Yeats, Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Evelyn Waugh, Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis?

The answer is, of course, that if they were to come back to life in Gordon Brown's Britain and wanted to go out to their club, or a restaurant or cafe, they would not be allowed to indulge in a habit which sustain them during the most creative phases of their lives.

Sleights Of Mind

by George Johnson, New York Times

Some magicians have intuitively mastered some of the lessons being learned in the laboratory about the limits of cognition and attention.

August 20, 2007

The Invisible Manuscript

by Wil Haygood, Washington Post

Ralph Ellison died leaving four decades' worth of scribbled notes, thousands of typed pages and 80 computer; disks filled with work on an ambitious second novel. For 14 years, a pair of literary detectives labored to fit the pieces together. Now they're ready to share with the world.

Hamlet.doc? Literature In A Digital Age

by Matthew Kirschenbaum, The Chronicle Of Higher Education

If Shakespeare had had a hard drive, if the plays had been written with a word processor on a computer that had somehow survived, we still might not known anything definitive about Shakespeare's original or final intentions — these are human, not technological, questions — but we might be able to know some rather different things.

Don't Be A Basket Case

by David Wilson, The Times

Enough is enough. It's time for change. It's time to reassert the wisdom of the male instinct about a central area of our national life. It's time for everyone to admit that shopping is rubbish.

Tom Green Works At Home (You Can Watch)

by Joe Rhodes, New York Times

It was 8 p.m., time for Tom Green's live internet talk show, the one he's been doing from his living room five nights a week, more or less, for the last year, and as seems to happen more often than not, things were going horribly wrong.

August 19, 2007

Museums Meet Auction Houses

by Eric Gibson, Wall Street Journal

The wall between art-world realms is going, going...

The Politics Of God

by Mark Lilla, New York Times

Today, we have progressed to the point where our problems again resemble those of the 16th century, as we find ourselves entangled in conflicts over competing revelations, dogmatic purity and divine duty. We in the West are disturbed and confused. Though we have our own fundamentalists, we find it incomprehensible that theological ideas still stir up messianic passions, leaving societies in ruin. We had assumed this was no longer possible, that human beings had learned to separate religious questions from political ones, that fanaticism was dead. We were wrong.

August 18, 2007

Milton Friedman, Meet Richard Feynman

by Tm Harford, Slate

How physics can explain why some countries are rich and others are poor.

August 17, 2007

My Dad, American Inventor

by Stephanie Rosenbloom, New York Times

Tommy Habeeb just wanted to be one of the new breed of involved dads: the hands-on guys who preside over bath time without creating a flood; the ones who return home from work early enough to crawl after their children toward the realm of make-believe. His ambitions did not include inventing the Water Bottle Nipple Adaptor.

August 16, 2007

Driving Home

by Charles Simic, New Yorker


by T Cooper, New Yorker

People say to me, "Didn't you hear anything?," or "Why didn't you stop when you felt somethng hit the bumper?" But I don't know how to answer either question. He was just there with us, alive, on eminute, as we were eating barbecue and watching the Super Bowl on TV at my brother-in-law's house, and then the next minute he was dead—very dead—under our car.

My Near-Death Experience

by Paul Simms, New Yorker

They say that your whole life flashes before your eyes when you're about to die, and I'm here to tell you that it's true.

August 15, 2007

The Worst Of Both Worlds

by Dahlia Lithwick, Slate

The false choice between treating terrorists as criminals or soldiers.

August 14, 2007

Apple Economics

by Edison Jennings, Slate

Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy's Couch

by John Tierney, New York Times

Until I talked to Nick Bostrom, a philosopher at Oxford University, it never occurred to me that our universe might be somebody else's hobby.

Slow Down, People!

by Andy Cowan, Los Angeles Times

'Back to school' in July? Christmas cards on Halloween? Why do we live so fast?

Off The Resorts, And Carrying Their Careers

by John Leland, New York Times

As technology enables people to live and work wherever they want, increasingly they are clustering in resort playgrounds that have natural amenities, good weather — and, now, lots of people like themselves.

August 13, 2007

With 'Spook Country,' William Gibson Is Still Craving Out His Corner Of Cyberspace

by Scott Timberg, Los Angeles Times

The author of 'Neuromancer' takes another trippy journey into a parallel universe.

The Underworked American

by Christopher Shea, Boston Globe

Stop your whining: leisure time is on the rise.

The Man Who Asked Hard Questions

by Woody Allen, New York Times

I learned from his example to try to turn out the best work I'm capable of at that given moment, never giving in to the foolish world of hits and flops or sccumbing to playing the glitzy role of the film director, but making a movie and moving on to the next one.

August 12, 2007

The Road To Clarity

by Joshua Yaffa, New York Times

The typeface is the brainchild of Don Meeker, an environmental graphic designer, and James Montalbano, a type designer. They set out to fix a problem with a highway font, and their solution — more than a decade in the making — may end up changing a lot more than just the view from the dashboard.

August 11, 2007

The Deliverymen's Uprising

by Jennifer Gonnerman, New York Magazine

For $1.75 an hour, they put up with abusive employers, muggers, rain, snow, potholes, car accidents, six-day weeks, and lousy tips. Not anymore.

Kindergarten Angst

by Jill Hudson Neal, Washington Post

One step into school and the race begins. How does a Mom keep her cool?

A Segregated Road In An Already Divided Land

by Steve Erlanger, New York Times

Israel is constructing a road through the West Bank, east of Jerusalem, that will allow both Israelis and Palestinians to travel along it — separately.

The Potent Art Of Worrying

by Susie Boyt, Financial Times

I first met Wnedy Perriam six years ago at a literary festival in Devon.

August 10, 2007

Be Yourselves, Girls, Order The Rib-Eye

by Allen Salkin, New York Times

Salad, it seems, is out. Gusto, medium rare, is in.

August 9, 2007

Ourselves In Shakespeare

by Michael Gerson, Washington Post

It is a disturbing experience to watch your own brother, your flesh and blood, dabble in the occult, become consumed by ambition and then descend by stages into murder. And the last straw was when he ordered the slaughter of those children.

I Wish I Lived In A Land Of Lipton...

by Jeffrey Klineman, Slate

What makes southern sweet tea so special?

Lost In Space

by Sloane Crosley, Salon

You may not be able to read a map but I get lost in the supermarket, due to my severe spatial disability.

August 8, 2007

When Cooks' Dreams Outgrow Their Ovens

by Indrani Sen, New York Times

Incubators, or community kitchens for entrepreneurs, have been sprouting across the country.

All THe News That Seemed Unfit To Print

by Peter Carlson, Washington Post

Somewhere in Kalamazoo, Elvis weeps: The Weekly World News is folding.

Adjectives Of Order

by Alexandra Teague, Slate

Blood ANd Bile ANd Phlegm, Oh My!

by Andrew O'Hehir, Salon

Before germ theory, humoral medicine — based on magical thinking and ignorant of human anatomy — dominated for 2,000 years. So why are today's doctors guided by some surprisingly principles?

Weekly World News Meets God!

by Mark Miller, Los Angeles Times

Well, the WWN is soon to be gone, and for that, we are all diminished. OK, maybe just I am diminished. I know my bank account is diminished.

August 7, 2007

It's A Female Dog, Or Worse. Or Endearing. And Illegal?

by Michael M. Grynbaum, New York Times

Conversations over the last week indicate that the "b-word" (as it is referred to in the legislation) enjoys a surprisingly strong currency — and even some defenders — among many New Yorkers.

Eating Made Simple

by Marion Nestle, Scientific American

How do you cope with a mountain of conflicting diet advice?

Reinvent Your Life

by Dan Zak, Washington Post

Is your day-to-day disappointingly dull? Aim for something completely different.

Japanese Find Romance And Rituals Far From Home

by Doreen Carvajal, New York Times

Most of the brides and grooms are more familiar with Shinto practices than Christian rites. But they are flocking to Paris and other romantic European locations in search of rituals, stained glass and bellowing pipe organs, all chosen from convenient online catalogs.

A Village Life

by Louise Gluck, New Yorker

Magda Mandela

by Hari Kunzru, New Yorker

Aesop In The City

by Yoni Brenner, New Yorker

In Rome, A New Ritual On An Old Bridge

by Ian Fisher, New York Times

The story of how Ponte Milvio, north of Rome's center, became the city’s symbol of love follows a particularly Italian script blending history, myth, truly ludicrous political posturing and the unexpected.

In Search Of Lost Time

by Jenny Turner, The Guardian

From chemistry sets to homemade face scrubs — following the success of The Dangerous Book for Boys comes The Great Big Glorious Book for Girls, with anthologies from children's classics Look and Learn and Ladybird on the way. What does the popularity of nostalgia lit tell us about ourselves today?

August 6, 2007

The Dream Of Time Travel

by Neil Bowdler, BBC News

From HG Wells to the latest Big Brother challenge, time travel has sparked the popular imagination. Now, an American scientist has broken his silence about his dream of time travel, with a book documenting his life-long struggle to build a time machine.

Publishing Never Had A Golden Age

by Louise Tucker, The Guardian

So, today's book industry is focused on profit margins and it's tough for authors to get themselves in print. What's new?

Sink Or Swim

by Jeannie Marie Laskas, Washington Post

Courage can get you into deep water.

Unemployed 17 Months And Counting

by John McCarthy, as told to Mark Pothier, Boston Globe

I've questioned my resume. I've debated leaving the state. I've doubted my self-worth.

Oldest Profession Flourishes In China

by Maureen Fan, Washington Post

No longer limited to well-known bars or a growing number of karaoke parlors, prostitutes are everywhere in Chinat today, branching out onto college campuses, moving into private residential compounds and approaching customers on mobile phone networks.

August 4, 2007

Off The Record

by Robert Sandall, Prospect Magazine

In recent years, the economics of pop music have been upended. The market for CDs has collapsed, and not even the rise of legal downloading can offset the damages to record companies. Meanwhile, demand for live performances has rocketed.

Getting Iraq Wrong

by Michael Ignatieff, New York Times

The unfolding catastrophe in Iraq has condemned the political judgment of a president. But it has also condemned the judgment of many others, myself included, who as commentators supported the invasion.

August 3, 2007

Beating Joel Stein

by Joel Stein, Los Angeles Times

The main difference between me and the average blogger is that I get paid. How long I can continue to earn a living off of something people do just as well for free is a question I occasinally ask myself, and one I frequently am asked by people who send me hate mail.

Archaeological Digging In The Digital Age

by Michael Laris, Washington Post

Inspiration to find a new way to view the county came from years of frustration with the marred paper copies of aerial photo sthat provided a disjointed and grease-pencil-stained picture of Fairfax's history.

Your Cheatin' Listenin' Ways

by Andrew Adam Newman, New York Times

Is it acceptable, they debate within and among themselves, to listen to that month's book rather than read it? Or is that cheating, like watching the movie instead of readng the book?

August 2, 2007

And The Band Stayed On

by Erwin R. Tiongson, New York Times

It is a terrible gift, the transitory loss — the momentary panic, the unexpected restoration and the one, final, permanent loss indelibly etched into it.

As I Lay Wired

by Tyler Smith, Identity Theory

August 1, 2007

Language Evolution's Slippery Tropes

by William Grimes, New York Times

Christine Kenneally's lucid survey of the expanding field of language evolution is dedicated to solving what she calls "the hardest problem in science today."

Fine Diner To Riffraff: Tipsy Tales Of 4 Star Benders

by Frank Bruni, New York Times

At fancy restaurants, the inebriation comes at a higher price, but it looks much the same.

By Heng-Cheong Leong