For years, Jherek Bischoff has played in indie-rock bands, including Amanda Palmer's Grand Theft Orchestra. But on his new album, Composed, he found himself moving away from a rock sound and writing his own orchestral arrangements.
Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 12:27 pm
The person behind the elaborate online hoax in which a fake website and Twitter feed falsely proclaimed Pastor Joel Osteen's intent to renounce Christianity and shut down his influential Houston ministry says that his goal wasn't to attack Osteen personally.
"I would like to state unequivocally my intent was not to defame Mr. Osteen," the person behind the hoax wrote in an email, adding that "he seems like an infectiously nice and genial character."
Mental is madder than madcap. I heard one critic sniff, "It's kind of broad" — and, Your Honor, the defense agrees! But if broad means "unsubtle," it doesn't have to mean "unreal." Mental makes most other movies seem boringly, misleadingly sane.
Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 11:24 am
An audio recording has surfaced of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and some of his campaign aides seeming to discuss whether they would use actress Ashley Judd's past bouts with depression against her if she challenged McConnell in 2014.
Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 11:05 am
The culling of candidates in the run-up to Pakistan's May 11 election is providing the country some badly needed levity.
The "Pakistani Inquisition," as it's been dubbed, has election commission officials grilling office-seekers on their Islamic bona fides.
Many have stumbled badly, only to be disqualified.
But not Mussarat Shaheen, who performed impeccably. The former dancer — fabled for her Pushto films — was asked by an official in the city of Dera Ismail Khan to recite a verse of the Holy Quran, to test her mettle as a candidate for the National Assembly.
Beer lovers might be alarmed to hear that beer can pick up small amounts of arsenic as it's filtered to be sparkly clear.
But researchers in Germany reported Sunday that they've found arsenic in hundreds of samples of beer, some at levels more than twice that allowed in drinking water.
When we checked in with experts about arsenic and the filtering process, which is also widely used in the wine industry, they weren't too surprised. That's because the filtering agent in question, diatomaceous earth, is a mined natural product that contains iron and other metals.
Brian Kimberling's debut novel, Snapper, is a lovely, loose-limbed collection of stories about an aimless ornithologist named Nate, who as the book opens is possessed of a glitter-covered pickup truck and a massive (somewhat requited) crush on redheaded dream girl Lola. Nate and his friends wander toward marriage and maturity over the course of 13 linked stories — encountering angry snapping turtles, bald eagles and mystic mechanics along the way.
Meg Wolitzer's fat, talky new novel begins in 1974 at an arts camp in the Berkshires where six teenagers sit around in a teepee smoking pot and discussing Gunter Grass. Yes, Gunter Grass, which gives you an idea of the kind of kids Wolitzer is writing about: smart, privileged, pretentious.
Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 11:50 am
My earliest memory of code switching is at Pizza Hut, back when Pizza Huts were sit-down restaurants with salad bars and garlic bread. (Like any daughter of immigrants, most of my memories involve food.) My mom and dad would speak with the waiters in English, ordering our pan-crust pizzas and Pepsi products, but we used Mandarin at the table. Our Mandarin was our secret code.