Happy Birthday, Mr. Hammett

Today marks the 118th birthday of Dashiell Hammett, the granddaddy of hard boiled detective fiction who gave us such classics as The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man. Despite everything I should remember Hammett for, my strongest association will always be through my undergraduate creative writing teacher, Michael. He was the first person I successfully internet-stalked . . . 

Billy Bob: anti-Tater Tot.

  Just as Keith Richards’ Life hit the clearance rack, the next celebrity memoir has come to town. This one is courtesy of Billy Bob Thornton and according to the Chicago Sun-Times, Thornton has some strong opinions about–what else?–Komodo dragons. Naturally. “I don’t even want them in the world, that’s the fact of the matter,” . . . 

Komodo National Park, serving up the wonder

It’s official. Komodo National Park has now been named one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. The title alone makes you ponder what happened to the old seven wonders. Were they not so wonderful anymore? It seems they just weren’t capturing enough of a revenue stream. The New 7 Wonders Foundation cites a study . . . 

Our surreal, virtual, synthetic world.

The most recent Times cover caused quite a stir in American child-rearing circles. A woman breastfeeding her three-year-old child is practically a cultural anathema in this country, where we wean babies earlier than most of the rest of the world. I was no different than most of my friends on the subject. It seems unnatural . . .