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Alex Balk

Alex Balk

Most Recently: Book Tells You What Money Is

The "quiet" one.

John Maginnis, 1948-2014

Political analyst John Maginnis, whose The Last Hayride and Cross to Bear are not only two of the greatest books written about Louisiana politics, but are also pretty high on the list of greatest books about Southern politics, and merit appearances on the list of greatest books about American politics in general, has died. Maginnis was 66.

What Does Your Whorephone Say About You?

"The 26-year-old keeps his sex list on Evernote in his iPhone, recording all 41 women he’s slept with, including Ashley, who took his virginity, four Katies and two Sarahs. He says he frequently looks back on it to analyze how he’s grown and changed as a person."

The History Of Maud Newton

"Random House will publish writer and critic Maud Newton’s first book, an examination of her obsession with genealogy and her own colorful family history, along with the science and superstition of ancestry in the culture at large. Newton’s essay, ‘America’s Ancestry Craze,’ is the cover story for the current issue of Harper’s magazine. This interdisciplinary study will draw on memoir, reporting, cultural criticism, scientific and anthropological research to understand the fear and fascination behind genealogy, and why it has become the second most popular hobby in the United States. Newton began blogging about books and culture in 2002; within a few years her site was one of the most widely praised and quoted in the industry, and she began writing for the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and NPR, among others. Random House senior editor Andrea Walker pre-empted North American rights from Julie Barer at Barer Literary." READ MORE

Fucking Steak And How To Cook It

Awww, the New York Times thinks it has "a rock-solid new system" for cooking steak at home. That's so cute! Adorable! I am both tickled and amused by this delightful attempt at disrupting the cooking-steak-at-home space. It's just so sweet! Also LISTEN UP NEW YORK TIMES DINING READERS, NEW YORK TIMES DINING WRITERS AND ANYONE ELSE WITHIN THE SOUND OF MY VOICE: This is how you cook a fucking steak. There is no other way, and there will be no further discussion or appeals on the matter. Do not make me address this issue again. I will not be anywhere near as pleasant next time.

Lieutenant Governor Liked, But Is He Well-Liked?

"Most political observers gave the sober Duffy good marks for his lieutenant governorshipdom, but he still only has 1,500 followers on Twitter compared to Gov. Cuomo’s 116,000."

The Second Closet

"For many members of the LGBT community, the first time they came out, it was to tell the world they were gay. The second time, it was to tell the world they..." READ MORE

City Of Joyce

"If you’re a person whose perception of the world is shaped by literature, Dublin can feel less like a place that James Joyce wrote about than a place that is about James Joyce’s writing. The city of his fiction exists in ghostly superimposition over the actual city, such as it is, and every street corner, every landmark, every fleetingly glimpsed stranger, can seem haunted by some Joycean revenant. If you’re already thinking about Joyce to begin with, Dublin will continually provide you with reasons to continue doing so. Joyce will not be escaped. He inheres in the city’s bones."

Uncorrected Version Sounds Better

"A theater review on Tuesday about 'The Spring Fling: First Love' at the Access Theater in Manhattan, using information from the program, reversed the description of two of the six short plays that are presented. 'PWNED' by Mark Sitko is about people playing video games, and 'The Morning After' by Lauren Yee features a couple torturing a man."

My Secret Is No One Ever Suspects Paper

"A study into the popular game rock-paper-scissors has discovered the best strategy to win the game."

Matt Berry Is 40

There are some performers whose mere presence inspires laughter, and for me that is a list on which Matt Berry appears fairly close to the top. What with him having a birthday today and all I need no better excuse than to share this terrific bit of Berrydom from the second season of "The IT Crowd." The man is just comedy in human form.