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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Poem For Hannah

by Matthew Zapruder, Slate

Time And The Bottle

by Tim Kreider, New York Times

My years of heavy drinking were roughly coterminous with my youth, and looking back now, it’s hard to figure out which one of them I really miss.

They F*** You Up, Your Mum And Dad

by Andrew O'Hehir, Salon

So you thought your parents were weird. Two remarkable memoirs about partner swapping, revolutionary politics and other unorthodox family tales.

The Biggest Of Puzzles Brought Down To Size

by Natalie Angier, New York Times

Grim though the economic spur may be, some scientists see a slim silver lining in the sudden newsiness of laughably large numbers. As long as the public is chatting openly about quantities normally expressed in scientific notation, they say, why not talk about what those numbers really mean?

Monday, March 30, 2009

TS Eliot's Snort Of Rejection For Animal Farm

by Richard Brooks, The Times

It must rate as the literary snub of the 20th century. T S Eliot, one of Britain’s greatest poets, rejected George Orwell’s Animal Farm for publication on the grounds of its unconvincing Trotskyite politics.

The Poem That Can't Be Written

by Lawrence Raab, The New Yorker

Trench Names

by A. S. Byatt, The New Yorker

Does Nature Have Economic Value?

by Ronald Bailey, Reason

Ecological economists know the price of everything—and the value of nothing.

Confessions Of An Alien Hunter

by Michael Schirber, Astrobiology Magazine

After five decades, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence has failed to find any alien signals. SETI researchers are still optimistic that we will one day find evidence for intelligent life somewhere in our galaxy. A new book by SETI scientist Seth Shostak reviews the history, the controversies and the reasons for continuing the search.

You've Read The Headlines. Now, Quick, Read The Book.

by Motoko Rich, New York Times

As the metabolism of the culture has sped up in the digital age, pockets of the publishing industry are prodding themselves out of their Paleolithic ways and joining the rush, with more books on current events coming out faster than ever before.

Newspapers Aren't Dying, Democracy Is

by Dan Kennedy, The Guardian

A new survey about public attitudes toward newspapers gets it precisely backwards. Supposedly most people don't think civic life would suffer all that much if their local newspaper shut down. But it's not that they don't care about their newspaper – they don't care about civic life.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Reinventing America's Cities: The Time Is Now

by Nicolai Ouroussoff, New York Times

The country has fallen on hard times, but those of us who love cities know we have been living in the dark ages for a while now. We know that turning things around will take more than just pouring money into shovel-ready projects, regardless of how they might boost the economy. Windmills won’t do it either. We long for a bold urban vision.

Stardust Memories

by Lauren Wilcox, Washington Post

Woody Allen has spent a lifetime making movies that play like love letters to Manhattan. But does his New York exist only on the big screen?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bible Study

by Rich Cohen, New York Times

David Plotz’s chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse riffs on the Hebrew Bible are by turns entertaining, serious, shallow, profound, literal-minded, cute, ingratiating, hilarious.

Sons Of Atom

by Peter Galison, New York Times

A history of quantum mechanics that goes beyond the point in the 1920s where most popular science books leave off.

Odd Prize: Judging A Book By Its Title

by Sarah Lyall, New York Times

To those outside dairy (or container) circles, a book called “The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-Milligram Containers of Fromage Frais” tends to provoke more questions than it resolves. Such as: Why fromage frais? And: “60-Milligram” — is that a misprint?

Democracy's Cheat Sheet?

by Jack Shafer, Slate

It's time to kill the idea that newspapers are essential for democracy.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Eat Your Saints, Purge Your Demons

by Laura Miller, Salon

Why do people worship religious relics, and why is the number of trainee exorcists rising? Two new books suggest that our desire to believe in magical forces remains irresistible.

The Quiet Coup

by Simon Johnson, The Atlantic

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

Monsters Vs. Aliens

by Jessica Winter, Slate

Not to let any unnecessary ideology creep into a review of a fun animated movie, but let's get this out of the way up front: Monsters vs. Aliens (DreamWorks Animation) is a film for children with a female lead. She is not the love interest, or the helpmate, or the mom. Nor is she a princess, or princesslike.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why Books Won't Change Your Life

by Alastair Harper, The Guardian

Publishers love to say a novel is unputdownable, or life-changing. I can't imagine anything worse.

The Monster Inside My Son

by AnnBauer, Salon

For years I thought of his autism as beautiful and mysterious. But when he turned unspeakably violent, I had to question everything I knew.

An Orderly Office? That's Personal

by Sara Rimer, New York Times

Now, as unemployment is on the rise and freelance work and part-time jobs are replacing many full-time ones, more of us are spending more time in home offices (or in the tiny nooks that often pass for them). We may be spending less on furnishing them, but the demand for ways to make these spaces make sense has probably never been higher.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shall We Get Rid Of The Lawyers?

by Anthony Lewis, New York Review Of Books

Justice Hugo L. Black once told me that he thought all government departments and agencies should be abolished every five or ten years. Black was a senator from Alabama for ten years and a Supreme Court justice for thirty-four, and he knew just about everything there was to know about how government works. His startling idea—and I think he was serious—was his way of dealing with the encrustations of bureaucracy.

Dispatches From The Streets: The Grim Particulars Of Homelessness

by Dwight Garnier, New York Times

Sixteen years ago, with “Travels With Lizbeth,” Lars Eighner set the bar high for American memoirs of homelessness. Probably too high.

“Land of the Lost Souls,” a new memoir about being homeless on New York City’s streets, from a writer known as Cadillac Man, is a different kind of book. It finds its center of gravity in the grim particulars of loss and brute survival. Its language is a platter of cabbages instead of roses.

The Art Of The Con—Learning From Bernard Madoff

by Michael Shermer, Scientific American

The evolutionary arms race between deception and deception detection has left us with a legacy of looking for signals to trust or distrust others. The system works reasonably well in simple social situations with many opportunities for interaction, such as those of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. But in the modern world of distance, anonymity and especially complicated investment tools (such as hedge funds) that not one in a thousand really understands, detecting deceptive signals is no easy feat.

Old World With New Twists

by Julia Moskin, New York Times

Take this! French and Italian classics, combined with some twists on American tradition.

New York-Style Pizza: What It Means

by Betty Hallock, Los Angeles Times

When I moved from Los Angeles to Manhattan, one of the first things I learned was that I had a lot to learn about pizza. One doesn't stand in line but on line; it's not "for here or to go" but "to stay or take away"; and don't order "a piece of pizza" — it's "a slice."

But those were mere details: True pizza enlightenment didn't come until I was kicked out of my semi-illegal Lower East Side sublet and ended up living in Brooklyn. A friend wise in the ways of pizza led me on a pilgrimage to Di Fara, where you could get a slice of owner Domenico DeMarco's perfection, which included fresh mozzarella di bufala and a sprinkling of Grana Padano cheese at the end of baking. And I stood on line at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge for Patsy Grimaldi's pies, the tops of the bubbles at the edge of the crust crisp-charred in the coal-fired brick oven.


by Atul Gawande, The New Yorker

The United States holds tens of thousands of inmates in long-term solitary confinement. Is this torture?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Age

by Gail Mazur, Slate

Land Of Promise, Home Of The Bedeviled And Bewildered

by Michiko Kaktuani, New York Times

In Wells Tower’s sad-funny-disturbing stories, the world is a precarious place, where the innocent have bad dreams, and even the not-so-innocent worry about “the things the world will do to them” and their loved ones.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Julia And Byron

by Craig Raine, The New Yorker

When Julia was twenty-nine, her hair was already bar-coded. Now, at sixty-two, it was a solid helmet of bright pewter, level with her lean, brown jawbone. As she looked at her wedding ring, she could observe the bold play of tendons on the back of her tanned thin hands. The student doctor was telling her that she had cancer. Of the bone marrow.

So, So It Begins Means It Begins

by Mary Jo Bang, The New Yorker

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Roar Of The Crowd

by David P. Barash, The Chronicle Of Higher Education

Marx was wrong: The opiate of the masses isn't religion, but spectator sports. What else explains the astounding fact that millions of seemingly intelligent human beings feel that the athletic exertions of total strangers are somehow consequential for themselves? The real question we should be asking during the madness surrounding this month's collegiate basketball championship season is not who will win, but why anyone cares.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A State Of Embarrassment

by Gene Weingarten, Washington Post

Perhaps you have heard that the state legislature in Maryland is considering changing the state's official song. Or perhaps you haven't. The issue has been handled without huge fanfare because there's a certain embarrassment behind it.

The Truth About Forgiveness

by Karen Houppert, Washington Post

After his son was murdered, Bernard Williams became consumed by anger and depression. There was, he came to realize, only one way to save himself.

Neo-Neo Realism

by A.O. Scott, New York Times

What kind of movies do we need now? It’s a question that seems to arise almost automatically in times of crisis.

Just Another Word

by Gary Hart, New York Times

Alan Wolfe’s rescue of liberalism from the jaws of latter-day know-nothings and Jedediah Purdy’s reconciliation of radical individualism with community obligation have a common theme: freedom is self-realization.

The Surprising Dark Side Of The Very Hungry Caterpillar

by Ramin Setoodeh, Newsweek

Once upon a time, Eric Carle wrote a children's book that was so comfy, it came with its own cocoon. Turns out that cute little bug went through a very big metamorphosis.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Reconsideration: Lolita

by Francine Prose, Lapham's Quarterly

What's been lost in the process is the broader meaning of the Greek word eros, and erotic, which have always included the sexual but have also suggested the mysterious, even metaphysical, connection between sex and life, sex and pleasure, the origin of life and the celebration of life.

A Roll Of Whose Dice?

by Roger Ebert, Chicaco Sun-Times

Is the universe deterministic, or random? Not the first question you'd expect to hear in a thriller, even a great one. But to hear this question posed soon after the opening sequence of "Knowing" gave me a particular thrill.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Whoopie! Cookie, Pie Or Cake, It's Having Its Moment

by Micheline Maynard, New York Times

Whoopie pies are migrating across the country, often appearing in the same specialty shops and grocery aisles that recently made room for cupcakes.

The Daily Me

by Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times

The effect of The Daily Me would be to insulate us further in our own hermetically sealed political chambers.

Relax, It's Just Foie Gras

by Alex Koppelman, Salon

Animal activists have denounced the delicacy as torture. But as a new book explains, the truth is not as simple — or as sensational — as they'd like you to believe.

Obama's Critical Early Test: Corporate Arrogance

by Dan Gillmor, Boing Boing

This is Obama's air-traffic controllers opportunity.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Waiting Tables Is An Art: 4 Veteran L.A. Servers Who Know

by Betty Hallock, Los Angeles Times

Seasoned pros take a craftsmanlike approach to their jobs at landmark L.A. restaurants.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


by Michael Longley, The Guardian

Is Britain Becoming A One-Child Nation?

by Damon Syson, The Guardian

Apart from the morbid rationale of equipping yourself with "an heir and a spare", what are the genuine benefits of having more than one child?

The Commercial Republic

by David Brooks, New York Times

In short, the United States will never be Europe. It was born as a commercial republic. It’s addicted to the pace of commercial enterprise. After periodic pauses, the country inevitably returns to its elemental nature.

A Slow Boat To Anywhere

by Roger Ebert, Chicaco Sun-Times

The point is: Get going. Spring is right around the corner. Dip your toe in the world. There's more to see in Amsterdam than at Six Flags.

Australia's Dry Run

by Robert Draper, Photography By Amy Toensing, National Geographic

What will happen when the climate starts to change and the rivers dry up and a whole way of life comes to an end? The people of the Murray-Darling Basin are finding out right now.

In Italy, A Vending Machine Even Makes The Pizza

by John Tagliabue, New York Times

Is Europe bringing back the automat? Claudio Torghele hopes so.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Foundation

by C. K. Williams, The New Yorker


by Carl Philips, The New Yorker

Mom As Fly

by Terese Svoboda, The New Yorker

She's The One

by Tessa Hadley, The New Yorker

The winter after her brother killed himself, Ally got a job at a writers’ center near her parents’ house, helping out with admin in the office. It wasn’t a satisfactory job, only part time and not well paid. She was twenty-two. She had just finished her degree in English literature and should have been building toward some sort of career; she had planned to move to Manchester, where she had been at university. But everything like that had had to be put on hold, while at home her family melted down into a kind of madness. It was a relief just to leave the madness behind and drive across the moors four mornings a week to the center, several miles away. She had the use of a car, because for the moment her mum wasn’t going to work.

How I Ended Up Living With My In-Laws

by Rosecrans Baldwin, Salon

In a rotten economy, more adults are showing up on their parents' doorstep. I just never thought my wife and I would be among them.

Finding New Species: The Golden Age Of Discovery

by Bruce Stutz, Environment 360

Aided by new access to remote regions, researchers have been discovering new species at a record pace — 16,969 in 2006 alone. The challenge now is to preserve threatened ecosystems before these species, and others yet unknown, are lost.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Banishing The Ghosts In Cambodia

by Henry Alford, New York Times

To many Americans, Cambodia means only two things — the majestic temples of Angkor Wat and the Killing Fields of Phnom Penh. But there’s another Cambodia — the southern coast — that is beginning to emerge as a popular alternative to the heavily trafficked beaches of Thailand. Here, in towns like Sihanoukville — which, in its heyday in the 1960s, used to draw visitors like Jackie Kennedy and Catherine Deneuve — travelers are exploring the unusual pleasures that occur at the intersection of the luxurious present and the ravaged past.

Domestic Disturbances

by Dean Bakopoulos, New York Times

In this short but complex first novel, a couple’s search for a missing cradle becomes a life-rattling trip.

Newspapers And Thinking The Unthinkable

by Clay Shirky

We don’t know who the Aldus Manutius of the current age is. It could be Craig Newmark, or Caterina Fake. It could be Martin Nisenholtz, or Emily Bell. It could be some 19 year old kid few of us have heard of, working on something we won’t recognize as vital until a decade hence. Any experiment, though, designed to provide new models for journalism is going to be an improvement over hiding from the real, especially in a year when, for many papers, the unthinkable future is already in the past.

Unwed Language

by Ammon Shea, New York Times

“Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue” is by no means a complete chronicle of our language. McWhorter is more interested in, as the subtitle puts it, “the untold history of English.”

China's Way Forward

by James Fallows, The Atlantic

Idle factories, moored container ships, widespread bankruptcies, massive migration back to the hinterlands, strangely clean air—the signs of depression are everywhere in China. Because it makes so many of the goods the world isn’t buying now, China stands to be worse hit than the rest of the world —just as America was during the Depression, when it was the world’s sweatshop. But like America then, China will use tough times to design innovative products that will get it the high profits and the high-value jobs Americans kept to themselves for decades. And that is very bad news for the United States, unless it uses tough times to reinvent itself, too.

Friday, March 13, 2009

How Science Fiction Found Religion

by Benjamin A. Plotinsky, City Journal

Once overtly political, the genre increasingly employs Christian allegory.

Today's Lesson: Cutting Up

by Jane Black, Washington Post

At a time when consumers are cutting back on just about everything, entrepreneurs are betting that cooking classes are the way food lovers will feed their passion.

Parks That Can Migrate With Animals

by Moises Velasquez-Manoff, ABC News

As climate change pushes animals out of their protected areas, governments must migrate with them.

Global Motherf*ckers

by Nina Shen Rastogi, Slate

Does every culture use the suggestion of maternal incest as an insult?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

When Men Lose Their Jobs

by Emily Bazelon, Slate

Could they be doing more around the house?

Missouri Chinese: Two Cultures Claim This Chicken

by John T. Edge, New York Times

Cashew chicken, in the form first cooked by Mr. Leong nearly a half-century ago, is not the stir-fry served by many Chinese-American restaurants. Around Springfield, cashew chicken — deep-fried chicken chunks in a brown slurry of soy sauce, oyster sauce and stock, scattered with green onions and halved cashews — is the culinary common denominator. It’s a weeknight dinner, bought from a drive-through. It’s a weekday plate lunch, accompanied by fried rice and an egg roll.

Voyage Of A Girl Moored In Brooklyn

by Felicia R. Lee, New York Times

Paule Marshall’s coming-of-age novel, “Brown Girl, Brownstones,” put her on the map 50 years ago with a new kind of coming-of-age story, that of a second-generation West Indian girl in Brooklyn. Now, at 79, she is on tour for her latest book, “Triangular Road” (Basic Civitas Books), a slim memoir recounting her beginnings as a writer, listening to the casually poetic language of women like her mother, and how the search for her own voice took her to far-flung places.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Lost Art Of The Irish Pub

by Steven Kurutz, New York Times

For a half-Norwegian guy from Long Island, Bill Barich knows a thing or two about Irish pubs.

Virginia, Jean, And Flannery: A Good Role Model Is Easy To Find

by Carlin Romano, The Chronicle Of Higher Education

Woolf, Rhys, and O'Connor sounds like a law firm, and indeed it could be — a firm sure to lay down clear laws and illuminating precedents for women writers.

In A Charmed Life, A Road Less Traveled

by Laying Martine Jr., New York Times

We knew we had a lot to learn, but we had no idea how much.

Rising To The Occasion

by Barbara Ehrenreich & Bill Fletcher Jr., The Nation

But we do understand—and this is one of the things that make us "socialists"—that the absence of a plan, or at least some sort of deliberative process for figuring out what to do, is no longer an option.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

On Campus, Vampires Are Besting The Beats

by Ron Charles, Washington Post

Here we have a generation of young adults away from home for the first time, free to enjoy the most experimental period of their lives, yet they're choosing books like 13-year-old girls -- or their parents. The only specter haunting the groves of American academe seems to be suburban contentment.

Bad Infinity

by T.R. Hummer, Slate

They Tried To Outsmart Wall Street

by Dennis Overbye, New York Times

Dr. Derman, who spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs and became managing director, was a forerunner of the many physicists and other scientists who have flooded Wall Street in recent years, moving from a world in which a discrepancy of a few percentage points in a measurement can mean a Nobel Prize or unending mockery to a world in which a few percent one way can land you in jail and a few percent the other way can win you your own private Caribbean island.

Workers Without Borders

by Jennifer Gordon, New York Times

The solution lies in greater mobility for migrants and a new emphasis on workers’ rights.

The Vanishing Sidekick

by Alessandra Stanley, New York Times

Former Vice President Dick Cheney may share some blame. He stretched the job description so far to fit his own agenda that the definition of “vice” lost its secondary meaning.

Experimental Nonfiction

by Jennifer Fisher Wilson, The Smart Set

Science can't solve the mystery of life, but it can make it a lot more fascinating.

A Eulogy For My Father's Words

by Andrew Leonard, Salon

Critic and novelist John Leonard built grand cathedrals out of language. His son pays tribute to his lexicon and his passion.

Distractions May Shift, But Sleep Needs Don't

by Perri Klass, New York Times

The bedtime routine may remain every bit as important as the bedtime.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Moderation And The Modern Mom

by Anna Fricke, New York Times

So it’s not the alcohol I miss. It’s the immaturity. The selfishness.

What's A Melody For?

by Suzanne Vega, New York Times

A melody is for expressing emotions: delight, passion, sadness. It reminds us of what we have felt and experienced before, in our own personal code of emotion and history. Priceless!

Down And Out In Paris

by Jeanette Winterson, The Guardian

For half a century, a crowded bookshop on the Left Bank has offered food and a bed to penniless authors - the only rule is that they read a book a day.


by Ales Steger, The New Yorker

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Riding The Rails

by Andy Isaacson, New York Times

I had ridden long-distance trains in India and China but never across my own country. I suppose that after two years of receiving images saturated in red, white and blue from all corners of the nation, I wanted to make my own.

Where To Pass The Torch?

by Michael Winerip, New York Times

In 1976, when a counseling job opened at the abortion clinic here, a 30-minute drive across the Mississippi River from her home in St. Louis, Ms. Baker grabbed it and never left, becoming the head of counseling at the Hope Clinic for Women.

But here is the question: As Ms. Baker’s generation approaches retirement — women whose commitment to abortion was forged in the pre-Roe v. Wade days — will younger women take their places at the clinics?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Beating Eggs

by Pete Wells, New York Times

I confess that I looked askance at the food allergies that seem to plague every classroom these days — where did they all come from? — until doctors told us that my son Dexter had a whole raft of them. He was a year old when we learned he would have to avoid tuna, clams and shrimp. And onions. And garlic. Peanuts, almonds, walnuts and cashews. Sesame and poppy seeds. Egg whites, chickpeas and lentils. Soybeans and anything containing soy, which by itself put about half the supermarket off limits.

Wall Street On The Tundra

by Michael Lewis, Vanity Fair

Iceland’s de facto bankruptcy—its currency (the krona) is kaput, its debt is 850 percent of G.D.P., its people are hoarding food and cash and blowing up their new Range Rovers for the insurance—resulted from a stunning collective madness. What led a tiny fishing nation, population 300,000, to decide, around 2003, to re-invent itself as a global financial power? In Reykjavík, where men are men, and the women seem to have completely given up on them, the author follows the peculiarly Icelandic logic behind the meltdown.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Going Negative

by Jason Guriel, Poetry Magazine

A “necessary skeptic” says what he really thinks about new books by Jane Mead, D.A. Powell and John Poch.

Obama's Timid Liberalism

by Michael Lind, Salon

Once, even Republican presidents like Eisenhower and Nixon believed in the public sector. Now, during a national crisis, a Democrat opts for inadequate, neoliberal, private-sector remedies. What happened?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

When Grandma Can't Be Bothered

by Joanne Kaufman, New York Times

For every Marian Robinson, who retired from her job to take full-time care of her grandchildren, Malia and Sasha Obama, while their parents were busy with other things last year, there is a Judy Connors, who loves her two grandchildren but has no interest in Candy Land, peekaboo or bedtime stories.

In France, A War Of Memories Over Memories Of War

by Michael Kimmelman, New York Times

Even 46 years later, for the French the Algerian legacy is roughly akin to what the Civil War is for Spaniards. Everything to do with France’s colonial reign remains a flashpoint and open wound, above all the long and brutal war that ended it, but not least the legacy of the pieds noirs as occupiers or victims, depending on one’s perspective. Though often reluctantly, France is now confronting a history that it has frequently seemed as anxious to forget as, for many years, it was to forget the Vichy era.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Too Many Kiddie Cooks Spoil The Broth

by Regina Schrambling, Slate

Why the child foodie movement has got to go.

Turning To Cube Steak, And Back To Childhood

by Kim Severson, New York Times

I am in love with the cube steak.

There. It’s out. My madeleine is a piece of round steak mechanically mashed into submission.

Read Me A Story, Mr. Roboto

by Farhad Manjoo, Slate

Why computer voices still don't sound human.

The Unfinished

by D. T. Max, The New Yorker

David Foster Wallace’s struggle to surpass “Infinite Jest.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


by Carol Muske-Dukes, Slate

Newspaper Wars

by Jay Winik, Wall Street Journal

How the press — brash, irreverent, partisan — served early America.

In Thailand, Vegetarians Find A Place At The Table

by Gregory Dicum, New York Times

A growing contingent of restaurants are serving vegetarian food, a welcome addition to one of the greatest eating countries on Earth.

The Superior Civilization

by Tim Flannery, The New York Review Of Books

Parallels between the ants and ourselves are striking for the light they shed on the nature of everyday human experiences.

The Death Throes Of My Newspaper

by Nancy Mitchell, Salon

Three simple rules, not produced by a focus group: Get the news. Tell the truth. Don't be dull. I'd like to believe we did all three.

Seeking Eric Chinski, Or How To Swim With Your Editor

by Barbara J. King, Bookslut

It’s a welcome freedom, this new sense of when to say “no thanks” to an editor whose style swamps me. I have the sense, too, to want to thank the editors who teach me so much. So to them, and to the unmet but imprinted-upon Eric Chinski too, I send gratitude and a wish: May you fall in love this month, many times over.

Not The Usual Suspects

by Ron Rosenbaum, Slate

Three dective novels that restore pleausre to reading.

In A Lonely Cosmos, A Hunt For Worlds Like Ours

by Dennis Overbye, New York Times

Presently perched on a Delta 2 rocket at Cape Canaveral is a one-ton spacecraft called Kepler. If all goes well, the rocket will lift off about 10:50 Friday evening on a journey that will eventually propel Kepler into orbit around the Sun. There the spacecraft’s mission will be to discover Earth-like planets in Earth-like places — that is to say, in the not-too-cold, not-too-hot, Goldilocks zones around stars where liquid water can exist.

The job, in short, is to find places where life as we know it is possible.

Japan's Crisis Of The Mind

by Masaru Tamamoto, New York Times

What most people don’t recognize is that our crisis is not political, but psychological. After our aggression — and subsequent defeat — in World War II, safety and predictability became society’s goals. Bureaucrats rose to control the details of everyday life. We became a nation with lifetime employment, a corporate system based on stable cross-holdings of shares, and a large middle-class population in which people are equal and alike.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Background Hum

by Daniel Zalewski, The New Yorker

Ian McEwan's art of unease.


by Meredith Root-Bernstein, The New Yorker

Hawkins Stable

by Jean Valentine, The New Yorker

Contemplating The New Physicality Of Cinema

by C.S. Leigh, The Believer

Mourning the death of the fetid, human way we used to interact with movies.

Don't Worry, Bedtime's Safe With The Lads

by Alessandra Stanley, New York Times

Everything changes on television, except late night.

One-Way Ticket To Mars

by James C. McLane III, Search

Our best hope to reach the red planet might be to send just one person there ... forever.

By Heng-Cheong Leong