Random Notes

Best reads of 2013…

January 1, 2014
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FictionBest of the bunch, in rough chronological order: Umbrella, by Will SelfThoroughly Modern Self… Tenth of December, by George SaundersA master’s class in short fiction. A Delicate Truth, by John LeCarreHis umpteenth novel…so good. TransAtlantic, by Colum McCannSuch lovely writing. Time travel, deep links of ordinary lives. Joyland, by Stephen KingPretty good beach read. Not […]


From a hotel conference room in Palo Alto, 1973…

December 31, 2013
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Just goes to show you – the early ’70s were hugely important times, building the technology foundation we can’t live without. In today’s New York Times, an interview with two giants of the Internet – Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn.  Vint Cerf – “Everything has expanded by a factor of a million since we turned […]


“I’ve been alive forever…”

November 23, 2013
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Actors AnonymousBy James FrancoNew Harvest (This review was originally published in The Washington Independent Review of Books, November 18, 2013) Famous Actor James Franco has written something. The book’s cover describes it as “James Franco’s brilliant debut novel.”  Ah. A clue — it is a “novel.” Here’s how it begins: “I am the Actor. I […]


And now you find yourself in 1982…

September 20, 2013
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VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First WaveGavin EdwardsAtria Books The Kennedy Chronicles: The Golden Age of MTV Through Rose-Colored GlassesKennedyThomas Dunne Books (This review originally appeared in the Washington Independent Review of Books)   “We’re the reason you have no attention span. And you can pin reality TV on us too. You’re welcome.”   (Mark […]


Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia

September 7, 2013
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Just reread this 1993 play, prompted by a recent piece in the New Yorker. It’s a wonderful work, probably one of the best dramas of the last 50 years, masterfully blending the past and present in the same setting, exploring sex, truth, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Yes, you got that right. You know, […]