Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

What We’re Reading: Michael Korda’s “Another Life” : The New Yorker

January 27, 2013

Summer is the season of old hardcovers. You find them on the lower shelves of rented cabins, in the storage sheds of beach houses, or propping up the air conditioner in a third-floor attic window. The blurbs and the dust jackets now often seem silly and harmlessly overdone, like an unfortunate hat or a Day-Glo neck warmer. But the books themselves have a charming, tree-like solidity. They have endured, aged, perhaps developed hints of mildew and ant poison. The pages, despite the yellowing, are still in H.D.

via What We’re Reading: Michael Korda’s “Another Life” : The New Yorker.


Slowpoke: How to write faster.

August 11, 2011

Hunched over my keyboard, I’m haunted by anecdotes of faster writers. Christopher Hitchens composing a Slate column in 20 minutes—after a chemo session, after a “full” dinner party, late on a Sunday night. The infamously productive Trollope, who used customized paper! “He had a note pad that had been indexed to indicate intervals of 250 words,” William F. Buckley told the Paris Review. “He would force himself to write 250 words per 15 minutes. Now, if at the end of 15 minutes he hadn’t reached one of those little marks on his page, he would write faster.” Buckley himself was a legend of speed—writing a complete book review in crosstown cabs and the like.

via How to write faster. – By Michael Agger – Slate Magazine.

The Opening of the American Unconscious

June 3, 2011

David Brooks, the comic sociologist of our postwar meritocracy, has written a strange and strangely fascinating new book that partly refudiates the meritocratic view of life. We’ve all been busy seeking the laurels of advanced degrees, or the corner workspace, or the proper mix of antique and modern in our country houses, but this is a false path. In The Social Animal Brooks has concluded that we cannot willfully guide ourselves to contentment. Our big mistake has been to view the unconscious as the junk drawer of evolution. “The unconscious parts of the mind are not primitive vestiges that need to be conquered in order to make wise decisions,” he writes. “They are not dark caverns of repressed sexual urges. Instead, the unconscious parts of the mind are most of the mind—where most of the decisions and many of the most impressive acts of thinking take place. These submerged processes are the seedbeds of accomplishment.” In other words: Use the Force, Lucas!

via The Opening of the American Unconscious – By Michael Agger – Slate Magazine.

Three Rivers

March 3, 2011

My favorite love poem involves the city of Pittsburgh, cats, and commuting to the airport. It’s called “Three Rivers,” and it’s by Alpay Ulku. I can’t remember where I first stumbled on it, and I don’t really know who the poet is, but his first line stopped me: “What are you doing now, Anne-Marie, on the night we would bring home good things to cook and watch movies from the 1940’s, the work week finally at an end.” What follows are snapshots of the small, shared familiars that twine two people together: lighting the stove for someone who is scared to do so, or a coat that matches the color of someone’s hair. The “you” of the poem is in a long-distance relationship. He’s longing for the way that he can feel only with this one person. The last line is direct: “I’m driving home from the airport without you. I feel sad in my stomach.”

via The best Valentine’s Day love poems, as chosen by Slate’s writers and editors. – – Slate Magazine.

Data for a Better Planet

February 17, 2011

How long did it take you to get to work today? How long did it take you to get to work on this day last week? How long, on average, did it take you to get to work this month? My guess is that you have a rough idea but not the precise number. We tend to underestimate the length of our journey, since everyone likes to think they have a “short commute.” Yet we may lose some measure of happiness because of this self-deception.

via How should we use data to improve our lives? – By Michael Agger – Slate Magazine.

John Updike

December 14, 2009

My pick for the book of the year:

John Updike’s Endpoint is a final burst of fluency from the New England master. Who else could spin a charming poem out of a trip to Best Buy to buy a new computer? “Brave world! The geeks in matching shirts/ talked gigabytes to girls with blue tattoos.” Updike’s lyric gift carried him to the end. His words meet death both obliquely and directly. Read this book late in the evening, with a stiff drink by your side. Then marvel at Updike’s metaphors, like the one about Payne Stewart’s swing: “its aftermath shimmered in the air: dragonfly wings.” Or at his cold-palmed observations, as when studying the departure gate for Florida: “Now, agèd, average, dullish, lame, and halt/ we claim our due, our fun doom in the sun.” And at his gentle knocks on your soul: “Birthday, death day—what day is not both?”

Read the rest of Slate‘s book picks.

Peekaboo Barn

December 14, 2009

Finally whittled down all of your suggestions for the best iPhone apps for kids.

iPhone Moms

November 30, 2009

New article on Slate today about the iPhone as the ultimate kid pacification device.

Since writing the article, I’ve had to delete Slotz Racer off my phone due to it’s mind-control over both me and my son.




Sarah Palin is a locavore

November 17, 2009

Those who love Michael Pollan and those who wear pink camo are not that far apart:

Fresh Moose!