Book of the Month

Doctor Cleveland's picture

J. K. Rowling Is Wrong About Her Own Books

So, J. K. Rowling has told an interviewer (the actress Emma Watson), that she paired off the wrong characters at the end of her Harry Potter series. Instead of marrying Harry's right-hand girl Hermione off to his left-hand boy Ron, Rowling has decided that she should have married Hermione to Harry himself. So, Rowling concludes, she was wrong when she wrote the books. In fact, she's wrong now.
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Michael Maiello's picture

Yes, You Can Still Watch Woody Allen Movies and Ignore Nick Kristof

Nick Kristof is, by his own admission, friends with Mia and Ronan Farrow, two people who have been pursuing their vendetta against Woody Allen for years.  If you follow any of the coverage at all, that much is clear.  Mia and Ronan hate Woody Allen and say so in public, at every opportunity.  For his part, Allen says nothing about them.  Now, Kristof sees fit to publish Dylan Farrow's allegations of childhood sexual abuse by the filmmaker.  Laughably, Kristof covers himself by saying that Allen refused to give him an on the record interview.  He then references Allen's previous denials but weakens them by claiming that when the issues were raised back in 1992 that the prosecutor claimed to have enough evidence to bring charges but didn't in orde [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

Economy, Ecology, Efficiency, Catastrophe

Flying during the winter months has become an increasingly dicey proposition in 21st-century America. I make a handful of work-related plane trips a year, but the ones I do make tend to be for things that can't be rescheduled easily and often can't be rescheduled at all. I'm sure this is true for travelers in other kinds of business, but it's certainly true for academics: if you don't get there on the right day, the thing you were traveling to do may simply never happen. And American airlines can't quite promise to get you where you need to go any more, for reasons that have both to do with changing weather patterns and with a set of catastrophically-shortsighted business strategies that have become accepted as normal.
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Ramona's picture

Farewell, Pete Seeger. Peace Be With You.

 
I woke up this morning to the sad news that Pete Seeger, America's folk singer and man of peace, has died.

He was 94 years old, so we should be grateful that we had him with us for so long.  He was a man whose presence was timeless and inspiring, and the truth is, we needed him.  We need him still.
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Michael Maiello's picture

Rich, Insecure and Victimized

It would be lovely to never worry about money and to work only for the love of it rather than the need to care for ourselves and others that drives most of us out of our warm houses and apartments on frigid days where, all things being equal, we would just rather not.  I imagine that if more of us had real choices about how to spend our days that it would be tougher to find somebody to pay to make you a sandwich but that we'd all be happier for it.

Judging by the behavior of the upper, upper crust, though, I might be wrong.  Extreme wealth, it seems, also involves the paranoiac fear that it can all be taken away. [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Ted Nugent: Obama is Still President. I've Let The Country Down

 

Let's face it, there is no shaming that bad boy, Teddy "The Nuge" Nugent, the "Motor City Madman",  proud draft-dodging gun nut, NRA spokesman, and Grand Champeen Obama hater.  He thrives on badboyism.  It has made him what he is today.&nbs [Read more]

William K. Wolfrum's picture

The Story of Mike & Christine

With some focusing recently on the Grantland story of Anne Vanderbilt, I wanted to run this story which I originally wrote in 2010, about the tragic tale of sportswriter Christine Daniels.

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“I am a transsexual sportswriter. It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words. … When you reach the point when one gender causes heartache and unbearable discomfort, and the other brings more joy and fulfillment than you ever imagined possible, it shouldn’t take two tons of bricks to fall in order to know what to do.”

– Christine Daniels, April 26, 2007 [Read more]

Ramona's picture

On Drunks and Skunks And Why It’s Good That Mickey Spillane Isn’t Here To See This

by 

You may or may not have heard about the new show on CMT called “Party Down South”(originally called “The Dirty South”, or so the rumors go), a purposely stupid, sexy, boozy 10-week series about a group of 20-something southern rednecks, strangers to one another, thrown together in a house near Myrtle Beach for a month just to see what happens.  The booze, provided by the production company, flows freely with no danger of running out, and the participants are encouraged (I hope that’s it) to out-dumb each other. The program is produced by the same folks who gave us the equally stupid, sexy, boozy–but popular– “Jersey Shore”. [Read more]

Michael Maiello's picture

Marriage Is Not An Anti-Poverty Program

Over at The New York Times Ross Douthat wants to argue that Republicans can fight poverty by fighting single parenthood, which means promoting marriage on the argument that two parent families are more economically and socially successful.  Matt Yglesias at Slate wants to know how small-government Douthat is going to accomplish using the government, of all things, to get people to marry and stay marry. Douthat's plan involves: [Read more]

Ramona's picture

It's the Ego, Stupid

 

Yesterday New Jersey governor Chris Christie took 108 minutes out of his busy schedule to do something so unprecedented there wasn't a pundit anywhere in the country who wasn't on top of it, who didn't have an opinion about it, and who, almost to a person, saw it as the beginning of the end of that lovable bully.  No White House for you, big guy!
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Michael Maiello's picture

Writing Prompts For 2014

When the political news of the day is about whether or not the governor of New Jersey caused a traffic jam to punish a political rival, I can finally tune out and think about the important stuff like art. [Read more]

Michael Wolraich's picture

Your Top Ten Anti-Christian Acts of 2013

The title of this post comes from the subject line of an email that I received from Dr. Gary L. Cass, head of the "Christian Anti-Defamation Commission." If you read on, you'll notice that none of the "top ten anti-Christian acts of 2013" represent actual discrimination against Christians. Most of them are about Christians' "right" to discriminate against gays and lesbians. [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

Your New Year's Public Domain Report, 2014

It's January 1 again, the day when works enter the public domain because their copyright expired at last year's end. And yet again, because of repeated extensions to the length of copyright, nothing at all entered the public domain in the United States. Almost nothing has since January 1, 1979.
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Doctor Cleveland's picture

Inflation and the Dragon

One of the hardest things for many people to grasp during the Great Recession has been the idea that inflation is too low. We generally talk about inflation as pure economic evil, something that could never possibly be too low. But it is.

If you say inflation is too low, some people will bring up the high inflation of the 1970s or, more hysterically, the hyper-inflation in Weimar Germany during the rise of the Nazis as proof that Inflation Is Bad. But that doesn't really make sense. Inflation is bad when it gets too high, but that doesn't make a modest amount of inflation bad. The sun is bad in Death Valley when it's 130 degrees, but that doesn't make sunshine a universal menace. 15% inflation would be a very bad thing, but that doesn't mean 1.5% inflation is a good thing. 130 degrees Fahrenheit is murderous, but so 13 degrees is also a killer. A lot of our public debate about inflation is like trying to treat a case of frostbite while people keep shouting that heat is a terrible thing and then angrily tell you a long story about forest fires. [Read more]

William K. Wolfrum's picture

Breaking: Edward Snowden leaks Naughty or Nice list

Rostov-on-Don, RUSSIA -- Leaker extraordinaire Edward Snowden unleashed his biggest coup to date, leaking Santa Claus' Naughty or Nice list on Christmas Eve.

"I just want us to have a discussion, is all," said Snowden. "Let's talk. I want to talk. We should talk." Claus, a shadowy figure known mostly by song, has long fought off civil liberties activists who say more transparency is needed in regard to the famed list.

"A debate, perhaps?" said Snowden. "A little tea time conversation, maybe?" I really wanna talk about this."

The release of the Naughty or Nice documents - attained by Snowden who spent seven months dressed up as an elf to get his hands on the goods has already created controversy. [Read more]

Doctor Cleveland's picture

Eating the Turkey Soup: A Christmas Story

One December when my brother and I were around ten and twelve years old, our mother enlisted us in a holiday good deed she was doing. She wouldn't tell us who we were doing it for, and after we got caught up in our task itself we stopped wondering. When we were finished, we went back to thinking about other things. But on the afternoon of Christmas Eve someone came by our house with a pot of turkey soup to thank our mother, and we realized who we'd been doing that small good deed for.
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Michael Maiello's picture

The Times "Pity Party"

Atrios and friends frequently take The New York Times  to task for its coverage of the economic issues facing its affluent readership.  The problem, an old one, is that the Times reader typically makes a lot of money compared to the average but they do not typically make so much money that they are care free wealthy.  This is because the economy does not actually grant care free wealth on too many people.  Heck, society is organized around the idea that not too many people can just do whatever they want all of the time. [Read more]

William K. Wolfrum's picture

Unemployed guy who doesn't care about his social media reputation says anything he wants

God celebrates the DNC folding over a non-issue. DES MOINES -- "Gay people are made of orange peels and frog legs," shouted William K. Wolfrum.

"Black people poop pumpkin pie!" Wolfrum added.

Wolfrum, who is unemployed, said he was practicing his First Amendment rights to say anything he likes.

"Mexicans have four nipples," bleated Wolfrum. [Read more]

Ramona's picture

What's in a Name? Depends on Who's Calling It.

 

Over this past week I packed and cleaned and wore myself out getting ready for a long trip toward the places where I'm hoping merry holiday spirits abide. It would be a cruel trick if they didn't.
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Doctor Cleveland's picture

In Praise of the Late Term Paper

It's that time of year again, or actually one of the two times each year, when semesters end and bleary-eyed college professors scale mountains of ungraded papers and exams. One of my friends claims that he can track the academic calendar by the crescendo of professors griping on Facebook and Twitter about bad papers, worse excuses, and outrageous examples of student entitlement. Some of this is necessary foxhole camaraderie, some of it verges on the unprofessional, and some does a lot more than verge. Too many lame papers and excuses will put most people in an ugly mood. But I want to give two cheers to one group of students who never get any love at this time of year: the students whose papers are late because they take the assignments seriously.
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