Friday, February 25, 2005

Links over coffee

Remember the puffy shirt? Jerry's puffy shirt?

According to Smithsonian Magazine, "The puffy shirt, one of the most memorable props in one of the funniest half-hours of 'Seinfeld' was recently donated to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History by the man who wore it with such memorable unenthusiasm, Jerry Seinfeld."

It's always interesting to see what television artifacts wind up in the Smithsonian. We saw "Star Wars" stuff, the ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz," Fonzie's leather jacket the last time we were there, and, if I'm remembering correctly, Archie Bunker's chair was still on exhibit.

And

"'The first time I opened Peter Singer's Animal Liberation, I was dining alone at the Palm, trying to enjoy a rib-eye steak cooked medium rare.' The Palm is a restaurant known for its beef, the sentence is the opening of an article in the New York Times Magazine, and the author, Michael Pollan, is now a professor of journalism at Berkeley. The sentence shows how Pollan works as a writer. He doesn't lecture or assume a superior position; instead, with a comic juxtaposition, he places himself (and, by extension, the reader) directly inside a cognitive dilemma, setting up a tension for the article to resolve. "

Michael Pollan, who wrote the wonderful The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World, is interviewed in Mother Jones. He talks about his next book and how he's preparing to write it (e.g., taking a course in gun safety and then going to the vineyards of Sonoma to hunt wild boar with a couple of chefs); genetically modified food; journalism; science journalism; and compares himself to a character in Middlemarch during his discussion of the cornification of America.

And

Has anyone read James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men? I've read only A Death in the Family. Dale Maharidge writes on the former and the importance of "living" journalism in Columbia Journalism Review.

And Jon Carroll, writer of the always funny cat columns in the SF Gate, turns his attention to the One Thing books.

And I'm also exploring several links R. sent me concerning her upcoming field research trip to Austria, Bosnia and Croatia--she was accepted into the study program yesterday afternoon.

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