Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87


"Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination, for our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable. This, my friends, is the crux of our solitude.”

-Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez has died at age 87

As Professor Crawley would say, “Well, Mr. ______, if you haven’t read “100 Years of Solitude,” go read it!”

And then there’s that old Chinese curse: May your dreams come true. If you could go back to, say, 1994, two decades ago, and if you could have told newspaper publishers that soon they’d be able to produce and distribute a daily newspaper at no cost for newsprint (that’s the paper, not the ink), that they could shut down those huge presses and dispense with troublesome unions once and for all, and that they wouldn’t even need paperboys (or girls) anymore to throw the paper into the neighbor’s bushes—if you could have told them that all these costs were about to plummet to near zero—the publishers would have thought, Now, that sounds like a pretty great deal. I’ll take it. So how has this unexpected gift from God turned into such a disaster for them?
Serious Newspaper Journalism Is Not Over | Vanity Fair
The truth is that any major tax reform will require major simplification, and real simplification will probably incorporate elements of the much-derided flat tax. It’s also clear that most versions of the flat tax—such as Malcolm S. Forbes’s suggestions, in 1996, or Herman Cain’s “9-9-9,” in 2012—have enormous potential for unfairness; for being retrogressive, by hurting the poor more than the rich; for setting off calls for value-added taxes, which might be more retrogressive; and for simply being ploys to grant favors to various interest groups. Furthermore, any flattish tax, even one that incorporates progressive rates and doesn’t wreck beneficial social policies, might mean the end of many, or most, sacrosanct deductions.
A Four-Decade Tax War to Simplify the Tax System : The New Yorker

To name is to own

The latest 99percentinvisible podcast is about product/company naming, and it’s a fascinating look under the hoods of two naming companies in San Francisco. At Burris we do this kind of thing pretty often, and our “system” resembles theirs. Our fees, however, do not. Worth a listen, as are most of these podcasts.

Episode 109: Title TK

This is how we try to stay productive on the morning of Day 1 at the Masters.

We need a public option for internet access because internet access is just like electricity or a road grid. This is something that the private market doesn’t provide left to its own devices. What they’ll do is systematically provide extraordinarily expensive services for the richest people in America, leave out a huge percentage of the population and, in general, try to make their own profits at the expense of social good.
Susan Crawford in an interview with Ezra Klein. Why the government should provide internet access - Vox


“I had scarcely begun when I realized that what I had here at the very least was the Great American Novel. I sent off the first 150 pages to [agent Bernice Baumgarten] and hung around the post office for the next two weeks. At last an answer came. It read as follows: ‘Dear Peter, James Fenimore Cooper wrote this 150 years ago, only he wrote it better, Yours, Bernice.’ On a later occasion, when as a courtesy I sent her the commission on a short story sold in England, she responded unforgettably: ‘Dear Peter, I’m awfully glad you were able to get rid of this story in Europe, as I don’t think we’d have had much luck with it here. Yours, Bernice.’ Both these communications, quoted in their entirety, are burned into my brain forever—doubtless a salutary experience for a brash young writer. I never heard an encouraging word until the day Bernice retired, when she called me in and barked like a Zen master, ‘I’ve been tough on you because you’re very, very good.’ I wanted to sink down and embrace her knees.”

Peter Matthiessen, on his first novel.