Have you ever wondered why The Cure is used to soundtrack so many romantic comedies? Have you ever stopped to think about what that implies, that this British deep-goth turned pop-rock band hits a particular sweet spot, like the meet-cute, for this dying movie genre? A few months ago, I went to go see About Time, a middling romcom by the same writer and director of Love Actually, and when I heard "Friday I’m in Love," something in me snapped.
I couldn’t enjoy the montage. It was Rachel McAdams and a surprisingly alluring ginger man (Domhnall Gleeson) running around, changing from chic outfit to chic outfit, falling [...]
Last summer, we checked the price of cigarettes state by state and in D.C. Here's how prices have increased and decreased since then.
51. West Virginia (last year $4.74): $4.84 = +2% 50. New Hampshire ($5.87): $4.86 = -20% 49. Tennessee ($5.56): $4.91 = -13% 48. North Dakota ($4.91): $5.03 = +2% 47. Idaho ($4.99): $5.11 +2% 46. North Carolina ($5.51): $5.14 = -7% 45. Alabama ($5.27): $5.18 = -2% 44. Colorado ($5.96): $5.19 = -15% 43. Wyoming ($5.50): $5.21 = -6% 42. Oklahoma ($6.19): $5.24 = -18% 41. Virginia ($5.55): $5.43 = -2% 40. [...]
Last week, it was announced that NASA is partnering with Tor/Forge to put more science in their science fiction. We like the idea of keeping the brilliant NASA engineers busy now that they’re no longer firing shuttles into the cosmos, but we see more than one potential problem with this arrangement.
There is an old joke that goes something like this: A guy calls his bookie and says, “Okay, how’d I do on the baseball game?”
"Terrible," says the bookie. "You lost ten grand."
"Ten grand? Shit. Well, I must have broken even on football."
"No way," says the bookie. "There was an interception that totally screwed you on the spread."
"SHIT SHIT SHIT" screams the guy. "What about the basketball game?"
"Don’t even ask," says the bookie.
The guy starts weeping. “Where am I gonna find thirty frigging grand? What am I gonna tell my wife? What the hell am I gonna do?”
"Well," says the bookie, "you can always [...]
It is fascinating to consider the gigantic omissions mainstream media makes in recapping the past year with delicious “Best of [insert year].” These are omissions of substance, but they are not often included in the discourse of popular culture. They are experiences about losing. Losing jobs, lovers, apartments. The losers’ agency—or lack thereof—is manifested in perhaps deciding a preference to “lose,” guesstimating the long-term result will be worth the sacrifice. Of course, other times exogenous factors create a shared reality where you—and this certainly includes me—have limited power in changing one’s conditions. These are the stories about getting broken up with, getting evicted from a home and—by far the worst [...]
Do you want to be able to talk knowledgeably at fancy dinner parties with the ruling class about employment in America? Sure you do! So here are just a few simple graphs from our pals at the St. Louis Fed with a longer view—going back to either 2000 or to the early 90s, depending on data available—that explaining the trending in employment, hiring, unemployment and workforce participation in America. Above: what they call the "U6" number. That's the combined percentage of unemployed and underemployed, essentially.
The word wunderkind was dragged, politely, into usage by that great plodder George Bernard Shaw to note that every age manages to season its offspring with instantaneous genius; Mozart is not a singularity. And for decades after, "wonder child" happily stayed within the safe semantic confines of age and the arts. Which was nice for the rest of us. You couldn’t be a wunderkind, without being a kind; you were not to be wundered at if you couldn’t perform some great musical, or perhaps painterly, feat. Then, in 1972, the New Yorker—channeling the emergence of youth culture the decade before—pushed the watershed and gave the kids some breathing space to [...]
Digg relaunches on Wednesday. Are you ready?
Last week, JK Rowling announced that, midway through writing the Harry Potter series, she nearly killed off Ron Weasley "out of spite." Ron isn't the first supporting character to narrowly avoid death in an author's rough draft. Here we look at some other close calls—and how those deaths would have affected the culture at large.