Friday, September 19, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
On a similar front, do you ever wonder how you can verify the accuracy of what you read, see or hear in political ads or on blog and internet sites? Simply go to FactCheck.org, a service of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, to get a non-biased assessment.
Annenberg Political Fact Check, under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania, is a service of the Annenberg Public Policy Center which was established by philanthropist Walter Annenberg in 1994. As their mission states, "We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding."
Monday, September 15, 2008
The literary world is saddened and reeling from the news of David Foster Wallace's suicide this past weekend in Claremont, California, at the young age of 46. Numerous tributes to this noteworthy American author may be read on the internet and online newspapers such as The Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.
The New York Times' article notes, "A prose magician, Mr. Wallace was capable of writing — in his fiction and nonfiction — about subjects from tennis to politics to lobsters, from the horrors of drug withdrawal to the small terrors of life aboard a luxury cruise ship, with humor and fervor and verve." "He could map the infinite and infinitesimal, the mythic and mundane." Today's New York Times' obituary adds that "Mr. Wallace was a maximalist, exhibiting in his work a huge, even manic curiosity — about the physical world, about the much larger universe of human feelings and about the complexity of living in America at the end of the 20th century."
Bernardsville Public Library has several collections of his writing available including Oblivion: Stories as well as Consider the Lobster, and Other Essays. Perhaps these books might interest you.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I just read Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip - Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by “The Waiter,” who also authored a notorious blog chronicling his life as a NYC server and restaurant manager. Ouch, there’s not much love here for the majority of his clientele unless they tow the line or charm him in some way. The entire book is written from his perspective, so you are duly warned about bad customer behavior, how much you SHOULD tip, when NOT to eat out (certain holidays must be avoided at all costs), etc. All this makes clear why you really don’t want to become a waiter or restaurant owner yourself. I’m down with that!
On the other hand, there is very little concern for the customer’s point of view unless he/she happens to be a well-tipping regular. It seems the primary purpose of a waiter’s evening shift is to survive it without blowing an artery in rage, burning an arm on sizzling platters or putting up with atrocious hazing and insults from fellow servers and kitchen staff. It also helps to maintain a Zen-like calm in the face of customer rudeness while hoping to come out of it with enough tip money to cover the bills. Whew! In his defense, the behavior of many of his customers (wealthy and full-of-themselves types) is to be despised. There are enough hair-raising, shocking stories to entertain the reader for the few hours that it takes to breeze through the book, and you will come out the other end with a heightened sense of the typical waiter’s daily grind. A little courtesy on both sides should make for a pleasant dining experience…if you’re lucky.