February 19, 2014 |
Like a lot of writers, I'm well-versed in the art of procrastination. In fact, it often feels like it's getting worse. We live in a culture of constant distraction, of tweets and Facebook status updates, of ephemera as news. With all the data (trivia?) pouring in across the virtual transom, it's a wonder that I, that anyone, can get anything done. At the same time, I want to tell you, procrastination is an important aspect of the writing process - and not just for me. How else to explain the frequency with which Megan McCardle's recent post in the Atlantic, “Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators,” has shown up in my Facebook and Twitter feeds?
February 16, 2014 |
The 10th birthday of Facebook last week caused me to recall my miserable pre-Facebook existence, when methods of procrastination were sorely limited. As a stay-at-home writer, phone calls were unruly and hard to control. What if the other person wanted to tell a long story? What if she wanted me to really pay attention? I could have a bit of contact with the outside world by scanning the newspaper or listening to the radio. But for me the switch in media was too jarring and tended to trigger frantic snacking, which often led to napping.
February 12, 2014 |
The debate over the Keystone XL pipeline may look like just another example of the partisan divide on Capitol Hill. If only it were that easy. President Obama's dilemma over whether to approve the 1,600-mile pipeline, which would move oil from Canada to Texas, has more to do with disagreements within the Democratic Party, and with foreign relations. Environmentalists, including some of the Democrats' biggest donors, have seized on Keystone as a test of Obama's commitment to halting global warming.
April 21, 2013 |
Before he started his latest book, Demetri Martin got a really nice pen. It wasn't a regular pen, he said, but "a really fancy pen to do the drawings," Martin, the stand-up comedian, writer and actor, said Sunday afternoon at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books . "I bought like 40 different little nibs," lots of special ink and a wide variety of paper, Martin said. "That was probably two or three weeks, I spent $500 to $600.... I was just procrastinating. " FULL COVERAGE: FESTIVAL OF BOOKS But "it doesn't look any different after all that," he lamented.
December 20, 2012 |
The swamped malls, crowded parking lots and frantic delivery companies say it all: Christmas crunch time is here for the two-thirds of Americans who still haven't finished their holiday shopping. That's 132 million people trying to figure out last-minute gifts, according to a holiday poll conducted by Consumer Reports from Dec. 10 to 17. Of the respondents, 14% have yet to start shopping. And 17 million people - 9% of the total - will still be scrambling on Christmas Eve. So far, the average American has spent $340 on presents.
May 15, 2012
Now that most states have received or applied for relief from the No Child Left Behind Act, California is submitting its own proposal . And in true California fashion, it's - different. The state has long been at odds with the U.S. Education Department over the waiver process. Both sides agree that the federal law is flawed to the point of being counterproductive. But California won't agree to do what other states have promised to get out from under the law's most punitive measures: include standardized test scores as a significant component in the performance evaluations of individual teachers.