Tuesday, March 13

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Austin, We Have a Problem

A report from Austin, Texas as it turns into a dot-com hotspot.

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Report on Texas Tower Shooting

The noon chimes in the bell-clock tower rising above him to the building's 307-foot pinnacle sounded: pom-pom-pom-pom . . . 16 notes, high and sweet. Some say the chimes say a poem: "Lord, through this hour "Be Thou my guide, "For in Thy power "I do confide." After the chimes, there is a long pause -- 23 seconds if you hold a wristwatch on it -- time enough for a practiced man to reload three rifles and a shotgun.

“Doc” Quigg’s wire report on the 1966 Texas Tower shooting on the campus of UT-Austin.

Monday, March 12

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Disarming Viktor Bout

A profile of the world’s most notorious weapons trafficker.

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Graduation Day

The 2011 Tohoku Japan earthquake and tsunami, as experienced by eight schoolchildren.

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Buy the Right Thing

On a press junket in Ecuador, the author investigates the ethics of shopping.

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Smooth Moves

The unlikely story of Spanx.

Sunday, March 11

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Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto

The beginnings of the best-selling video game, from a chapter of David Kushner’s new book on the subject.

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Honor Thy Father

Lance Butterfield was the captain of the football team, had a 4.0 GPA and a girl he loved. It wasn’t enough for his dad. And then his dad became too much for him.
Part of our guide to Skip Hollandsworth's true crime writing at Slate.

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The Life

Interviews with modern travelling salesmen. The article inspired Kirn’s novel Up in the Air.

What makes this a truly military culture, besides its overwhelming maleness, its air of emotional deprivation and the lousy rations, is its obsession with rank and hierarchy. Like jungle gorillas, business travelers always know where they stand versus the rest of the group. In this parallel universe of upgrade vouchers and priority-boarding privileges, everyone has a number and a position, and who gets that open aisle seat in first class means even more on the road then who earns what.

Saturday, March 10

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Radiohead's Runaway Guitarist

On Jonny Greenwood:

Greenwood is an anomaly: a musician who made his name with a rock band and who is now embraced by the modern-music establishment as an actual, serious composer. The night before the Alvernia session, he was onstage in an aircraft-hangar-size room at a steel plant in Krakow, performing the minimalist composer Steve Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint” for an audience that included Reich himself, as part of a weeklong new-music festival, Sacrum Profanum. (Reich is a fan; he praises Greenwood’s decision to have the string section play with guitar picks on “Popcorn Superhet” as “the first new approach to pizzicato since Bartok.”) He wasn’t the only performer at Sacrum Profanum with pop-music credentials — the bill also included the techno provocateur Aphex Twin and Adrian Utley, from the trip-hop band Portishead. But he was the only guy from a superfamous rock band whose singer has appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone.

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On the Market

An essay on working at Sotheby’s.

Art pricing is not absolute magic; there are certain rules, which to an outsider can sound parodic. Paintings with red in them usually sell for more than paintings without red in them. Warhol’s women are worth more, on average, than Warhol’s men. The reason for this is a rhetorical question, asked in a smooth continental accent: “Who would want the face of some man on their wall?”