Susannah Meadows

Ghosts Of Columbine

It's one of the last football games of the high-school season, and the leaves of the aspen trees have turned street-sign yellow. The defending state champs are getting trounced, which only serves to further perkify their cheerleaders, all 26 of them.

Newsmakers

Game, Set, CareerPete Sampras broke into tears when he walked onto the court at Flushing Meadows last week--not in his tennis whites but in natty street clothes--for his retirement ceremony.

Shadowlands Of Slavery

In one heartbreaking scene from Edward P. Jones's "The Known World," a slave named Elias presents his beloved with a wooden comb he's carved. "Aside from the food in her stomach," we're told, "the comb was all she had." But most of the heartbreak here isn't so simple.

Design: The Wright Stuff And More

In the '50s, maybe we needed Russel Wright's advice on simplifying our lives. But we really need him now. Collectors on eBay can't stop bidding for the swooping, pure forms of his American Modern dinnerware, the casual china alternative that promised to liberate overachieving housewives everywhere.

Crime: Why Matthew Snapped

Last week, when Oaklyn, N.J., police caught Matthew Lovett, along with two other boys, toting five guns and 2,000 rounds of ammunition, he was pegged as an Eric Harris on his way to commit another Columbine.

The Original Cosmo Grrl

What early feminist work told its readers that a woman "is known by what she does rather than by whom she belongs to," urged them to "accept all the parts of your body as worthy and lovable" and to "reconsider the idea that sex without marriage is dirty"?

Television: Quiet Riot

Depicting lives of quiet desperation has never been funnier. When the British sitcom "The Office," a mockumentary of dreary office life, premiered in the United States this year, critics called it the most hysterical thing on TV.

Books: Donald Rumsfeld's Poetic License

Truth may be beauty, but evading the truth can be downright poetic. In a June 2002 interview with The Washington Times, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, "The truth is, look:/If something is going to happen,/ There has to be something/For it to happen with/ That's interested in having it happen." Rumsfeld's verse, long embedded in news briefings, interviews and the U.S. Defense Department Web site, has now been collected in one volume, "Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of...

Periscope

Iraq: Where's the Wealth?As a young man, Barzan al-Tikriti was "excessively violent and lazy," say U.S. officials. As chief spy for his half-brother Saddam Hussein in the early 1980s, Barzan's name was synonymous with cruelty: intelligence reports say he drank beer while watching prisoners being tortured.

A Tale Of Cheatin' Hearts

When we meet Daniel Emerson, the hero of Scott Spencer's engaging new novel, "A Ship Made of Paper," his affair with Iris Davenport has not yet begun. He's driving his live-in girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter, Ruby, to day care.

Books: Flying Colors

In the seat pocket in front of you there is a piece of art. Compiled for the first time in a new book, the urgent cartoons of airline safety cards--all bold outlines, bright colors and swirling red arrows--are accidental pop art, designs Roy Lichtenstein might have made himself. "Design for Impact: Fifty Years of Airline Safety Cards" (Princeton Architectural Press), by Eric Ericson and Johan Pihl, is the latest jolt of nostalgia for the days when airline travel had style.

North Dakota Rhapsody

Driving into Argus, N.D., in 1934, Delphine Watzka notices a woman in high heels racing a teenage boy across a field. "The woman's hair burst from its twist and floated out behind her, a sudden red-gold banner that announced her triumph, for she'd touched the fence at the end of the lot first and beaten the boy." It's a small but characteristic moment.

Newsmakers

Psst--Wanna Buy A Tangled Yarn?Suppose someone you didn't know told you that a pimp from Dubai heard that Gary Condit had told somebody at some Arab embassy that he was trying to get rid of a girlfriend--and that the pimp later heard her body had been dropped from a plane into the ocean.

Books: Spreading The Word

There are good books. And then there are books so good you have to tell someone--or everyone. And just like that, a friendly suggestion sets off a chain reaction of book buying, the likes of which no amount of talent and no marketing campaign can guarantee.

Fast Chat: Pete Sampras

As the tennis star eyes the future, he spoke with Susannah Meadows about his legendary career.What was it like to win the U.S. Open this year after everyone had counted you out?

The Bold And The Beautiful

High-end vacuums sure are alluring. How well do they work? We tested them with official dirt used by Consumer Reports.Dyson Root Cyclone: New to the U.S. market, this bagless British gizmo boasts eternal suction.

Fast Chat: What A Feeling

There are many reasons to love the new film "Roger Dodger," about a cynical womanizer (Campbell Scott) who schools his virginal 16-year-old nephew about sex: It got made because Scott read the script a desperate writer (Dylan Kidd) handed him in a cafe.

Love Affairs To Muse About

Where do ideas come from? Most of them probably fall from the sky, but the idea of an inspirational muse is still pretty hard to resist. Case in point: Francine Prose's "The Lives of the Muses," a sad, glamorous and entirely riveting freak show.

Leading A Double Life

When Anna Quindlen was about 10 years old, she went to the library to scope out her future real estate. She found the exact place on the shelf where her books would be filed: one day she'd be sandwiched between Marcel Proust and Ayn Rand. (There were no Q's at the time).The NEWSWEEK columnist has long since widened the gap between the French symbolist and the objectivist. "Blessings," which hit No. 2 on Amazon last week just as it arrived in stores, is Quindlen's fourth novel and 10th book.

Cheat Sheet | Sports

While you were watching the Williams sisters, here's what was happening with men's tennis. A Cheat Sheet primer for next week's U.S. Open:Lleyton HewittBiography: The No. 1- ranked Aussie has dominated the circuit since last year with his brash, fast game.Recent History: Fresh from a Wimbledon victory, the feisty 21-year-old is ready to defend his U.S. Open title.Andy RoddickBiography: Fans at Flushing Meadows love the 19-year-old No. 8 who's been called the future of tennis.Recent History: At...

Jobs: Will Work For Fun

Marc Bobinsky can't believe he got the job. The 55-year-old education consultant and former teacher from Mackinac Island, Mich., has a pair of master's degrees but no experience doing this kind of work. "Somebody didn't read my resume, or maybe I'm better than I thought," he says as he plops apple-cinnamon batter into muffin tins.

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