After they dined on Napoleon’s horses, the Parisians ate all the feral cats and stray dogs they could find. It was 1870, and the real politicking of Otto von Bismarck had brought Prussian forces to France. The siege of Paris began on September 19th, and over the next four months the Parisians would eat every horse, donkey, dog, cat and rat within the city’s walls. When they ran out of those, they turned to the city’s zoo, in the Jardin de Plantes.
The deer and antelope were the first to go, looking comfortably like the horses and donkeys that had filled menus during the first few weeks of the [...]
I attended my first writer’s conference in 2012. Those ten or so days among meadows and butter yellow cottages were rewarding but fraught. The conference was rewarding in that it was fruitful. I met a lot of great people, collected from the craft courses and workshops some useful habits and things to consider, and was introduced to contemporary writers I’ll be reading, and hoping to run into again, for years. ("Oh, I know her," I can’t wait to say. “She was, um, cruel in workshop.”) I left the conference with a much clearer sense of what I would need to do if I wanted to turn this hobby of [...]
The long knives have been out for TED Talks for some time. Benjamin Bratton called them "middlebrow megachurch infotainment." Evegny Morozov called the TED publishing arm the "insatiable kingpin of international meme laundering." The gist of these arguments is that TED Talks are vapid, culty mass-selfies that fetishize technology for every solution. It is "placebo science" meant to make its audience feel good about learning and themselves, where ideas can hang out and do whatever, man—just turn the safety off on your brain-gun.
If not read in the voice of a perpetual techno-cynic, these might not be such terrible things. Is middlebrow entertainment bad? If cynics want [...]
Crossword puzzle from April 25, 1965, found by David Prasad.
The crossword puzzle, which turns one hundred years old this Saturday, is a native New Yorker. Contrary to popular belief, it was not born in the virtuous, cosmopolitan New York Times but in the back pages of the now long-defunct yellow-journalism daily The New York World, among the ads for breast-augmentation serums. In 1913, The World was one of scores of city papers grabbing at readers with sensational and morbid hooks, high-contrast photos of men in hats standing over fresh corpses, headlines about the secret lechers and killers of the grim urban anonymous. These were the [...]
50. Twisted Sister (H)
49. Tamar Braxton (H)
Lyric Legend: M
- “Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow” used H
– “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough” used M/W
- Both used
48. John Denver & The Muppets (H)
47. Christina Aguilera (H/M)
46. Jessica Simpson (H)
45. Michael Bolton (H)
44. Neil Diamond (H)
43. Joe (H)
42. Clay Aiken (H)
41. Kelly Clarkson (H)
40. John Travolta & Olivia Newton John (H)
39. Captain & Tennille (H)
38. Scott Weiland (M)
37. Sufjan Stevens (H)
1. "Mr. Vollmann is 54, heterosexual and married with a daughter in high school. He began cross-dressing seriously about five years ago…. He said his wife, who is an oncologist, is not thrilled with his outré experiments and keeps her distance. 'Probably when the book comes out, it’ll be the first she’s heard of it,' he said. 'I always try to keep my wife and child out of what I do. I don’t want to cause them any embarrassment.' He asked that his wife not be interviewed for this article."
2. "We come from very mixed backgrounds. Kitten was raised Christian but is now Pagan. Doll is [...]
This past weekend, due to the end of Daylight Savings Time, many of us set our clocks ahead one hour, which proved to be foolish because apparently we were supposed to set them back one hour, but that is beside the point. What is important is that we, as a civilized society, embraced this change. We seized the opportunity to screw around with time. This is a good thing.
Some have recently argued against Daylight Savings Time, even going so far as to propose reducing the number of time zones in America to two from four1. I have a better plan. Instead of reducing the number of time [...]