Thursday, April 14, 2005
Here is a special edition of Milt's File, compiled by producer Maggie Berndt, that features reviews of books that have been or will be featured on Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg.
FOR THOSE WHO NEED MORE BELLOW...Last night, Extension 720 broadcast live from the Chicago Historical Society, where we commemorated the life and legacy of Saul Bellow. One of our guests was Bellow's great friend and a great writer in his own right, Richard Stern. Here is his review of James Atlas' biography of Bellow, as it appeared in The Nation in 2000.
THIS ISN'T A REVIEW...but it's fascinating nonetheless. Tomorrow night, acclaimed economist Steven Levitt joins the program to discuss his new book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. This week, Slate has been publishing choice excerpts from the book. Here is one on the economics of baby names.
A CRITIC'S LIFE...The always-entertaining and erudite Jonathan Yardley gives an appropriately appreciative review to Ruth Reichl's new book Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise. Now editor of Gourmet, Reichl was once the New York Times food critic, and she will join Extension 720 to discuss life in the gourmand's trenches on April 21.
ON THE GROUND IN AFGHANISTAN. This lengthy article from the New York Review of Books on the "real" Afghanistan references the recent book by Sean Naylor: Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda. Naylor, along with counterterrorism expert Tom Mockaitis and Central Asian scholar Russell Zanca discussed the history and present state of Afghanistan on the program just three days ago.
A BRITISH PERSPECTIVE ON CHICAGO COURTS. On March 29, Steve Bogira discussed his fascinating new book Courtroom 302: A Year Behind the Scenes in an American Criminal Courthouse on the program. In this recent review, The U.K. Economist also gives a strong endorsement to this fine work.
WHAT IS INTELLIGENCE? This excellent review/essay from the latest issue of Reason magazine features On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins. Hawkins, the inventor of the PalmPilot, was on Extension 720 earlier this year discussing this book and the latest developments in artificial intelligence. Here is a short excerpt from that program.
WE WOULDN'T FORGET THE MUSIC...here is the balcony scene from Bernstein's West Side Story, performed in high operatic style by Placido Domingo and Isabel Bayrakdarian.
Monday, April 11, 2005
OUTRAGE AGAINST GENOCIDE EXCEPT WHEN IT HAPPENS IN AFRICA...is the great scandal of international law! So contends Shedrack Agbakwa in this essay from the German Law Journal. The case made as regards both Rwanda and Darfur seems to us to be irrefutable.
THE DOMESTIC EVASIONS OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION...are grievous and probably repsonsible for the negative turn taken by the polls. Of the three equally serious failures that Victor Davis Hanson deals with in this article from National Review, uncontrolled illegal immigration is surely the most equal!
IS THIS THE NEXT POPE? The smart money--or so we are told in this story from the New York Daily News--is on Dionigi Cardinal Tettamanzi of Milan. This well-detailed story tells much about his career in Milan--but fails to specify how often, if at all, he attends La Scala.
REMEMBERING LAW (THAT LAW!) IN BOSTON: As the Cardinal gets ready to participate in the conclave that will select the next pope, a Boston Globe columnist recalls the heavy load of "unfinished business" he left behind for his successor in Boston.
FREE-WILL, TOTAL DETERMINISM, TABULA RASA OR FULLY PROGRAMMED, DELUDED AUTOMATON: These are all possible views of human (and, in fact, lesser) beings. B.F. Skinner stirred the debate and, long after his passing, he still commands attention--which he receives here in a fine essay by David Barash as recently published in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
PSEUDOSCIENCE (AND PURE FAKERY!) ARE FLOURISHING IN RUSSIA...despite the efforts of many to educate a gullible public and the journalists who supposedly serve it. Here, a Russian Nobel Laureate provides an inside-view of the strong "demagogic" forces that bedevil serious science now that state censorship no longer exists.
ANTISEMITISM NEVER DIES; IT JUST MUTATES...says British writer Melanie Phillips in this speech, delivered a year ago, and predictive of the further rise, over the last year, of academic vilification of Israelis and of their nation.
WISSE THE WISE: This Harvard scholar sees through all the fashionable obfuscatuions--not to mention prevarications--that have beclouded the air at America's "first university" in the wake of the sin of its president who was so foolish as to think out loud in the presence of a battalion of Mesdames DuFarge.
THE FIRE CHIEF'S APOLOGIA PRO VITA SUA: "FIRE" here is the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and David French is their Harvard law-trained President. The proprietor knows of no more valuable organization serving American higher education--and that's why he serves on their board of advisors.
YARDLEY ON BELLOW: Of the many appreciative estimates of Bellow's achievement this one, by Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post, serves quite effectively in that it is as well considered as it is well expressed.
WHAT GREAT BOOK WAS PUBLISHED...250 years ago? Hint: it is the one that explains that a network is "anything reticulated or decussated, at equal distances, with interstices between the intersections." Read on--you should know about this!
FREE VERSE, BLANK VERSE, METER, ORDER AND RHYME: Formalism in poetry is now far less common than its opposite, but strong arguments can be adduced for its restoration--or at least for its continued enjoyment. David Yezzi musters those arguments most persuasively in this recent essay from The New Criterion.
AN ODD MIX OF GREAT BROADWAY MUSICALS: Within the long and generous playlist there are, among the many pluckable plums, such items as: The Rain in Spain, Hernando's Hideaway, Mama Mia and Spanish Rose.