6.6.2011 New York Times Digest


1. “Wednesday Night Is All Right for Lovin”

“Weekdays, not weekends, are better for singles on the prowl — and the mix of people out on Wednesday nights are the friskiest.”

2. “A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself”

“One of the things that we’re starting to believe is that the positives of CO2 are unlikely to outweigh the negatives of the other factors.”

3. “Focusing on the Social, Minus the Media”

“It is using contemporary techniques to foster a kind of social networking that predates the dawn of services like Facebook and Twitter: old-fashioned conversation among casual acquaintances, without keyboards and screens.”

4. “In Book Circles, a Taming of the Feud”

“Mailer laid out his longtime nemesis Gore Vidal with a punch at a dinner party. (‘Words fail Norman Mailer yet again,’ Mr. Vidal retorted from his supine position.)”

5. “Modern Is Modern Is …”

“The book is huge, almost a thousand printed pages. She wrote it out in longhand, making no revisions, usually working through the night, alone. And she wrote in a language no one had ever read before. It was in plain English, but rich with moral weight and haunted emotion, and conventional up to a point, then not. Eventually it lifts off from the syntax and logic we know, and all traces of narrative — names, places, events — drop away.”

6. “In Defense of the Slow and the Boring”

“For some reason it needs to be asserted, over and over again, that the primary purpose of movies is to provide entertainment, that the reason everyone goes to the movies is to have fun. Any suggestion to the contrary, and any film that dares, however modestly, to depart from the orthodoxies of escapist ideology, is met with dismissal and ridicule.”

7. “Girls of a Certain Age Challenge Hollywood”

“The tween occupies a shifting space between the girl who has carefree adventures and the sexy teenager who angsts. It’s a phase that makes both parents and Hollywood executives uncomfortable.”

8. “Mother and Sons, on the Same Track”

“A train journey seemed not only a perfect metaphor for the experience, but it also gave us time to sort out some of our new moves.”

9. “Of Writers and Boxers”

“More than any other sport, even baseball or golf, boxing calls forth the muse in writers. It’s no surprise. Where there is risk there is drama, and boxers put more at risk than other athletes. In a single evening, they roll the dice with their health, marketability and sense of identity. When you have a bad night in the ring, you can’t make it up in a double­header on Sunday, or on another football field in a week’s time. And after the very last bell, there is seldom a diploma to fall back on, and there sure won’t be any pension checks coming in the mail.”

10. “Who, What and Where is Bon Iver?”

“Despite the myth that has grown around For Emma, Forever Ago, it wasn’t all seamless magic in the cabin. He did odd jobs for his father, who would periodically drop in. ‘People that talk about it, like, “You must have stripped wood and done all these things.” I did all those things.’ Vernon said. But he also watched a lot of DVDs and drank. After a few weeks alone in the woods, though, he could sense his mental state shifting: ‘Those weird conversations where, like, it’s so quiet for so many days where it’s actually starting to affect you.’ The songs began spilling out.”

11. “Can Bill Simmons Win the Big One?”

“His frame of reference is himself.”

12. “Bulb In, Bulb Out”

“The light that surrounds us can have psychological and physical effects. Research has suggested that altering wavelengths can affect students’ attention and that patients on the south side of a hospital, which gets more light, recover more quickly than those on the north. So it’s hardly surprising that the incandescent phaseout has prompted a visceral reaction.”

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