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  • Architecture: Restoring Wright

    A once-endangered home by Fallingwater architect Frank Lloyd Wright is set to undergo a massive restoration. NEWSWEEK gets a house tour.
  • Sloan: The Wall Street Journal's Value

    There’s a real difference between journalistic giants and stock market pygmies. That’s the lesson of Monday’s $5 billion hostile offer by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. for Dow Jones, owner of the nation’s leading business newspaper, The Wall Street Journal.To most of us, of course, $5 billion is real money. But not to Wall Street. In a world in which you’ve got individual hedge-fund managers and private-equity players knocking down more than $1 billion a year, a deal of this size wouldn’t rate much more than a yawn if The Wall Street Journal weren’t involved.While The Wall Street Journal is a wonderful paper, at least to me, Dow Jones has been a less-than-wonderful company and has been marked down by the stock market for its various shortcomings. Hence the disparity between Dow Jones’s immense journalistic value and its negligible market value.Another company where there’s a huge disparity between journalistic and stock market significance is the New York Times Co., which has been...
  • The Oval: Bush Still Controls Security Debate

    The country says it wants a change. The candidates are not exactly embracing the legacy of President Bush. So why do they sound so much like him whenever they talk about national-security threats?
  • Humor: White House Seeks Lying Czar

    The White House in recent weeks has been quietly searching for candidates for the position of “lying czar,” a high-level administrator who would oversee all distortions and misrepresentations about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a White House source confirmed today.News of the administration’s search for a lying czar raised eyebrows in official Washington, where many insiders believe that the White House already has enough personnel to handle the creation and dissemination of war-related lies.Specifically, many insiders wonder why an administration that already has adviser Karl Rove and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would also need a lying czar. “The Bush administration has a lot of world-class manpower, lying-wise,” one insider said. “This whole lying czar thing seems like an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.”But White House insiders disagree, saying that those who believe a lying czar is unnecessary are oblivious to the overwhelming volume of distortions that are sorely...
  • Up Close & Edible: Apple Cider Vinegar

    Word on the yoga mats is that a few daily tablespoons of apple cider vinegar could be the miracle potion for melting away fat, buoying the immune system, restoring arthritic joints and even curing gout—among a host of other ailments. Much of the hype comes from old folk tales and suave marketers. Dieticians and scientists have a different story: vinegar's most magical, confirmed benefit may just be as a tasty, low-cal condiment.Myths about apple cider vinegar date back to the 17th century. In 1820, poet Lord Byron—who reputedly suffered from anorexia nervosa and bulimia—made popular the vinegar and water diet, a regimen the American Dietetic Association (ADA) today includes on its list of fad diets. In the late 1950s, D.C. Jarvis's popular book "Folk Medicine" praised apple cider vinegar as the solution for a range of ailments—from chronic fatigue, to arthritis, to fat pulverizing. And Patricia Bragg of Bragg Live Foods Inc., a California-based company that is one of the leading...
  • Her Body: Interview With a Former Fat Girl

    In a new book that pulls no punches, Lisa Delaney describes how she changed her life, dropped 70 pounds and kept the weight off. All about the 'mint-chocolate chip incident.'
  • The Anatomy of Violence

    Cho Seung-Hui turned his gun on himself before a neuroscientist could get him into a brain-imager and scan his cortex for aberrant activity. No geneticist had analyzed his DNA for genes associated with impulsivity, aggression or violence. And although a physician at a psychiatric hospital concluded in late 2005, after Cho had stalked two female students, that his "affect is flat and mood is depressed," no psychologist had the opportunity to ask him why he wrote such disturbing, demon-haunted plays and essays that his professor referred him for counseling last fall. No sociologist had probed how American society had shaped this 23-year-old South Korean immigrant during his 15 years in the United States.While the temptation is to dismiss Cho as crazy and leave it at that, no one will ever know for sure why Cho murdered two fellow students in a dormitory at Virginia Tech and then gunned down 30 more people in a classroom building across campus just over two hours later. But the unasked...
  • Remembering Jack Valenti

    Nobody understood better than Jack Valenti the mind-set of powerful people. He began as an ad man in Texas, where he met Lyndon Johnson. When LBJ was tapped as vice president, Valenti went to work in the Kennedy White House. He was the quintessential staff man, bowing to the wishes of a boss who could be crude and overbearing—while never losing his own courtly bearing. Valenti was in the motorcade that fateful day in Dallas, dispatched by LBJ to handle press relations, when President Kennedy was shot. Valenti was there when Johnson took the oath of office aboard Air Force One, captured in the frame along with the grieving widow, Jackie Kennedy.And he shepherded Johnson through those first tense years, doing everything from taking notes in confidential meetings to acting as a conduit between the rival Kennedy and Johnson factions within the administration. His devotion to Johnson was so complete that much of official Washington dismissed him as a sycophant. But his ties to LBJ helped...
  • Résumé Lies a Major Concern for Employers

    As dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Marilee Jones was responsible for ensuring that applicants represented their academic backgrounds honestly. So it was more than a shock when the 55-year-old resigned Thursday, admitting that she had misled school officials over a 28-year period into believing that she held three degrees from New York institutions. In fact, she had never received even an undergraduate degree from any school.While Jones's case is extreme, it points to a major concern for any corporation or institution that hires employees: embellishments and outright lies on résumés. Sue Murphy, association manager of the Human Resources Association, says that in her 20 years in HR she has seen the application process change dramatically. "We used to try to have the applicant provide two or three business references. But now … employers are being much more aggressive about checking applicants' backgrounds, and if they can afford it they are even...
  • Bjork Breaks Out of Her Shell on New Album

    Despite an international cachet and otherworldly aura, Bjork has usually created music that looked inward and created the world as a subliminal snow globe—ornately beautiful, acutely observed, but limited. Less than 10 minutes into “Volta,” her sixth full-length album, the snow globe’s glass is broken, its content spilling in every direction. “Lust for comfort suffocates the soul/This relentless restlessness liberates me,” she sings in the aptly titled “Wanderlust,” one of several new tracks that finds Bjork vaulting out of her comfort zone into the territory of the political provocateur. Although Bjork insists “Volta” is not an angry record, merely an extroverted one—she’s never sounded more defiant. On “Declare Independence,” she offers a rousing salvo about the treatment of Danes living in Greenland, but written vaguely enough to galvanize any disenfranchised group. “Declare independence! Don’t let them do that to you! Damn colonists! Ignore their patronizing! Tear off their...
  • A Prostate Cancer Revolution?

    Prostate cancer is the second leading cancer killer among men, after lung cancer. The American Cancer Society projects that in 2007 there will be 219,000 new cases and 27,000 deaths. Yet detecting the disease early has always been problematic. The only blood test available now—a test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA)—is not good at distinguishing malignancies from benign prostate enlargement (BPH). And it's useless for separating aggressive cancers from others that are so slow-growing they will likely never cause problems.But a new blood test, described this week in the journal Urology, could change all that. In a study of 385 men, the new test was able to distinguish BPH from prostate cancer, and it pinpointed men who were healthy, even when their PSA levels were higher than normal. It also did the reverse—singling out men with cancer, even when their PSA levels were low. It may also distinguish cancer confined to the prostate from cancer that has spread beyond the gland. And it...
  • Aide Casts Doubt on Bush's Iraq Scenario

    The president is suggesting that a troop withdrawal would turn Iraq into a battleground between regional powers. Not so, says a senior administration official.
  • Religion: The Pope Lets Go of Limbo

    In the world of Vatican reversals, it’s a big one. According to a 41-page report released last week by the Roman Catholic Church’s International Theological Commission, limbo—a celestial middle ground between Heaven and Hell—is no longer necessary. That means that babies who die unbaptized are now free to go to heaven rather than being consigned to limbo, where for the last 800 years they’ve been forced to await the End of Days, unable to share in the beatific vision of God and Jesus Christ with their Roman Catholic brethren.Limbo has never been official church doctrine, but with this report, the Catholic Church signals that it is not interested in perpetuating the concept at all. It also suggests that Pope Benedict XVI may be less conservative than his image suggests. Citing a “greater theological awareness” that God is “merciful and wants all human beings to be saved,” the commission, after three years of study and with approval from the pope, has concluded that excluding innocent...
  • How Doctors Think and (Hopefully) Avoid Mistakes

    Angelos Delivorrias, director of the Benaki Museum in Athens, knew at a glance that the marble statue of a young man was a fake. True, before purchasing the piece, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles had hired legions of experts, who concurred with its dating to the sixth century B.C. But Delivorrias was responding to his instinctive feeling on first seeing the piece, a sense of "intuitive repulsion." And he was most likely right, as the journalist Malcolm Gladwell recounted in his 2005 book, "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking." The Getty now lists the statue as a possible "modern forgery."Dr. Pat Croskerry knew at a glance that the patient in his emergency room wasn't having a heart attack. True, he had a sudden onset of severe chest pain, but Croskerry relied on his initial impression of a trim, athletic man in his early 40s. His test results were normal, so Croskerry diagnosed a muscle pull and sent him home. He was wrong, as the author and physician Jerome Groopman...
  • History: A 'War' for Inclusion

    When Raquel Garza watched a short preview in November of the upcoming World War II documentary "The War," by acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns, she was impressed. "It was very cool, definitely very interesting," says Garza, project manager for the U.S. Latino and Latina World War II Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin. The 14-hour series examines the conflict through the eyes of 40 people in four American towns. But Garza's enthusiasm dimmed in a question-and-answer session with Burns and co-director Lynn Novick. When a Navajo veteran asked if Native Americans were included in the film, the directors said no. Garza asked Novick afterward if they'd included Latinos, 500,000 of whom served in the war, by some estimates. The answer, again, was no. "It was just one more thing we would be left out of," she says.Garza wasn't the only one disappointed. After Hispanic veterans attended other previews of the documentary, the complaints mounted. It didn't help that the...
  • Documentary: Interspecies Sex? Yes.

    If you were to watch Robinson Devor's "Zoo" with no sound, it might take you a long time to realize that the subject of this eerily beautiful movie is bestiality. Frame by frame, "Zoo" casts a dark, disturbingly lyrical spell, transporting you into a world most people have never contemplated: the subculture of zoophiles, men who find emotional and physical fulfillment in interspecies sex. Rarely has a movie's style been so radically, and deliberately, at odds with its subject matter.The inspiration for this meditation on the wilder shores of human desire was the true story of a divorced Boeing executive and father—his Internet name was Mr. Hands—who died of massive internal bleeding after having sex with a stallion. This happened in 2005 in the town of Enumclaw, Wash., not far from Seattle, where Devor, an acclaimed independent filmmaker ("The Woman Chaser," "Police Beat"), lived. One of the reasons the group of zoophiles congregated in Washington was that there were no laws against...
  • Crime Novelists Compare Notes on Seedy Fiction

    Centuries from now, when archeologists sift the rubble to understand our culture, they will be fortunate indeed to uncover the works of Donald E. Westlake. His 45 witty crime novels are as reliable a guide to the foibles and mores of our society as you could hope to find (the 46th, “What’s So Funny?,” appears April 24). Those archeologists may get a little shiver, however, should they also unearth the works of Westlake’s alter ego, Richard Stark, whose dark accounts of Parker, a coldblooded and occasionally homicidal thief, provide another, no less persua­sive gloss on the world we so uneasily inhabit. Put another way, Westlake is, as the esteemed Irish novelist John Banville puts it, one of the “great writers of the 20th century.”Now Banville, whose novel “The Sea” won the 2005 Man Book­er Prize, has turned his own hand to crime writing, and also under a pen name: Benjamin Black. His first attempt, the superbly noirish “Christine Falls,” chronicles a fumbling Dublin patholo­gist’s...
  • BeliefWatch: Mrs. Pastor

    In Selmer, Tenn. (population: 4,600), last week, the murder trial of Mary Winkler began with defense lawyers painting the soft-spoken pastor's wife as the victim of an abusive marriage who accidentally pulled the trigger on a 12-gauge shotgun that killed her Church of Christ pastor husband last March. Although prosecutors say the act was purposeful and premeditated, when police caught up to Winkler a day later along Alabama's Gulf Coast, she alluded to a steady flow of criticism and abuse as her motive. "I guess I just got to a point and snapped," she told police.Though Winkler's case is, to say the very least, extreme, her apparent frustrations are not. Statistics indicate that beneath the smiling, steadfast veneer of a pastor's wife, there often lies a deeply isolated woman who, due to her husband's constant commitment to his congregants, frequently feels neglected and left without a support system of her own. According to research by the late Bill Bright, founder of Campus...
  • Controversial PBS Series: 'America at a Crossroads'

    In "The Case for War," the third installment of PBS's sprawling, 11-part, $20 million documentary series "America at a Crossroads," former Bush administration adviser Richard Perle spends the better part of an hour explaining why going to war in Iraq was the right thing to do. "The Case for War" has infuriated many public broadcasters and media watchdogs from the moment that plans for it, and for "America at a Crossroads," were announced in March 2004. Its critics accused the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the federal entity that helps fund PBS, of letting the Bush team hijack public television for its own ends. And they attacked Perle for pushing a neoconservative agenda with taxpayer money.But when I watched "The Case for War," mostly I just felt bad for the guy. At one point, Perle wades into an antiwar rally in Washington, D.C., and is immediately swarmed. "It got pretty vicious," he tells NEWSWEEK. "When someone shouts, 'You're a weapon of mass destruction' or 'You're...
  • Starr: Don Imus Is Us

    There is no excuse for what Don Imus said about the Rutgers women's basketball team. There is, however, an explanation. And you probably won't like it.
  • Re-examining the Holocaust

    "The head takes the longest to burn; two little blue flames flicker from the eyeholes ... the entire process lasts twenty minutes—and a human being, a world, has been turned into ashes." A Polish Jew named Zalman Gradowski wrote this account of what actually happened, step by step, in the gas chambers and crematoriums of Auschwitz, where he'd been sent in late 1942, along with seven members of his family, including his wife and mother. The Nazis gassed them; Gradowski had the good or bad fortune to be able-bodied, and it got him this rare look at the innermost workings of the horror Germany was hoping to hide from the world. The camp authorities picked him for the Sonderkommando, the Jews who dealt with the corpses—yes, yanking gold teeth, all that—and disposed of the ashes. Even worse, perhaps, they found themselves helping SS men reassure the still-clueless victims removing their clothes before the "disinfection" chambers.Naturally these men knew that they, too, would be killed...
  • BlogWatch

    Social networking tools are being embedded right into Web browsers, courtesy of flock.com/blog and labs.mozilla.com. This should make sharing links, pictures and video much easier.What kind of man would make a comedy in which a plane slams into the World Trade Center? Schlockmeister Uwe ("House of the Dead") Boll, that's who. Bollbashers.com is on the case.Blogs swarmed the Don Imus mess: prospect.org/weblog criticizes MSNBC for having just one female guest on to discuss Imus's firing; thenewsblog.net questions whether Imus was ever funny.
  • Levy: Is Carpooling With Strangers the Way of the Future?

    Kate Sydney had never met me, but on the basis of sharing a mutual acquaintance, and knowing what I like for breakfast, she unhesitatingly opened the door of her 1998 Nissan so I could ride to Target with her. The trip—from a Cambridge, Mass., street corner to a shopping center in Watertown—didn't take long, but it spared the world 10 pounds of carbon dioxide. Multiply that by millions, and you have one reason Robin Chase started GoLoco, an Internet-based service that uses social networking to create instant car pools. If Chase has her way, GoLoco will be the behavioral equivalent of the Prius, zapping enviro-guilt while cooling off Gaia.Chase, 48, whose previous start-up was the Web-based car-rental service Zipcar, saw a big problem: 75 percent of all auto trips transporting only one human, driving Earth to ruin with toxic emissions. Her idea was to let drivers and riders use the Web to turn solitary rides into shared ones, saving fuel and cutting costs. She'd also build a business...
  • A Death in the MTV Family

    Back when reality TV stormed the beaches of prime time, when we first saw people eating worms or marrying strangers or jumping out of helicopters, the conventional wisdom was that the insanity wouldn't stop until the ultimate happened—until someone died. Last week someone did, though not in the way anyone would have predicted. Her name was Victoria Anne Simmons, and she lived only a few hours. Victoria's birth was supposed to launch the third season of MTV's "Run's House," a kind of hip-hop "Father Knows Best" featuring Joseph Simmons (a.k.a. Rev Run of the rap group Run-D.M.C.), his wife, Justine, and their five children, ages 9 to 23. Cameras followed Justine's pregnancy throughout the second season, right up to her emergency C-section. But in the operating room, real life intruded on reality TV. The camera, mercifully, doesn't show Victoria's death, but we're up close and personal as the family gets the news.Victoria's death may have been an unscripted plot twist, but it wasn't...
  • Book Excerpt: 'Divisadero' by Michael Ondaatje

    By our grandfather's cabin, on the high ridge, opposite a slope of  buckeye trees, Claire sits on her horse, wrapped in a thick blanket. She has camped all night and lit a fire in the hearth of that small structure our ancestor built more than a generation ago, and which he lived in like a hermit or some creature, when he first came to this country. He was a self-sufficient bachelor who eventually owned all the land he looked down onto. He married lackadaisically when he was forty, had one son, and left him this farm along the Petaluma road.Claire moves slowly on the ridge above the two valleys full of morning mist. The coast is to her left. On her right is the journey to Sacramento and the delta towns such as Rio Vista with its populations left over from the Gold Rush.She persuades the horse down through the whiteness alongside crowded trees. She has been smelling smoke for the last twenty minutes, and, on the outskirts of Glen Ellen, she sees the town bar on fire—the local...
  • Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007

    It’s hard to imagine why Kurt Vonnegut was called a “pessimist” or a “cynic.” He lived through three quarters of the worst century ever and saw enough of the next one to know it was already shaping up as a contender. He didn’t just read about the madness and horror: in World War II, it almost killed him when he was in a German POW camp in Dresden and American planes firebombed the city. And he responded to his times appropriately—with anger, with despair, with stoicism—and still managed to laugh, and to recommend and practice human kindness. Isn’t the expression for this something more like “role model”?After the war, Vonnegut knocked around as a police reporter, an adman, a p.r. man for General Electric, and, briefly, as a Saab dealer. But he was also writing satirical fiction. His first novel, “Player Piano” (1952,) was a surreal spoof of the corporate world. His 1959 “sci-fi” novel, “The Sirens of Titan,” took on the military, capitalism and organized religion. In 1969, Vonnegut...
  • My Turn: I Had That Now-Banned Abortion

    It was Friday afternoon at nursery school and Simone just couldn't wait until Mother's Day to give me her present—a tote bag printed with a photo of the two of us.  When we got home, Toby greeted me with the card he'd made for me in kindergarten.  We all looked forward to dad coming home from a business trip.  It was the start of a perfect Mother's Day weekend.  I was 40, and I was joyfully pregnant.  "It'll be three kids by next Mother's Day," I remember thinking. When Monday came, I called my doctor for the results of my quadruple screen blood test from the past week, nothing I really sweated because a CVS test a couple months before had told us that our baby's chromosomes were completely normal. This time though, the doctor said that one of the screening tests concerned him and asked me to go to the hospital right away.The ultrasound technician's silence told David and me that something was very wrong.  The doctor explained that the baby had anencephaly, a neural tube defect. ...
  • Will: McCain Risks Presidency By Standing By Iraq 'Surge'

    Admiration is not much practiced in today's dyspeptic politics. Surely, however, Americans of all persuasions should pause in their partisan furies and honor what John McCain did last week with his speech at the Virginia Military Institute. It is stirring and poignant to watch McCain, by acting presidential—like a leader-putting at risk his long-held and exhaustingly pursued dream of being president.There are reasons of temperament and policy, including Iraq policy, to doubt that he should be president. And concerning Iraq, thoughtful people of good will honorably hold dramatically different views of what can and should be done now. What McCain has done is not merely bind himself, as with hoops of steel, to the president's current "surge" policy. At a moment of intense national weariness with a strenuous foreign policy, he has intimated an agenda which, like the president's "freedom agenda," promises unending strenuousness.There is not much of a constituency for a policy of "stay in...
  • Borowitz: Send Rich Little To Iraq

    As part of a bold new strategy to confuse the enemy, the Pentagon announced today that it was sending comedian/impressionist Rich Little to Iraq to entertain the insurgents.While the U.S. has sent many comedians to Iraq to entertain the troops since the conflict began four years ago, Mr. Little’s mission marks the first time that the Pentagon has targeted the insurgents with comedy.But after seeing Mr. Little perform at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday night in Washington, the Pentagon decided that Mr. Little was just the man for the job, and “Operation Little Entertainment” was born.Said one Pentagon planner, “If Rich Little can quiet down Iraq the way he silenced that room Saturday night, we’ll consider this mission a big success.”En route to his first show in Baghdad, Mr. Little was bullish about his mission, polishing his impressions of such dead presidents as Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.“I’m going to do Nixon, but instead of having him say, ‘I’m not a crook,’...
  • TV: Brawling Buildup to a Title Fight

    When co-workers ask me, "Who do you like in the playoffs?" or "How about them Yankees?" I usually say something like, "I'm not really into sports." But to simply say that I'm not into sports does a disservice to the depth of my ignorance of the subject. The true answer would be more like, "Actually, the part of my brain that should be occupied by sports minutiae is instead occupied by a gaping abyss so deep and dark that eons could pass before a beam of light illuminated its outer reaches." But who has time to say all that before the elevator reaches the 16th floor?Despite my total ambivalence toward all things sports, I found myself in front of my television this weekend totally wrapped up in the behind-the-scenes conflict leading up to the May 5 light-middleweight boxing match between Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. For its unprecedented four-part reality series "De La Hoya/Mayweather 24/7," HBO sent cameras to document the boxers as they prepare to square off for the...
  • Ansen on a Great Thai Filmmaker

    The young Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul is not exactly a household name in the U.S. But on film-festival circuits, and wherever cineastes huddle (if you can huddle on the Internet, on sites such as GreenCineDaily) his unpronounceable name is inspiring a devoted following. Apichatpong ("Blissfully Yours," "Tropical Malady") is a true original, with a cinematic voice entirely his own, as anyone fortunate enough to see his hypnotic latest film, "Syndromes and a Century," will discover. I first saw it last fall at the New York Film Festival, and it sent me out into the streets in a state of euphoria I couldn't properly explain. It opens in New York this week, and will be playing in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities in the coming months. I won't pretend it will be to everybody's taste—it fits into no recognizable genre and doesn't give a fig for "plot" in any conventional sense—but for those seeking a palette cleanser after a steady diet of Hollywood "product...
  • Gore Vidal on America's 'Lost Culture'

    The 81-year-old author of "The City and the Pillar," "Myra Breckinridge," "Burr," "Lincoln," "Washington, D.C." and numerous other books, both fiction and nonfiction, on politics and history (he also ran for Congress and for the governorship of California) is no stranger to controversy—The New York Times would not review seven of his books, and just last December he slammed U.S. policy on a trip to Cuba by stating the 40-year embargo on the country was "ridiculous." Matthew Link recently spoke to the prolific writer in his current home in the Hollywood Hills. Excerpts: ...
  • 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). ...
  • Sanjaya: The Interview

    He couldn't carry a tune, but that didn't stop millions from tuning in—transfixed. Hillary Clinton was even grilled about Sanjaya Malakar on the radio. "That's the best question I've been asked in a long time," she said, of her thoughts on the "Idol" candidate. "People can vote for whomever they want." Well, the votes are in and Sanjaya is out, finally. He spoke to Ramin Setoodeh. ...
  • Books: Southern Discomfort

    Fifty years—no, not 50, not even 30 years ago, Robert Goolrick might well have not published his memoir, “The End of the World as We Know It.” And he wouldn't have had to wait for someone to forbid it or talk him out of it. He wouldn't even have had to argue with himself about it. Because long before it got to that point, he would have heard a voice going off in his head—not a still, small voice, but a firm, no-nonsense Presbyterian grandmother kind of voice—saying, “Where are your manners?”I’m glad those days are behind us sufficiently for Goolrick to go public with his book. I say sufficiently, because they certainly aren’t gone completely, much less for good. Southerners cherish privacy and discretion and decorum more than they prize good sense. If they didn’t, Goolrick wouldn’t have had to write his memoir.He’s built his book around a punchline ending—a dark surprise—so I won’t give it away, although to be honest, this structure he’s adopted is my least favorite part of the book...
  • 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. ...
  • Movies: Ansen on 'Hot Fuzz'

    “Hot Fuzz,” directed by Edgar Wright, does for the cop action movie what “Shaun of the Dead” did for the zombie flick. It’s a bigger, faster cut-and funnier-movie than its predecessor, but that’s as it should be in a film that’s sending up the overamped conventions of a Jerry Bruckheimer/Joel Silver-style big-budget action movie, transformed into quaint English idioms. The supercop hero, Nick Angel, played by co-writer Simon Pegg, is a grim and zealous London bobbie whose arrest rate is 400 times that of his nearest competitor, which tends to make the other fellows look bad. So, to get him out of the way, he is “promoted” to a faraway job in sleepy, seemingly crime-free Sandford, where his by-the-book approach to the law does not play well with the astonishingly lenient local cops. Before this very clever comedy is over, however, machines guns will be blasting, the death rate will soar, and Nick and his galumphing sidekick, Danny (Nick Frost), will find their lives imitating the hi...
  • 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...
  • The Science of Curbing Emissions

    Like many people who are scrambling for ways to stave off climate disaster, Klaus Lackner is thinking trees. But not the kind with green leaves and roots, and certainly not the sweet little specimens that "carbon offset" purveyors hawk as a way to balance out the carbon dioxide emitted when you tool around town in a Hummer. Lackner, a professor of geophysics at Columbia University, is helping to design a synthetic tree. It would stand roughly 1,000 feet tall with a footprint a little bigger than a football field, and be crisscrossed with scaffolding holding liquid sodium hydroxide, which is best known as lye. For in addition to cleaning drains, sodium hydroxide has a chemical property that promises to be in great demand if, as seems likely, the nations of the world fall short of stabilizing the atmosphere's load of greenhouse gases: it sucks carbon dioxide out of the air.A new phrase has emerged in the debate over climate change: managing the unavoidable. To grasp "unavoidable,"...