Tag Archives: New Yorker

Can anything improve on the book?

31 Jul

Absolutely not.

But that Kindle article did have a few good things to say about iPhone reading, which led me to discover this beaut: Eucalyptus is an application that gives you unfettered access to books that are publicly available via the Guttenberg Project. It is lovely. I left my books at home, and on the train today, started F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short stories Flappers and Philosophers. I was able to read the first one between two subway rides. The tale was absolutely charming, and the language, of course, amazing.

More importantly, the experience of reading on the iPhone was pleasurable. The brilliance lies in its simplicity: instead of having a fancy technology to imitate the way letters fall out on a page, it simply uses scans of pages. So it really looks like a book. And the tiny pages have numbers, and you can actually turn them by swiping your finger across the screen n a motion that causes the effects of a normal page turn. I’m really happy with this. Obviously, nothing is better than ink and paper, but as for reading off a screen, this experience is great. (But it means I’m in the middle of one more book and thus progressing at a 1/4 slower speed. But I’m sticking to my guns anyway–slow reading is better reading).

Whew. I am so exhausted after today’s fast. And I was exhausted to begin with from a long, rainy work day yesterday, trying to figure out what happened to the poor engineer who was hit by a huge branch in Central park. It’s simply tragic. Today, the News reported that his mother said he’s improving slowly, so that’s good. My best wishes to Sasha and his family.

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And how old do I look?

27 Jul

For the record, I’m 20.

But in a single day of reporting on a Bronx church’s street carnival, I can think of six people off the top of my head who said something like, “you’re too young to be doing this” (and I responded likewise to a 77-year-old about his vocation). Today was not the first day I’d heard this, but it was the day I received the highest frequency of variations of the comment so far. Who inquired? A carnival organizer; a cop sergeant; a parent; a ferris wheel mechanic (who guessed I was 16!); a parishioner—just to name a few.

I’m more curious than annoyed by this, but it’s getting a bit old. I don’t like having to explain myself away. I try to make the best of it by making a joke that lightens up sources and makes them comfortable. But it gets awkward! Like: you’re too young to be reporting. What are you doing here? Why are you here? Who are you, even? Go back to school.

And I don’t think actually being young is necessarily a bad thing (aside from having less experience, of course). Though the perceptions that youth carries can be exhausting on the job.

Also, guess who showed up at the carnival?

It's Archbishop Dolan! A celebrity for the parishioners.

It's Archbishop Dolan! A celebrity for the parishioners.

New York’s newest Vatican celeb visited a church’s street festival to lift their spirits after a roller coaster car was derailed on Saturday night, and 11 ended up hospitalized with minor injuries.

More importantly, it may be possible that Andy Borowitz is the most brilliant man to walk the earth. This Shouts and Murmers parody of Britney’s conversion diary is hilarious. The laugh out loud guffaw type of hilarious.

Also, I have a confession to make: I am sort of addicted to True Blood. And in tonight’s episode, I found myself deciphering plot points based on Euripides, which I learned in my first-year English course. From the Bacchae to True Blood—that is full circle.

Anyway. Still in the middle of The Red and the Black; in the beginning of Hamlet in Purgatory; and, as of yesterday, started Walter Benjamin’s Illuminations. If only I had an entire summer slated for just reading. A girl can dream.

Quick White House reading: malaise, Bo

19 Jul

This summer has been a sad one for my stomach. Today is the second day I’ve had to take off of work because of its feelings. I hate missing work. But, then again, ouch.

This piece on the 30th anniversary of Carter’s malaise speech is worth a read. It’s by Hendrik Hertzberg, who, of course, was in the White House at the time.

A bit that my American presidency professor missed when he recounted the episode last year:

1. Carter himself never mentioned the word “malaise.” 2. The speech itself was an enormous popular success. It generated a record amount of positive mail to the White House, and Carter’s approval rating in the polls zoomed up by eleven points literally overnight. 3. The sudden political damage came not from the speech but from the Cabinet firings a few days later. 4. Although Carter has been flayed for blaming others, the first third of the speech is devoted to the most excoriating self-criticism ever heard from any American President. As these details suggest, the “malaise” episode has become encrusted in myth.

Also:

Almost as soon as we got back to Washington, it was announced that Carter would address the nation on July 5th. Actually, Carter had not agreed to deliver a speech, only to look at a draft and then decide. But the premature announcement put him in a corner.

These are excerpts from an essay in Hertzberg’s book, written years ago. Now, he adds some interesting bits on how a Broadway director’s coaching resulted in Carter’s best TV delivery. He finishes with the hope that Carter will tour Christian college, to show that “there’s more to Christianity than gay-bashing and an obsession with embryos as opposed to all other manifestations of human life.”

Watch the speech:

Also, Ben Greenman’s (also of TNY) New York Times op-ed submission made me laugh out loud. But it’s really a manifesto by this guy:

Bo, courtesy of the NYT Caucus blog

Bo, courtesy of the NYT Caucus blog

Greenman writes about the first 100 days of Bo’s administration. He does it brilliantly, because if Barack Obama were a dog, he would doubtless say things like:

My time in the White House thus far has had one driving theme: we all share the same world. There have been those who have criticized my willingness to sniff in an exploratory manner around hostile breeds from foreign lands. But remember, we are all one species, from the tiniest Chihuahua to the mightiest mastiff. I have tried to practice this openness closer to home as well, by spending more time with Joe Biden’s German shepherd puppy, despite our considerable difference in temperament and bite force.

Also, maybe I’m the latest one to come to this realization, but I am obsessed with the new Safari, which I just downloaded:

look at pretty shininess!

look at pretty shininess!