- Earlier this week I gave a talk on how to do a good Q&A. My advice mostly involved listening, being curious, having a conversation, then editing, editing, editing. Nice that Errol Morris, master interviewer, basically says the same. As I said during my talk: It's not rocket science.
- It's always interesting to get outsider views of the U.S., as in this Der Spiegel commentary on the GOP nominees, “A Club of Liars, Demagogues and Ignoramuses.” Turns out the outsider view of my country is my view. Money quote about the Republicans who would be president:
They lie. They cheat. They exaggerate. They bluster. They say one idiotic, ignorant, outrageous thing after another. They've shown such stark lack of knowledge — political, economic, geographic, historical — that they make George W. Bush look like Einstein and even cause their fellow Republicans to cringe.
- Stephen King wrote a book on the Kennedy assassination called “11/22/63.” Ross Douhat wrote a semi-critical New York Times column on the book called “The Enduring Cult of Kennedy.” Now King calls out Douhat in a letter to the editor. Fun!
- More fun: Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker lists off departing congressman Barney Frank's greatest insults. My favorite is more waggish than insulting: “We don’t get ourselves dry-cleaned.”
- Last Sunday, Dudley Clendinen had a nice NY Times Op-Ed on a timely (for cinema) subject: “How J. Edgar Hoover Outed My Godfather.” Sad, nasty stuff. Makes me wish Clint Eastwood's movie had been more hard hitting.
- Steve Rushin of Sports Illustrated on “Brian's Song,” 40 years later. It was as he said. I still remember the grade-school oneupsmanship on manliness. Someone would claim that he never cried, and someone else would bring up “Brian's Song,” and then we'd all admit, “Well, yeah, 'Brian's Song.' Everybody cried at 'Brian's Song.'” Hell, I still tear up hearing the theme music. “Superman had Kryptonite,” Rushin writes. “The rest of us have Brian's Song, the first — and still most surefire — Male Tearjerker.”
- The general rule of modern political journalism is to treat stupid statements from stupid, prominent people as if they were reasonable statements from reasonable people. Salon's Alex Pareene don't play that.
- I don't know if this is going to be a new category/meme on Andrew Sullivan's site but the first example made me laugh out loud.
- My college roommate Dean Jolliffe, who went on to Princeton and then the Dept. of Agriculture and the World Bank, was quoted in this Freakonomics piece on poverty and obesity. Dean's original article was in Economics and Human Biology, which the Freakonomics guys tell us is “more far-reaching” research than what others have put forth. Go Dean! Money quote from Deano:
Contrary to conventional wisdom, NHANES data indicate that the poor have never had a statistically significant higher prevalence of overweight status at any time in the last 35 years.
- Finally, from my sis, an editor at The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a nice piece on not letting winter--and we're talking Minneosta winter here--push you indoors. She tried it last February at a weekend winter camp, but ran into some ironic trouble: nice weather. Excerpt:
The air-gun class was held inside. We got a lecture on safety rules and learned how to load the guns. I learned that I'm left-eye dominant even though I'm right-handed. “That's why I've been a lousy shot all my life,” I thought to myself. So I set myself up to shoot left-handed. My first shot hit the inner circle on the target, 15 feet away. So did the second. Virtually my whole round was clustered in the center ring. My kids, who have learned to ignore my anti-gun rants — even about the plastic Nerf guns taking over the block — were in awe.
It's usually about 40 degrees colder, with snow about five feet deeper, during Feburary in Minnesota.