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  • My Turn: No Such Thing as An 'Average' Family

    We were an average suburban Philadelphia family—with one big difference. My father died when I was 3 1/2. There were always reminders of his absence: the class assignment to make Father's Day cards, the father-daughter dances. One time a deer ran in front of my mother's car and broke the windshield, making her late picking me up from school. I thought, things like this don't happen when dads are driving. Another time, a friend's father leaned in a bit too close to my single and very attractive mother at a dinner party, and his wife got angry. I could hear them in the kitchen—voices tense and hushed. I knew that didn't happen to families that were whole.This sense that we were a lesser form of family helped shape my life of education and research. If my town, my school and my own insecurities were telling me that being raised by a mother and two sisters isn't normal, then what is?Over time, I found people who showed me the answer. I got to know them through my doctoral research in...
  • Outdoors: Best Foot Forward

    Runners, get off your heels. Landing on the heel jars the body and saps momentum. A growing number of experts argue that the safest and most efficient way to land is on the midfoot or forefoot. Shoe companies have taken note with a range of new products.The Gravity, from Newton Running (newtonrunning.com), is a lightweight trainer with a patented rubber membrane in the forefoot that stores the energy of landing and releases it on takeoff—like a miniature trampoline.Nike's Air Zoom Elite 3 is a road shoe for average runners who want a sleek racing feel. Added forefoot cushioning encourages runners to shift their weight forward and strike with their mid-foot ($100; nikerunning.com).The New Balance 902 features an ultralight midsole foam that shaves almost an ounce from last year's version ($100; new balance.com).If trail running is your thing, the Sun Dragon (golite.com) features grabby lugs that compress to improve traction on sharp rocks.The Fanatic (merrell.com) is a hybrid shoe...
  • Can States Close the Research Funding Gap?

    Last week, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced a plan to boost the state budget for life sciences by $1.25 billion. The proposal immediately grabbed attention for its vision of a vast stem-cell bank, the world's largest, which would open up new opportunities for embryonic stem-cell research. It's a reaction, of course, to the federal government's refusal to pay for such work. But amid the excitement over stem cells, another part of Patrick's proposal got overlooked. It, too, addresses a crisis of funding at the federal level, albeit one that has gotten far less press: the stagnating budget of the National Institutes of Health, a problem that is hurting not just stem- cell researchers but biologists at large, particularly young researchers at the most vulnerable points in their careers.The NIH was once flush with money. Its budget doubled between 1998 and 2003 on the strength of enthusiastic support in Congress. Universities responded, hiring faculty and starting ambitious...
  • Review: A 9/11 Novel Worth Reading

    When the planes hit the World Trade Center, Don DeLillo was at home in suburban New York, just another man caught up in the event. But like so many other Americans, he had a personal connection to the madness of that day. "When the second tower went down, I punched the wall. My nephew and his wife and two kids were in an apartment building very near the towers," DeLillo told NEWSWEEK in an interview. "They were trapped, and they eventually were rescued. Somehow, before that, we managed to make phone contact with them. But I didn't remember any of the phone conversation afterward. I do remember that smoke was beginning to seep through the fire doors of their building."And because DeLillo is an author ("Underworld," "White Noise"), he had another personal reaction to that day—he wrote a novel, called "Falling Man." Writers as disparate as Jay McInerney, Claire Messud and Jonathan Safran Foer have worked the World Trade Center into their fiction, all with mixed results. But "Falling...
  • Film: A Marriage Torn Apart By Alzheimer's

    The easy and lazy way to describe "Away From Her" is to say that it's a movie about a woman (Julie Christie) with Alzheimer's. There's nothing factually wrong with that sentence, but it conjures up the image of a sentimental disease-of-the-week TV movie. The film that the 28-year-old Canadian actress Sarah Polley has made from Alice Munro's story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain" is emotionally devastating, but its insights into the complexities of love and marriage and memory are not the sort you're likely to find on Lifetime. Its tears are earned in more honest, surprising ways."Away From Her" is the story of a marriage. Grant (Gordon Pinsent), a retired professor, and the vibrant, playful Fiona (Christie) have been together 44 years. They've achieved a remarkable closeness in this late, nearly idyllic phase of their marriage, which is when her memory starts to fail. As her condition worsens, the recent past is the first thing to disappear from her mind, leaving behind older, more...
  • Will Diet Coke Be the Same … With Vitamins?

    For most of the last century vice was defined by critic Alexander Woollcott's remark that everything he liked was "illegal, immoral or fattening." That, though, was before the invention of Diet Coke. "It's my one vice," says Amy Stensrud, a 46-year-old Seattle mother of two, who buys a 32-ounce container of Diet Coke at a 7-Eleven every morning, right after the gym. She has in effect defined vice upward as something "inconsistent with my values," which was never Woollcott's problem with bathtub gin.But now her only sin is in danger of being transformed into a virtue, as Coke rolls out a new version of Diet Coke with added vitamins and minerals. Blue-capped bottles of Diet Coke Plus will begin showing up in stores this week, empty of calories but containing 10 to 15 percent of the daily requirement of niacin, zinc, magnesium and vitamins B6 and B12. It isn't meant to replace Diet Coke, now the third best-selling soft drink in America, after Coke Classic and Pepsi; it's just a part of...
  • Quindlen: Still the Brightest

    I first met David Halberstam when he was living with one of my friends. I arrived for dinner wearing a black tunic and pants; he said I looked like a Vietnamese peasant. I wasn't even miffed. A Vietnam reference from the man who had written the book on the pointlessness of that war and won the Pulitzer, who had unmasked the government's disinformation campaign in the pages of The New York Times and "The Best and the Brightest," was like being dissed by God.We were all friends for 30 years, he and his wife, my husband and I. David loved to fish, which made sense, since, like good reporting, it requires plumbing the depths with only sporadic results. He traveled the globe with a group of anglers called the Dirty Dozen, whose stock in trade was easygoing male bonding. One night at a fishing camp in the Bahamas, David introduced an uncommonly serious note by speaking of his new book on Korea. The room fell silent, and the sunburned men listened, rapt, as he described what he had...
  • The Ultimate Money Pit: Having a Baby

    Stay-at-home mothers just got a little more ammunition against their working counterparts in the mommy wars. It seems that if homemakers were ever paid for the myriad jobs they perform—from chef to chauffeur to psychologist—they'd command a whopping $138,095 annually, several times what most working mothers earn in the workplace. This according to a new survey from Salary.com, which based its calculation on a 92-hour workweek and the median national wage for the assorted jobs that mothers must perform each day. Sure, the validation is purely symbolic, but it may come as some solace at a time when stay-at-home moms are being taken to task in the new book "The Feminine Mistake" for giving up the financial independence their ERA-era mothers fought so hard to win.To work or not to work, that is the question—for many affluent parents, at least. The answer often hinges on a cold, hard fact: having a baby is the ultimate money pit, albeit one most people wouldn't trade for the world....
  • Q&A: A Prudential VP on Her Transition

    Margaret Stumpp, 54, is a vice president at Prudential Financial Inc. A 20-year veteran, she is the first openly transgender person at the firm, which has nearly 40,000 employees. Stumpp transitioned from Mark Stumpp to Maggie in February 2002, all while maintaining her position as chief investment officer for Quantitative Management Associates (a subsidiary of Prudential). When Stumpp returned to the office as Maggie, she sent this memo to her fellow employees: "From: M. Stumpp. Subject: Me." "This will be new ground for all of us," Stumpp wrote. "However, if September 11 taught us anything, it was that life is far too precious and short. Each of us must strive to be at peace with ourselves." She signed the note "Margaret."  She spoke with NEWSWEEK's Lorraine Ali. ...
  • Pope's Book: A Lifetime of Learning

    Conflicting movements, hopes, and expectations shaped the religious and political climate around the time of Jesus’ birth. Judas the Galilean had called for an uprising, which was put down by the Romans with a great deal of bloodshed. Judas left behind a party, the Zealots, who were prepared to resort to terror and violence in order to restore Israel’s freedom. It is even possible that one or two of Jesus’ twelve Apostles—Simon the Zealot and perhaps Judas Iscariot as well—had been partisans of this movement. The Pharisees, whom we are constantly meeting in the Gospels, endeavored to live with the greatest possible exactness according to the instructions of the Torah. They also refused conformity to the hegemony of Hellenistic-Roman culture, which naturally imposed itself throughout the Roman Empire, and was now threatening to force Israel’s assimilation to the pagan peoples’ way of life. The Sadducees, most of whom belonged to the aristocracy and the priestly class, attempted to...
  • Alexis Arquette on the Politics of Gender Change

    Seventeen-year-old Alexis Arquette landed her first acting role in 1986 playing a transgender in "Last Exit To Brooklyn." Eighteen years later, she went through a real transition from man to woman. Arquette, an actress, musician and cabaret drag performer, comes from a family of actors that includes siblings Patricia, David, Richmond and Rosanna Arquette, father Lewis Arquette and grandfather Cliff Arquette. She's done almost 70 films—mostly indie, some adult—but one of her most memorable roles was as the Boy George character in  1998's "The Wedding Singer." "I did play transgender characters that were comedy roles and I feel bad about that now," says Arquette, 37. "That Boy George character, it's offensive to me now."  She's now starring in a forthcoming A&E documentary about her transition, "Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother," which just debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival. ...
  • Law: Paris Hilton's Appeal? Unlikely

    Last week, a judge ruled that Paris Hilton was going to jail for 45 days, after violating her probation on a previous DUI-related conviction. She couldn't use a work permit to postpone her day behind bars, scheduled for June 5. She couldn't pay extra, as some are allowed to, for a nicer jail cell. She probably couldn't even pass Go or collect $200. But then again, this is Paris Hilton—she can do whatever she wants. Right?She sure talks a good game. Over the weekend, she said to photographers camped outside her house: "I feel that I was treated unfairly and that the sentence is both cruel and unwarranted and I don't deserve this." But then the earth seemed to shift. This week, Hilton added DUI lawyer Richard Hutton to her legal defense team, and she came out with a new statement: "I am ready to face the consequences of violating probation."What happened to that petulant defiance? Apparently, Hilton finally woke up and heard what the judge said: it will be virtually impossible for her...
  • Movies: Ansen on  '28 Weeks'

    The entire population of London was wiped out by the "Rage" virus in "28 Days Later," Danny Boyle's stylishly resonant zombie freak out, but in the slick and frenetically intense "28 Weeks Later," the city is starting to come back. We learn in a series of titles that 11 weeks later, a U.S.-led NATO force entered the city, and that 18 weeks later London was declared virus free. Now reconstruction has begun, and a new imported civilian population is ensconced in a heavily fortified enclave in East London patrolled by jittery and increasingly trigger-happy Yank troops. It's referred to as the Green Zone. Hmmm. Do you smell a political metaphor here?The director's reins have been turned over to the flashy young Spaniard Juan Carlos Fresnadillo ("Intacto"), who may have Iraq in the back of his mind but is primarily interested in scaring the beejesus out of the audience. He's abandoned the grungy video look of the original for Enrique Chediak's gorgeous, more expensive-looking...
  • My Turn: A Hospice Volunteer's Reward

    Too many people die in pain and fear because their families are afraid to discuss death. How being a hospice volunteer can be life-affirming and even joyful.
  • Kids' Book Clubs Boom

    Twelve-year-old Joanna Krupp loves her monthly book-club meetings. She and her fellow bookworms tackle titles like Gloria Whelan's National Book Award winner “Homeless Bird,” about a 13-year-old girl in India whose parents arrange a marriage to a boy who is gravely ill. To go with the stories, they eat matching snacks, such as Indian food. Joanna's brother, Ben, 13, likes his father-son group, too. “It's just good to talk about the books, and I really understand them better,” he says.A generation ago, there were few, if any, organized reading groups for kids. Today, hundreds of thousands of kids belong to them, says Vicki Levy Krupp, coauthor of “The Kids' Book Club Book” (and Joanna and Ben's mom). Popular authors like Lisa Yee and Tamora Pierce include book-club information on their Web sites and even solicit e-mail exchanges with kids. And publishers like Scholastic are offering online discussion groups such as Flashlight Readers (www.scholastic.com/flashlightreaders). Last month...
  • Music: Tori Amos Returns

    On her new album, the unconventional singer creates a world of heavenly women. And they have their own blogs.
  • Sounding the Alarms on the ER Crisis

    It's a familiar story: America's emergency rooms are in crisis. But it's far worse than you think. How does the ER prepare for a terrorist attack when its medics can barely cope with the routine flow of mayhem on a Saturday night? A worried doctor traveled to Washington to sound the alarms.
  • Oval: Tornado Rouses the Ghost of Katrina

    Once again, a Democratic governor was sparring with the White House over disaster relief. Only this time, the war in Iraq was added to the Greensburg tornado equation.
  • Starr: On Roger Clemens's Return

    My pal didn’t want to be in Fenway Park on that cold, dank April night 21 years ago. He would have been far happier had he scored tickets to Boston Garden, where Larry Bird and the Celtics were playing the second game of the Eastern Conference semifinal against Dominique Wilkins’s Atlanta Hawks. Second choice would have been watching the Celtics game in the comfort of his home.But the Celtics, not the Red Sox, were the impossible ticket in those days. So with his former college roommate, a passionate baseball fan, visiting town, my friend secured two tickets to the baseball game—not a difficult get, with just 13,414 fans in the stands. They were pleased they would get to see the Red Sox’s young stud, 23-year-old Roger Clemens, who had shown flashes of brilliance in an injury-shortened season the previous year and was off to a 3-0 start.What they witnessed turned out to be a magical evening of baseball immortality. That was the night that Clemens broke baseball’s single-game record...
  • Portrait of an ER at the Breaking Point

    Gunshot wounds. Blood and brain matter. Exhausted nurses, endless wait times—and no end in sight. The only thing scarier than an average Saturday evening in the ER: What if it was forced to close? One night in Atlanta.
  • How to Stop the Bleeding

    Emergency-room health care is in a state of emergency. What the best minds in the medical community prescribe to begin to treat the crisis.
  • Docs Change the Way They Think About Death

    Consider someone who has just died of a heart attack. His organs are intact, he hasn't lost blood. All that's happened is his heart has stopped beating—the definition of "clinical death"—and his brain has shut down to conserve oxygen. But what has actually died?As recently as 1993, when Dr. Sherwin Nuland wrote the best seller "How We Die," the conventional answer was that it was his cells that had died. The patient couldn't be revived because the tissues of his brain and heart had suffered irreversible damage from lack of oxygen. This process was understood to begin after just four or five minutes. If the patient doesn't receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation within that time, and if his heart can't be restarted soon thereafter, he is unlikely to recover. That dogma went unquestioned until researchers actually looked at oxygen-starved heart cells under a microscope. What they saw amazed them, according to Dr. Lance Becker, an authority on emergency medicine at the University of...
  • Royal Visit: Queen Elizabeth in America

    On Feb. 6, 1952, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was distraught when he heard King George VI had died. His secretary, John Colville, tried to console him by assuring him he would get on well with the new queen, Elizabeth II: "But all he could say was that he didn't know her, and that she was only a child." She was 25 at the time. A year later, a royal aide confided that Churchill was so fond of her he could "scarcely speak of her without tears coming into his eyes."The rapport between Churchill and his queen was remarkable—she a serious young woman, known for her beauty, wit and love of dancing, he a great orator and war leader who delighted in schooling his monarch in the peculiar ways of British politics. Their meetings often lasted long past their customary half-hour appointment. When he notified her of his intention to resign in 1955, Churchill was told, through the queen's secretary, that "she would especially miss the weekly audiences which she had found so...
  • Great Expectations

    Seven years after his debut, the award-winning story collection "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges," Nathan Englander has finally published a second book. His publisher must be relieved that it's a novel. Even readers who end up not liking "The Ministry of Special Cases" ought at least to admire Englander's good sense. After a $350,000 advance for your first book, followed by awed reviews comparing you to [deep breath] Roth, Bellow, Joyce, Kafka, Cheever, Gogol, Chekhov and Singer, any writer would be tempted to swing for the fences. Would a 1,500-page novel that linked, oh, say, Bobby Thomson's home run, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mason and Dixon, Joseph of Arimathea and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle—all narrated by a hermaphrodite—be enough to impress that mob of long-awaiters and knife-whetters?"The Ministry of Special Cases" is merely a wonderful medium-length novel, set in mid-1970s Buenos Aires during the "dirty war," when Argentina's military dictatorship "disappeared" tens of...
  • Ansen: 'Spider-Man 3' Quadruples the Fun

    Superman has always been the star of "Superman," not Clark Kent. Same goes for Batman/Bruce Wayne, only a little less so. What's different about the Spider-Man series is that it's always been more about sensitive, vulnerable Peter Parker than about his superhuman alter ego. Spidey's not a natural-born superhero. It's damn hard work swinging between skyscrapers, and Parker spent a good portion of "Spider-Man 2" wondering if it was worth the trouble. Where was the respect? Where was the glory? He was this close to turning in his spandex suit."Spider-Man 2" was hailed by many as the most grown-up of comic-book action movies, which was ironic in that nerdy Peter is the most adolescent superhero in the Marvel movie galaxy. It was all about his growing pains, his doubts, his insecurities, which all former adolescents could relate to—though to these eyes "Spidey 2" got a little too self-important for its own good: the less prestigious, more slapdash original was actually more fun.Now, in...
  • My Turn: What I've Missed With My Camcorder

    I am a card-carrying parent of this generation—a memory-card-carrying member, that is. My husband and I started early: as soon as we found out I was pregnant, we began poring over ratings of video cameras alongside cribs and changing tables. And while the furniture gathered dust in the nursery as we waited for the baby, the video camera was pressed into action. We filmed monthly belly profiles—watching mine grow, and watching my husband's in hopes that it wouldn't. We filmed shopping for the baby: pressing on crib mattresses, walking through forests of highchairs, pushing strollers up and down aisles in baby stores.As our family has grown, we've continued documenting it. Whatever our children's roles have been in holiday programs, recitals and sporting events, our roles have been as recorders of these experiences. We are part of the herd in the back of the auditorium, holding devices aloft, alternately beaming smiles from the side of the camera and glancing into the viewfinder to...
  • That Chabon Sure Has Chutzpah

    The Yiddish Policemen's Union" is Michael Chabon's first full-length adult novel since his Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" seven years ago, and it's just as ambitiously imaginative—perhaps too much so. The book is set in an alternate present, in the Federal District of Sitka, Alaska, a safe haven carved out for the Jews after the collapse of Israel. Sitka (where everyone speaks Yiddish) is to revert to American control by the year-end, threatening to send the Jews wandering again. As usual, Chabon's language is incandescent, distilling sad Jewish mysticism into pulpy prose: "Night is an orange smear over Sitka, a compound of fog and the light of sodium-vapor street lamps. It has the translucence of onions cooked in chicken fat." Equal parts Chaim Potok, Dashiell Hammett and Woody Allen, "Policemen's Union" creates a new genre: hard-boiled egg noir.The main action follows Meyer Landsman, a detective under review for a questionable shooting....
  • Is TV Turning Tots into Crib Potatoes?

    According to a new study, a surprising number of babies and toddlers have televisions in their bedrooms. Are we creating a generation of crib potatoes?
  • BeliefWatch: Circumcision Debate

    Poor "Misha." Caught in a terrible custody war, this 12-year-old boy from Washington state has become a cause célèbre for a diverse group of activists. Here are the facts, in brief: Misha lives with his father, who has sole custody and who recently converted to Judaism. The father wants Misha to convert as well, and so he wants Misha circumcised. The boy's mother, who is Russian Orthodox, is against it. Doctors Opposing Circumcision, an activist group, started circulating Misha's story online, asking for donations for Misha's defense. A lower court affirmed the father's right to circumcise his son but has allowed the mother to exhaust her legal options before he does so; now the mother hopes that her case will be taken up by the Oregon Supreme Court. The boy's own desires remain unclear.Two weeks ago, Richard Dawkins, the Oxford don, noted atheist and author of "The God Delusion," posted Misha's story on his Web site. Dawkins was irate, calling Misha's father's intentions ...
  • Extra! Tribune Sale Involves Tax Dodge.

    Whenever you see a deal involving Los Angeles's Chandler family, you usually see a tax dodge. And sure enough, the pending sale of Tribune Co., the big media firm in which the Chandlers are the largest shareholders, exploits a loophole so gaping that we taxpayers can only pray that someone closes it quickly. But it's not the Chandlers, the media magnates (L.A. Times and Newsday) whose shenanigans I've tracked for 15 years, who are dodging taxes here. It's Sam Zell, the Chicago real-estate mogul who's buying control of Tribune.As best I can tell, the Chandlers are willing to pay taxes on their $1.7 billion of sale proceeds just to be out of the newspaper business and to end their battles with Tribune's Chicago-based managers. The Chandler family paying taxes is like the sun rising in the west—an unnatural event. The family pioneered in tax avoidance when it controlled the old Times Mirror Co., which Tribune bought in 2000. The Chandlers specialized in convoluted transactions designed...
  • 'Waitress': Filmmaker’s Sad Goodbye

    Adrienne Shelly wrote, directed, co-set-designed, co-costume-designed and costars in the new film "Waitress." She also composed a song for the soundtrack and gave her 3-year-old daughter, Sophie, a cameo in the final scene. The movie is a serene comedy about an unhappily married—and even more unhappily pregnant—woman named Jenna (Keri Russell of "Felicity") who finds refuge from her stifling life by baking exquisite pies with names like "Pregnant Miserable Self-Pitying Loser Pie." (It's made with lumpy oatmeal and fruitcake, then flambéed.) More simply, though, "Waitress" is about a gifted woman finding her place in the world, and in that regard it is a metaphor for Shelly's own life. In the 1990s, Shelly was a pixie-faced ingénue who starred in a pair of films by the auteurist director Hal Hartley. But she resisted the lure of Hollywood and stayed put in New York, writing her own scripts and immersing herself in the city's close-knit indie-film world. She made two films that got...
  • Five Things You Don't Know About Fantasia

    Fantasia Barrino has fanjayas of her own. The ex-"Idol" champ helped sell $1.2 million in tickets her first week in Broadway's "The Color Purple." She spoke to NEWSWEEK after Wednesday's matinee (and before last week's "Idol" elimination). ...
  • Great Expectations

    Seven years after his debut, the award-winning story collection "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges," Nathan Englander has finally published a second book. His publisher must be relieved that it's a novel. Even readers who end up not liking "The Ministry of Special Cases" ought at least to admire Englander's good sense. After a $350,000 advance for your first book, followed by awed reviews comparing you to [deep breath] Roth, Bellow, Joyce, Kafka, Cheever, Gogol, Chekhov and Singer, any writer would be tempted to swing for the fences. Would a 1,500-page novel that linked, oh, say, Bobby Thomson's home run, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mason and Dixon, Joseph of Arimathea and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle—all narrated by a hermaphrodite—be enough to impress that mob of long-awaiters and knife-whetters?"The Ministry of Special Cases" is merely a wonderful medium-length novel, set in mid-1970s Buenos Aires during the "dirty war," when Argentina's military dictatorship "disappeared" tens of...
  • That Chabon Sure Has Chutzpah

    The Yiddish Policemen's Union" is Michael Chabon's first full-length adult novel since his Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" seven years ago, and it's just as ambitiously imaginative—perhaps too much so. The book is set in an alternate present, in the Federal District of Sitka, Alaska, a safe haven carved out for the Jews after the collapse of Israel. Sitka (where everyone speaks Yiddish) is to revert to American control by the year-end, threatening to send the Jews wandering again. As usual, Chabon's language is incandescent, distilling sad Jewish mysticism into pulpy prose: "Night is an orange smear over Sitka, a compound of fog and the light of sodium-vapor street lamps. It has the translucence of onions cooked in chicken fat." Equal parts Chaim Potok, Dashiell Hammett and Woody Allen, "Policemen's Union" creates a new genre: hard-boiled egg noir.The main action follows Meyer Landsman, a detective under review for a questionable shooting....
  • Summer Movies: What's So Funny?

    This is going to be the summer of fun. No, really. Until recently, comedies were on the Hollywood endangered-species list, but for some reason this summer there are more of them than there are pirates of the Caribbean. Which ones will actually make you laugh? Beats us. So we asked the folks vying for your comedy dollar to enter a contest: using your film as inspiration, tell us something funny, and do it in 100 words or fewer. (Mr. Apatow seems to have difficulty playing by the rules—typical director.) Who won? We report, you decide. ...
  • Homer Simpson's Big-Screen Odyssey

    To make it on the big screen, you have to give people something spectacular. Something extraordinary. Something like Bart Simpson—full frontal. It happens early in "The Simpsons Movie," when the animated 10-year-old takes a dare from his goofball father, Homer, to skateboard naked through the streets of Springfield. Hidden by plants and picket fences, he whizzes along, past kids, down hills, through traffic lights, until, in one shocking moment, little Bart flashes his little part to the entire world. Which may make this the first Hollywood film to show that kind of skin and to escape an R rating.In a summer bursting with comedies—including major animated fare "Shrek the Third" and the new Pixar film, "Ratatouille"—"The Simpsons Movie," which opens July 27, is both the least hyped and the most anticipated. Since "The Simpsons" debuted in 1989, it has built a fanatical fan base, earned 23 Emmys and generated more than $2.5 billion in revenue, if you include the never-ending selection...
  • Dickey: France's Reality Check for America

    The Republican presidential debate shows just how much American politicians are out of touch with global realities. What the French can teach them about Iraq, terrorism and conflict.