Sunday 12.23.2012 New York Times Digest

1. Marginal Thinking


2. For Poor, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall

“Education, a force meant to erode class barriers, appears to be fortifying them.”

3. Giving Mom’s Book Five Stars? Amazon May Cull Your Review

“After several well-publicized cases involving writers buying or manipulating their reviews, Amazon is cracking down.”

4. Cats at Hemingway Museum Draw Tourists, and a Legal Battle

“This is what your tax dollars are paying for. The agents are coming down here on vacation, going to bars and taking pictures of cats.”

5. Intense Alienation Can Be an Incubator for Violence

“Researchers on school massacres have noted that those crimes almost always happen in rural areas or small towns.”

6. Snow Fall

“Many of the most experienced locals view Tunnel Creek with a mix of awe and fear.”

7. The War Against Too Much of Everything

“Mr. Lasn freely acknowledges that he is inconsistent — enmeshed in the advertising-saturated material world he is battling.”

8. One Nation Under God?

“Religion has been a feature of human society since Neanderthal times, but so has religious indifference.”

9. Wounded Warrior Pose

“Yoga can be remarkably dangerous — for men.”

10. Words of 2012

DOGA Yoga with a dog.”

11. The Christmas Frog

“It’s not like you can just set a frog free outside in New York City in December.”

12. Out With the Old Anxiety

“Anxiety is like a virus that lodges for life on sections of nerve fiber innervating the skin. Perfectionism is its perfect host. You must hit the home run or not play at all. You must answer every question correctly. Deliver the speech flawlessly. Execute the business plan exactly. Perform in bed spectacularly. Sleep eight hours without waking. Anything less, less than perfect, and you risk a meltdown — the shakes, the dry mouth, the ruminations that become recriminations that become insomnia.”

13. Guys and Dolls No More?

“As toys have become more and more gender segregated, the social costs of boundary crossing and the peer pressure to stay within the lines are huge, for kids and parents alike.”

14. Quentin’s World

“There is a lot of there there if you go digging.”

15. Has Fiction Lost Its Faith?

“Where has the novel of belief gone?”

16. Lee Child: By the Book

“I live on the 25th floor of my building (without a night stand) and work in an identical apartment line on the 7th floor. So my commute to the office is 17 floors in the elevator. (Not 18, because of the building’s apparent triskaidekaphobia.) The office is a 950-square-foot loft-style space. I simplified the kitchen — no stove, just a sink and two coffee machines. The main room has a 15-foot run of desking, backed by file cabinets, with bookcases on the end walls. My productivity breakthrough was to keep my writing computer off-line. If I want to surf or check e-mail, I have to move six feet to another computer. Not far, but enough of a physical disincentive to mostly keep my nose to the grindstone. What would be the bedroom is a library, with an Eames lounge chair and ottoman, for the essential lying-down-staring-into-space component of writing, and on the shelves I try to collect my foreign editions, one of every title in every language. If someone walked in, they’d see me at the right-hand desk, typing in an inelegant two-index-finger style, periodically sitting back, scratching my head, and looking at the view, which is of the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, and which never fails to delight me.”

17. Metaphors, Take Flight

“That’s how it is: one man’s heterogeneous monsters are an­other’s strong whiskey.”

18. Crowds Are Not People, My Friend

“For years, sociologists thought a crowd behaved like a herd of animals: at some point, it reaches a critical mass and the will of the crowd overrides individual intelligence and individual decision making. But that’s not what happens. Groups of people are still made up of people. They can behave in helpful and intelligent ways, or they can behave in dumb and dangerous ways. But in either case, a crowd’s behavior depends on what individuals are thinking and how they interact with one another — not some overpowering collective consciousness.”

19. Jerry Seinfeld Intends to Die Standing Up

“Seinfeld will nurse a single joke for years, amending, abridging and reworking it incrementally, to get the thing just so.”



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