Archive for the ‘Must Mention’ Category

Must Mention:
14 June 2010

Monday, June 14th, 2010



¶ Just hold on there a minute: About those Afghan minerals that are supposedly worth $1 trillion…. (Foreign Policy; via  The Morning News)

But I’m (a) skeptical of that $1 trillion figure; (b) skeptical of the timing of this story, given the bad news cycle, and (c) skeptical that Afghanistan can really figure out a way to develop these resources in a useful way. It’s also worth noting, as Risen does, that it will take years to get any of this stuff out of the ground, not to mention enormous capital investment.

Moreover, before we get too excited about lithium and rare-earth metals and all that, Afghanistan could probably use some help with a much simpler resource: cement.

While We’re Away

¶ Jeff Strabone’s sermon on corporations, shame, and the law is crucial. You may think that you know all of this stuff, but Jeff’s vigorous dusting will probably expose a misconception or two. (3 Quarks Daily)

One person, a liberal stalwart of the House, says, I’ve got documented evidence that your company behaves horridly in a way that causes people to die because you’re greedy. The other person, the corporate VP, says that her company only wants people they can profit from. And of course, the law allows insurance companies to make such choices: to dump the ‘disadvantageous’, i.e. the ill, and to court the advantageous, i.e. the premium-paying healthy. The VP’s answer to the accusation is the correct one: she explained that the corporation does what it can to make profits. The fault here is Representative Waxman’s for not saying instead that he was going to make Wellpoint’s practices punishable by law. Did he really think he could shame the CEO and the VP of the company into doing good at a loss to the company? As usual, it’s the liberal who doesn’t get it. It is futile to appeal to corporations to behave better or more generously or more philanthropically. Corporations lack such capacities. There is no such thing as morality when it comes to corporate conduct. Only the force of law can change corporate conduct.

¶ Eryn Loeb claims that Amy Bender’s new novel is “remarkable,” but so is her review. (The Millions)

While I’m obsessed with food, I don’t really cook. For years, I didn’t even have a working oven. I love the idea of cooking: I bookmark recipes regularly and with optimism, and whenever I get it together to actually make something—peanut butter brownies for my boyfriend’s birthday, gnocchi with summer vegetables, a simple sauce made from cream, vegetable stock, lemon zest and capers—I’m overly impressed with myself. Mostly I eat overpriced takeout, and otherwise rely on jarred sauce, frozen burritos from Trader Joe’s, Indian food that comes in a little silver pouch and like magic, needs only two minutes in the microwave. While I eat, I watch the Food Network. I read the articles and passionate blogs about how cooking is so easy—and so worth the pay-off!—and I nod my head in agreement. I mean to do it. I aspire to do it. And then I order Thai.

¶ Although it may be parting ways with mainstream journalism, film criticism remains robust. (The Bygone Bureau)

Of course, Stoklasa’s review came out eleven years after Phantom Menace did, and it is probably not going to affect too many people’s buying habits. But it does show that people are interested in nuanced film criticism, as opposed simple reviews, which are released a few days before a movie opens in order to tell people why they should or shouldn’t go see it. Put another way, reviews are ephemera, designed to exert pressure on the moviegoing public and then fade away, while criticism, at its best, is much more permanent, and has much less economic influence. Opinionated viewers can do the former task just as well as anyone; but it takes a little more time and enthusiasm to do the latter.

¶ Liz Dwyer proposes a standardized-tests mutiny. (Good)

One of my fantasies is that kids across the country will start a grass-roots rebellion against standardized testing. They’ll form Facebook groups where they’ll agree to purposely bubble in the wrong answer on every single test question. What would administrators, teachers, and parents do if every child “failed” the standardized tests? Would such a rebellion force educators to find some other less lazy way to measure student learning?

¶ Stay away from Chinese pine nuts! (Megnut; via

I’m happy to report my case is resolving and I actually enjoyed my breakfast, but until today food’s been so off-putting, I haven’t wanted to eat. My pine nuts were from Whole Food’s bulk bin, and I stored them in the fridge. They didn’t taste rancid when I prepared them, so I’m not thinking it’s rancidity-related. I’m going to go back and investigate where they’re from to confirm China. And if I can bare to eat pine nuts again this summer, I’m splurging for Italian imports. Right now, that’s a big if.

Have a Look

¶ “Gaze Upon the Epic Prow of Christina Hendricks” (Let There Be Blogs)

¶ Megan, don’t click through! (FAIL)

¶ Notre cher ami Jean se trouve à la compagne — des cérises; une grenouille .(Mnémoglyphes)

Must Mention:
11 June 2010

Friday, June 11th, 2010


We’ve been having fun this week, publishing the blank form for “Must Mention” and then republishing it again each time we add a link. It’s childish, we know; something like playing with ice cream after dinner. You can tell that we’re finished when the header date is complete.

¶ This space reserved for the story explaining the capture of American government by business interests, lately evidenced in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, that seems to be taking journalists a long time to write. (If you’ve found it, please let us know.)

Update: Timothy Egan’s Op-Ed piece, “How Failure Became An Option,” is not exactly what we were looking for, but it outlines the scope of our dismay.

The drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico was supposed to represent some of the most advanced technology on the planet. It was so advanced that BP and other big oil companies were exempted in 2008 from filing a plan on how they would clean up a major spill. They had no fire department because, well, there would never be a fire, silly.

That’s what we mean by “capture” — entrepreneurism amok.

¶ Further evidence that true education does not involve testing. (NYT)

While We’re Away

¶ The Remnick interview at The Morning News.

¶ Serotonin vs Love. (Brain Pickings)

¶ Celine Dion may need Neptune’s help on Jupiter Island. (via  The Morning News) Ten “insanely luxurious” mansions. (Oddee)

¶ The London Review of Book‘s view of Tory writer Paul Johnson is predictably jaundiced — but fun. Actually, it’s all Johnson’s rope. Mr Johnson’s Home Truths.

¶ She was always on his mind: Elissa Bassist conducts an exit interview with ex-boyfriend (sic?) Dan. (The Rumpus)

¶ “The Happy Ghost” — perhaps there’s a rubric here about what kind of books (ie, “products”) don’t merit printing. (The Millions)

Have a Look

¶ “Between a Rock and a Hard Place.” (Slow Love Life)

¶ Jules Anderson’s woodwork. (The Best Part, Slow Love Life; Design Sponge)

Must Mention:
10 June 2010

Thursday, June 10th, 2010


¶ Dimwits in Detroit: No more “Chevy to the levee”? There is so much stupidity in this story that we were crying before we stopped laughing. (NYT)

¶ More on the nuclear option for Deepwater Horizon. (Zero Hedge)

While We’re Away

¶ The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. (via

¶ At Being Tyler Brûlé, they don’t have to make things up. Elaborate “out of the office” messages are a telltale sign of vulgar lowlife. Stay in touch!

Have a Look

¶ Ragnar Kjartansson, in Chelsea this summer. (ArtCat)

¶ Barf. (Jan Chipchase; via  Mnémoglyphes)

Must Mention:
9 June 2010

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010


¶ Edward Hugh’s long years of thinking about the Eurozone begin to — pay off? (NYT)

¶ A concise snapshot of Dutch populism on the eve of elections. Also covered: Geert Wilders’s blond mop. (Spiegel Online; via  RealClearWorld)

While We’re Away

¶ The ideology of academic economics. (Baseline Scenario)

¶ Maria Bustillos shows how very shallow The Shallows is. (The Awl)

Have a Look

¶ Fantastic illustrations to a 1968 Czech edition of Gullver’s Travels. (The Rumpus)

¶ In the Tourist Lane. (Improv Everywhere; via  The Morning News)

Must Mention:
8 June 2010

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010


¶ “The War Chatroom.” (NYT)

¶ “Helen Thomas, Christopher Hitchens, and being wrong.” Hear, hear! (Felix Salmon)

While We’re Away

¶ Crazy-Popular new Web log on the block: You Are Not So Smart. Topic for today: “The Introspection Illusion.” But don’t miss “Fines.”

¶ Sonya Chung on Jennifer Egan. (The Millions) Ann Beattie muses. (NYT)

¶ Scott Esposito e-reads. And likes it. (Conversational Reading)

¶ David Olivier addresses British Petroleum et al. We have requested a podcast. (Slimbolala)

Have a Look

¶ More “affordable art” via Brain Pickings. (We’re out of wall space!)

¶ The real-world atmospherics of esoterica. (Scouting New York)

¶ Eagles and Dragons Galore: flags from the bad old days. (Dark Roasted Blend; via  Marginal Revolution)

Must Mention:
7 June 2010

Monday, June 7th, 2010


¶ Simon Johnson cheers for Richard Fisher: “TBTF” = too big to be permitted. (Baseline Scenario)

¶ Ross Douthat: “Israel and Outremer.” (NYT)

¶ What rugged individualism“? (Boston Globe)

While We’re Away

¶ Personal time zones. Don’t miss this! (via

¶ Left to their own devices, what will become of the Kord Campbells? (NYT) Let’s hope that they tune into the discussion that Shallows author Nicholas Carr and Jonah Lehrer are having about multitasking. (Frontal Cortex)

¶ Tye Pemberton on “the great strength of Lipsky’s book.” (The Rumpus) Ahmad Saidullah on the shapely legs of Sylvia Beach. (3 Quarks Daily)

¶ Mig remembers his remarkable Uncle Phil. (Metamorphosism)

Have a Look

¶ Visualizing Color Composition. (Brain Pickings)

¶ Which way is up? (via Snarkmarket)

Must Mention:
4 June 2010

Friday, June 4th, 2010


¶ Trading in Hungary’s largest commercial bank has been halted on the Budapest Exchange. (Zero Hedge)

¶ “What Are Farmer’s Markets For?” ( Good) And how about Corn-Flakes-Coated Chicken? (The Bygone Bureau)

While We’re Away

¶ The density of smart people. (The Atlantic; via 3 Quarks Daily)

¶ “Buffett’s PR Disaster“? Felix thinks so.

¶ Ten Over Eighty (Ward Six): Choire fumes; bucks younger rejects up with Affirmations. (The Awl)

¶ Reading about a 1920 gay witch-hunt at Harvard, it’s impossible not to feel good about social progress. (The Good Men Project; via Joe.My.God)

¶ Protestant Reformation –> Rock ‘n’ Roll. (JEH Smith; via 3 Quarks Daily)

Have a Look

¶ Saul Chernick (ARTCAT)

¶ The glory of good bones: Diana Mitford Mosley, with second husband and fourth son. (1904)

¶ Historypin. (Brain Pickings)

¶ Steve Martin, up close and personal. (Letters of Note)

Must Mention:
3 June 2010

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010


¶ Singing “Michelle” to Michelle. (BBC News)

While We’re Away

¶ Using IT to make Ho Chi Minh City’s traffic a little less awful — proposed. (The Infrastructurist)

¶ Twenty Under Forty. (That left Eggers and Whitehead out.) (NYT)

Have a Look

¶ We could live here! (NYT)

Must Mention:
2 June 2010

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010


¶ Al and Tipper. (Everywhere, but we’ve stuck with the Times)

¶ Israel and the flotilla: a range of opinions, all aggregated at Real Clear World. ¶

While We’re Away

¶ Books with hyperlinks! Well, a new edition of a Jules Verne classic, anyway — all you need is a smartphone. (Chron Higher Ed; via Marginal Revolution)

¶ Universal language instinct? Not so much. (New Scientist)

¶ On the counterproductivity of incentives. (The Frontal Cortex)

Have a Look

¶ Pants Fail.

Must Mention:
1 June 2010

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010


¶ Deepwater Horizon: the nuclear option. (The Oil Drum)

¶ Getting Slapp-ed at Facebook. (NYT)

While We’re Away

¶ Against “apps.” (The Baseline Scenario)

¶ Reversing Santa Clara County: the 28th Amendment movement. (Chelsea Green; via reddit)

¶ The best short take on Marilyn Monroe’s “scenius.” (Happy Birthday! You’d be 84!) (Hilowbrow)

¶ The Permanence Matters Initiative — a hardbound book ought to last a long time. (The Millions)

¶ Negroni Season! (The Awl)

Have a Look

¶ God’s throat, man’s brain: Michelangelo anatomizes in plain sight. (Scientific American; via 3 Quarks Daily)