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On the first day of Prohibition, January 17, 1920, Bat Masterson, a 66-year-old relic of the Wild West now playing out the string as a sportswriter in New York, sat alone in his favorite bar, glumly contemplating a cup of tea. In Detroit that night, federal officers shut down two illegal stills (an act that would become common in the years ahead) and reported that their operators had offered bribes (which would become even more common). On the Maine-Canada border, reported a New Brunswick paper, “Canadian liquor in quantities from one gallon to a truckload is being hidden in the northern woods and distributed by automobile, sled and iceboat, on snowshoes and skis.” –“Wayne B. Wheeler: The Man Who Turned Off the Taps,” Daniel Okrent, Smithsonian
Bring on the puffery! Arizona’s windbag-in-chief doesn’t need your money;
Hugo Chavez will bury, I mean, tweet you;
nitrous oxide on Mars: evidence of life, or is the Red Planet a haven for Dead Heads?
Larry Summers is a clumsy public liar. His noxious, condescending manner helps explain why he failed as president of Harvard. But it is the crude mendacity that ought to bother people now. The man is President Obama’s top economic adviser. Watching Summers befog the mild-mannered interviewer on the PBS NewsHour the other night, I found myself yelling back at the TV. It takes real arrogance for the former Harvard professor to imagine he can get away with such evasions and falsehoods. I lost count on the fibs. If this is how Summers explains the financial mess to the president, maybe that’s why Obama has been a reluctant reformer. –“Professor Pants-on-Fire,” William Greider, The Nation
Join a Japanese sex cult;
“Abe Vigoda, Emily Deschanel would appreciate a call,” and other famous people who should make babies;
sick Brazilians must have more sex
Guess what, “a body of research” coming out indicates that if you’re ten pounds or so overweight, well, hell, what’s the difference? It’s not gonna make you die any earlier. And a little pot belly is a manly thing, why can’t your wife understand that you’re in just as good shape as you were in high school, a few freaking pounds are not a big deal, you don’t need to be walking around looking like some god damn Ken doll, she didn’t marry a freaking male model, come on, give you a break, so what if you like barbecue, god forbid you be happy for a few hours a week, right? –“America’s Divine Right to Junk Food,” Hamilton Nolan, Gawker
More from TedRoss:
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”