“The center’s own records — kept in a restricted section of its Web site, but found by The New York Times in an unsecured archived version of the site — contain several previously unreported examples.”—That’s one of the more badass lines I’ve read in a news article in a while. Gingrich Gave Push to Clients, Not Just Ideas - NYTimes.com (via moth)
“$34.90 (+$0.72) (+2.1%) The financial world was shaken today when CEO Jamie Dimon stated that the Occupy Wall Street movement had significantly eaten into the banking titan’s profits, announced Chase would have to drastically reformulate its business plan, and then paused a beat before saying, just kidding, they made a record $17.4 billion last year.”—JPMorgan Chase (JPM) | The Onion
In which, around the 13:00 to 28:00 minute mark, TTBOOK has a bit of the reading Gaiman did at the House on the Rock at the ten-year book anniversary and fan event for “American Gods”. He’s then interview during the event at the House.
In case you missed references, I was in attendance that weekend, having become captivated by the House due to “American Gods” as well as good friends who are also fans of the book and author. It was a wondrous trip. Spoiler: I advise everybody go there.
Every day you are subjected to a relentless surge of information and facts. We all know it’s important to stay informed, but the experience does tend to shut down your sense of wonder. Where do you go to restore your sense of delight and mystery? To find enchantment? In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, writers Neil Gaiman, A.S. Byatt and Salman Rushdie tell us why we need magic.
Just because we’ve all grown up and aren’t supposed to believe in fairy tales and magic doesn’t mean we don’t still need them. This hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge offers conversations with Neil Gaiman, A.S. Byatt and Salman Rushdie about the uses of enchantment. Signe Pike starts things off with her story about the search for magic. She chucked her job at a NY publishing house to looking for fairies in Mexico and the British Isles. Signe Pike talks with Anne Strainchamps about her novel “Faery Tale.”
Neil Gaiman is among the most celebrated writers of the fantastic. He’s a transplant to the Midwest who discovered the House on the Rock in Spring Green, WI and made it famous in his novel “American Gods.” He returned there in 2010 for a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the novel and allowed himself to be pulled away from his fans long enough to talk about it with Steve Paulson. Salman Rushdie's life has been a fantasy, but not necessarily in the way he would have wanted. The Ayatollah issued a death warrant on him after his book “The Satanic Verses,” but it has finally been withdrawn. His new book involves dangers of a more literary kind. He tells Jim Fleming he wrote his new book “Luka and the Fire of Life” at his younger son’s request.
Fairy tales are part of all our lives, whether it’s Snow White or Cinderella of Little Red Riding Hood. Old stories like those exist in many versions, in many cultures, all over the world. Writer A.S. Byatt has been studying them, and writing them. She tells Anne Strainchamps these are some of the oldest and most powerful stories we have.
“At the time, the explanation [for an off-color joke Paterno made about beating his wife] easily satisfied JoePa supporters—who’d become used to this kind of banter. But in the wake of 40 counts of sexual assault against Paterno’s longtime defensive mastermind, Jerry Sandusky, the toxicity of that testosterone-steeped sports culture, and the role it might have played in this scandal, isn’t very funny. The comparisons between Penn State and the Catholic Church may have become too many to count, but perhaps the biggest one is so obvious we don’t see it: Football, like the priesthood, is one of the few places in our culture where being a woman is actually more sacrilegious than saying you’re going to go home and beat one.”—
“Socrates’ daimon was an inheritance from the Pythagoreans. All of our daimons are personifications of the past, which is the ground beneath our feet. The more diligent the writer, the deeper into the past he can reach. The old Tolstoy became a contemporary of the prophet Amos. Joyce in Finnegan’s Wake speaks from the bogs, through the mists. Centuries intervened between the war in Troy and the daimon of Homer.”—Guy Davenport, born today, in the essay “Keeping Time,” as reprinted in The Hunter Gracchus. (via ascendingcoherence)
What it does is allow just two tablespoons of tomato paste to continue to count as a serving of vegetables. The USDA had proposed requiring a full half-cup of the concentrated tomato spread before it would count as a fruit or veggie — a standard “serving” by volume — far more than you’d find slathered on a slice o’ school cafeteria pizza.
(And, yes, we’re aware the tomato is technically a fruit. The federal regulations cover both fruits and vegetables, but most folks in this debate are referring to tomatoes as vegetables. Just roll with it.)
How crazy is considering tomato paste on a pizza as a vegetable? One Washington PostWonkblog reporter said that it’s not as nuts as you might think. Sarah Kliff pointed out that two tablespoons of tomato paste offer up a nutritional profile comparable to a half-cup of apples or other fresh fruit. It offers more than a gram each of fiber and protein and more calcium and potassium than the apples.
We should also note that the slices kids get at school aren’t exactly the greasy, meat-laden marvels they might pick up at a pizza parlor. Federal nutrition standards require that school meals get no more than 30 percent of their calories from fat, and less than 10 percent from saturated fat. Schwan Food Co., which makes 70 percent of school-lunch pizza, started adding protein and whole grains to crusts and pushing down fat and salt to meet school standards.
Politifact can’t help but point out the silliness, all the way around.
“The basic scam in the Internet Age is pretty easy even for the financially illiterate to grasp. Companies that weren’t much more than potfueled ideas scrawled on napkins by uptoolate bongsmokers were taken public via IPOs, hyped in the media and sold to the public for mega-millions. It was as if banks like Goldman were wrapping ribbons around watermelons, tossing them out 50-story windows and opening the phones for bids. In this game you were a winner only if you took your money out before the melon hit the pavement.”—
“People who didn’t live pre-Internet can’t grasp how devoid of ideas life in my hometown was. The only bookstores sold Bibles the size of coffee tables and dashboard Virgin Marys that glowed in the dark. I stopped in the middle of the SAT to memorize a poem, because I thought, This is a great work of art and I’ll never see it again.”—Mary Karr (via thebronzemedal)
A penknife engraved first your name, then his, then a heart around them with a wedded plus, then an X across it all— the drawn out chronicle of your last uncontested crush still knuckling over twenty years later in the backyard of your parents’ house. For as I learned this evening, it was your crossed heart that broke, not his, and so made romance into something fleshed, impregnable, and almost shameless once those first taboos took a backseat to the round chord your plucked body struck: that overjoy
you’ve rung so many times by now you’ve grown unsure of what it was you wanted then, before the dream had wearied of itself, and sex stood through you like an ampersand. And so, tonight, as you rise from your canopied childhood bed, I watch you watch those leafy shadows worry across the windowsill, and feel for a moment the presence of that lost thing out there in the lull of a late rain dying out, in the moon transfusing through the breathed-on pane. And I relive it again, those thousand kisses you set upon the lips of other men.
Now he runs Ceasars Entertainment Corporation, a giant gambling company. But he still thinks like an academic. He likes to say there are three things that can get you fired from Caesars: Stealing, sexual harassment and running an experiment without a control group.
On today’s show, he tells us how he got from Harvard to Caesars, and explains the surprising results of some of his real-world experiments.
“Although excessive police force has long been a reflexive response to American political protests, two developments in the post-9/11 world have exacerbated this. The first is that the U.S. Government — in the name of Terrorism — has aggressively para-militarized the nation’s domestic police forces by lavishing them with countless military-style weapons and other war-like technologies, training them in war-zone military tactics, and generally imposing a war mentality on them. Arming domestic police forces with para-military weaponry will ensure their systematic use even in the absence of a Terrorist attack on U.S. soil; they will simply find other, increasingly permissive uses for those weapons. Responding to peaceful protests and other expressions of growing citizenry unrest with brute force is a direct by-product of what we’ve allowed to be done to America’s domestic police forces in the name of the War on Terror (and, before that, in the name of the War on Drugs).”—
“A harrowing sectarian war has spread across the Syrian city of Homs this month, with supporters and opponents of the government blamed for beheadings, rival gangs carrying out tit-for-tat kidnappings, minorities fleeing for their native villages, and taxi drivers too fearful of drive-by shootings to ply the streets.”—
I realize there’s nothing cheery about this story or the civil-war-minded turn in Syrian resistance to al-Assad. But I found myself musing on how—were it another city and time—it wouldn’t citing taxi drivers as a marker of the local’s sense of safety on the streets. Rather, prostitutes.
Thanks to the financial crisis, the banks are hanging their heads a bit now, like a dog that realizes that its owner is enraged by the destruction of the sofa. Warren knows this is an opportunity for the government to get Wall Street under control again, and put the appropriate boundaries in place. Like us, she’s on the march, and rightly so. Unfortunately, also like us, she’s sending her message in the wrong direction. Washington should be the object of her anger, not Wall Street. Because shouting at the banks isn’t going to help: the dog ain’t gonna put the leash on itself.
“It is only three years since a judge in St Petersburg, Russia, threw out a case on the ground that: “If we had no sexual harassment we would have no children.”—American business is far from perfect, but it is generally agreed to be leading the way in tackling sexual harassment in the workplace. Most other countries have a lot of catching up to do. (via theeconomist)
Today on the podcast, the story of one of the most destructive and mysterious food shortages in recent memory. Colbert described it on his Threatdown segment:
The global food shortage is finally becoming an important story, because now it is affecting me. Costco and Sam’s Club are now both rationing rice. You can’t buy more than 80 pounds in a single visit. How am I supposed to make my famous kiddie pool paella?!?
The most mysterious thing about this shortage of rice: There was more than enough to go around.
It is the epic story of a shortage that wasn’t.
In this global caper of good intentions gone wrong, there are shadowy trade deals, corrupt government officials, and warehouses full of rice in a country that didn’t want it.
The entrancement of film is that the reading protocols are invisible. You give yourself to a film, ideally, in a gigantic darkened auditorium: and it washes over you. It makes its own reality inevitable. And you don’t have to ever think about your efforts in reading or constructing it. You can’t slow or speed up that experience (I mean, now technically you can, but you don’t want to, you want to succumb). It masters you totally.
The seduction of a comic is secretly the exact opposite. People don’t think about it, but you learn to read a comic book. It’s a very complicated reading protocol. A very active one. It’s like you’re in a damp world and you have to keep striking matches to light it up. You’re constantly working to decide—do I read the words in the panel, do I read the word in the box at the top, do I look at the picture, do I skip ahead and look at where the pictures are going to go later on, do I do it fast, do I do it slow, do I read every word, do I mainly see it? What am I doing here? You’re always deciding how to make the narrative come alive. It’s actually a much more complicated form of reading than reading text! Because you’re making these switches from the visual to the verbal. So one is a completely globally active reading protocol, and the other is this sublime, passive dreamlike surrender. And I don’t think you can ever get from one to the other. They’re almost opposite ends of the aesthetic experience.
Writer Jonathan Lethem on why he loves meta-nonfiction — and hates superhero flicks. Read more. (via theatlantic)
Reporter Ramita Navai goes undercover for a rare look at the uprising from inside Syria. Plus a profile of the dictator who has managed to hold on longer than any amidst the Arab unrest—President Bashar al-Assad.
“The beers of the ancient Egyptians were flavored with cardamom and coriander, for the Egyptians had no hops; their beers were rich and flavorsome and thirst-quenching. You could build pyramids after drinking that beer, and sometimes people did.”—Gaiman’s “Fragile Things" from my Kindle highlights.