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  • Sloan: Why Did Stocks Drop Last Week?

    When I write about the stock market, I usually tell you to ignore the short-term noise and concentrate on the long-term picture. Today, however, I'd like to depart from form and talk with you about what we can learn from the past week's sharp declines in worldwide stock prices.Let's start with $3.1 trillion. That's how much the market value of the world's stocks has dropped in the five trading days that ended yesterday, according to the folks at Wilshire Associates. Wilshire says $1 trillion of the loss comes from the drop in the U.S. market; the rest is from declines in the world's other markets. It works out to a drop of 6.6 percent, which is an awful lot for one trading week. And although owners of U.S. stocks have been whacked with a 5.5 percent decline, they're doing well compared with the rest of the world, which is down 7.4 percent.The good news, of sorts, is that despite the $3 trillion-plus drop, the world's stocks were still worth about $44 trillion when the U.S. market...
  • Humor: Bush Creates Dept. of Faulty Intel

    In response to what he called a "significant increase in the amount of misinformation about our enemies," President George W. Bush today announced that he was establishing a new Cabinet-level agency devoted solely to faulty intelligence. By creating the Department of Faulty Intelligence, Bush said, "The United States will be able to respond swiftly and preemptively to false threats before they don’t develop." ...
  • BeliefWatch: Reporting on America's Muslims

    In the aftermath of 9/11, when the offices of The Wall Street Journal were temporarily moved from Ground Zero to SoHo, a young journalist sat at his desk and edited one story after another about the Muslim world abroad. Jihad this, fatwah that, Sunni, Shia, how do you spell hijab? "It occurred to me that I was almost entirely ignorant about Muslims in this country," he says, and like any good reporter, he was moved to find out more. So Paul Barrett picked up his laptop and hit the road, hoping to bring his investigative chops to a subject that few had ever approached with care: American Muslims.Happily for us, the result is the book "American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion," out this month from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Through seven profiles, including an inner-city imam, a philosopher and a feminist—Barrett (formerly a Wall Street Journal colleague of mine) paints a picture of Muslims that is, as he put it last week at a talk in Los Angeles, "no less diverse...
  • Adult Drugs for Children: A Growing Problem?

    A new study finds that close to 80 percent of children in U.S. hospitals are receiving drugs that have been approved only for grownups. The growing problem of 'off label' prescriptions.
  • The Editor's Desk

    On Thanksgiving Day, 2005, the soldier on our cover this week—Specialist Marissa Strock—was the gunner on a patrol in Iraq. Suddenly, four 1.55 artillery rounds from an improvised explosive device ripped through her Humvee, killing two of her fellow soldiers, Steven Reynolds and Marc Delgado, and leaving her in a coma. "We were headed out to a body report, to recover a body that had been sighted, and we drove over the IED," she recalled to NEWSWEEK's Jamie Reno. "Two insurgents were apparently in the brush, just waiting. They had buried an IED in the middle of the road weeks before, and when we drove over it, they blew it. No one saw anything; it just happened so fast."For Strock and many other veterans, the furious pace of combat is giving way to the slow anguish of recovery within a broken system of care at home. On the morning she came out of amputation surgery, Strock was suffering, but was denied her pain medications because of what Strock says was an inattentive nurse. "They...
  • Health: I Screen, You Screen

    Hank Furman prides himself on wringing the last cent out of a dollar. But when it comes to good health, "no amount of money is too much," says Furman, a 73-year-old retired machinist from Euclid, Ohio. That's why he recently took advantage of a vascular ultrasound screening program advertised in his local newspaper. Furman paid $129 for a battery of tests, none of which was covered by his insurance. The final report: "Everything was perfect," he says. "It gave me peace of mind; that's worth every cent."But not all doctors agree. The package of screens, offered by several U.S. companies ($129; see lifelinescreening.com), include carotid-artery, abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and osteoporosis screens. The good news is these imaging tests can detect abnormalities that could lead to stroke, heart disease and ruptured aneurysms. "We provide a much needed service," says Eric Greenberg, Life Line Screening's vice president of marketing, adding that ...
  • 'The Secret': Does Self-Help Book Really Help?

    If you're a woman trying to lose weight, you had your choice of two pieces of advice last week. One, from the American Heart Association, was to eat more vegetables and exercise an hour a day. The other was from a woman named Rhonda Byrne, a former television producer who has written what could be the fastest-selling book of its kind in the history of publishing with 1.75 million copies projected to be in print by March 2, just over three months since it came out, plus 1.5 million DVDs sold. Byrne's recommendation was to avoid looking at fat people. Based on what she calls the "law of attraction"—that thoughts, good or bad, "attract" more of whatever they're about—she writes: "If you see people who are overweight, do not observe them, but immediately switch your mind to the picture of you in your perfect body and feel it." So if you're having trouble giving up ice cream, maybe you could just cut back on "The Sopranos" instead.You'd think the last thing Americans need is more excuses...
  • My Turn: And on This Farm She Found a Future

    The farmer had a tanned face, weathered from working in the hot sun and dry air. He took in my clean appearance and small, unmuscular body. "So," he said, "you like to get dirty?"It was 1998. After working as a cashier for three summers at a local farm during high school, I was moving from behind the register to the seat of a tractor, which I would be maneuvering through the farm's 100-acre vegetable fields. I would be working long hours in the heat of New Jersey's humid summers. I knew I would get dirty—and I couldn't wait.I wasn't disappointed. When the ground was dry, the field dust caked my skin with a brown film, streaked by the sweat that trickled down my neck. The stickiest job on the farm was grading tomatoes, but I couldn't care less if juice from rotten tomatoes was running down my legs and into my shoes as long as I was in the shade of the barn. During my lunch breaks I lined up at the local deli, where crews of workers seemed to gather like fruit flies on Jersey tomatoes...
  • Quindlen: Gossip in the Age of Anna Nicole

    The examination of conscience began when a hardworking and pious woman who had never watched "Access Hollywood" asked a question to which there was no good answer: "Who is Anna Nicole Smith?"It was the day of the death heard round the world, and for the life of me I didn't know what to say. Actress? Model? Celebrity? Sign of the looming apocalypse? Famous for being famous. The mantra of a new millennium.Don't get me wrong; there's nothing new about gawking, gossip, getting into the business of other people and being gleeful about it. Surely it was happening in caves, huts, the Pyramids, the Parthenon. What's new about it is scope and responsibility, the first vast, the second nonexistent.A hundred years ago a girl like Vickie Lynn Hogan, which was Anna Nicole Smith's real name, would have lived in a small town, and everyone would have talked about her behind her back until she moved on to someplace bigger. Britney Spears would have left her babies at home to bounce around the bars,...
  • Cose on Black-Asian Tensions

    That an Asian-American writer is confident enough of his place in American society to publicly advocate racism against blacks may represent progress of a sort.  It’s hard, however, to find anything else good to say about Kenneth Eng or his column, entitled “Why I Hate Blacks,” published in the February 23 edition of AsianWeek. In that essay, Eng argued that blacks are “weak-willed,” anti-Asian bigots—and, therefore, suitable objects of discrimination.The column, predictably, set off a tempest that culminated last week with calls for the heads of the author and his editor. The first loud objections came from a coalition of Asian-American notables, who were quickly joined by a multiracial group of activists and public officials—who complained most vociferously in California, the San Francisco-based weekly’s home. By week’s end, Eng, a 22-year-old self-styled “Asian Supremacist” and “God of the Universe,” had been dismissed; the newspaper had apologized; and thoughtful people across...
  • Book Excerpt: 'The American Religion' by Harold Bloom

    This book, The American Religion, has lived mostly underground since its original publication fourteen years ago. Out of print, it still circulated steadily among readers increasingly aware of the intensifying strategic alliance between the Republican Party and millions of those I term explicit American Religionists. I bring the book back into print now unrevised, except for this coda to a coda. But then, how much has changed? The second President Bush’s triumphalism is a faith-based initiative in itself. His born-again Iraqi war lingers on, a fleeting and possibly illusory victory. Gasoline soon could cost three dollars a gallon, and the United States economy exists only by borrowing more than two billion dollars a day, from China, Taiwan, Japan, and assorted European creditors. Our currency is debased, our deficit is immense, and much of our public appears to expect an imminent Rapture. Freud and Marx must fret, in Elysium, that they are forgotten while Darwin abides as a Satan...
  • Arcade Fire: The Biggest Little Band?

    Arcade Fire may be the biggest little band in the world. Big because they're a sprawling octet whose operatic 2004 debut, "Funeral"—a collection of rumbling, ramshackle anthems about death and redemption—scored pristine reviews, sold half a million copies and earned them spots on stage with David Bowie, David Byrne and U2. Yet little, too—the Canadian ensemble is, at heart, a close-knit family act (married couple Win Butler and Régine Chassagne write and sing the songs; Butler's brother Will serves as sideman) who've stuck with an indie label, busked after concerts and unveiled anticipated new tracks in one bandmember's high-school cafeteria. Sure, their recent five-night stands in New York, London and Montreal sold out in seconds. Which sounds pretty impressive—except that they booked the shows at a church, a Victorian music hall and a Ukrainian community center. Somewhere, Bono is baffled.Their sophomore effort, "Neon Bible," out this week, won't entirely clear up the confusion....
  • Books: When Murder Ruled Chicago

    Michael Lesy’s “Murder City” is a creepy book. Fascinating, but creepy. Lesy (“Wisconsin Death Trip”) focuses on Windy City murders in the ’20s, a time and place we all think we know: Capone, Leopold and Loeb, “Chicago”—merely drop the city’s name and people start thinking Tommy guns and bathtub gin. Lesy takes his time getting to the notorious gangsters. Most of the perps and victims are people you’ve never heard of: a man who killed his wife because he wanted to go back into the Army, a man who killed two men for a Packard, lots of spurned lovers. They add up—but to what? Something strangely depressing: by 1924, Chicago had a homicide rate 24 percent higher than the national average, and it was choked by a culture compounded by gangsterism, corruption and rat-a-tat-tat headlines. Lesy dissipates the romance of the roaring ’20s before his book is half over, certainly well before we encounter the women who inspired the winking cynicism of “Chicago.” What sticks with you about that...
  • Music: Amy Winehouse Tears Off the Roof

    She's only 23, but Britain's Amy Winehouse sings with all the pain—and power—of Judy Garland and Billie Holiday. Talent this big can't be rehabbed.Amy Winehouse is an odd musical spectacle. She's a skinny, 23-year-old British girl who looks like she should be cooing ephemeral pop tunes, but instead, belts out deep, resonant numbers as though she's possessed by Etta James, Lauryn Hill and Judy Garland. It reminds me of those creepy moments on "Star Search" when a preschooler would practically bleed Whitney Houston, even though the only pain she'd felt came from diaper rash.Winehouse has become known in England for her ability to riff about modern-day life atop 1950s-style soul and doo wop. She's a true blues and jazz crooner, but unlike Norah Jones, Winehouse possesses a punk-rock attitude. "Rehab," the quirky first single off her second album, "Back to Black," recounts the time when her management staged an intervention to get her off the booze: "They tried to make me go to rehab...
  • Mean Greeks: DePauw's Sorority Scandal

    With membership declining, and the sorority acquiring a campus rep for being more brainy than beautiful, the national officers of Delta Zeta embarked on a fall recruiting effort for their DePauw University chapter in Greencastle, Ind. But instead of adding members, they wound up effectively asking 23 of the existing 35 members to leave. Outraged sorority sisters at the liberal arts school said those dumped were the women considered overweight or unattractive. DZ officials say that isn’t so. Cindy Menges, national executive director of Delta Zeta, says that the only factor in determining who would stay was a commitment to recruit for the chapter. "Any allegations otherwise are false," she said in a statement.The incident has sparked an uproar both on and off the campus. Six sorority members who were not ousted quit anyway to show solidarity with the sisters who received the letters telling them to vacate their sorority house rooms by Jan. 29. The university administration also...
  • Eat, Drink, Man, Woman (And Child)

    When my husband, Ken, and I were planning our wedding two years ago, we toiled over the menu even more than most anxious couples. As a Jewish vegan who doesn't eat meat, poultry, fish or dairy products, I wanted to share vegan delicacies without feeling I was pushing an agenda. My Chinese-Japanese-Hawaiian husband wanted to be sure his relatives would have enough to eat, and to incorporate Chinese banquet foods.In the end, our caterer served a gorgeous organic vegan meal, complete with Chinese long noodles (representing long life). We added line-caught wild fish, served whole to symbolize abundance and good fortune (in Chinese and Hawaiian tradition). After a Jewish blessing over wine and challah, Ken worked the room, teaching people to extract and eat the fish delicacies: the eyes and cheeks.I became a vegetarian as a teenager, with the mixed motivation of loving animals and wishing to confound (and inconvenience) my meat-eating parents. Then, five years ago, I became a vegan....
  • Newsmakers Quiz: How Well Do You Know ... 'The O. C.'?

    Has a hit show ever fizzled as fast as "The O.C."? The series ends this week, so let's reminisce. More questions at Xtra.NEWSWEEK.com. What didn't happen to Marissa during the series? a. She had sex with Ryan.b. She entered rehab.c. She became a lesbian.d. She died in a car crash.ANSWER: B.
  • India, In A New Light

    Suddenly, India is on everyone's mind. Hardly a day passes without some public discussion about jobs being outsourced there, the growing shortage of hotel rooms in Bangalore, Indian firms seeking to buy European competitors or an Indian novelist who has snapped up a hefty advance from an American publisher. Yet less than 20 years ago, the few stories about India published in major Western outlets were bemoaning its economic woes, diplomatic isolation and political turmoil. Indeed, some latter-day Cassandras were predicting its imminent dissolution, conjuring for India the same fate that had engulfed the other large-scale multiethnic experiments in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Not only has India defied these dire predictions, it is poised on the brink of major power status.Edward Luce goes a long way toward explaining India's almost inexhaustible resilience in his knowledgeable, witty and sympathetic account, "In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India" ( 383 pages....
  • Newsmakers: Howard Stern Vs. Howard Stern

    As if one annoying Howard Stern wasn't bad enough, now there's two. Even the Sterns can't stand it. Howard Stern (the radio one) wants to change his name to "The Howard" so he's not confused with Howard K. Stern (the Anna Nicole one). That's one way to tell them apart. But we found other differences, too. ...
  • The Cat (and Hat) That Came to Stay

    If you were to approach 100 people on the street and ask each one to recite from any narrative poem, the odds are that maybe one of them could get off a few lines of "Hiawatha" or "The Raven." But if you were to suggest that they could include the works of Theodore Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, the chances are that most born after 1950--or everyone with children--could get off not just a few lines but perhaps whole book-length poems. He is, without doubt, the best-known American narrative poet of the last half of the 20th century. And not just best-known: he's one of the best.In "The Annotated Cat: Under the Hats of Seuss and His Cats," Philip Nel helps us understand just why Dr. Seuss has captured the imaginations of several generations of readers--and their parents. Nel's line-by-line analyses and explanations illuminate precisely how Seuss created his masterwork. We are treated to rough sketches and first drafts. We see the Cat's antecedents, especially the Katzenjammer Kids, Krazy...
  • Scene Stealer

    Any casual observer of art knows that just as Claude Monet made his name painting ethereal, color-rich landscapes, his great friend and contemporary Pierre-Auguste Renoir excelled at the spirited depictions of people. In "The Luncheon of the Boating Party" (1881), with its strong strokes and brash impasto, the patrons of a lakeside brasserie are caught in postlunch bliss. It was Renoir's ability to capture the essence of a moment among the varying strata of French society--from young girls with satin bows in their hair and couples dancing to circus jugglers and nomadic Arabs--that made him one of the most beloved impressionists of the era.Yet Renoir also produced a vast collection of lesser-known landscapes. During the first two decades of his long career, the artist experimented with the genre's form and flow, which later informed his technique. Now an exhibition at London's National Gallery brings together for the first time 70 of these scene paintings. "Renoir Landscapes"--until...
  • Newsmakers Q&A: Celine Dion

    She's leaving Las Vegas to sing at the Oscars, but Dion took time to chat with Ramin Setoodeh.Oh, I'm not sure about that. I've been to the Oscars five times.It was definitely very different. For me, it was glamorous. A lot of people hated it.Of course not. This year, my husband, Rene, is going to wear the white hat.The first year, I did 200 shows, five nights a week. I couldn't talk to my husband or son. Two days of taking a break vocally.I don't talk at all. My husband and I communicate on the phone without me talking. [ She starts tapping the phone .] Did you hear that? How many hits mean different things. One means yes, two means no. But I'm not going to tell you all our secret things.I finish the show at 10:30 at night. By the time I take a shower, I have my little snack, I do my drive back home, I never arrive before midnight. I love to sleep late. I can go to bed at 5 a.m. and wake up at 2 p.m.Actually, my 6-year-old son has the same hours as us. Isn't that amazing?He's home...
  • Why Tv Is Better Than The Movies

    Denis Leary remembers the exact moment when all his notions about what television could be got blown to smithereens. It came during the first season of "The Sopranos." "It was the episode where Tony Soprano is driving Meadow to visit colleges and he runs into the snitch along the way," says Leary, the star and co-creator of FX's firefighter dramedy "Rescue Me." Tony (James Gandolfini) happens upon the turncoat, who'd been placed in witness protection, at a gas station on some leafy country road. The next day, after dropping off his daughter for a campus interview, Tony tracks down the snitch and brutally strangles him to death with a coil of wire. "I remember watching that and thinking, 'Oh, my God ... '," Leary says. "I don't think I blinked that entire episode. The show ended at 10 o'clock, and at 10:05 the phone in my apartment started ringing off the hook. That's when I thought, 'If they can do this , you can do anything in this format'."For other people, maybe it was another...
  • Mail Call: Royal For France?

    Readers of our year-end report on Ségolène Royal were skeptical of her success. One doubted that she could overcome France's challenges: "Joblessness, poverty, homelessness and corruption are all up." Observed another, "substance is second to media savvy and razzmatazz."Your Dec. 25, 2006/Jan. 1, 2007, article "Failed Expectations" says that the Republic of Korea lacks "strong commitment to due process, rule of law or the fundamental rules of democracy ... " This outrageous allegation overlooks how long and courageously Korea has fought to achieve an exemplary democracy. Your writers say that South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun "waffled on the region's gravest security threat: North Korea's nuclear breakout." This is not true. President Roh sternly condemned North Korea's nuclear test as a serious development undermining the region's peace and stability. He said that Pyongyang is solely responsible for all the consequences of that incident. Our government's policy on the North...
  • Men and Depression: New Treatments

    For nearly a decade, while serving as an elected official and working as an attorney, Massachusetts state Sen. Bob Antonioni struggled with depression, although he didn't know it. Most days, he attended Senate meetings and appeared on behalf of clients at the courthouse. But privately, he was irritable and short-tempered, ruminating endlessly over his cases and becoming easily frustrated by small things, like deciding which TV show to watch with his girlfriend. After a morning at the state house, he'd be so exhausted by noon that he'd drive home and collapse on the couch, unable to move for the rest of the day.When his younger brother, who was similarly moody, killed himself in 1999, Antonioni, then 40, decided to seek help. For three years, he clandestinely saw a therapist, paying in cash so there would be no record. He took antidepressants, but had his prescriptions filled at a pharmacy 20 miles away. His depression was his burden, and his secret. He couldn't bear for his image to...
  • The Last Word: Henry Paulson

    He's been called the first treasury secretary with real clout since Bob Rubin, and arrived in office with the gilded pedigree that adorns former Goldman Sachs CEOs. So it's not surprising that Henry Paulson has since been fingered by pundits as the man behind George W. Bush's latest moves on issues ranging from China to, most recently, his call for a campaign to cut U.S. dependence on foreign oil. He spoke to NEWSWEEK's Richard Wolffe on his latest role last week. Excerpts: ...
  • Buzz for a Potential New Cancer Drug

    Scientists and patients are buzzing about DCA, an existing drug newly recognized as a potentially powerful cancer treatment. But, of course, more research is needed.
  • Good Spy Vs. Bad Spy

    Things are not always as they seem. That was certainly the case with Robert Hanssen, the devout, graceless, buttoned-down FBI agent who, after 22 years of deception, was revealed to be one of the most treacherous spies working for the Soviets in U.S. history. It's also the case with "Breach," the movie about Hanssen's capture. The conventional wisdom is that any studio movie released in February is, by definition, a dog. But "Breach" is actually a wonderfully taut cat-and-mouse thriller. It features a performance by Chris Cooper, as the eccentric, contradictory Hanssen, that ought to be remembered as one of the year's best come December. Let's hope that awards voters have longer memories than usual.We know from the get-go that Hanssen's the guilty party: that's not the source of the suspense. The screenplay, written by director Billy Ray and the team of Adam Mazer and William Rotko, tells the story from the point of view of Eric O'Neill (Ryan Phillippe), a young, ambitious FBI agent...
  • A Life In Books: Nathan Englander

    While writing his upcoming novel, "The Ministry of Special Cases," Nathan Englander was wary of picking up any old book because he was afraid of messing up his own voice. Now that he's done, his nightstand is in danger of collapse. ...
  • Rattling His Chains

    There's no polite way to describe Craig Brewer's "Black Snake Moan," so let's get it over with. Samuel L. Jackson stars as Lazarus, an old black bluesman who tries to cure Rae (Christina Ricci) of nymphomania by tethering her to his radiator with a steel chain. Revolted? Intrigued? Amused? If you checked all of the above, Brewer would be delighted. His film "Hustle & Flow" got two Oscar nominations (and won for best song) in 2005, but it also kicked up a lot of criticism that the story of a black pimp didn't need to be told, especially by a white director."Moan" raises the stakes with both its reverse slave imagery and its disturbing depiction of sex addiction. "Having a white girl chained up at a black man's house, that definitely seems manipulative," says Carmen Van Kerckhove, president of the diversity-training firm New Demographic. Brewer understands how the film seems confrontational--that's the point. "Craig wanted this film to be provocative," says Jackson, "but it's a...
  • Rehab Reality Check

    The time is coming-- perhaps even within the decade--when doctors will treat alcoholism with a pill. As they improve their understanding of the biochemistry of addiction, researchers will find new ways to interrupt the neurological sequence that begins with pulling the tab on a can of beer and ends with sobbing on the phone to someone you dated twice in 1987. It will be a paradigm shift as profound as the one wrought by Prozac in the treatment of depression, says Dr. Mark Willenbring of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: people with drinking problems will get a modicum of counseling and prescriptions from their family doctors. This will be a great boon to most people except for athletes, congressmen and movie stars, who will lose one of the defining rites of passage of modern celebrity: the all-absolving, career-rejuvenating, Barbara Walters-placating ritual of checking into rehab.It has been a fixture of our culture since as far back as 1983, when Elizabeth...
  • Newsmakers Q&A: Nicolas Cage

    In "Ghost Rider," Nicolas Cage plays a motorcycle stuntman who gives his soul to the Devil. But first, he lent his ears to Nicki Gostin.I grew up reading them. It's one of the ways I learned how to read.No. But I kept all the "Ghost Rider" comics.It's the truth. I'm going to be completely truthful with you.The name stood for something I thought was good. It was a unique name. My wife wanted a unique name.Define the word, please.How was I kooky with Patricia?OK. I would say I'm more of a romantic. I wouldn't describe myself as kooky. I'd like you to use the word "romantic"--please!I had teeth removed that coincided with the movie I was making. I don't want you to think I'm completely--I mean, these are stories that get built up over time.You can use that word, yes. If you can find a way to spell it.She's the director, that's her business.No. And if you look at her movies, I don't think there would be any role I'm right for.Actually, that would be fascinating. It would be a stretch,...
  • Mail Call: Paying The Ultimate Price

    Readers were outspoken about Iraq and heartbroken by our cover story on the 12 American soldiers who lost their lives in a Black Hawk helicopter crash. "We need to be reminded every day what our soldiers and their families are suffering because of the foolhardy actions of our president," one said, while another added that "the death of or injuries to soldiers fighting for our country must never lose the power to shock. Details should never be blurred and we should never feel numb." But one saw such accounts as unpatriotic. "Iraq is a mess, but such reporting is aiding the enemy strategy by turning the American public against the war." Of the fallen, one said regretfully, "Our lost soldiers aren't faceless individuals who are mere tools for politicians and pundits. They are men and women who come from our big cities and our small towns who wanted to teach children, become actors, play professional sports or become scientists."I was deeply moved by your Feb. 5 cover story, "The True...
  • This Finn Is A Real Shark

    Finn," by first-time novelist Jon Clinch, seems like your usual standing-on-the-shoulders-of-giants contraption. Its main character is Huckleberry Finn's alcoholic father, who cuts such a scary figure in Mark Twain's novel. Clinch restages some of Twain's scenes, and, as he says in an author's note, fits his story "meticulously into and around Pap Finn's appearances ... in 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'." In fact, Clinch's found his "road map" for much of "Finn" in a single scene in Twain: Huck's discovery of his father's corpse among some creepy artifacts: a woman's clothing, cloth masks, an artificial leg and, in charcoal on the walls, "the ignorantest kind of words and pictures."You can find out for yourself just what Clinch has assembled from this Flannery O'Connor bric-a-brac. But his first six pages have a woman's corpse floating down the Mississippi and a blind man eating some sort of mysterious meat given to him by Pap, so it's fair to reveal that there's unpleasantness...
  • Tokyo Makes Waves

    Visitors to Roppongi, Tokyo's posh entertainment district, come for a taste of the latest trends in fashion, food and fun. But increasingly, the tree-lined neighborhood is offering up opportunities for more-highbrow culture: last month the dazzling new National Art Center, Tokyo--called the Big Wave--became the latest museum to open. The spectacular building, by the world-renowned architect Kisho Kurokawa, who also designed the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, uses thousands of sheets of glass to achieve a sense of fluid transparency. It features a 22-meter-high atrium and 14,000 square meters of exhibition space--more than any other museum in Japan--and is designed to be energy efficient, incorporating special glass to cut heat and recycling rainwater. "We now have a cutting-edge art center," says its director, Hideki Hayashida. "We believe it will play an important role as the new art spot."In keeping with its open, flowing structure, the administrators have taken the unusual-...
  • Fox Tries Funny

    Back when I lived in Atlanta, I spent my Sunday mornings with Ike Newkirk, host of "Open Line," one of the few liberal talk-radio shows on southern airwaves. Newkirk's format is simple: he opines on all things far-left (Diebold and Carlyle Group are among the frequently-used buzzwords), and callers either agree wholeheartedly or are treated to his wrath. While I didn't always agree with Newkirk's views, I always approved of his verbal pummeling. My favorite Newkirk exchange was with a caller who was fed up with the host's belly-aching over the outcome of the 2004 Presidential election:Caller: I'm sick and tired of hearing people talk about how Bush cheated. It doesn't matter now. We have to get past it, stop being sore losers and get behind our president.Newkirk: Sir, let me ask you something, did you vote?Caller: No, I didn't. I was busy moving.Newkirk: How long did it take you to move?Caller: About two weeks.Newkirk: Sir, you are an idiot.Caller: What? Why do we have to resort to...
  • Newsmakers: Let's Play ... Family Feud!!!

    The O'Neal clan is back in dysfunction junction. Ryan was arrested on assault charges last week after he fired a gun inside his home. He claims self-defense. Is that a good answer? Survey ... says?!? RYAN: Luckily, his gunshot didn't hit anything but the banister. He claims he was only trying to scare his older son. GRIFFIN: Ryan's son, 42, reportedly took several swings with a fireplace poker--aiming for Dad, but he hit his pregnant girlfriend in the face by mistake. Oops. REDMOND: How was the younger brother involved? One source claims Griffin smashed an ashtray on his head, prompting the whole fight ... TATUM: ... Or maybe not. Ryan's famous daughter issued a statement backing Griffin in the scuffle. FARRAH FAWCETT: Her role in all this? Ryan was at his ex's birthday party before the rumble.