David Foster Wallace Creates Lists of His Favorite Words: “Maugre,” “Tarantism,” “Ruck,” “Primapara” & More

≡ Category: English Language, Literature, Writing |6 Comments

Everyone I know has a list of least-favorite words. For various reasons, “moist” always seems to make the top three. But perhaps it takes a writer—someone who savors the sounds, textures, and histories of peculiar words—to compile a list of their most-favorites.


Sir Ian McKellen Puts on a Dazzling One-Man Shakespeare Show

≡ Category: Theatre |Leave a Comment


Long before he played Gandalf or Magneto, Sir Ian McKellen was known as one of the finest stage actors in England. A stand out in the Royal Shakespeare Company, Sir Ian played the lead in its 1974 staging of Doctor Faustus and its 1977 staging of Macbeth.


The President of Northwestern University Predicts Online Learning … in 1934!

≡ Category: History, MOOCs |Leave a Comment

One of our most popular posts this year centered around a prescient set of predictions that Isaac Asimov made for 2014, way back in 1964. Asimov, however, wasn’t the only one whose vision of the future seems to have been realized.


New York’s Famous Chelsea Hotel and Its Creative Residents Revisited in a 1981 Documentary

≡ Category: History, Television |Leave a Comment

Last year, we featured a clip of Nico singing “Chelsea Girls” at the Hotel Chelsea, the much-mythologized Manhattan institution that, at one time or another, housed a range of cultural figures including Mark Twain, Bob Dylan, Dylan Thomas, Charles Bukowski, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe, Allen Gin


Student Asks Noam Chomsky for Dating Advice

≡ Category: Life, Philosophy |4 Comments

Noam Chomsky is a pretty unlikely celebrity. As a preeminent anarchist theorist, his political writing is full of passionate intensity, but in his numerous public appearances, he conforms much more to images associated with his day job as a preeminent academic and linguist.


Stanley Kubrick’s Annotated Copy of Stephen King’s The Shining

≡ Category: Film |19 Comments

The web site Overlook Hotel has posted pictures of Stanley Kubrick’s personal copy of Stephen King’s novel The Shining, which is normally kept at the Stanley Kubrick Archive, but has been making the rounds in a traveling exhibition.


Read Ezra Pound’s List of 23 “Don’ts” For Writing Poetry (1913)

≡ Category: Poetry |10 Comments

1922 image by Alvin Langdon Coburn, via Wikimedia Commons
Ezra Pound was a key figure in 20th century poetry. Not only did he demonstrate impressive poetic skill in his Cantos; he also proved to be a crucial early supporter of several famous contemporaries, championing the likes of Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, and H.


Watch and Search Newly Digitized Conversations with 148 People Who Witnessed the Great Depression

≡ Category: History |Leave a Comment

In March of 1992, many years after photographer Dorothea Lange’s 1936 image of a migrant mother in California (above) became one of the most iconic images from the Great Depression, a camera crew sat down with two daughters of the subject of Lange’s photo.


Learn Latin, Old English, Sanskrit, Classical Greek & Other Ancient Languages in 10 Lessons

≡ Category: Books, Language Lessons |18 Comments

I receive weekly reminders of my linguistic ignorance whenever I read anything by authors fluent in Latin.


The Tom Waits Map: A Mapping of Every Place Waits Has Sung About, From L.A. to Africa’s Jungles

≡ Category: Maps, Music |11 Comments


“And what becomes of all the little boys who never comb their hair? They’re lined up all around the block, on the Nickel over there.


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