Monthly Archives: May 2013

Targets of scorn accorded their place

Carl Wilson: In recent years, most people, and critics in particular, have become more live-and-let-live about one another’s varying musical tastes. Teen-pop, dance music, metal, and even Phil Collins, to name a few frequent targets of scorn, are all accorded … Continue reading

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Singles 5/31

I’ve gotten pretty good at ratings, so I’m embarrassed to admit I’d bump “Dirty Laundry” up to a 7 now: over the sparest, hookiest The-Dream arrangement in years, Rowland embraces the psychodrama like an middling actress instructed to keep her … Continue reading

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Coitus terminus

In Frank Rich’s elegyto his deceased theater mentor – “the most intimate relationship I’d had with any nonparental adult,” he writes – a sense of triumph over How Far We’ve Come is indivisible from the sexual and social amnesia that has … Continue reading

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The state with the prettiest name, pt #2351

Better late than never, better toothless than gumless: Florida drivers: Soon you’ll no longer be able to text and drive, but you and the guy in the next lane will be allowed to text if you’re stopped in traffic or … Continue reading

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I’m a lengthy monologue: Iggy Pop’s New Values

Phil Freeman, one of my favorite rock critics, reexamines Iggy Pop’s New Values, released in 1979 after Ig’s Bowie collaborations and on which he writes almost every song himself as if to prove he can do things himself. I bought … Continue reading

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Awake

The last two Pet Shop Boys albums have been senescent affairs, boasting at most two okay singles apiece. Electric, produced by Stuart Price, sounds promising, one self-parodic title (“Love is a Bourgeois Concept”) aside. Luke Turner has a track listing … Continue reading

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Books #7: Ike’s Bluff

Another in the recent series of reexaminations of Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency, Ike’s Bluff uses Ike’s prodigious card skills as the prism through which to view a foreign policy that relied on feints and the threat of overwhelming force. Although loath … Continue reading

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“We took a big risk to save our heritage”

An amazing story: how scholars in Timbuktu saved rare Islamic manuscripts. Radical Islamists had entered Timbuktu four months earlier, and they had set about destroying everything they deemed a sin. They had demolished the tombs of Sufi saints. They had … Continue reading

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Frances Ha

In Frances Ha, writer-director Noah Baumbach scores a perverse triumph: he creates a film whose title character is meant to be as garrulous, stunted, and insufferable as it’s possible to be. Greta Gerwig doesn’t act in any conventional sense; she … Continue reading

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“West, Texas, wouldn’t have happened if they had a fire code in place.”

A bridge collapsed a couple days ago. In West, Texas, a fertilizer plant combusts yet the state prohibits most of its counties from keeping fire codes. The Dallas Morning News has the story: Yet for 173 of Texas’ 254 counties, … Continue reading

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Happy Memorial Day weekend

Dull — dull gray. The color of our times.

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The useless necessity of pay phones

I love stories about obsolete technology. The pay phone in Miami: The question: What to do with the archaic, bland pay phones that once served an extraordinary public service but, at a time when just about everyone has a cell … Continue reading

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