Hot and cold

In the winter, our bedroom is so hot that we could grow bananas in it. Except that bananas need moisture, and the heat coming off the radiators dries out everything in the room.

So, O.K., maybe we could raise tarantulas or grow succulents instead.

When I wake up in the morning, I feel like our old basil plant. Nights it withered near the bedroom window. Mornings we watered it and watched it spring back to life. Continue reading…



Random pilfered items

Unemployed? Can’t pay the rent? Try this. (Discovered at memepool.)

Believe me, I’m all for recycling, but some schemes are less immediately appealing to me than others. (Link via Boing Boing.)

Also, I used to visit Gawker all the time, but fell out of the habit. I was reminded of the site today by Lindsay Robertson, whose column on “the web’s most fascinating literary magazine” will be published here tomorrow.



Day job

Surprise! I disagreed with almost every aspect of Bush’s State of the Union address last night (except the added support for AIDS treatment in Africa, which I saw as a political ploy, but then I am biased). There are detailed analyses online. You can find them.

In other news, for my day job, I’ve been putting together an article on the Bloomberg and Pataki budget plans. In case you haven’t heard, Bloomberg continues to hang his budget-balancing hat on a restoration (and expansion) of the city commuter tax.

Pataki, however, says that “job-killing taxes” are out of the question and intends to cut aid to state school districts by $1.2 billion. Continue reading…



Times profile of Treisman, and Saunders revelation

Among other things, New Yorker Fiction Editor Deborah Treisman “is of a mind that one can’t, unless one is The New Yorker‘s editor, David Remnick, ‘and sort of superhuman,’ be an exemplary editor and writer simultaneously.”

Treisman “made her choice back at Berkeley, where poetry was her favored literary form. She says she reads at least 15 hours each week but hasn’t perused a novel just for fun in more than a decade.” (Emphasis supplied.) Continue reading…



Economics, Reagan redux, and more

Peter Preston reviewed 20:21 Vision – The Lessons of the 20th Century for the 21st, by Bill Emmott (editor of The Economist), in yesterday’s Observer. Preston dismissed the work, calling it:

an occasionally irritating, sometimes obtuse rendition of trends identified (and sanctified) by a very clever journalist who relies, for much of his magazine’s reputation and profitability, on a US audience and is, therefore, a little tender when assessing the American way.

Continue reading…



Truly blind dinner dates

Jonathan Green writes about his “blind date in the basement of a Lower East Side restaurant in complete darkness.” He says:

Ten minutes ago I was sipping orange margaritas in the bar checking out my fellow blind-daters. Then we were taken downstairs to the pitch-black basement and led by waiters in night-vision goggles. Now I am sitting in the dark next to Justine.

(Link via The Morning News.)



Music downloads and state of the union mix

As you probably know, a judge has ordered Verizon to disclose to the RIAA (even without a pending copyright infringement action) the identity of an Internet subscriber suspected of unauthorized online distribution of several hundred songs. My friend G.W. cannily predicts:

Pretty soon they’ll just mail out mass summonses or something, like traffic tickets issued on the strength of cameras at stoplights. You download, show up at court to contest or pay the fine automatically.

Continue reading…



Online swap meet

Swappingtons lists “all sorts of books, CDs and DVDs that other folks own, but wish to swap away. The way it works is simple: You list items that you don’t want, and someone will swap you for those items. When they swap you, they transfer swap points to your account, and you mail them the item in question. Once you have the points, you can go and spend them on other items that other folks list on the site.” (Link found on Crabwalk.)

Incidentally, if you’re inclined to list someone as the referring user, and that someone is me, my user name is maudnewton.