Review: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker My rating: 4 of 5 stars Steven Pinker’s core argument is compelling and important. Contrary to the nearly universal assumption that things have never been worse, human society is actually becoming less violent. As horrifically as the wars and genocides of the […]

Review: What’s the Matter with White People? Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was

What?s the Matter with White People? Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was by Joan Walsh My rating: 5 of 5 stars A resonant and highly readable political memoir that attempts to unlock some of the most stubborn mysteries of modern politics, including why false promises work so well, without falling back […]

Review: The Flirt

The Flirt by Booth Tarkington My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Flirt, like so many Tarkington stories, is first of all an exercise in gentleness. Tarkington loved his characters to a fault. To his heroes and heroines he showed gentle affection, to his comic relief gentle condescension, and to his villains gentle contempt. All […]

My Life With Apple

The first computer I ever seriously used was an Apple II plus. It was also the first computer (other than the typesetters) acquired by the little weekly newspaper where I worked in Santa Barbara, CA. We agonized a bit between the Apple and the first-generation IBM PC. But a comparably equipped Apple was a bit […]

Woody Allen’s Lifestyles of the Rich

Saw Midnight in Paris last night. (The next youngest person in the theater was probably three times my daughter’s age, at least.) It was a good one — Owen Wilson did a creditable job as Woody Allen’s mouthpiece, and the modernist name dropping worked well. But more than anything the movie, especially the present-day sequences, […]