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Archive for January, 2009

bush-dance1

We’ve all seen the videos many times before but now that he’s really, really gone, they seem, well, sad.

Top 10 George W. Bush YouTube Moments (via TIME)

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The Historian as Cartoonist: Drawing George W. Bush

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    updikeJoseph O’Neill, author of last year’s highly regarded novel, “Netherland” — one of the finest contemporary novels about New York City and one of the few novels “about” 9/11 worth reading (my very short list would also include “Saturday,” by Ian McEwan and “The Emperor’s Children” by Claire Messud) — writes of the debt owed Updike by contemporary writers. For O’Neill, “The death of John Updike is an instant literary disaster.”  

    Why Updike Matters (via Granta)

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    I have always used American Express, rather than VISA/Mastercard, whenever possible when traveling abroad but with AMEX fees now increased to 2.7% from 2.0%, well, now what do I do? Matt Gross, better known to readers of his New York Times articles and blog as “The Frugal Traveler,” offers advice to international travelers seeking to avoid the increasingly costly ATM and credit card fees charged by U.S. banks. (See: Frugal Traveler: Packing the Right Credit Card)

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    dockstreetrendering“Opponents of a controversial residential tower proposed to rise next to the Brooklyn Bridge brought their case to Borough President Markowitz on Tuesday night, bitterly describing developer Jed Walentas’s project as bad public policy and a disastrous way to treat the fabled and legendary span.” (via The Brooklyn Paper

    [Notable among the opposition was two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough whose 1972 history of the Brooklyn Bridge, “The Great Bridge,” remains, alongside Alan Trachtenberg’s “Brooklyn Bridge: Fact and Symbol” one of the essential texts for understanding the cultural context of the bridge’s construction. A letter from McCullough was read by a representative from the Simon & Schuster publishing house.]

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    upd0-005“My subject is the American Protestant small town middle class,” Mr. Updike told Jane Howard in a 1966 interview for Life magazine. “I like middles,” he continued. “It is in middles that extremes clash, where ambiguity restlessly rules.”

    [My first encounter with Updike’s writings was during the summer of 1970 when I was required to complete a summer school course in American Literature to satisfy the requirements of my high school diploma that was provisionally bestowed that June.  As an “extra credit” project, I read Updike’s first novel, “The Poorhouse Fair,” which led me to consider his short story collection, “Pigeon Feathers.”  Updike’s anthology, which even he, apparently, considered among his finest work, kindled my everlasting appreciation for short story writing.  Updike also contributed one of the greatest sports essays ever written, “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu,” about Ted Williams’ last major league game.]

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    afp9“Editors from three news agencies discuss the photographic record of George W. Bush’s presidency.”

    Mirror, Mirror on the Wall (via NY Times)

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    mac128

    Happy Birthday to the much-beloved Macintosh computer that turned 25 yesterday!

    When Steve Jobs introduced the Mac in 1984 at the Flint Center at De Anza College in Cupertino, the original Macintosh 128 cost $2495 with the following options:

    • Imagewriter printer $595 ($495 if purchased with Macintosh)
    • Numeric Keypad $129
    • Modem 300 $225
    • Modem 1200 $495
    • Carrying Case $99
    • 3 1/2-inch disk box (10 disks) $49
    • MacWrite/MacPaint $195 (included free with each Macintosh during the introductory period)
    • External Drive $495

    The Macintosh 128 was my first personal computer and I have never used another brand of personal computer since – I upgraded first to a Macintosh 512; then a Mac SE; then a Performa, a PowerBook 1400, a Power Mac G3, a PowerBook G4, then to my current MacBook.

    Happy Birthday Mac . . . and Get Well Soon Steve Jobs!

    Happy 25th birthday to Macintosh (via NY Times)

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