4.13.2008 New York Times Digest

Jackie from TV\'s \

1. “For Housewives, She’s the Hot Ticket”

“I cannot tell you how many of the e-mails that we got from last year’s ‘Work Out’ reunion that were women saying, ‘I am married. I have never looked at another woman. I have a huge crush on Jackie.'”

2. “In Job Search, Gonzales Sees No Takers”

“I wouldn’t say ‘rebuffed,’ said the lawyer, who asked his name not be used because the situation being described was uncomfortable for Mr. Gonzales. “I would say ‘not taken up.’”

3. “Requiem for Two Heavyweights”

“Mr. Buckley and Mr. Mailer represented something different. More than public intellectuals, they were citizen intellectuals, active participants in the great dramas of their time, and eager at times to pursue their ideas in democracy’s more bruising arenas…. The point is not that Mr. Buckley and Mr. Mailer deigned to mingle with the common folk, but rather that they defied the conventional distinction between words and deeds and with it the boundaries that insulate so many intellectuals from the broader world.”

4. “A Fresh Look at the Apostle of Free Markets”

“Five years later, Ronald Reagan entered the White House, elevating Mr. Friedman’s laissez-faire ideals into a veritable set of commandments. Taxes were cut, regulations slashed and public industries sold into private hands, all in the name of clearing government from the path to riches. As the economy expanded and inflation abated, Mr. Friedman played the role of chief evangelist in the mission to let loose the animal instincts of the market.

“But with market forces now seemingly gone feral, disenchantment with regulation has given way to demands for fresh oversight, placing Mr. Friedman’s intellectual legacy under fresh scrutiny.”

5. “Roger Ebert, the Critic Behind the Thumb”

“His writing may lack the polemical dazzle and theoretical muscle of Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris, whose names must dutifully be invoked in any consideration of American film criticism. In their heyday those two were warriors, system-builders and intellectual adventurers on a grand scale. But the plain-spoken Midwestern clarity of Mr. Ebert’s prose and his genial, conversational presence on the page may, in the end, make him a more useful and reliable companion for the dedicated moviegoer.”

6. “A Young Actor With Nothing to Hide”

“In the opening minutes of the film (which is scheduled for release on April 18th) Mr. Segel, the 28-year-old actor who is also a screenwriter of the movie, has just stepped out of a shower when his girlfriend declares that she is breaking up with him. Too devastated by the news to put on his clothes or grab a towel, Mr. Segel — for 73 excruciating frames — remains literally and utterly exposed.”

7. “Jazz on Screen: The Sparks Are Eclectic”

“Classical music, like classical narrative filmmaking, prefers to execute detailed plans. Jazz starts with a spare, flexible plan and finds its magic in solo flourishes and the give and take of musical conversation. It encourages happy accidents and flights of fancy, phenomena that are often verboten in filmmaking because there’s so much money at stake.”

8. “After a Decade Away, Portishead Floats Back”

“Now Portishead has rematerialized, resuming a career that has always moved in slow motion. ‘It’s amazing how quickly 10 years can go,’ said Adrian Utley, who plays guitars and keyboards, over coffee at an elegant Munich hotel the night before the band’s performance.”

9. “Pure Science”

“One other question lingers: What makes a scientific experiment beautiful? Johnson favors simplicity — not just clean, artful experiments, but those that let us replace convoluted theories with simple explanations. Galileo applied uniform mathematics to the motion of all objects, contradicting Aristotle’s idea that heavier objects fall at faster rates. William Harvey showed that one form of blood circulates throughout the body, not two. Newton proved colors are refracted light beams, not Descartes’s complex ‘spinning globules of aether.’

“Historically, few people seeking beauty in science have displayed a baroque sensibility. The traditional aesthetic is classical, invoking the simplicity and symmetry of revealed forms — whether they have been revealed on a cluttered lab bench or through elegantly spare theorizing.”

10. “Total Recall”

“Computers organize everything they store according to physical or logical locations, with each bit stored in a specific place according to some sort of master map, but we have no idea where anything in our brains is stored. We retrieve information not by knowing where it is but by using cues or clues that hint at what we are looking for.”


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