Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Examining the World From a Late-Night Perch

In an industry that has since become an escalating arms race of hipness, [Tom] Snyder was happy to sit on the sidelines like Switzerland, a neutral player perfectly at ease with how ordinary and out of the loop he could be. (Dave Itzkoff in The NYT).

Monday, July 30, 2007

Trying to Keep Pace With Spam Blight

... Most anti-spam techniques so far have been like pesticides that do nothing other than create a more resistant strain of bugs. (Michael Specter in The New Yorker).

And ...

There are now blacklists, gray lists, and white lists, which permit people to choose whom they want to receive mail from, rather than whose mail to delete. Stopping spam this way is a bit like trying to stop the rain by catching every drop before it hits the ground. (Specter).

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hot Enough For You?

We are invited to worship the sun both as lifegiver, for those left behind on Earth, and as a kind of annihilating deity; when one spacewalker drifts beyond the limits of the sunshield and catches a direct blast of solar ray, there is a tiny pffsst, and he boils away to nothingness, like a waterdrop on a stove. (Anthony Lane in The New Yorker on the new film "Sunshine").

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

2007: A Political Odyssey

Bless Ed Markey, the House telecom subcommittee chairman, but it didn't enter his head unaided to hold up an iPhone at a hearing last week and -- like the ape in the movie "2001" -- ponder why he shouldn't use it with any wireless network he wants rather than just AT&T's. (Holman W. Jenkins Jr. in the WSJ on the Google lobby).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Genre Man: Not a Flattering Picture

His beard is haphazard and unintentional, and he dresses in sweats, or in shorts and a T-shirt, or with his shirt hanging out like the tongue of a Labrador retriever. (David Denby in The New Yorker about film's romantic-comedy characters of late).

And ...

When he’s with them [friends], punched beer cans and bongs of various sizes lie around like spent shells; alone, and walrus-heavy on his couch, he watches football, basketball, or baseball on television, or spends time memorializing his youth—archiving old movies, games, and jokes. (Denby)

And ...

Katharine Hepburn in “Baby” nearly drives Cary Grant crazy with her intrusions into his work, her way of scattering his life about like pieces of lawn furniture. (Denby).

And ...

If Tracy and Hepburn were like a rock and a current mysteriously joined together, these two neurotics [in "Annie Hall"] were like agitated hummingbirds meeting in midair. (Denby)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Lesson of a Stick-Up for Afghanistan

“We’re not able to destroy all the poppy — that’s not the point. What we’re trying to do is lend an element of threat and risk to the farmers’ calculations, so they won’t plant next year,” Wankel said later. “It’s like robbing a bank. If people see there’s more to be had by robbing a bank than by working in one, they’re going to rob it, until they learn there’s a price to pay.” (John Lee Anderson in The New Yorker about opium in Afghanistan).

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Friedman on the 'Death Cult'

Muslims have got to understand that a death cult has taken root in the bosom of their religion, feeding off it like a cancerous tumor. (Thomas L. Friedman in The NYT).