Have you noticed that nothing is ever quite funny enough?
Last night I was reading a story in the New Yorker and glancing at the cartoons and kind of gasping at how not funny they were. Hey, this is the New Yorker! It's not like there's some place else for all the better cartoons to go.
The Pledge of Allegiance is a 20th century creature. It was written at the end of the 19th century by a Christian socialist minister as part of a general push toward American nationalism, with special regard for the flag. I find people all the time who think it dates back to the founding of the United States. The phrase "under God" was added in the 1950s. There are all kinds of stores about how and why that happened. I think it's fair to sum it up as kind of a Cold War thing. The Soviets were godless. We weren't.
The Wadsworth Atheneum is the nation’s oldest public art museum. It has amassed an impressive permanent collection, and features large, popular exhibitions. But that long history can sometimes be a bit of a curse - as it fights for attention with dozens of art museums and other online entertainment options.
Saint Nicholas of Myra was a 4th century Greek bishop from an area that is now Turkey, so it is my position that he was a dark-skinned man, as opposed to the chubby rosy-cheeked walking cardiac time bomb of modern depictions and also as opposed to any kind of Norse, Gandalfian adaptations.
I was in the parking area next to Yale Bowl two Saturdays ago as word spread around the clumps of tailgaters that there had been a fatality in one of the lots. Details were sketchy, but everyone seemed to know that people had been hit by a motor vehicle. And for a lot of us, the shadow of that tragedy hung over the whole day. My son was with me, and he has a knack for summing things up. "Imagine dying because you decided to go to a football game," he said sadly.
On "Battlestar Galactica" the Cylons were a much-despised race of human-like machines made by man, and the ethnic slur for them was "toaster." I think that's because a toaster is such a humdrum and servile machine. Not much of an inner life. Just sitting there, at our disposal, waiting to serve us in a pretty simplistic way.
Is creativity an act or an attitude? In Man on Wire, Philippe Petit, the high wire artist who walked between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974, says, “To me it’s so simple that life should be lived on the edge of life. You have to exercise rebellion, to refuse to taper yourself to rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a challenge.”
Yale University Press unveiled its online “Stalin Digital Archive” today. The archive contains newly declassified documents, including Stalin’s personal papers, and communications with heads of state during the Great Purges.
Several years ago, Yale University Press director John Donatich traveled to Russia. Men in white lab coats escorted him deep into Stalin’s archive, where he was handed Stalin’s personal copy of Lenin’s book: 'The State and Revolution'.
Reality is composed of the public and the private. Paul Marcarelli was the Test Man, the "Can You Hear Me Now" guy for nine years of iconic commercials. During that time, he believed he could not identify himself as a gay man without affecting his income stream. The Test Man had to be Everyman, not part of a sub-group.
Few novelists of the past 50 years have enjoyed the huge success and lengthy renown of William Styron. With Sophie’s Choice, Lie Down in Darkness, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Confessions of Nat Turner, Styron established himself as a masterful chronicler of the American experience. But his gift for fiction came at a heavy price. The last twenty-five years of Styron’s life were marked by episodes of devastating depression, the first of which he documented with stunning candor in Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness.
Newsflash -- on this show Garrison Keillor threw cold water on his much-publicized earlier statements that he would retire from PHC in 2013.
You can hear him say, on the audio here: :"I’m starting to doubt that myself. I’ve been thinking about it, thinking: what else would I do? And I can’t come up with anything….If I didn’t do it I would wind up in a tiny walk-up apartment with a couple of cats."
It was Good Friday, 1982, and I was up in the balcony at the Lit Club in Hartford, a punk rock epicenter housed in the Lithuanian American Club in Hartford.
National acts like Black Flag, Killing Time and the Circle Jerks played the Lit in its heyday, but its local heroes were Jack Tragic and the Unfortunates. Jack was a West Hartford Hall High dropout, and the group had a punk hit called "I Kill Hippies."
Hear from Jonathon Keats, a conceptual artist, experimental philosopher, and regular CMS contributor, whose latest project is an exhibit that tries to make art more consistent with the Copernican truth that Earth is a mediocre planet.
Plus, find out what the color beige has to do with the universe!
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Shakespeare is back on television in a big way. You can't watch commercial TV for 45 minutes without seeing an ad for the movie "Anonymous," opening Friday and advancing the argument that Shakespeare's plays were not written by the Stratford commoner but by a British nobleman.
The debate has been raging for many decades now, and the people in the argument tend not to stay very calm about it.
In 1992, film-maker Ken Simon made a documentary attempting to probe the identity of the state. He interviewed a range of "experts," including me. The title of this documentary? "Between Boston and New York."
That tells you something. Even a painstaking attempt to pin down what Connecticut is winds up bowing to all the things Connecticut ain't. There's a somewhat rude anatomical term for this. I'm not going to use it.
There are parallels -- and I don't think I'm forcing them -- between indie rock musician Mike Doughty -- whom you'll hear on the show today, and Mahler's first symphony, which Hartford Symphony conductor Caroyln Kuan will discuss in advance of performing it for the next four nights.
"Never be deceived by a humorist, for if he is any good he is a deeply serious man moved by a quirk of temperament to speak a certain kind of truth in the form of jokes. Everybody can laugh at the jokes; the real trick is to understand them."
Some of my best friends are DJs, but for me, there's something magical about a band -- at a wedding or just about any place else. Sure, a DJ can bring a few thousand songs, but in a way that adds to the mystique of the band. When they play a song you like, it's even more of a gift.
Are we all entitled to a few blind spots? If so, one of mine is newspapers. I keep thinking somebody is going to find ways to improve them and make them thrive, even as the evidence of my own eyes suggests the opposite.
Today on The Nose, one of our panelists is Susan Campbell from the Hartford Courant. A few weeks ago, she shuttered her blog on the newspaper's web site. And this week, her colleague Helen Ubinas announced that she's leaving.
Roz will be signing WHAT I HATE at Books on the Common in Ridgefield, CT Saturday, October 22 at 2 p.m.
In 1978, Roz Chast published her first New Yorker cartoon and one could argue that many things were never the same again. The magazine had never had a superstar woman cartoonist, but Chast grew into the role. And no New Yorker cartoonist had ever messed so boldly with the basic format of a cartoon.
There are a lot of made-up languages with big fans. You may have heard of Na'vi from the movie Avatar, or Elvish from Lord of the Rings. Among fans, many of these languages have found a home on the web, where they continue to be developed and studied.
At the same time, thousands of real languages around the world are facing extinction.