The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Scrabble’

Still Flying High, and Other News

October 22, 2014 | by

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Detail from the cover of the first issue of High Times, 1974.

  • Ben Bradlee has died at ninety-three: “In his personal vernacular—a vivid, blasphemous argot that combined the swear words he mastered in the Navy during World War II with the impeccable enunciation of a blue-blooded Bostonian—a great story was ‘a real tube-ripper.’ This meant a story was so hot that [Washington] Post readers would rip the paper out of the tubes into which the paperboy delivered it.”
  • High Times turns forty: “It’s easy to forget how radical an outrider of the counterculture this magazine was. Its editors were (and are) brave, subversive and funny. They’ve tended to take nothing seriously except for one crucial thing: the way so many lives have been destroyed by an inept and misguided war on drugs.”
  • A well intentioned, poorly executed update to the Scrabble dictionary has turned into “a clusterfuck,” reliable sources indicate. “There are typos, valid words which have been excluded, and invalid words which have been included … The biggest issue among competitive players is the lack of a publicly available electronic version of the new list … Because of Hasbro’s copyright, and the absence of a public electronic list, errors have been tedious to identify.”
  • Tolstoy’s 1889 novella The Kreutzer Sonata was a famously caustic attack on his wife, Sofiya. She struck back with “Whose Fault?”, a rebuttal in the form of a short story: “Like Tolstoy, Sofiya criticizes the sexual double standard, but she’s far more sympathetic to women, who are kept in ignorance until marriage, then expected to satisfy their husbands and remain beautiful and docile through a long series of pregnancies and betrayals.”
  • “There was a long period when an outhouse was a perfect convenience, and a well-built one could be a luxury good. The Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum in Wethersfield, Connecticut, is trying to recapture their golden age with an unusual kind of restoration project: The refurbishment of three high-end outhouses—or privies—from the late eighteenth century.”

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The Cows That Might’ve Been, and Other News

August 6, 2014 | by

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Charlotte Strick‘s preliminary designs for Lydia Davis’s latest book included these cows, illustrated by Ariana Nehmad.

  • “The image of a syphilitic Joyce is one that few scholars have wanted to conjure in print”—but evidence suggests that Joyce did indeed suffer from syphilis. It’s not just in his medical history but in Ulysses, where two scholars “found syphilis everywhere … Their journal article for Archives of Internal Medicine includes a two-page table listing apparent references to syphilitic symptoms throughout Ulysses … ‘The letter s hisses throughout the book as a reminder of the s in syphilis (a word that not only begins but also ends with s, as does the novel).”
  • In Greece, a new museum reconstructs the inventions of the ancients, “including Archimedes’ screw, the robot-servant of Philon, the automatic theatre of Heron, ancient war machines, and the famous analogue ‘computer’ of Antikythera.”
  • The Paris Review’s art editor, Charlotte Strick, discusses her process in designing the jacket for Lydia Davis’s Can’t and Won’t. “ ‘The Cows’ is the longest story in this collection, and cows by nature ‘can’t and won’t.’ They typically require a lot of waiting around. This sparked an idea early on in my design process … I tried an all-over wallpaper pattern of tiny cows that I imagined as a pre-printed case.”
  • A photo of brawling Ukrainian parliamentarians has all the beauty and compositional fluency of a Renaissance painting.
  • Scrabble has expanded its dictionary, adding some five thousand words—most of them are expectable neologisms like frenemy and bromance, but others are more novel: e.g., quinzhee, a shelter made by hollowing out a snow pile, and qajaq, an Inuit precursor to the Kayak.

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Eudora Welty Knew How to Make a Good Impression, and Other News

March 14, 2014 | by

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Sobriety pays. Portrait of Welty at the National Portrait Gallery; photo by Billy Hathorn, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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Literary Put-downs, Venetian Bookshops

August 20, 2012 | by

  • “It’s a bookshop right on the canal that floods every year, so the eccentric, stray-cat-adopting owner keeps his books in boats, bathtubs and a disused gondola to protect them.” A visit to Venice’s Libreria Acqua Alta.
  • The fifty best literary put-downs.
  • “The original Palatino was based on humanist typefaces from the Italian Renaissance, and was named after sixteenth-century Italian calligraphy master Giambattista Palatino.” A history of the most popular fonts used in design.
  • And Then His Hands Went Below the Table: cheating, lying, and disgrace at the National Scrabble Championships.
  • “Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You— / Not God but a swastika.” According to FBI Files, Sylvia Plath’s father, Otto, may indeed have had Nazi sympathies.
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    A Week in Culture: Sarah Burnes, Literary Agent

    November 3, 2010 | by

    Author’s Note: So as to not turn this into a kind of Caucasian Chalk Circle—that is, play favorites, pit one client against another—I am not going to mention any of my own this week unless they win an award or Lorin tells me to.

    DAY ONE

    6:56 A.M. Alarm goes off, blaring NPR. Sebastian gets up to wake the kids. I turn off the radio and go back to sleep.

    7:34 A.M. The Middlest comes up to make sure I am awake. I turn on the radio and listen to the Morning Edition story about the NFL enforcing their own rules.

    8:35 A.M. For reasons both Byzantine and boring, I am driving to work today, dropping off the Littlest at kindergarten on the way. We pass by a Wonder Bread truck as we walk to the car.

    “Candy!” he shouts.

    “No,” I reply. “That’s a bread truck.”

    “A candy bread truck?”

    9:45 A.M. At the office, I close my door to finish my weekend reading. I’m reading on a Kindle, which is convenient, but I haven’t yet figured out how to transfer my notes and highlights onto a document, so it’s not nearly as useful as it might be. Or as a paper manuscript is. But of course this makes me like this guy.

    11:07 A.M. An offer comes in via e-mail! It’s going to be a good week.

    1:00 P.M. Lunch with my friend Diane, Executive Director of the New Press. I tell her I think she should publish a book on the legal roots of the foreclosure crisis, and she looks at me quizzically. I realize I’m not explaining myself well1 and tell her I’ll give it more thought. We gossip about the kids in the sunshine at La Esquina.

    2:35 P.M. Early for an appointment, I duck into B&N (there was no nearby independent!) and browse. I buy Gail Collins’s When Everything Changed, having just gobbled up Rebecca Traister’s Big Girls Don’t Cry. I also buy the current issue of Vogue, which really I should just subscribe to.

    4:48 P.M. I dive back into a proposal I am editing—on paper.

    5:57 P.M. Pack up bag. Since it’s Monday, I have all my favorite magazines, including the NYRB.

    6:20 P.M. Driving home, I listen to the end of All Things Considered and to Marketplace and shout at this guy who says that there should not be a moratorium on foreclosures. What if it were your paperwork that got lost, pal?

    7:14 P.M. My beloved mother-in-law and the Eldest’s BFF are over for dinner. I make chicken and broccoli2 from dinneralovestory.com, and even the picky eater eats it.

    8:24 P.M. The Littlest and I are reading Charlotte’s Web. They’re at the fair, and Charlotte has just created her magnum opus, her egg sac. My friend Sarah says that when she got married, CW was one of three books she required her husband-to-be to have read.

    8:54 P.M. The Middlest reads me a chapter of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights while I flip through New York. After the kids have been convinced to go to bed, I realize the Eldest has stolen my New Yorker, so I read The New York Review of Books (Cathy Schine agrees with me on Jennifer Egan).

    10:15 P.M. I read a couple of chapters of Sigrid Nunez’s Salvation City. I loved The Last of Her Kind, but this is a different—if equally accomplished—kind of book. The last one was saturated in envy, but this one seems to be about … love.

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    Annotations

    1. But isn’t, like, MERS totally evil?
    2. Thanks, Andy and Jen!

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