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  • Bobby Fischer - b. 1943 - The Wonder Match - Chess - The Lives They Lived - Obituaries - NYTimes.com
    Before he was secretly buried on a dark winter morning in a lonely Icelandic churchyard at the age of 64 (there were only four people in attendance at the hastily arranged funeral) . . . before his last ailing days of bad kidneys and rotting teeth (he had all of his fillings removed, convinced that U.S. and Russian agents would otherwise send radio signals to his brain) . . . before the long hours whiled away at a Reykjavik bookstore, a place that vaguely reminded him of one from his Brooklyn youth (in both, he read comic books and studied chess) . . . and before his decades of ghostly peregrinations through the world, like a profane monk or an idiot savant searching for perfect exile (from Pasadena to Hungary to the Philippines, where he supposedly had a child, and on to Japan, where he supposedly married and was arrested and imprisoned for a passport violation) . . . before his bizarre eruptions (he applauded the events of 9/11 as “wonderful news” and believed, among other defamations, that the Jews wanted to eradicate the African elephant because its trunk was a reminder of an uncircumcised penis) . . . and before the spectacle of meeting his one-time nemesis, the former world-champion chess player Boris Spassky, for an anticlimactic 1992 rematch in war-torn Yugoslavia despite U.N. sanctions against it (in front of whirring cameras, he spat on the U.S. order forbidding him to play) . . . even way back before their original 1972 meeting, called the Match of the Century, when the eyes of the world were riveted on him as a shining emblem of American will, innovation and brilliance (the match in which he took on the Soviet chess machine and single-handedly crushed it, but not before the fabled call from Henry Kissinger, urging him to put aside his jumbled demands and just play) . . . even before his brazen, almost obnoxious deconstruction of a cavalcade of grandmasters who stood in his path to Spassky (he won 20 games in a row, the longest winning streak in modern chess) . . . before he traded the rags of his youth for his new wardrobe of expensive suits . . . before his mind slowly unhinged and he became a walking paradox (the anti-Semitic Jew; the anti-American national hero, the wastrel-wizard of his craft) . . . yes, before the whole circus of his life unfolded, he was a 13-year-old kid in the first flush of the thing he most loved in the world: chess.

  • Darwin's dangerous idea: Top 10 evolution articles - life - 28 December 2008 - New Scientist

  • How Progressive Are Our Taxes? « Consider the Evidence
    Stephen Dubner has a post on the “Freakonomics” blog titled “The next time someone tells you that taxes are not progressive…” He relays information from a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, via Greg Mankiw, which lists effective federal tax rates for households at various points in the income distribution. The rates are higher for those with larger incomes. The implication is that our tax system is quite progressive.

    But it doesn’t make much sense to look only at federal taxes.


  • Culture Dish : Is This Cute Video Just a Rat Loving a Cat, or the Beginning of the End of Toxo

  • Video: George Monbiot meets ... Jeroen van de Veer | Environment | guardian.co.uk
    Series: Monbiot meets ...Previous | Index George Monbiot meets ... Jeroen van de VeerIn the latest of his groundbreaking encounters with the figures whose decisions shape our environment, George Monbiot challenges Jeroen van de Veer, chief executive of oil and gas giant Shell, on ethics, greenwash advertising, renewable energy investments and gas-flaring in Nigeria

  • Secular Philosophy - The Happiness Myth
    After having greatly enjoyed Doubt: A History, by Jennifer Michael Hecht, I’m now reading her The Happiness Myth: The Historical Antidote to What Isn’t Working Today. The first book is a must-read for anyone seriously interested in skepticism across time and cultures, including the many -- usually under appreciated -- religious skeptics. Hecht’s second volume should also be on the shelf of anyone seriously interested in happiness, and who on earth isn’t?

  • UN contradicts Israel over depth of crisis in Gaza


 

Comments

wow - the Bobby obit was amazing.

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