10th December 2018
Ten Tips for Better Writing

Since Jonathan Franzen took major flak for his recent list of 10 writer’s tips I thought I’d take a shot at it (and risk getting shot at): Keep a diary. You may put events, ideas and impressions in it if you must. Its main purpose, however, is to note every slight, snub, rejection, and bad […]

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1st November 2018
Tennis Match Trump v Boris Johnson

A Tennis Match for the Ages-- Trump vs. Boris Johnson   There have been many articles comparing the two big blond bruisers of international politics, Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. UK’s Independent newspaper goes even further in an article speculating, not very plausibly or seriously, that Mr. Trump could be Bojo’s father. Boris, you see, […]

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18th October 2018
On Grudge-bearing Crows

In recent news, a French theme park has trained a flock of crows to pick up litter. The indecently-named Puy du Fou (or is my high school French failing me?), a historical theme park, has rooked six cons—I mean conned six rooks—into beaking up litter and placing it in a box in return for a […]

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14th October 2018
Of Pubs and Artificial Hearts

Down at our local pub, The Pagan Whistle, things were livening up. The after-work crowd had mostly turned into the after-another-pint crowd which is the closest thing I know to a perpetual drinking machine, stopped only by the fascists who invented closing time. My friend Vitaly, a lively impulsive drunk—impulses largely stymied by the need […]

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10th October 2018
Romance at the Poker Table

Revealing article in 11 Aug 2018 New York Times, a conversation with New Yorker science writer Maria Konnikova. Dr. Konnikova is an experimental psychologist, who became fascinated with the game of poker and what it says about human decision-making. Long story short, the good doctor became so swept up in her new subject that she […]

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30th September 2018
Decisions, decisions. Darwin, Dickens and Wedding Bells

Steven Johnson starts his 1 September NY Times article on new ideas in decision-making by citing Charles Darwin, who in 1838 and seriously contemplating marriage, made a list of pros and cons about popping the question to his cousin. Pro: having children “if it please God”. Con: terrible loss of time. Johnson uses Darwin’s early […]

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3rd June 2015
Locks on the Seine

I was saddened to learn today that Parisian officials have decided to remove the love locks (not to be confused with love handles) from the Pont des Arts spanning the Seine. Several years ago a close friend—I have, in fact, written to advice columns on his behalf—was visiting Paris with girlfriend and on a whim […]

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6th February 2015
Review on A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

On A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard Before starting this review I went to the kitchen and made a cup of coffee. It was a cold day but I took it out the back past the ventilation ducts to a small square. I find something poetic in ventilator ducts, maybe because my […]

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6th January 2015
Rembrandt in London

Rembrandt Exhibit There’s a scene in one of my favorite books, Dr. Oliver Sacks’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, in which the good doctor walks into a room full of stroke victims, many of whom are laughing at President Reagan making speech on TV. The stroke victims have lost their ability […]

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