a miscellany notebook

Michael Hartford

Michael Hartford
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
July 22
Author of "Dad's Eye View: 52 Family Adventures in the Twin Cities," available May 15 from Minnesota Historical Society Press. Writer, photographer, programmer, dad.


APRIL 14, 2012 12:43PM

Gleanings: April 14, 2012

Rate: 0 Flag

E.J. Dionne, Jr.: On the President as Alien

Whatever our president is, he is never allowed to be a garden-variety American who plays basketball and golf, has a remarkably old-fashioned family life, and, in the manner we regularly recommend to our kids, got ahead by getting a good education.

Read the full story …

A Tribute to Marie Colvin

It was like a scene from a Graham Greene novel. Marie, except for the fact she was female, was very much a Greene character: wry, nicotine stained, almost ludicrously brave.

Read the full story …

Why On Earth Am I Sympathizing With Santorum? – Andrew Sullivan

I despise what the GOP has become. But it is what it is. And Santorum is its logical leader. Let this party stand up and be counted. Romney would shroud it in bullshit and blather – while not deviating from it a scintilla. If he won the nomination and lost the general campaign, the GOP would simply blame it on his lack of “real conservatism”. And we’d be back where we started. With Santorum, we’d finally get to test whether that “real conservatism” is indeed the future of the GOP or what I think it is – a reactionary form of madness.

Read the full story …

‘The Lifespan of a Fact,’ by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal –

From D’Agata’s first sentence, which says that at the time of Levi’s death there were “34 licensed strip clubs in Vegas,” Fingal detects trouble. D’Agata has supplied The Believer with a source suggesting the city had just 31 such clubs. Fingal asks D’Agata how he arrived at “34.” D’Agata replies in dubious fashion: “Because the rhythm of ‘34’ works better in that sentence than the rhythm of ‘31.’ ”

Read the full story …

Self-Publishers Stuff Nook, Kindle Comics Stores With Porn | News & Opinion |

It’s a rule of the Internet. Stop editing and moderating, just for a minute, and everything will turn to porn and spam.

Read the full story …

Did Life Start in a Pond, Not Oceans? : Discovery News

“The basic question is whether the observed high potassium-sodium ratio reflect the historical environment in which life originated or underwent early evolution, or instead reflects some underlying chemical necessity, such as better functioning of certain cellular components, such as RNA or protein enzymes in a high potassium environment,” Harvard Medical School biologist Jack Szostak wrote in an email to Discovery News.

The new research provides a possible explanation for the potassium-sodium mismatch. Scientists say the composition of inorganic ions in all modern cells matches the chemistry of geothermal vapor condensate — not the ocean.

Read the full story …

Tomgram: Adam Hochschild, Antiwar Critics Forgotten on Oscar Night | TomDispatch

We tend to think of wars as occasions for heroism, and in a narrow, simple sense they can be. But a larger heroism, sorely lacking in Washington this last decade, lies in daring to think through whether a war is worth fighting at all.

Read the full story …

My Story in Five Faces by Connie Schultz

In my early 30s, i copied a George Orwell quotation and tucked it into my wallet: “At age 50, everyone has the face he deserves.”

Read the full story …

Get off my lawn by Sally Adee

Why don’t we get to choose exactly what level of technology we feel comfortable using?

Read the full story …

The originality of the species by Ian McEwan

In modern times, we have come to take for granted in art – literature as well as painting and cinema – the vital and enduring concept of originality. Despite all kinds of theoretical objections, it remains central to our notion of quality. It carries with it an idea of the new, of something created in a godlike fashion out of nothing. “Perfectly unborrowed”, as Coleridge said of Wordsworth’s poetry. Originality is inseparable from a powerful sense of the individual, and the boundaries of this individuality are strongly protected.

Read the full story …

Children’s memories: Toddlers remember better than you think

The word story is important here. Children are learning how to organize memories in a narrative, and in doing so, they are learning the genre of memory

Read the full story …

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below: