It’s hard to know when changes are happening

Things have been slow at work this week so I've had plenty of time to add articles to my reading list (current Readability queue: 98 and counting, which is both tragic and hopeful and therefore an encapsulation of The Age). Some recent saves:

2013: The Year the Stream Crested "Stand on this rock in the stream." Also: robots. p.s. save yourself now.

Why Our Online Persona Is Needier Than Our Real One Do I crave validation via some pathetic self-perpetuating rats' nest of interlocking social media crutches? Probably.

Kenny Mellman Treats Himself to Double-Dipped Roast Beef Sandwiches The natural habitué of the Grub Street Diet is a name-dropping, trend-chasing food lunatic, but they occasionally cough up a charmer. All in for coffee addictions and pinball leagues.

The Thought Leader Few writers get lefties and thinkers worked up on Twitter like David Brooks, and when enough of them pen outraged diatribes in response to one of his columns, I feel honor bound to see what the fuck is going on. Once again I fail to summon sufficient outrage of my own (who expects David Brooks to make sense?), but I always appreciate a free ticket to the circus.

On the other hand, Ross Douthat's Book Club: do join.

Waxing Extravagant I am absolutely one of these horrible people I hate so very much.

Slouching Toward Neck Trouble Did you know Nora Ephron and Joan Didion were longtime friends? Here's Heather Havrilesky on the difference between their writing (and life) styles: "When life gave Ephron lemons, in other words, she made a giant vat of really good vodka-spiked lemonade and invited all of her friends and her friends' friends over to share it, and gossip, and play charades. Whereas when life gave Joan Didion lemons, she stared at them for several months, and then crafted a haunting bit of prose about the lemon and orange groves that were razed and paved over to make Hollywood, in all of its sooty wretchedness—which is precisely what this mixed-up world does to everything that's fresh and young and full of promise." I'm on Nora's side, obviously. Do you know if Joan Didion ever laughs? I would like to see some evidence.

Lenny! by Robert Gottlieb I'll read anything that comes with an exclamation point, which should surprise no one.

'Splat!': The Oral History of Sex and the City's Most Shocking Episode True confession: I watch this episode maybe once a month, usually on sad Sundays. It's everything I loved about the show at its best, as the characters got older and life got harder and everybody started playing for keeps. Plus it ends with a sleigh ride in the snow in Central Park with Mikhail Baryshnikov, which just might be at the top of one of my many stupid fantasy lists.

Die Hard works because it's only Christmas-adjacent "Rain, shine, snow, sleet, birthdays, Halloweens, Tuesdays: Any day is a good day to watch Die Hard." Amen, brother.

Deep Inside Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Taco There's an enormous picture of a taco right at the top of the page.

Cormac McCarthy's Three Punctuation Rules, and How They All Go Back to James Joyce The headline functions as a sort of literary cliffhanger, so I'm saving this for Christmas.

Snowden and Greenwald: The Men Who Leaked the Secrets Ditto!

How to Take Good Photos for Under $1,000 One way or another I see this one costing me some hard-earned clams, followed by tears, regret, and ennui. The stuff true gifts are made of.

And finally: Postscript: Peter O'Toole. This is a gem: "And that voice! By what miracle of instinct did Lean manage to cast a man who sounded, even before he reached the desert, as though his words had been naturally sanded? He could strike his consonants hard, as Laurence Olivier did, but with less of a cluck, and that soft, rasping croon of his, when he chose to deploy it, had the ominous effect of making you want to stop the action and offer him a drink. This may be sheer coincidence, but one thing that bound O’Toole to the pack that he ran with, in his lurid years, was that all of them—Richard Burton, Richard Harris, and Oliver Reed—had speaking tones so rich and nectared that the rest of us could get drunk on them as they poured into our ears. What drove the hell-raisers, heaven knows; were they wasting talent, drowning sorrow, making hay, or raising their glasses as a complaint against the world for not being a fraction as beautiful as their words would have it be?"