Cherry Blossom Season in Japan

Some luminous photos. Via Ratty. … [Read more...]

Hard Man Humble: I review “Dom Hemingway”

for AmSpec: Richard Shepard's Dom Hemingway, starring Jude Law as an aging felon and Richard E. Grant (yes) as his best friend, is a bizarre genre hybrid of gangster entertainment and family tearjerker. At first we seem to be solidly in lads'-night-out funland: splashy neon colors, head-butting and gut-punching, terrific music, wenching and boozing and unauthorized smoking. There are rivers of obscenity and wordy, actory speeches. (All of these are given to Law's titular Dom, which is a shame, … [Read more...]

“The Passover Sandwich”: NPR

celebrates: Why is this Sandwich Monday different from all other Sandwich Mondays? In honor of Passover, I introduced my non-Jewish colleagues to the wonders of the Passover lunch.It's not the Seder meal, but what I might have brought to school for lunch back in the 1970s, when the affluent Jews of suburban New Jersey ate tasteless food to remind themselves that thousands of years ago, they didn't have nice professional jobs like being an lawyer, or maybe a CPA. That's a steady living. I … [Read more...]

“Passover Cocktails for Each of the Ten Plagues”

I am just a fountain of good taste: Plague 1: Blood Cocktail: Red NileThe original eye-opener. Great way to start the plagues, perfect for weekend brunch of fresh fruit, coffee, matzoh brie, and Sephardic dried-fruit-and-cumin haroseth.Ingredients: 2 oz potato vodka 4 oz tomato juice 1/2 oz lemon juice 1 oz Arak 1 tsp white horseradish 6 drops Texas Pete 3 drops Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Cocktail Bitters (no corn syrup) Dash salt Dash pepper Carrot stick for … [Read more...]

From Frederick Exley, “A Fan’s Notes”

Man, this book is hard to excerpt: Yet my father had more refined dreams. Like most athletes he lived amidst the large deeds and ephemeral glories of the past, recalling a time when it must have seemed to him he had been more Elevated, and this continual and melancholy look into the past had drawn his brows together into a knot, giving him a look of unmistakable hostility. Moreover, in an attempt to more vividly re-create that past, my father drank--I was about to say too much, which would not … [Read more...]

“Muppets Take Siberia”: I’m in AmSpec

reviewing an actual movie which exists: The new Muppet movie, Muppets Most Wanted, is basically 1981's Great Muppet Caper if you make Kermit self-pitying, Piggy helpless, and Russia the villain. Also, there are several gulag dance scenes. more (plus my advice for enjoying the movie!) … [Read more...]

“A Stillborn Child Leads to a Murder Charge”: Me at AmCon

on an awful, years-long case: In 2006, 15-year-old Rennie Gibbs became pregnant. She tested positive for marijuana and cocaine during her pregnancy. Her daughter Samiya was born a month premature, with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. An autopsy on the child found traces of a cocaine byproduct, and Rennie was charged with murder—or rather, with what Mississippi calls “depraved heart murder,” signifying an especially callous crime. Gibbs’s case has wound its way through the legal syste … [Read more...]


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