Embracing Melancholy

February 8: "And from these melancholy dispositions, no man living is free, no Stoic, none so wise, none so happy, none so patient, so generous, so godly, so divine, that can vindicate himself..."

 

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Talking Minnesotan

February 7: "On a first date, a Minnesota man might easily say: 'Do you suppose a guy could maybe get a kiss before you went inside?' "

 

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Reagan Reexamined

February 6: "My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple, and some would say simplistic. It is this: We win and they lose."

 

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Marilyn's Lament

February 5: "I can't really stand Human Beings sometimes -- I know they all have their problems as I have mine -- but I'm really too tired for it."

 

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Toon Titan

February 4: "[T]he most powerful source of his appeal as well as his greatest legacy may be that Walt Disney, more than any other American artist, defined the terms of wish fulfillment..."

 

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Buddy Search

February 3: "They all want to know if that is the stage Buddy played on. Most ask if they can go up and stand there."

 

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Talking with Strangers

February 1: "They have silenced Danny's voice, but not his spirit -- the legacy of Danny's lifelong 'talking with strangers' will be forever in our heart."

 

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Death of a Private

January 31: "Eleven bullets struck Slovik, including two in the left arm; not one hit his heart. Even the Army's finest marksmen trembled at such an awful moment."

 

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Resisting Violence

January 30: "Nonviolence is the law of our species as violence is the law of the brute."

 

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Approaching Doomsday

January 29: "From the earliest marks made on cave walls to our most sublime works of art, the fear of death haunts our every creation."

 

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Space Survival

January 28: " 'Working the problem' is NASA-speak for descending one decision tree after another, methodically looking for a solution until you run out of oxygen."

 

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Global Reach

January 27: "[A]ll articles must be accurate, objective, of enduring value, and 'of a kindly nature.' "

 

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Unriddling Robots

January 25: "We need to understand robots so we can proceed with due caution and deliberation. No secrets. No surprises."

 

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Scouting Report

January 24: "And at the back of the parade, the message of the Eagle ranks was: Here's what Scouting can do. But many people were no longer listening."

 

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Spy Cruise Interrupted

January 23: "As we unleash spies and covert operations against a growing list of twenty-first-century adversaries, we'd do well to remember the painful lessons of the Pueblo."

 

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All that Glitters

January 22: "Those commanders and chieftains that shoot at honour and abundance shall find there more rich and beautiful cities, more temples adorned with golden images..."

 

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Border Blaster

January 21: "The Wolfman's howl, his wild rock and his wilder phone calls, are part of California mythology."

 

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First Trips

January 20: "In fact, the heads are pouring in by the hundreds, bombed out of their gourds, hundreds of heads coming out into the open for the first time."

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The Dude Koans

January 18: "Koans are Zen stories that only make sense if you can see that life and reality are different from your opinions about them."

 

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Mississippi Dreaming

January 17: "The Mississippi was my best invention; a dream that was always there, like a big friendly room with an open door into which I could wander at will."

 

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Endangered Africa

January 16: "[M]odern humans consume disproportionately more resources than other vertebrates, including humans who had simpler lifestyles."

 

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Whither Wiki?

January 15: "Wikipedia is no longer a small village of familiar townsfolk; it's a metropolis of faceless commuters."

 

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A Mind of His Own

January 14: "His genius as a writer is not knowing much about what anyone else says or thinks."

 

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Getting Ahead

January 13: "I don't want to be ignorant. I didn't use to care, but I do now. I want to grow up 'spectable."

 

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Mandela's Children

January 11: "The kids latched onto us before we could find our footing at the curb. 'Captain! Master! Baas!' they cried.... 'We're hungry, Baas!' "

 

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Road to Rome

January 10: "As they stamped their feet against the cold, they waited for the trumpeters to summon them to action. To shoulder arms, to advance -- to cross the Rubicon."

 

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'I Plunged'

January 9: "My body whispered: 'You cannot possibly swim five miles in such a current,' but Inspiration shouted: 'This is the Hellespont….' "

 

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Science over Sex

January 8: "I have sold more books on physics than Madonna has on sex."

 

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Adipose Nation

January 7: "We have the distinction of having become the fattest major nation in the history of the world and, with each passing year, we are becoming noticeably fatter."

 

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Soul Machines?

January 6: "There are people building computers to emulate the brain and who believe in theory that a computer can be achieved that has consciousness."

 

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Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.