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The Periodical Table

A weekly review of the magazines laying around Beachwood HQ.

Gangs of America
"National polls show that, as an issue, immigration is far behind the Iraq war, terrorism, the economy, and health care as a concern to most Americans; a recent Pew poll shows that, nationally, only six percent of voters offer immigration as the most important issue facing the country," Ryan Lizza writes in The New Yorker this week in "The Return of the Nativist."

And yet, even the Democrats are trying to out-Tancredo Tancredo.

Giuliani Time
From "The Rudy Quiz":

Who said what about Rudolph Giuliani?

1. Schools chancellor Rudy Crew.
2. Columnist Jimmy Breslin
3. Police Commissioner William Bratton
4. His son, Andrew.
5. Former Mayor Ed Koch.
6. Al Sharpton.

(a) "His goal in life is to spear people, destroy them, to go for the jugular."
(b) "It's like a cult he's got there. You can't work with the guy unless you're willing to drink the Kool-Aid.
(c) "There's obviously a little problem that exists between me and his wife."
(d) "He is not bound by the truth. I have studied animal life, and their predator/prey relations are more graceful than his."
(e) "[He] didn't bring us together, our pain brought us together . . . We would have come together if Bozo was the mayor."
(f) "He is a small man in search of a balcony."

This week's New Yorker is loaded, no pun intended. Also highly worthy:

* D.T. Max examines the "mysterious demise" of author Malcolm Lowry, whose Under The Volcano is considered one of the masterworks of the 20th Century.

His demise is hardly mysterious, though. His life - and that of his wife - was destroyed by alcohol. Those with a romantic view of the role that alcohol and drugs play in the life of an artist might be interested to observe what Listening to Prozac author Peter Kramer argues in Against Depression: Far from inspiring art, substance abuse and mental illness rob artists of their ability to produce great works.

* "None of the Above" is Malcolm Gladwell putting to bed the pernicious myth that race is inherently linked to IQ - which itself is so slippery that "a century ago the United States was populated largely by people who today would be considered mentally retarded."

Evil Evel
Evel Knievel's real name was Robert Craig Knievel.

Left Hand Complement
Using "package flow" software, UPS was able to "shave 28.5 million miles off its delivery routes, which has resulted in savings of roughly three million gallons of gas and has reduced [carbon dioxide] emissions by 31,000 metric tons," the New York Times Magazine reports.

Among the tricks employed by the software in mapping hyperefficient routes: Eliminating wasted time and gas spent in left-turn lanes.

Bombs Away
"I am pleased to see the amount of money being invested in the city's esthetic infrastructure - and the pockets of favored contractors," the co-author of The Official Chicago Bar Guide tells the Tribune's Rick Kogan.

"It is heartening that I can include walks in many places that I would not have just a few years ago. But then I am also shocked at the condition of so many Chicago neighborhoods. There are some once-grand boulevards and parks that are just bombed out. For 10 years I have been living in other cities and countries, and there is simply no other First World place that would have allowed such decay. Nowhere."

And as such, there is no First World place on the planet in which the media perspective is so disconnected to reality.

Sick System
"A You-Gov/Polimetrix poll for The Economist this week shows that half of all voters would like to see everyone get [health] coverage, even if that means a tax increase, with only 36 percent opposed."

And as such . . .

Cat Power
"[Chan] Marshall has credited sobriety and antidepressants with helping her to overcome stagefright and put an end to some of her more erratic behavior," Sasha Frere-Jones wrote in "Wonder Woman," in last week's New Yorker.

"When she played her new songs, they sounded as fully realized and idiosyncratic as the covers she had recorded. 'Lived in Bars,' from The Greatest, is a slow, deliberate rumination about 'living in a bottle.'

"The lyrics avoid both the pat sentimentality of barroom camaraderie and the hollow rhetoric of recovery. Though Marshall mentions 'ending it all,' she makes her local bar sound like the kind of place that you could happily lose a few weeks in: 'Send in the trumpets, the marching wheelchairs. Open the blankets, and give them some air. Swords and arches, bones and cement, the light and the dark of the innocent of men."


Posted on December 13, 2007

MUSIC - What FBG Duck's Mother Says.
TV - The Comedic LA Dodgers.
POLITICS - Wilmette Man Translated Nazis To Death. Heed His Lessons.
SPORTS - Tweeting Foles.

BOOKS - The Endurance Of The Rubik's Cube.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Charles E. Cheese Boo-tacular.

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