Nick Summers

The Games Gap Grows

If you can feel the excitement as the International Olympic Committee nears a July vote on the site of the 2014 Winter Games--well, you have a delicate enough touch to win gold in curling.

Comics: An Obama Problem

Pundits, donors, opponents red and blue--everyone's getting ready for a Barack Obama presidential bid. But one group is still unprepared: the nation's comedians, who say the pol appears almost invulnerable to caricature.

BeliefWatch: Church-League Baseball

In the Greater Nashua (N.H.) Men's Evangelical Softball League, it doesn't matter if a base runner is safe—so much as if he's saved. Church leagues have always made up a big part of American softball; the Amateur Softball Association counts 4,200 such teams nationwide, or more than 5 percent of the total.

The Games Gap

If you can feel the excitement as the International Olympic Committee nears a July vote on the site of the 2014 Winter Games--well, you have a delicate enough touch to win gold in curling.


Can President Felipe Calderón pull an Alvaro Uribe? Since taking office on Dec. 1, the embattled Mexican president has been aping the tough tactics of his Colombian counterpart.

Satire: Singing a Different 'Toon

Political cartoons can shape an election. They can shift society. But for decades, the one thing political cartooning hasn't changed is itself. Some are now drawn in color, and the humor has shifted toward pop culture, but political cartoons largely remain what they were a century ago: rectangular slabs, usually in black and white, parked in a corner of the editorial page.But evolution is finally happening, in the form of animated online cartoons.

ZINES: Less Is More

The only thing harder than writing a long essay, many authors will tell you, is writing short. "But give people harsh restraints," says Katherine Sharpe, 27, "and sometimes it spurs creativity, rather than hampering it." That's the idea behind 400 Words, the new zine she edits that limits its pieces to just what you'd think."I don't remember the three times my mom tried to kill herself before I was five.


ED BRADLEY, 65 A Sunday-night staple on "60 Minutes" for 25 years, Bradley was known for his consummate cool. With athletes and artists, memorably, but with hard-news subjects as well--one of his 19 Emmys was for an interview with Timothy McVeigh, and other reports focused on AIDS in Africa, the Columbine shootings and sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

Adoption: Material Mommy

Red tape can keep adoptive parents waiting years for a child. So news that the government of Malawi had expedited Madonna's adoption of a 1-year-old named David--waiving requirements like a period of local residency--disturbed many. "It's frustrating," says Tennessee's Emily Fannon, who's been waiting nine months with her husband to adopt a Chinese daughter. "Just because [a celebrity] may be able to provide more, that's not really what families are made of."Human-rights groups in the...

Look What I Learned!

If the Federation of American Scientists made a list of educational videogames, you might expect to find Oregon Trail, the story of Conestoga wagons trekking into the American West, or the geography favorite Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Hockey: Frozen-Solid Fans

In November 2004, pro hockey was on the brink of disaster. The lockout that would eventually cancel the 2004-05 season was one month old, and as players and owners waited out the billion-dollar staredown, the worst part was that no one seemed to notice.

Movies: Going for 'Brokeback'

"Brokeback Mountain" is many things, according to critics. Breathtaking. Tragic. Heart-wrenching. Turns out it's ripe for comedy, too. In early January, even when filmgoers' awareness of "that gay cowboy movie" was low, there were Photoshop posters that replaced Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal's iconic denim-and-Stetsons pose with Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff ("Kickback Mountain"), and Skeletor and He-Man ("Grayskull Mountain").Now there are Brokeback "mash-ups"--homemade trailer parodies that...

History: Dr. Mudd Revisited

When Dr. Samuel Mudd set the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth on April 15, 1865, was he in on the conspiracy to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln, or just a country doc treating a mysterious visitor in the night?

College Papers Grow Up

David Burrick edits a daily newspaper in Philadelphia. When big news breaks he deploys a staff of 200 reporters and photographers, flying them across the country if necessary, keeping an eye toward his $1 million budget.

Books: Seen, and Not Read

There are the books we read, the books we mean to read, and then there are the ones--c'mon, admit it--that mainly just look impressive on the shelf. Take "A Brief History of Time": the classic has sold more than 10 million copies and is hailed as brilliant--but good luck finding people who've finished it.A recent study of 2,100 Brits found that more than a third of them buy certain titles solely to look intelligent--a bit of statistical confirmation of "book snobbism," something long suspected...