Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 2, 2013 9:27PM

The Hyping of Downton Abbey

 

  Downton

 

Early in the third season of this extraordinary show – now airing on PBS – Lord Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham’s American mother-in -law arrives at the venerable estate for her grand-daughter Mary’s wedding. A small culture war erupts between theRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 26, 2012 1:17PM

Storyville: Treme Returns

 

 

  treme

 

 

Two years ago, I watched the first fifteen minutes of David Simon’s New Orleans post-Katrina HBO drama Treme, and turned it off, irritated and confused. Who were all these people? What was going on? And why should I care?

    &nbsRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 4, 2012 3:39PM

Un-Friending Jesus: A Facebook Fable

 

  Jesus-on-Facebook

 

It was a classic Facebook story.

I hadn’t heard from Jesus for a long time, I kind of left the Church in a huff over male pattern balding, hang-nails and Justin Bieber. He was all “It’s my Dad’s fault” but you have to take some responsibilit… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 22, 2012 9:21PM

In Praise of Tom Cruise

Cruise

 

Everything you hate about Tom Cruise is none of your business. And none of it matters.

Sorry, but it’s true. He belongs to a bizarre religion, but any religion looks bizarre from the outside.  Christianity has a guy walking on water, a God who turnsRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 12, 2012 3:26PM

Nantucket Noir: A Taste for Killing

 

 

 

  altar rock

 

Vika Avandeyev rolled over onto the American and let her nipples brush his chest. She liked his long lean body against hers and she could feel him stiffen beneath her. He was so responsive, so young and healthy. He had been forcedRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 18, 2012 5:14AM

Escape and Escapism: Running away with Jane Whitefield

 Perry

This post originally appeared in Douglas Gover's internet literary magazine Numero Cinq: http://numerocinqmagazine.com/

1.

I have always been drawn to stories of escape; not just simple escapism but actual escape. At the age of ten, I obsessed over World War II prisoner of wa… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 19, 2012 9:54PM

What's Really Wrong with "John Carter"

  A Princess of Mars

 

 

Walt Disney announced a $200,000,000 write down on their calamitous flop John Carter today, and all over Hollywood pundits and producers are scratching their heads trying to figure out what happened. The consensus seems to be that Andrew Stanton (Pixar golden boy directorRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 18, 2011 7:33AM

A Human Moment on The X-Factor

 

 astro

A remarkable event occurred last night on the carefully controlled, eye-popping pop culture marketing machine called The X Factor. In a bizarrely unscripted moment, a human being acted like an actual human being. More than that, more shocking but also more touching, more honestl… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 19, 2011 7:09AM

Parenting for Beginners

 

Caity x-mas

 

When my wife was pregnant with our first child, we started reading the baby books.

The world seemed to be entirely populated with experts on child rearing, and the clamor of their contradictory advice left us stunned and bewildered. Breastfeeding was good; and bad. ItRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 14, 2011 9:06PM

My Paul Simon Collection

 

 songwriter

Much as I admire Paul Simon, I’m sick to death of his Greatest Hits collections. They’re relentless. Only the Mamas and the Papas (It seemed like they had one album and dozens of Greatest Hits albums) impose on our admiration and exploit our ‘completionist&rRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 10, 2011 5:07PM

"The Phantom Tollbooth" at 50


 tollbooth

 

This month marks the fiftieth anniversary of Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth (with illustrations by Jules Feiffer). In honor of that milestone, Random House has put out a new edition, complete with essays by various notable fans on what the book meant to them,Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 28, 2011 9:30AM

The Unexamined Life: Talking to my Bully.

 

 Young author

 

This happened a while ago, back in the days of answering machines with tape cassettes. I made the call and taped it, and got Bob’s permission to type it up. He didn’t care. That was typical of him. I never did anything with those pages, though.Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 27, 2011 6:44PM

The Leaf Blower and the End of the World

 

 leafblower 

 

The gardeners are back today.

Collectively, working at different times at all the houses in the wealthy neighborhood where I rent a small house, the noise level they create renders this particular patch of luxury real estate almost uninhabitable throughout the sRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 8, 2011 5:32AM

In Her Sleep: My Mom Curing Parkinson's Disease, Nightly

 Mom and her mom

     My Mom & her Mom, circa 1925

 

 

My Mother called me from inside her dream last night.

It wasn’t a psychic experience; she used her cell phone.

My own phone started ringing in the middle of the night. I lurched out of bed,Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 2, 2011 5:57PM

Life in the Surreal Sweet-Spot of Our New Non-Economy

 

 Foreclosure

If things get bad enough, they can turn out pretty well.

That’s the lesson my friend Dave learned recently. A year ago he was in deep trouble, struggling to pay a three thousand dollar a month mortgage, one late payment away from foreclosure, his interest rate steadilyRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 28, 2011 5:23PM

Jack Kirby Loses Again

 

 Kirby t work

The film version of Thor was a smash hit a few weeks ago, the Captain America movie looks to surpass it at the box office this weekend, on the heels of The  two Fantastic Four films, two more featuring the Incredible Hulk,  and an entire franchise built around… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 15, 2011 8:21AM

Leaving Dillon, Texas: Farewell to "Friday Night Lights"

 

FNL   

 

The final episode of Friday Night Lights airs tonight, ending a scrappy five season run. It took  the DirecTV satellite network co-financing the show to keep it on the air, in a unique deal that allowed them to air Friday Night Lights before NBC. So for Sa/Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 4, 2011 9:05AM

Mimi Beman's Nantucket: A Eulogy

 

Nantucket+theater 

It’s a common story: lovely small town or coastal community (Nantucket is both), languishes for years as the slightly seedy refuge for old money and new hippies, until the new rich people discover it, and start turning it into a warped version of their own gated communitiesRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 26, 2011 3:21PM

Peter Falk and the Lost World

 

Husbands 

 So Peter Falk died last week, and someone posted the 41-year old video of his appearance on the Dick Cavett Show  with John Cassavetes and Ben Gazzara. It was exhilarating to watch, but also sad and profoundly disturbing -- a time-capsule message from another era, or p… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 31, 2011 7:38AM

"Mildred Pierce" on HBO: Masterpiece in the Making

 

MP

 

The critical consensus on the Todd Haynes Mildred Pierce HBO miniseries that began on Sunday night (and continues for the next two weeks) is that it’s slow and plodding and unimaginatively faithful to a corny and old fashioned book. The critics unanimously prefer the 1945… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 9, 2011 11:17PM

American Idol: The Good, the Bad and the Off-Key

  American Idol Season 10 Top 13 Finalists

 

It was a long slog tonight on the 'big stage', with good singers choosing bad songs and bad singers making random noise that involved dramatic runs, emotive squinting and trite gestures. The gap is widening between the talented singers and the stage weight.

The nadir of the… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 7, 2011 8:35AM

Trickle-Down Economics, the Weather Channel & Me

 

weather channel

 

It seems like a trivial matter, but the Weather Channel has changed it’s format: “Local on the Eights”, at least in my locality, has become “National on the Eights” with high tech graphics, glittery rhomboid flip screens, statistics about every cit… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 3, 2011 7:50AM

American Idol: The Danger of Nice

judges

 

It’s great for  Robbie Rosen and Thia Megia and Stefano Langone and most of the other top 24 contestants on American Idol this season that the judges are so cuddly and generous and nice. It’s good for their parents, who must be so proud! It’s good for their home… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 13, 2011 8:35AM

Illuminated Manuscripts: The Survival of Print

  Bookshelf

 

I dreamed I was reading a book last night.

I mean, an actual book, with creamy linen pages and some gorgeous type-face (not a font!) -- Century Schoolbook? Garamond? -- inked deeply into the grain. The cracked leather cover and the silk endpapers made me think of… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 1, 2011 7:55PM

A Happy Childhood

This autobiographical slide show first appeared on Douglas Glover's website Numero Cinq

 

looking East

 

Dog Days

For years I wanted a dog desperately. Wandering the stacks of the New York Society Library on 79th street, I discovered the works of Albert Payson Terhune, and withRead full post »