Brian Braiker

A Tyrant's Life

In the end, Saddam Hussein was captured huddled in a dark underground bunker, bearded and unwashed. It was a humiliating end for the man who would rule Iraq with barbaric opulence for nearly 24 years.Saddam Hussein was born on April 28, 1937 to a poor landless peasant family in the village of Ouja, near Tikrit.

Newsweek Poll: Dean Rising

Former Vice President Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean appears to have hurtled the former Vermont governor into a comfortable lead ahead of the other Democratic contenders for the presidential nomination, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll."I have come to the conclusion that in a field of great candidates, one candidate clearly now stands out," Gore told a $125-a-plate breakfast at the National Black Theater Institute of Action Art in Harlem on Dec. 9.

The Epistemology Of David Byrne

Best known, for better or worse, as the frontman of the seminal post-punk band the Talking Heads, David Byrne started out as an art student. Although he dropped out of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design after just one year, he's been getting back to his roots lately.

Raging Against The Machine

Iconoclastic rockers Billy Bragg, Steve Earle and friends recently wound down the first month-long leg of a group tour at the unlikeliest of venues: the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the AFL-CIO.

A Critic's Coda

For nearly five years William H. Grimes has been the go-to guy for New York foodies. As the restaurant critic for The New York Times, his reviews are deft, witty and occasionally inspire impassioned debate.Devotees will eschew Zagat in favor of Grimes's guidance, and attentive readers will remember his more personal, lighthearted piece about a chicken that mysteriously turned up in his Queens backyard one morning and started laying eggs.

Where The Buffalo (Might) Roam

Standing at the heart of New York City's financial district, at the intersection of Liberty Street and Trinity Place, on the southeast corner Ground Zero, Timothy "Speed" Levitch, 33, is gesticulating, pontificating, smirking and speechifying."The joy park that I envision for this property would be a place where people would have permission to be, and permission to mourn out loud in their own way," he says in his distinctive nasal neigh.

Online: Swm Seeks An Edge

We're not sure when online dating went from creepy to cutthroat, but those snarky ads posted by single hipsters are suddenly ubiquitous. How to compete? Easy: a growing cottage industry wants to help you score. "I can't tell you how many profiles I see saying, 'I am just as comfortable in a little black dress as I am in jeans'," says Dave Evans, CEO of profiledoctor.com.

Bar Games: Seeing Eye To Eye

How bored were Sean Linezo, James Miller, Michael Johnson and Jay Hufford? So bored that they took an interest in staring contests. They're screening their documentary, "Stare-Master" (of course), at bars--and then already-glassy-eyed patrons do battle.

Q&Amp;A: 'I Try To Portray Reality'

Tom Clancy's fans believe his political plots are visionary. Long before the threat of a dirty bomb taunted the public imagination, the best-selling author had written "The Sum of All Fears," about Palestinian radicals who detonate a nuclear explosive at the Super Bowl.

Da-Da. Da-Da. Princeton!

You thought college admissions were tough? In New York City, even getting into preschool is a blood sport. Back in 2002 the tabloids had a field day with Jack Grubman, a Wall Street analyst.

Must See: Why's The Sky Blue?

What is a polynomial? How would you diagram this sentence? Thanks to BrainPOP.com, you'll easily be able to impress your kids with the answers. The site helps you field science, technology and English queries with a mini-movie, a quiz, an experiment and a comic strip.

Cool For Schools

There's something funky about No Mayo Records, and it ain't just the music. In five years, the label's released only three albums--too few considering they contain some of the most uplifting hip-hop you've never heard (nomayorecords.com).

Beets, Not Burgers

Theodora Rodriquez gets frustrated every time she goes grocery shopping near her Harlem home. "They don't really sell a lot of organic food there," she says. "McDonald's is there; Burger King is there.

Air Guitar

The air guitar is as integral to rock as stairways are, you might say, to heaven. So on June 28 the country's top-- er, make that only--competitive air guitarists will converge at L.A.'s Roxy to battle it out at the U.S. Air Guitar Championships (picture Van Halen, midshred, sans ax).

Model Misbehavior

When Chrissy Molloy, a pretty girl, saw the job listing on Monster.com, she thought it could be a good way to help her pay for college. A company called Trans Continental Talent was looking for models.

Home: Toxic Mold

What's that, Lassie? Timmy's been inhaling toxic mold?! Firms nationwide are now offering mold-sniffing dogs they say detect hazardous spores lurking behind walls or beneath your floorboards--for about $500 a visit.

Q&Amp;A: The End Is Nigh--Maybe

Sir Martin Rees is not given to histrionics. Britain's Astronomer Royal and longtime Cambridge University professor is responsible for major advances in our understanding of cosmic background radiation, quasars, gamma-ray bursts and galaxy formation.One of the most eminent theoretical astrophysicists alive, Rees's pronouncements carry a certain gravitas.

Q&Amp;A: In The Name Of Fighting Terror

The "war on terror" ensured that 2002 was a good year for political repression, arbitrary detentions, draconian immigration measures and torture, according to Amnesty International's annual report, released this week.The London-based international human-rights watchdog made its fiercest assault yet on the policies pursued by the United States and Britain since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Q&Amp;A: His Brother's Keeper

The title is the only line in his new memoir that Amitai Etzioni is completely happy with. As a turn of phrase, "My Brother's Keeper" (Rowman & Littlefield, $35) works not only as a succinct summation of his own life, but, he says, as the guiding principle behind the communitarian movement he launched in the early 1990s.Born in Germany in 1929, Etzioni escaped the Nazi regime and dropped out of high school to fight in Israel's war for independence.

The 300 Club

George Thomas Seaver has a little insight into what it feels like to be Roger Clemens these days. Seaver, best remembered as a pitcher for the Mets in the late 60s and 70s, won his 300th game in 1985 pitching for the White Sox at Yankee Stadium.

Q&Amp;A: Chasing Freddy

Nate, the eldest, has married the mother of his child, but he's got unresolved Oedipal issues and an itch to flee. David, the younger brother, has moved in with his lover, Keith, but they are in couples therapy.

'Just Say Know'

Although an entire generation of Americans has now been raised on Nancy Reagan's simple anti-dope "Just Say No" mantra, they're still just as likely to say yes.

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