Ramones, Zoophagy, Don DeLillo, Epigenetics, Bank Robbery

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Curse Of The Ramones

Mikal Gilmore | Rolling Stone | 19th May 2016

Onstage the Ramones were brothers. Offstage they were angry and abused kids. Joey played good cop, Johnny played bad cop. Tommy was the token adult. Dee Dee was “the complex and addled essential spirit at the center of the Ramones’ brilliant and damaged story”. Joey and Johnny barely spoke after Johnny married Joey’s girlfriend. Through the dressing-room wall “you’d hear glass shattering and bodies slamming into walls”. They never had a hit. They “changed the world, and then died” (7,800 words)

Me And My Monkeys

Edward White | Paris Review | 19th May 2016

A pen-pal of Charles Darwin, Frank Buckland kept a “vast, unruly menagerie” in his London townhouse, where his children used corpses of crocodiles as hobby-horses and “learned to distinguish between types of animal urine by taste alone”. His twin passions were for saving exotic animals, and eating them. A Buckland banquet might include “Chinese sheep, wild boar from Germany, kangaroo, Syrian pig, curassow, long-eared rabbit, pintail duck, and salted mullet eggs from the bay of Naples”

Science, Religion And Zero K

Scott Esposito | Critical Reading | 22nd May 2016

At last, a critic makes Don DeLillo’s Zero K sound interesting. The book explores the frontier between science and religion. In matters of life we expect science to answer our questions and solve our problems. But science cannot help us much in matters of death. In death we veer back to religion. Setting Zero K in a cult-run cryogenics plant may seem wacky, but it goes straight to the point. Will science crush religion by offering eternal life — or will science become religion by doing so? (860 words)

Epigenetics Has Become Dangerously Fashionable

Brian Boutwell & J.C. Barnes | Nautilus | 17th May 2016

Genes provide the information needed to build and run biological machinery — such as the human body. But you can’t have genes firing at random, any more than you can write by hitting typewriter keys at random. Biological and environmental factors regulate how genes act. Epigenetics is the study of this regulation. Scientists used to think that genes decided everything; now they talk as though epigenetics does. They don’t know for sure because the biology is too difficult (1,320 words)

The Last Ride Of Cowboy Bob

Skip Hollandsworth | Texas Monthly | 1st November 2005

Peggy Jo Tallas lived with her ailing mother in a Dallas apartment and drove a delivery van. She was a “classic good-hearted Texas woman” — except for the days when she dressed as a cowboy and robbed banks. Her false beard fooled police for years. Law enforcement officials studying surveillance tapes “had no idea they were chasing a woman”. She knew how to get in and out of a bank in sixty seconds. “She was very skilled and very efficient, as good as any man I’ve ever come across” (8,600 words)

Video of the day: Turpan Yuanyang Xiapu

What to expect:

National Geographic documentary about irrigation and farming in China’s western deserts (7’30”)

Thought for the day

Magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten
Terry Pratchett

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