Monthly Archives: February 2016

New journalism, old journalism

Gothamist interviews Robert Caro about his Robert Moses and LBJ biographies. Ever the investigative reporter, he can’t resist asking some questions of his own. For instance, how do the journalists at Gothamist know how many people are looking at a … Continue reading

Posted in History, Journalism, Social Media, Uncategorized, US politics | Tagged , , , , ,

Nina & Hefner

After spending part of this week pondering Nina Simone’s chaotic, ill-starred life I really needed to cheer myself up by listening to her music. Here she is when she was just starting out, mingling with ultra-suave Hugh Hefner and his … Continue reading

Posted in Music, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

The sound of silence

Stephen Fry has given up on Twitter because of all the background noise. His comments reminded me of the advice handed down by Alan Jacobs, a quirky, intelligent blogger with very mixed feelings about social media:

Posted in Social Media | Tagged , ,

Snarky meets Baca

I’m not exactly a member of Snarky Puppy’s fan club (here’s my review of the cult band’s recent, unbearably bombastic London concert) but there are some intriguing moments on the new album, which finds them blending into the background behind a … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , ,

Bit player

Via John Podhoretz in The Weekly Standard. With apologies to my thespian friends: There’s a great joke about acting. One actor says to another actor, “Hey, I just got cast in Hamlet.” The other actor says, “I know this is … Continue reading

Posted in Comedy, Film, Theatre, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Distractions, distractions

Should tech companies be doing more to stop us from becoming addicted to our apps? In an essay in The New York Review of Books, Jacob Weisberg introduces us to an ex-Google engineer who thinks we all need help:

Posted in Social Media, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , ,


1945: Jewish police at the Zeilsheim displaced persons’ camp near Frankfurt detain a former Kapo who had been recognized in the street. From the exhibition “Après la Shoah. Rescapés, réfugiés, survivants 1944 – 1947” at the Mémorial de la Shoah, Paris.

Posted in History, Photography, World War 2 | Tagged , , ,


There had been almost no French military defence of Paris, so there had been no excuse for the Wehrmacht to hesitate in driving right into the prize. But an awkward lull had briefly prevailed. Waiting outside the city on June … Continue reading

Posted in France, History, World War 2 | Tagged , , , ,

The war on drugs, 1970

Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, pastor of Canaan Baptist Church of Christ, delivering an anti-narcotics sermon in Harlem: “The 28th Precinct, where our church was situated, was one of the worst drug centres in New York City. You couldn’t buy aspirin, but … Continue reading

Posted in Photography, Race, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

When Leo Tolstoy joined Facebook

Since my latest attempt (the fifth, I think) to read “War and Peace” has ground to an embarrassing halt, a victim of the cruel Russian winter, I’m cheering myself up with this marvellous sliver of literary day-dreaming by Paul Greenberg. … Continue reading

Posted in Comedy, Literature | Tagged , ,