In real life, William Gibson looks like you would imagine. A little older than the Gibson you imagine, but he was born in 1948, so it only stands to reason. He is gaunt and affable, clothes black, smart looking frames on his eyeglasses, more avuncular than professorial. And he really talks like that! Those neologisms and the sizzling chrome-finished turns of phrase? They fall out of his mouth in the course of conversation. He lives the gimmick.
Lifelong comic book man Carmine Infantino died yesterday at the age of 87. If you are even a casual nerd, you know Infantino as that guy that got to draw The Flash off and on for thirty years. And his pencils were immediately identifiable: square-jawed and kinetic, with characters constantly tilting into a run or skidding to a halt. But that’s not all Infantino did.
Born in Brooklyn in 1924, Infantino got into the business while still in school (at what is now the High School of Art and Design), freelancing for "packagers." (At the time, the early 40s, some comic books were sub-contracted to studios—"packagers"—who would write and draw [...]
In honor of Opening Day on Sunday, the first of two essays today on the history of the game.
It's almost impossible to think of baseball without thinking of money. There's no better example than headline-grabbing Alex Rodriguez, third baseman for the New York Yankees. In 2000, he signed an alarming ten-year deal with the Texas Rangers for $252 million (which the Yankees traded for in 2004). This is the deal he opted out of during (like, in the middle of) Game Four of the 2007 World Series, only to sign another ten-year deal with the Yankees, this time for $275 million. Now, with Opening Day days away, [...]
In May of 1981, a draft-dodging ex-pat American published his first story in Omni magazine. The event went largely unremarked. After all, Ronald Reagan was just a few months in office then, and that was either awesome or terrible, depending on your viewpoint, plus that was the same month the Pope got shot! Which is why we now have a Popemobile! But there at your local newsstand, or, if you were lucky (or your parents were generous), there in your mailbox in the plain brown wrapper, William Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic" saw print.
And as you may have heard, the Internet Archive has done the world a service by maintaining an [...]
It runs 24 hours a day—a rarity, anywhere in the world—and it moves 1.6 billion riders a year across the five boroughs of New York City. And on Friday (update: the new fare will be going into effect Sunday, March 3), it will become more expensive. After a fare hike five years ago, the base fare of taking the subway (that is with no discounts) will rise a quarter to $2.50 a pop. And although some of the service cuts enacted in 2010 have since been restored, this hike is not attached to any improvements in service—alas. As with other mandated fare hikes, this one was met with [...]
There's a commercial that caught my eye during a recent spate of television watching with relatives, a spot for Prilosec, featuring a stand-up comedian, a veteran of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Actually it caught my eye several times because it was airing and then reairing again all through the holidays. It was disquieting. But obviously this was a good time to run a spot for a heartburn drug, during that period from Thanksgiving to the Super Bowl that is technically the Gluttony Season, as what better time to come down with a spot of heartburn? It’s ingrained in the advertising industry as the unintended consequence of the parties and [...]
In the week leading up to the Super Bowl, we can be certain of a number of things. Someone will suggest that the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday should be a national holiday. The food journalism industry will grind to a halt with party menu suggestions. A current pop song will be selected as the background music for the stirring video recap/build-up to open the broadcast (like say, Band of Horses' "The Funeral"). The impact on the local strip clubs will be examined. A competition will be held in which people make a commercial for a product and the winning commercial will be broadcast.
Fort Courage, Kansas. Civil War hero Captain Wilton Parmenter is in command, protecting the Fort, and the neighboring town of the same name, from a tribe of Indians in the area, led by Chief Wild Eagle. With Sergeant O'Rourke and Corporal Agarn rounding out his staff, Captain Parmenter navigates Fort Courage through the dangerous waters of the expansionist latter half of the 19th Century.
Plus also: wackiness.
This is the synopsis of a situation comedy, circa 1965. Not an emphatically successful one, but "F Troop" was still a pristine specimen of what I grew up thinking was the Platonic ideal of sitcoms.
I don’t get enough advice. Maybe it’s because I spent years actively ignoring it? This year I was hoping for some good advice, and still am! No matter how well you’re doing, there’s always a sense that you’re dogging it, and there’s some bit of wisdom that will push you through the membrane of the day-to-day to untold fabulousness. A foolish thought to carry around with you, but there it is. However, while waiting for my fairy godmother to clobber me with a toaster, calendar 2012 was a year that I kept going back to the greatest advice I ever got: Never open your mouth until you know the shot.
Marvel: The Untold Story is a meticulous reconstruction of the history of the other Marvel Universe. It's the tale of the men and women who were creating all the characters and plotlines of the Marvel empire that currently dominates Hollywood. I've been as big a fan of the medium as anyone, for decades now, so I was glad for the opportunity to talk by phone to the author of this obsessive work, the very pleasant Sean Howe, who spent three years of his life writing this history. The book makes a great gift, as I hear Secret Santa season is upon us. And his Tumblr, [...]
As we slog through Election Day, let's look at the money that's gone into this election season. Not so long ago, it was reported that the Obama campaign apparatus had raised one billion dollars in the bid for reelection. It's not a universally accepted figure, and the final tabulations aren't in yet, but by the calculations of the New York Times, both candidates had raised roughly $900 million each, as of Oct. 17th. A lot of money. Compare that to the amount that John F. Kennedy raised in his 1960 race against Nixon: $9.8 million, which, adjusted for inflation, equals $76.6 million.
Another interesting thing: Nixon, who had [...]
Part of a series about monsters and other scary things happening here through Halloween.
I fed myself a steady diet of the paranormal growing up, in between all the comic books and all the television. The enthusiasm does tend to wane the further away from childhood you get, but it never really goes away. I grew up hoping, believing, that the world was weirder than the grown-ups would tell you. And I liked it that way. It helped that I grew up in West Virginia, where you're never too far from the woods or a mountain or a swamp, places for mysterious things to hide and then jump out [...]
Eight years ago, in the heat of the election between George Bush and John Kerry, The New York Times ran a Week In Review piece, consisting entirely of quotations from some candidate (or proponent of some candidate) declaring the then-current election, "The Most Important Election since [X]," wherein X equals some span of time. The earliest example was from the 1864 election, taken from a Times op-ed penned by Lincoln supporter Gen. James H. Lane, and from there it’s a march through American history, ending with a litany of examples from 2004. The secret was out: important people frequently declare each election more important than all the other elections.
A special after-school installment of Adjusted for Inflation, as part of this series about youth.
You probably haven't been a kid for some years now. Maybe five years, or maybe many more. But whatever your age, there comes the moment of nostalgia sneaking up on you, and you remember that treehouse you had, or that clearing in the woods where all the kids played, which maybe you called something fanciful like Terabithia, or that playground with the monkey bars that served as the spaceship that everyone would compete to captain. Or maybe even bigger ventures, the running away from home, like Claudia and Nick in From The Mixed-Up [...]
Part of a month-long series on the people and peculiarities of where we're from.
List the twentieth century's most iconic television characters for children. Some obvious candidates off the top of your head: Fred Rogers as Mr. Rogers was a gentle and avuncular mainstay for generations, as was the more colorful and whiskered Captain Kangaroo, portrayed by Bob Keeshan. Both were televised nationally—the Captain on CBS (for the first 29 years) pre-school mornings, and Mr. Rogers syndicated to your local public television station—and as such they were something all children had in common. If you were a little kid in America sometime between the 60s and the 80s, there's [...]
The conclusion of a month-long series on terrible trips, great journeys and getting lost.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. It was 1996, and I was still imagining myself to be some sort of actor. I had acted in a play written by a charismatic young playwright and directed by my best friend and roommate the summer previous, a four-hander, as they say. The playwright, also the star of the piece, decided that he was going to take the show on the road. For three weeks. And, on top of that, one of the roles would be recast with my girlfriend at the time, "Erin." [...]
It’s a done deal: taxicabs in New York City will become more expensive, as last Thursday the Taxi and Limousine Commission voted to increase fares by what they calculate as 17%. The changes take effect in September, when we will see if anyone actually notices.
This may be a matter of parochial interest, as, contrary to the beliefs of most New Yorkers, not everyone lives in New York City. And no matter what impression a visit to Times Square will leave you with, some non-New Yorkers don’t even visit NYC. But taxis are about the most New York-y thing of all, immortalized in television and film, [...]
So what happens to bridesmaid dresses after the wedding is done, the cake is served and the shots of Gentleman Jack from the open bar metabolized? We asked a group of women the ultimate fate of the bridesmaid dresses they've worn; one respondent, teacher Becca Simone, who's had bridesmaid twice on her résumé, wrote of one dress, “I wore it twice recently: bridal shower and when I chaperoned a prom.” Another, filmmaker Sara Lamm, of Los Angeles, said, "I will say that bridesmaid dresses make good costumes for comedic variety shows. You can always use a bridesmaid dress in a play or horror movie, no?" Sure you can.
One of the more noteworthy qualities of the martini, the quality that sets it apart from all the other drinks mixed at your local watering hole, is the disproportionate effect it's had in inspiring witticisms. Dorothy Parker, as usual, leads the way, with this bit of light poetry: "I like to have a martini/Two at the very most/Three, I'm under the table/Four, I'm under the host." James Thurber added, "One martini is all right, two is too many, and three is not enough." Winston Churchill has a good one (maybe apocryphally) attributed to him, too: "Martinis are like breasts: One is not enough and three is too many." Sure, whiskey [...]
Content series are produced in partnership with our sponsors. This edition of "Pants: What Are They!??" is brought to you by Life Khaki from Haggar.
Do you know who really, really cared about pants? Peter the Great, that’s who. “Peter The Who?” you ask? This specific Peter was the tsar of Russia who became the "Emperor of All Russia" in the early 1700s. His tenure was committed to the modernization of Russia, which at the time was not so modern. Of the reforms enacted was the Decree on Modern Dress, issued in 1701, providing for Russians that "the upper dress shall be of French or Saxon [...]