Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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Before it moved to The New Yorker:
Ask the Librarians

Best of Emdashes: Hit Parade
A Web Comic: The Wavy Rule


Best of the 12.15.08 Issue: Inefficient Gift-Delivery System

Filed under: Pick of the Issue   Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

At least, that’s what the cover says to me! Jonathan Taylor praised the “delightfully Arno-esque cover,” adding that “the whip makes it extra saucy!” He’s got a point there; I had not contemplated this aspect.

The artist, Marcellus Hall, was also the musical force behind Railroad Jerk, whose “Sweet Librarian” made it onto many of my mixes during those years when Napster was big. I saw Hall play a ditty at a book event held at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater last February.

Jonathan and I also agreed about the issue’s pick: Quoth JT: “On a friend’s advice, I turned first to Roger Rosenblatt’s restrained piece on moving in with his son-in-law after the unexpected death of his 38-year-old daughter—a meditation on life more than on death, particularly as seen by being more part of his grandchildren’s lives than he otherwise would have been.” O discriminating friend! Rosenblatt’s “Making Toast” is surely a minor masterpiece. If nothing else, it can claim a feat that few other works can: augmenting the oeuvre of James Joyce. (You’ll have to read it to get that; subscription req’d.)

Jonathan liked the Zachary Kanin’s Grim Reaper cartoon on p. 68, which had no difficulty eliciting a chortle out of me.


I wasn’t crazy about Rosenblatt’s piece; it was well-done, but less affecting for the — no other way to say it — unaffected. Still, one sentence blew me away: “His first day of kindergarten, when the children were asked to draw pictures of their families, Sam’s drawing included Amy lying dead on the floor.”

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2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree