Ted is a theoretical physicist facing a slew of resolutely concrete problems. His son is racing headlong into puberty. His daughter's prodigious intellect causes her to stand out at school — the very last thing the girl wants. His elderly father-in-law isn't remembering much, these days, save for the fact that he hates Ted's guts. His wife is sick and getting sicker, just as his employer, a prominent think tank, threatens to fire him for lack of productivity. To keep his job, and its health care coverage, Ted needs an idea.
Sixties pop artist Tom Wesselmann liked women, and saluted them on his canvases — or, sometimes, just parts of them: perfect glossy red mouths with lips parted to reveal pink tongues; nipples, even on the oranges he paints. These are just a few of the images that might make you blush in a Wesselmann retrospective now on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.
"I don't think you could ask for a more literal interpretation of the objectification of parts of the female body," says curator Sarah Eckhardt.
Not only does such a thing exist, but after Barbie, it's the best-selling doll in the world. The dolls of Monster High are bone-thin beauties all related to famous monsters. They come with books and Web episodes that follow their stories in that place where everyone feels like a freak — in high school.
Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 12:29 pm
I'm a mad scientist in the kitchen. My inventions for new culinary techniques that will revolutionize the way we eat usually happen in the middle of the night during a bout of insomnia. I stumble downstairs the next morning in a sleep-deprived daze, and a quick Internet search reveals that I'm far from the first person to have invented the cookery method, and hundreds of recipes already exist.
Netflix's original series Orange Is the New Black has two important TV predecessors. One is HBO's Oz, the 1997 men-in-prison drama from Tom Fontana that paved the way for HBO's The Sopranos. The other is Showtime's Weeds, which in the fourth season put one of its central characters behind bars.
In a blog series we're calling "Weekly Innovation," we'll explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Last week we featuredthe sink-urinal. (Do you have an innovation to share?Use this quick form.)
The English language and cricket were Britain's two largest colonial legacies in India, says journalist James Astill, but it is the second of these bequests that is the subject of his important and incisive new book, The Great Tamasha: Cricket, Corruption, And the Turbulent Rise of Modern India. Astill is a former bureau chief for the Economist in New Delhi, and he notes the parallels between the country's control of cricket and its dramatic economic rise.
What a loss. That's the thought that kept running through my head as I flagged one inspired rhyme after another in David Rakoff's risky (though hardly risqué) posthumous first novel. Why risky? For starters, Rakoff, who died of cancer last summer, at 47, chose to write this last book in verse — albeit an accessible, delightful iambic tetrameter that is more akin to Dr. Seuss than T.S. Eliot.
I don't remember when I first realized that books could go away, that they could — and did — pass into obscurity or out of print. Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal, AllAbout H. Hatterr by G.V. Desani, Speedboat by Renata Adler, the sublime An Armful of Warm Girl by W.M. Spackman. Each of them, snuffed out. It seemed a scandal. But I vividly recall becoming aware that particular books were prone. To take chances with language or form was to court extinction.
It's a detective story — about a detective story. The book in question is The Cuckoo's Calling, a debut novel released earlier this year by a former British military man named Robert Galbraith.
The reviews were excellent — especially for a first novel. There was just one hitch: The Cuckoo's Calling wasn't a debut at all. Nor was it by Robert Galbraith. As The Sunday Times revealed this weekend, Galbraith is a pseudonym for one of the best-known writers working today: Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling.
Chances are you have had contact with Scholastic Publishing at some point in your life: You might have read their magazines in school, or bought a book at one of their book fairs, or perhaps you've read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games? From its humble beginning as publisher of a magazine for high schoolers, Scholastic has become a $2 billion business and one of the biggest children's book publishers in the world.
Tucked between Russia and Turkey, the Republic of Georgia is renowned for great food: cheese dishes, pickles, breads and stews. This is a cuisine that you should not miss.
And on summer evenings in the capital, Tbilisi, the air is fragrant with the smells of one of Georgian cookery's highlights: grilled meat, or shashlik.
You can find good shashlik at restaurants with white tablecloths, but the very best in all Tbilisi is said to be at a roadside stop called Mtsvadi Tsalamze. It's an unassuming place with rows of wooden picnic tables in an open yard.
Writer and scholar Reza Aslan was 15 years old when he found Jesus. His secular Muslim family had fled to the U.S. from Iran, and Aslan's conversion was, in a sense, an adolescent's attempt to fit into American life and culture. "My parents were certainly surprised," Aslan tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Burger King has made great reforms in the past few years, in case you haven't noticed. First, the election of its first Burger Prime Minister freed its citizens from the absolute monarchy that had ruled the restaurant for decades. Second, it created a veggie burger.
Eva: I wonder where they got the vegetarian pink slime.
Miles: I do have to hand it to Burger King, its food-shame substitute feels almost exactly like the real thing.
Split by the Missouri-Kansas state line, the Kansas City metro area has been home to political bosses, jazz clubs, barbecue joints and tough characters, all of which find their way into author Joel Goldman crime thrillers.
Nine years ago, when Goldman was working as an attorney, he was diagnosed with a movement disorder that makes him shake and stutter at times. So he quit his practice and eventually gave his medical condition to one of his main characters, Kansas City FBI agent Jack Davis.
'Brought To His Knees' In A Hardscrabble Neighborhood
During the mid-19th century, an unexpected craze swept America: butterfly collecting. Eager to move on from the Civil War and driven by Europe's long-standing fascination with the insect, the movement captured the interest of Americans from all ages and walks of life.
In an extensive book, Butterfly People: An American Encounter with the Beauty of the World, William Leach documents this butterfly phenomenon — from its founders and followers, to its eventual fall.
Washington, D.C. gets a bad rap: politicians love to run against it, voters love to complain about it — but New York Times Magazine correspondent Mark Leibovich says he's actually an optimist about our nation's capital.
Leibovich's new book is This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral — plus plenty of valet parking! — In America's Gilded Capital. It's a lively account of the sometimes incestuous mix of media and politics in D.C., and unlike many books about politics, it doesn't have an index.
When religious scholar Reza Aslan was 15, he went to an evangelical Christian camp. For the first time, he heard the gospel story — the story of Jesus. It was a profound experience for him, and he immediately converted. But later, when Aslan went to college and began working toward a degree in the New Testament, he found he had doubts.
It reads like a Dan Brown novel: An indecipherable, cryptic medieval text, shrouded in mystery, filled with entrancing images, disappears for hundreds of years and then suddenly resurfaces at an Italian castle.