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The strange thing about this is that at twenty I imagined I would spend my middle age reading books that I didn’t have the patience to read when I was young. But now, at forty-one, I don’t even have the patience to read the books I read when I was twenty. At that age I plowed through everything in the Arnoldian belief that each volume somehow nudged me imperceptibly closer to the sweetness and light. I read War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Ulysses, Moby-Dick. I got through The Idiot even though I hated practically every page of it. I didn’t read The Brothers Karamazov: I’ll leave it till I’m older, I thought—and now that I am older I wish I’d read it when I was younger, when I was still capable of doing so.
–“Reader’s Block,” Geoff Dyer, FSG Work In Progress
Then last August, the Vatican introduced a change in canon law that will apparently make it impossible for Catholics to defect. Flynn, O’Sullivan and Dunbar have thus suspended their service. But the Web site continues to be a clearinghouse for information on the church in Ireland and its abuses, and it has helped start a debate on Irish identity — on the possibility of separating the two parts of the term “Irish Catholic.”
Certainly many Irish people find the idea of abandoning Catholicism to be as counterintuitive as giving up their racial or sexual identity. A televised panel discussion on the abuse crisis last summer ended with a reporter asking a woman who was voicing her anger if she was ready to leave the Catholic Church. She paused, as if befuddled, then said, “Where would I go?” –“The Irish Affliction,” Russell Shorto, The New York Times
In Life! Camera Action, Reina, a student at New York Film Academy, has been disowned by her parents for defying their wishes that she do something befitting a respectable middle-class girl. “America is a free nation,” Reina counters, “and so am I!” Luckily, Reina has passion, which, according to her professor, is what matters most: “All successful people, in any industry, Bill Gates, Anil Kapoor—you know him, right? Played the host in Slumdog Millionaire. Or Danny Boyle, director, Slumdog Millionaire, very successful.” But since neither passion nor parents pay the bills, Reina has to work two jobs (Indian video store, Indian restaurant) and continues to do so even with the deadline for her unplanned thesis film a week off. Given such long odds, muses the professor, “Satyajit Ray is going to come out of his grave to help you, right?” (Unfortunately, Ray was cremated.) –“Far From Bollywood: The New Indian Cinema in Exile,” Rafil Kroll-Zaidi, The New York Observer
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Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”