bobby fischer, nutcase

Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer on 9/11: “This is all wonderful news. It is time to finish off the US once and for all. I was happy and could not believe what was happening. All the crimes the US has committed in the world. This just shows, what goes around comes around, even to the US. I applaud the act. The US and Israel have been slaughtering the Palestinians for years. Now it is coming back at the US.”
To think this guy was once considered an American hero nonpareil. Too bad he ended up being such a raging nutcase.


For those of us who wondered about Dean Kamen‘s “It” (a.k.a. Ginger), the mystery machine that created two tons of hype earlier this year: “It”‘s what everyone expected, a scooter. A kick-ass scooter, but a scooter nonetheless. “Kamen said the two-wheeled scooterlike vehicle [now called the Segway HT] is ‘like a pair of magic sneakers’ because the passenger moves by thinking forward or backward — as if walking — without falling. ‘It does what a human does — it has gyros and sensors that act like your inner ear; it has a computer that does what your brain does for you. It’s got motors that do what your muscles do for you. It’s got those tires that do what your feet do for you.'”
Congrats to Time, who had the scoop yesterday. “Developed at a cost of more than $100 million, Kamen’s vehicle is a complex bundle of hardware and software that mimics the human body’s ability to maintain its balance. Not only does it have no brakes, it also has no engine, no throttle, no gearshift and no steering wheel. And it can carry the average rider for a full day, nonstop, on only five cents’ worth of electricity.”
Check out the videos on the site; the maneuverability seems extremely impressive. If I had $3,000 lying around collecting dust, I might scoop one up. But um, I don’t.


Back in Dallas, after a great time in Boston. I’ll post more boring stuff about the speakers tomorrow, don’t worry.
In the meantime, my Japan story on the educational reforms is finally running in Monday’s paper (front page, I hope/think, barring big breaking news).
P.S. Before I left Boston, Fiona said indignantly, “So what, I just get a little tiny mention in your blog? Is that all I’m worth, one little mention?” So, to salve your wounded spirit: Fiona Fiona Fiona Fiona. Fiona? Fiona! Fiona. (Important note: Fiona has just informed me via telephone that the quotation above is in fact merely a paraphrasing of what she said, and not a literal quotation. [She was very upset by this and said this between sobs and angry wails of “Why me? Why me?”] I hereby retract the literal quotation, although its spirit remains true to the fact.)

late nighte update in boston

Not much time to update, but today was pretty damned amazing. The sessions at today’s conference were with, in turn, Gay Talese, Rick Bragg, Jon Franklin, Tom French, and Ira Glass. As a journalism geek, those names probably mean a lot more to me than to most of you, so I’ll introduce them: (1) the man who basically invented modern magazine journalism, the man who wrote “Frank Sinatra Has A Cold,” maybe the best piece of narrative journalism ever, and a Joe DiMaggio piece that was not long ago called the greatest piece of sports journalism written in the last century, (2) New York Times correspondent, Pulitzer winner, best selling author (and, as Kim knows, someone I have a few problems with, but a very talented writer nonetheless), (3) two-time Pulitzer winner, the man who perfected the adaptation of the three-act structure of film to narrative writing, (4) a terrific writer of serial narratives from the St. Petersburg Times, a Pulitzer winner, and a great, great, great writer, and (5) the host and majordomo of This American Life, a genius at turning the lives of everyday people into beautiful drama.
That’s quite a lineup. They were collectively amazing — there are things I might nitpick with each, but they were terrific. Ira and Tom were particularly amazing, but they all had their strengths. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, the last day of this conference.
Important side note: Does anyone out there read W, the fashion magazine? I’m not sure how much the W demographic and the demographic overlap, but I’ve been told that in the current issue (with Rene Zellweger (sp?) on the cover), my college roommate is listed as one of 10 people “to watch” in the future of Hollywood and/or America. I can’t find the magazine here in Boston, but I’d like to see it if someone out there reads it. (This roommate is now an agent in L.A. I lived with him for three years, years marked primarily by the fact that any girl I was interested in would invariably be more interested him than in me. Tom’s handsome, well dressed, charming, and — get this — French. I had no chance. If anybody has the article, I’d love to see it.)
More to come later.