World War I began 100 years ago, on 28 July 1914. The initial trigger, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, produced something of a “domino effect,” where European powers, bound by pre-existing international alliances, chose sides and fell rather obviously into a catastrophic war.[...]
Have you heard? Richard Nixon is back in the news. For one thing, John Dean, former Nixon legal counsel, has been making the rounds, promoting his third Watergate book The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It.[...]
Procrastinators take note.
Some teens of my acquaintance have been agitating for a meeting with a Holocaust survivor. These encounters, common enough in my childhood, are growing less so as those with firsthand knowledge enter their golden years. Bear in mind that Eva Lavi, the youngest person named on Oskar Schindler’s List, is now 76.
When disco pioneer Giorgio Morodoer released a colorized version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis – featuring a soundtrack with Billy Squier, Pat Benatar and Adam Ant, no less – film purists everywhere howled with disbelief at how the film’s moody black and white had been turned into Easter egg pinks and blues.[...]
There are some words out there that are brilliantly evocative and at the same time impossible to fully translate. Yiddish has the word shlimazl, which basically means a perpetually unlucky person. German has the word Backpfeifengesicht, which roughly means a face that is badly in need of a fist.[...]
In William Faulkner’s 1938 novel The Unvanquished, the implacable Colonel Sartoris takes drastic action to stop the election of a black Republican candidate to office after the Civil War, destroying the ballots of black voters and shooting two Northern carpetbaggers.[...]
This week is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 journey to the moon. And while most people will celebrate the event by acknowledging the abilities and courage of Neil Armstrong and company in this landmark of human endeavor, a small, though vocal, group of people will decry the moon landing as a fraud.[...]
I like old newspaper, smoothing it out to read about what was happening on the day an older relative packed away the good crystal or some other fragile tchotchke.
Traveling in India, I dug how the snacks I purchased to eat on the train came wrapped in old book pages.
You know you’re doing something right in your life if the Nobel Prize-winning author of 100 Years of Solitude talks to you like a giddy fan boy.[...]
Last Wednesday, the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England unveiled the wax sculpture above, which they say is the closest “anyone has come to the real Jane Austen in 200 years.[...]