William McGee is a former airlines operations manager who has made a career as an aviation journalist, writing for Consumer Reports and other publications. He's an FAA-licensed aircraft dispatcher and in 2010 was named the sole consumer advocate to the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee, formed to make recommendations to the Department of Transportation.
Nora Ephron, the essayist, novelist, screenwriter and film director, died Tuesday night in Manhattan. She was 71, and suffered from leukemia.
She's most widely known for films including Silkwood and When Harry Met Sally, which she wrote, and Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail and Julie and Julia, which she wrote and directed. She also wrote many frank, humorous essays, some of which were collected in books.
Joshua Henkin opens his third novel with a dramatic setup. Leo Frankel has been killed while reporting from Iraq for Newsday. He waskidnapped and videotaped in a way reminiscent of how American journalist Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter, was killed in Pakistan in 2002. Over the past decade, dozens of newspeople have been killed each year in war zones, making this a timely subject for fiction. But Henkin places Leo's dramatic death offstage, telling it in sketchy snippets.
Dad just died violently. Mom married the man who might be his killer. And now the dead man's ghost is appearing to his son.
That plot comes from Hamlet, of course, but Slovak director Martin Sulik's Gypsy is not otherwise Shakespearean. There are no soliloquies and little dialogue. The prince is 15 and inarticulate, and his Ophelia is entirely sane. She's about to be exiled from her community for the same reasons that nearly everyone else in this tale is victimized: poverty and prejudice.
Quvenzhane Wallis, the pint-sized African-American star of the wonderfully inventive film Beasts of the Southern Wild, was plucked from a Louisiana elementary school, and she's a find on many levels.
Six years old when the film was in production, Quvenzhane has a halo of wiry hair and enormous black eyes that flash fear and ferocity in quick succession. She's a mini-warrior in proudly flexed biceps and white rubber boots, and when, late in the film, well-wishers tog her up in a girlie dress and braids, she deflates, though not for long.
Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 9:08 am
I encountered what's called "coleslaw" for the first time on the Fourth of July, at a picnic at the home of my graduate school professor. I had come to America from South India for school, and until then, I had no idea what "coleslaw" was.
Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 10:13 pm
I grew up in a house full of poetry and the classics. Slim, gloomy volumes filled the bookshelves and piled up on the tables. My father, Robert Bly, recited anti-war poetry at the supper table; my mother, Carol Bly, preferred lugubrious Russian novelists and would counter with ethical advice gleaned from Turgenev.
America is a nation of fans. And though you might not know it by whichever forgettable pop singers are currently shooting up the Top 40 chart, we're serious about our music. "You can dispute folks' politics or theology and still drink with them," as Anthony Heilbut writes in his entertaining new essay collection, The Fan Who Knew Too Much. "But [tell me], for example ... that Bob Dylan's music is 'worthless' and, well, you're on your own." This is true.