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But tempting as it is to imagine the voters having decided to use the election to torture their politicians, it’s not really plausible. For a start, the torture did not last nearly long enough: after five days everyone suddenly cheered up when they discovered they had got what they wanted after all. The Tories have detoxified the brand, the Lib Dems have got their first real taste of power, and Labour has got the chance for an extended wallow in righteous opposition, having finally dumped Gordon Brown in the process. Have you ever seen such happy politicians? If the voters were trying to punish them for their past transgressions they must be feeling pretty queasy at the sight of all this bonhomie. Next time we are going to have to wield a much bigger stick and really swing it (and maybe we will). –“Is this the end of the UK,” David Runciman, London Review of Books
Wealth does not confidently reside in the beleaguered strata of middle-class America anymore, but a whole lot of spending still does, and the NHL — the business enterprise, not the game many Canadians believe to be the ultimate expression of our national identity — saw the same growth opportunity that Hollywood and television, and religion, and politics, and advertising all have. If you are a business in America, you’d be crazy not to want to clamp onto the same enormous tit that Foot Locker, LensCrafters, Sbarro, Wendy’s, H&M, McDonald’s, Victoria’s Secret and J. Crew have, and once you were there, the faint, wounded clamour for an NHL team coming from a place as far away as Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, would only become more distant and inconsequential. Eventually, you’d stop hearing it altogether. –“Hockeyland,” David MacFarlane, The Walrus
Coming soon to Texas schools: From Atlantic Triangular Trading to Freedom;
lessons from an NYPD squad room: how to Febreze your bulletproof vest;
judicial activism in China: using anti-hooliganism laws to prosecute a prominent orgy organizer
The Times described it as “a block of decaying tenements packed with poor Puerto Rican and Negro families and the gathering place of drunks, narcotics addicts and sexual perverts.” It soon became known as the “worst block in the city.” Mayor Robert Wagner announced a “shock attack,” an “all-out war on the forces of crime, slum blight and poverty” on the West Side. Police flooded the area. The block in question was 84th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. The very idea that it might once have been considered the city’s worst is very nearly science-fictional today, as it bustles with high-end baby strollers pushed by parents hurrying to homey restaurants on Amsterdam or Columbus or making their way to Central Park. –“Life in New York, Then and Now,” John Podhoretz, Commentary
First Florent, now Empire Diner, the West Side is no more;
“so” rises into ever more common usage, thanks to its “algorithmic certitude”;
Noynoy rises, thanks to his other name
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
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.”