Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 11:12 am
The term "string band" tends to conjure up images of rustic simplicity, but Punch Brothers' music is anything but simple. Challenging to play, it offers many subtle pleasures, from strange musical structures to opaque lyrics. (I wouldn't have known that "Movement and Location," from the band's new album Who's Feeling Young Now?, had anything to do with baseball if Chris Thile hadn't explained it to me himself.)
"Difficult" is probably the most tactful word one could use in characterizing Lillian Hellman. If ever there were an author safer to meet through her art rather than in real life, she was the one. Born in New Orleans into a Jewish family, Hellman came of age in the Roaring '20s, liberated by flappers and Freud. Hellman drank like a fish, swore like a sailor and slept around like, well, like most of the men in her literary circle, chief among them Dashiell Hammett, with whom she had an open relationship spanning three decades. She was, recalled one observer, a "tough broad ...
Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 10:39 am
More than 90 years ago, on April 29, 1922, Jean-Baptiste "Toots" Thielemans was born in Brussels. An organization formed to celebrate his landmark birthday, TOOTS90 is presenting a series of eight concerts, featuring Thielemans' quartet and special guests Kenny Werner on piano and Oscar Castro-Neves and Philip Catherine on guitar. All take place in Belgium, tracing a route from Antwerp to Gent, Brussels, Hasselt, Brugge, Liège and Dinant.
There's no innate language organ or module in the human brain dedicated to the production of grammatical language.
There are no meaningful human universals when it comes to how people construct sentences to communicate with each other. Across the languages of the world (estimated to number 6,000-8,000), nouns, verbs, and objects are arranged in sentences in different ways as people express their thoughts. The powerful force behind this variability is culture.
Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 11:25 am
Publius Paquius Proculus, they say, invented pizza almost 2,000 years ago. I don't think he did, and anyway, that's not the coolest thing about Proculus, a very successful baker and sometime politician, who was living in Pompeii the day Mt. Vesuvius erupted. He, his house and his family were buried. Then, centuries later, when archeologists unearthed his home they discovered a message, etched onto one of his household walls. It looked like this:
While conceding that "I failed" because some of his News Corp. tabloids in the U.K. were guilty of hacking into the phones of murder victims, celebrities and politicians, media mogul Rupert Murdoch also testified today that lower-level executives were the ones behind a "cover-up" that kept him from knowing about what had happened.