Diane Feinstein,  Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters today that security agencies have informed her  that they have been for the past ten years secretly targeting the cell phones of allied foreign leaders including German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president François Hollande..  While administration sources refused to confirm or deny this activity, they insisted that Ms. Merkel's high score at Candy Crush Saga is considered "metadata" and not subject to privacy laws, and assured reporters  that the analysts involved only have "a little guidebook French and German." Then they sniggered and added "Merci," concluding the conference with a Prussian bow.


Key members of the House Appropriations Committee were summoned to a late-afternoon "just a quick status check-in" at the White House late last week, where Presidential aides mentioned in a sort of a bored tone that apparently "some sort of tiny drone thing" had flown quite close to the Vatican and had recorded Pope Francis's morning Tai Chi routine, including his secret "supplication" maneuver, which has is credited with the conversion of three island republics so far.  While there was no comment from the Holy See, a high-level source within the NSA said there were no drones capable of performing such an operation, then giggled involuntarily before hanging up.


Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy said in a press conference today, attended by only two reporters from the Guam Observer,  that a senior White House aide dropped by his Vermont residence last night, ostensibly “just to jam on some Dead tunes” but in between “Truckin’” and “Sugar Magnolia” brought up a “crazy science fiction story” he’d just read where cyber-controlled prairie dogs outfitted with teensy versions of Google Glass were launched over the Canadian border in the direction of Ottawa.  “I got the sense that he was trying to tell me something,” Leahy said, but added “Before I could ask him more he just started in with ‘Box of Rain.’


Debbie Stabenow,  Chair of the Senate Agricultural Committee revealed today that a pair of White House staff attorneys and "a nervous-looking Vice President Biden" showed up on her Michigan front porch this morning for a predawn meeting in which they admitted to having created numerous elaborate crop circle designs in cornflelds in “maybe Iowa, maybe a few other places” during an undisclosed number of months, mainly ones that end in "y". White House sources refused to comment on the story, but a low-ranking official in the USDA replied, somewhat testily, "Last I heard, corn don't have no rights. That's why we can pop it."


A hastily convened meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee resulted in the announcement that there might just maybe have been a few times when specially trained "child operatives" had been sent to Buckingham Palace in the guise of Cockney chimney sweeps, in the hopes of being admitted and getting "a quick look" at the infant Prince George.  A harried intern in the CIA press office suggested that we submit any further questions through


Bill Tipper is the managing editor of the Barnes & Noble Review.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.