Like many people, I long wanted to read, or at least be able to say that I had read, Walter Benjamin, widely acclaimed as one of the geniuses of 20th century literature. But I was daunted by the fact that his most celebrated work, The Arcades Project, is difficult, long and surrounded by dense clouds of academia, mystifying would-be readers in Europe and America.
I became un-daunted, and un-snobbed, when I discovered his Berlin Childhood around 1900.
Movie sets are usually sort of surreal — all that make-believe and artifice wrapped in the mechanics of a high-stakes industry. But this particular set, in the Universal Studios back lot, is even weirder. It was built for Westerns, with an old-timey saloon and hitching posts.
Right now, it's overrun by professional football players dressed up as cowboys or working as crew.
In the world of high-dollar politics, the billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch are famous for their lavish funding of conservative politicians and causes. But there's another Koch brother — William — who is passionate about many things, but only recently about politics.
Bill Koch is an avid yachtsman, and he set out to win the 1992 America's Cup. It would take four boats, more than 260 team members and single-minded determination.
David Rosow was the team's business manager and is a longtime friend of Koch's.