May 13, 2012 |
I REMEMBER WHEN President Obama went on what some conservatives (including this one) called the "apology tour. "It was shortly after he took office three years ago, and provided his critics with a lot of snarky material. Karl Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal that "A superstar, not a statesman, today leads our country. " He was referring to the fact that foreign audiences loved the image of an American president distributing mea culpas for what the vast majority of his compatriots viewed as making the world a safer and more-prosperous place.
February 16, 2005
THIS IS the time of year when millions of men eagerly await the arrival on newsstands of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Indeed, SI sells more of this issue at newsstands than any other issue by far. The nightly news will have features on which model made the cover. ESPN will bring us the making of the SI Swimsuit issue. And what is causing all of this commotion? Pretty girls, in bathing suits. SI is selling tap water and millions of men are buying it. Think about it - you can see these same models dressed in less in a Victoria's Secret catalogue, for free.
November 2, 2003 |
During much of the 19th century, many in the western world were obsessed with the idea of finding a path through the Arctic Ocean to the North Pole. "The men that sought the Pole were neither saints nor supermen, but ordinary creatures subject to human strengths and frailties . . . [and] remarkably passionate," writes Canadian historian Pierre Berton in his book The Arctic Grail. One man who fits that definition is Isaac I. Hayes, a physician from Chester County. In July 1860, Hayes sailed north in command of an Arctic expedition in search of the legendary Open Polar Sea, according to Berton.
April 22, 2001 |
For 11 years, Robin Heller has drawn what is arguably the world's only Eskimo comic strip. Mukluk and Honisukle, which chronicles the adventures of an Eskimo couple, their son Tobi and dog Hood and a handful of Alaskan neighbors, runs in about 25 newspapers, primarily in the 49th state and Canada. Heller, however, lives thousands of miles away from the tundra he animates using only black felt-tip pens and his vivid imagination. The 55-year-old artist is a resident of Perkasie.
January 20, 2000 |
Ignoring minus-40-degree wind chill, a dozen villagers knelt over narrow holes cut through five feet of ice, and prepared to harvest a meal from the frigid waters below. Within an hour, using only wooden sticks, 10-foot lines and basic lures, the group had jigged more than 250 smelt from the Unalakleet River. Not one fish measured longer than a foot, but the effort showed that even in the dead of winter, this harsh, subarctic region is teeming with life, both wild and human. About 800 people live in Unalakleet - and the U.S. government is coming to count them.
June 11, 1997 |
A small, freckle-faced boy was standing inside Christian Nelson's store in Onawa, Iowa, taking his sweet time deciding between an ice cream sandwich and a chocolate bar. Frustrated, Nelson tried to slap a scoop of ice cream between two sugar wafers. He missed, and the ice cream splashed into a vat of simmering chocolate. He quickly rescued the scoop of vanilla from its syrupy bath and saw that some of the chocolate had hardened on the ice cream. "Can't make up your mind what you want?"
March 14, 1995 |
When archaeologists dug up the 800-year-old body of a tiny Eskimo girl last year, they needed an autopsy to figure out why she had died. It was a perfect case for pathologist Michael Zimmerman, a sort of Quincy for mummies. After months of puzzling over misleading clues, Zimmerman, who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, says he discovered that a rare illness killed the girl, whose body remained frozen near Alaska's desolate northern coast. When erosion exposed the body last year, its skin, hair and face were remarkably well preserved.
July 25, 1994 |
A string of 16 one-pound lead weights hung from Robert Okpeaha's left ear as he skuttled around the Big Dipper Arena. Hunched over, his hands folded behind his back, Okpeaha circled the floor once, twice, then five times. His head trembled from the weight. The crowd screamed encouragement. Finally, after Okpeaha had gone 1,241 feet - six times farther than any other contestant - the string of weights slipped off his ear and hit the floor with a thud. The spectators roared their approval.
December 12, 1993 |
Late on Thursday afternoon, two old men named Hank and Jerry were having their customary sit on a bench on the boardwalk in Ventnor, N.J., when they encountered something unexpected. In the fading light of a beautiful late-fall day, a very tall and very skinny man, dressed in the style of an astronaut and carrying something over his head, passed before the two men. "Is that a boat?" Hank asked. "No," said the tall and skinny man, who was wearing two hats and whose name was Steve Burkardt.
January 13, 1991 |
For hundreds of years the Inuit people, early inhabitants of arctic Quebec, have seen visions in soapstone. Slick young seals playing in the water, a large, long-tusked walrus tilting back on its rear, polar bears at rest and on the attack, Eskimo men and women ice fishing, a beaver on a rock, spiral-tusked narwhals, giant owls and other birds of prey. It is the size and form of raggy soapstone blocks, found in the many quarries surrounding their settlements, that shape those visions, according to Inuit culture.