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White House Live Video
November 27

11:00 am ET: Michelle Obama accepts delivery of the White House Christmas tree

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Washington Post (October 26): "A research division of the World Health Organization announced on Monday that bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer, and that red meat probably does, too. The report by the influential group stakes out one of the most aggressive stances against meat yet taken by a major health organization, and it is expected to face stiff criticism in the United States."

New York Times (October 20: "The American Cancer Society, which has for years taken the most aggressive approach to [breast-cancer] screening, issued new guidelines on Tuesday, recommending that women with an average risk of breast cancer start having mammograms at 45 and continue once a year until 54, then every other year for as long as they are healthy and likely to live another 10 years. The organization also said it no longer recommended clinical breast exams, in which doctors or nurses feel for lumps, for women of any age who have had no symptoms of abnormality in the breasts."

New York Times: "Kathleen McCormack Durst disappeared from her home in Westchester County nearly 34 years ago.... On Monday, Ms. Durst’s mother, Ann McCormack, who is 101, and three sisters — Carol Bamonte, Mary Hughes and Virginia McKeon filed a $100 million lawsuit against the man who they have long suspected of killing her: Robert A. Durst, her husband. The lawsuit contends that Mr. Durst violated the McCormack family’s right to sepulcher, a rarely used New York law granting family members the immediate right to possession of a body for burial."

Washington Post: "Christmas in Washington" annual TNT special, in which presidents & their families regularly appeared, ends 33-year-run. Ah, must be because of Obama's War on Christmas. Wait, it isn"t!

Michelle Obama accepts delivery of the White House Christmas tree, November 27:

Boston Globe: Michael Dukakis loves leftover turkey. A turkey carcass makes great soup, he said, inviting people to drop off turkey carcasses at his home. So they did.

Domenico Montanaro of NPR with everything you never wanted to know about the strange tradition of presidential "pardons" of turkeys.

Frank Rich reviews "Carol," the film based on Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price of Salt, published under a pseudonym. As usual, Rich goes deep.

New York Times: "Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award for nonfiction Wednesday[, Nov. 18,] night for “Between the World and Me,” a visceral, blunt exploration of his experience of being a black man in America, which was published this summer in the middle of a national dialogue about race relations and inequality.... The fiction award went to Adam Johnson for 'Fortune Smiles.'..."

Slate: Carly Simon told People magazine that "You're So Vain" is about Warren Beatty. CW: Somehow I think I knew that a long time ago.

Guardian: "Gawker, the gossip website..., is giving up on reporting gossip in order to refocus on politics and 'to hump the [2016 presidential] campaign'. The site, founded by British journalist Nick Denton in 2003, announced on Tuesday that Gawker was steering in a new direction that would “orient its editorial scope on political news, commentary and satire'.”

Washington Post: Actor "Charlie Sheen confirmed on Tuesday that he is HIV-positive, as rumored in recent days by an onslaught of tabloid stories. Sheen told Matt Lauer on the 'Today' show that he is going public with his illness for multiple reasons, including that he’s been blackmailed for upwards of $10 million since he was diagnosed four years ago."

... For about $880,000, you can purchase Julia Child's excellent little house in Provence; her kitchen is intact, except for the stove.

New York Times: "Archaeologists have over the years cataloged the rocks [forming Stonehenge], divined meaning from their placement — lined up for midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset — and studied animal and human bones buried there. They have also long known about the other monuments — burial chambers, a 130-foot-tall mound of chalk known as Silbury Hill and many other circular structures. An aerial survey in 1925 revealed circles of timbers, now called Woodhenge, two miles from Stonehenge." With slide show.


New York Times: "In an overheated art market where anything seems possible, a painting of an outstretched nude woman by the early-20th-century artist Amedeo Modigliani sold on Monday night for $170.4 million with fees, in a packed sales room at Christie’s. It was the second-highest price paid for an artwork at auction."

Artist's rendering of the main exhibition hall of the planned wing of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.New York Times: "In designing its $325 million addition on Columbus Avenue, the American Museum of Natural History has opted for an architectural concept that is both cautious and audacious, according to plans approved by its board on Wednesday. The design ... evokes Frank Gehry’s museum in Bilbao, Spain, in its undulating exterior and Turkey’s underground city of Cappadocia in its cavelike interior. The design, by the architect Jeanne Gang for the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation, aims to unite the museum’s various activities, solve its notorious circulation problems and provide a multistory showcase for the institution’s expanding role as a hub for scientific research and scholarship.”

New York Times: "... Jon Stewart has signed a production deal with the premium cable channel HBO, the channel announced on Tuesday. As part of the arrangement, Mr. Stewart will work on some digital short projects that are expected to appear on HBO’s apps like HBO Now and HBO Go. Mr. Stewart could also pursue movie or television projects with the network. The contract covers four years."

Guardian: "Facebook has announced plans to water down its controversial 'real names' policy, after lobbying from civil liberties groups worldwide."

If you'd like to know whatever happened to former NYT food columnist Mark Bittman, the Washington Post has the answer.

Jennifer Senior of the New York Times reviews Notorious R.G.B., by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik: "It’s an artisanal hagiography, a frank and admiring piece of fan nonfiction."

Digital Globe photo, via NASA, republished in the New York Times. CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.... New York Times: "Satellite pictures of a remote and treeless northern steppe reveal colossal earthworks — geometric figures of squares, crosses, lines and rings the size of several football fields, recognizable only from the air and the oldest estimated at 8,000 years old. The largest, near a Neolithic settlement, is a giant square of 101 raised mounds, its opposite corners connected by a diagonal cross, covering more terrain than the Great Pyramid of Cheops.... Described last year at an archaeology conference in Istanbul as unique and previously unstudied, the earthworks, in the Turgai region of northern Kazakhstan, number at least 260 — mounds, trenches and ramparts — arrayed in five basic shapes."

New York Times: "In a landmark study, scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands reported that they had conducted an experiment that they say proved one of the most fundamental claims of quantum theory — that objects separated by great distance can instantaneously affect each other’s behavior. The finding is another blow to one of the bedrock principles of standard physics known as 'locality,' which states that an object is directly influenced only by its immediate surroundings. The Delft study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, lends further credence to an idea that Einstein famously rejected. He said quantum theory necessitated 'spooky action at a distance,' and he refused to accept the notion that the universe could behave in such a strange and apparently random fashion." CW: Everything is relative, Al.

Gizmodo: On Halloween, "a rather large asteroid — discovered less than three weeks ago — is set to to fly past the Earth at a distance not seen in nearly a decade.... NASA says that 2015 TB145 will safely pass by the Earth and continue to following along its exceptionally eccentric and high-inclination orbit — which may explain why it wasn’t discovered until only a few weeks ago. During the flyby, the asteroid will reach a magnitude luminosity of 10, so it should be observable to astronomers with telescopes."

For $299,000 you could buy the house where Bruce Springsteen wrote "Born to Run." It looks like a dump prone to flooding every time it rains, but it's a block-and-a-half from the Jersey shore beach.

New York Post: "During his time in the White House, President Richard Nixon — pug-nosed, jowly, irascible, charmless-yet-devoted husband to Pat — was known to awkwardly hit on middle-aged female staffers. In 'The Last of the President’s Men' (Simon & Schuster), veteran journalist Bob Woodward quotes Alexander Butterfield, Nixon’s deputy assistant, about the commander-in-chief’s sad seduction techniques."

CW: I've completely ignored the buzz about the film "Steve Jobs," so this was welcome:

... Sharon Shetty in Slate: "As the latest attempt to mine every last bit of meaning from the life of Apple’s late founder, Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs will probably make lots of money and spark lots of debate. For those preemptively exhausted by that debate, there’s Conan O’Brien’s less controversial take on a tech biopic: Michael Dell":

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Weekend Open Thread -- When Two Days Seems Like Two Years

¡Felíz Año Nuevo!

                                           --- from a place not far from Cuba

Write what you will. Ridiculous New Year's resolutions would be welcome. Also, if you want the definitive inside scoop on Who Shot JFK, you will find the answer, and tantalizing details, in yesterday's thread....

     ... Update: also from yesterday's thread, do go to @Fred Drumlevitch's links to stories about (and in) The Realist. I'd never heard of The Realist, but it turns out to have been a big influence on all of our lives.

Reader Comments (7)

Wanted to note that an important death was largely overlooked or underreported in 2011: Cheetah died at age 80. He outlived all his co-stars, Weissmuller, O'Sullivan, Sheffield. His caretaker said he was generally well-behaved, but if he didn't like what you were doing, he threw feces at you. I think I may try that the next time someone really pisses me off.

December 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

@James Singer. The New York Times story is here. Hate to burst your bubble, but apparently the chimp that died in Palm Coast wasn't one of the original "Cheetahs." Don't throw shit at me.

Years ago I was in the San Diego Zoo which has a gorilla section. The gorilla king had come out for an airing, and there were about 150 onlookers, including a lot of jeering teenagers doing stupid monkey imitations. So the gorilla threw shit at them. I thought the gorilla showed a lot better judgment than the humans. I also thought he should know that we're not all that bad, so I started looking steadily at his eyes, not saying anything, till he looked my way. I caught his attention, and without speaking I conveyed that I was on his side. I swear he "got" it. He looked at me for some time, ignoring everybody else. He calmed down and ignored the jerks. I wouldn't say I could "talk to the animals," but I know from this and other incidents that they are onto me.

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2011 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Shall I be resolute in my resolve, or should I resolve to be resolute? Having asked the question can I still do either?
The answer of course is yes.
New Years Resolutions have always been easy for me because I've never once made any, the whole idea seems totally preposterous to me... if something needs to be done why in the world would you wait all year to do it? Start NOW! Avoid the Christmas rush I always say... well actually, I never say that, but it sounded appropriate somehow.
Happy New Year everyone!!
That hopey changey thing is workin out just fine and I hope we see lots more change!

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Doktor

You welcomed Ridiculous New Year's Resolutions, but since I never make New Year's Resolutions, and since there was no parade today, I had time to check in with 7 of the presidential hopefuls to find out what their Ridiculous Resolutions were.

Mitt: I resolve to take a stand on all important issues and stick with it to the end, or at least until Valentine's Day.

Rick P: I resolve to practice remembering 3 things that I've been paid to do if elected.

Ron: I resolve to read everything that I write in newsletters, especially as it pertains to GLBT, women, the poor, African-Americans, etc.

Rick S: I resolve to close down Google, at least the "definition of Santorum" part. How many closets did you say were in the White House?

Michele: You can't trick me into commenting on a "Revolution". I'm a college graduate!

Jon: I resolve to admit that foreign policy expertise involves more than sucking up to China.

Happy New Year All!

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris

I saw gorillas as an adult at the Franklin Park Zoo in Massachusetts many years ago. I looked into the eyes of one individual and thought to myself that this creature should not be in captivity. This led me to read books about DIan Fossey (gorilla researcher), Jane Godall (chimpanzees), and Birute Mary Galdikas (orangutans), all biologists trained by Louis Leakey. Beautiful creatures! I wanted so much to travel to Africa to see gorillas, but at the time the expense was well beyond my means.

I think the eyes of the gorilla in the Boston zoo was one of the experiences that set me on a path of learning about nature;it is extraordinary!

Sadly, nature is under assault. I have a friend - David Carroll - who says something along the lines that everyday is worse for wildlife. And then there is the nature writer David Quammen who when asked
why he continues to advocate for the environment given the dismal picture he paints replied, it's the right thing to do.

So, I try to keep positive and do he right thing.

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

OK the fire's out. 1012; is Realitychex going to post a Mayan clock countdown? God, I hope so. I've got a lot of things on my mind and I'm going to need some reminder of the coming end of the world.
I can't go to zoos without being depressed even knowing that in todays environment that's where you can see what's left of creation.
In my town there was a big lion who would restlessly prowl her cage waiting for the right spectators to gather by the fence in front of her then fast as you could say,"yuckie!" she would turn and lay down a heavy mist of big cat spray. If her aim was true somebody went home smelling like the world's biggest kitty litter box. There was a sign posted warning of the lions game. Few if any read the sign. You go big kitty!

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Aw, my first spam of the New Year.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlouis
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