Amazon.com Inc. is at it again. To the consternation of much of the book industry, the online giant is again offering digital titles for less than major publishers think books are worth. And this time, the price is zero.
We should never again hear anyone declare that Marilyn Monroe was a size 12, a size 14 or any other stand-in for full-figured, zaftig or plump. Fifteen thousand people have now seen dramatic evidence to the contrary. Monroe was, in fact, teeny-tiny.
One thing is clear in the aftermath of the debt-limit debate: U.S. President Barack Obama has lost his glamour. The alluring icon of hope and change has become just another pol, derided by his supporters as well as his opponents. As one headline succinctly put it: “Obama succumbs to the ways of Washington.”
Anyone -- a local teenager, a traveling businessman, a married mother of four, an illegal immigrant, even a student at a Jesuit university -- can walk into my neighborhood CVS any time, day or night, and, for less than $30, buy a 36-count “value pack” of Trojan condoms.
The public is in a foul mood over increasing college costs and student debt burdens. Talk of a “higher education bubble” is common on the contrarian right, while the Occupy Wall Street crowd is calling for a strike in which in which ex-students refuse to pay off their loans.
The newest banner in the window of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh features a strikingly realistic portrait of Superman. Unfazed as bullets bounce from his chest, neck and forehead, the Man of Steel wears a calm, resolute expression, made all the more convincing by the creases and fine lines of early middle age.
“Infrastructure” may be one of the least glamorous words in the English language, but with the right touch the concrete and steel of roads, bridges, tunnels, dams and railroads can look as alluring as a movie star. Witness the sleekly seductive illustrations produced for today’s California High-Speed Rail Authority or the midcentury pictures of effortlessly flowing superhighways, a genre that reached its apotheosis in Walt Disney’s “Magic Highway U.S.A.” in 1958.
When the members of the class of 2015 arrived at Harvard College this fall, they encountered a novel bit of moral education. Their dorm proctors -- the grad students who live with freshmen to provide guidance and enforce discipline -- invited each student to sign a pledge developed by the Freshman Dean’s Office. It reads, in full:
Florentine authorities and residents were appalled when the cast of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” invaded the Tuscan capital for the show’s fourth season, which will debut Aug. 4. What were Snooki and The Situation doing associating themselves with the refined city of Dante and Botticelli (not to mention Ferragamo)? Even New Jersey won’t claim these louts.