TTest

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Hedge Clipping

Is there a way to get above-market returns on the cheap?<p>In 2000, Harry Kat got a call from a corporate headhunter who asked whether he would be interested in joining a financial firm that invested in hedge funds—a so-called fund of funds. Kat, a forty-three-year-old Dutch economist, had recently …

Save Us

How to handle bad behavior.<p>One Saturday night, Rabbi Blonsky called my father to ask if he would help with the renovation of our local synagogue. “He who contributes to the building of a synagogue is considered to have saved the entire Jewish people,” he said.<p>Rabbi Blonsky (some names have been …

Duped

Can brain scans uncover lies?<p>The most egregious liar I ever knew was someone I never suspected until the day that, suddenly and irrevocably, I did. Twelve years ago, a young man named Stephen Glass began writing for <i>The New Republic</i>, where I was an editor. He quickly established himself as someone …

Promises, Promises

What might the Wall Street Journal become if Rupert Murdoch owned it?<p>March was not the best of months for Richard F. Zannino, the C.E.O. of the Dow Jones Company, which owns the <i>Wall Street Journal</i>. Zannino joined the company six and a half years ago, after a career in the apparel industry, and his …

My Nature Documentary

Bogus nature documentary<p>Show monkey in a tree. Narrator says, “The monkey, proud and smart, in his native habitat. But one thing he does not have . . .” Show a giraffe. “. . . is a long neck, like the giraffe. Which is why nature has allowed them to combine forces.” Show monkey on giraffe’s neck. …

Waugh Stories

Life in a literary dynasty.<p>Alexander Waugh, the grandson of Evelyn, has written a book, “Fathers and Sons” (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday; $27.50), about the father-son relationships—dramas, often, of mutual incomprehension and dismay—in five successive generations of his family. First comes Alexander …

His Dark Materials

Bloodshed among the black bourgeoisie.<p>“An obsession with pigmentation is even now the curse of our race,” says the narrator of Stephen L. Carter’s celebrated first novel, “The Emperor of Ocean Park,” published in 2002. The line could serve as an epigraph for Carter’s new, equally ambitious novel, …

Making The Manny

Filming “The Manny”<p>Last summer, Jay Peterson and Holly Peterson, first cousins and best friends, were sitting on the beach in Southampton when an idea struck. Holly had just turned in a draft of a novel, called “The Manny,” about a rich New York family that hires a muscle-bound male nanny to free …

This Old House

The heart is a lonely menagerie.<p>When it came to decorating her home, my mother was nothing if not practical. She learned early on that children will destroy whatever you put in front of them, so for most of my youth our furniture was chosen for its durability rather than for its beauty. The one …

Apparition in the Woods

Rescuing Sibelius from silence.<p>Composing music may be the loneliest of artistic pursuits. It is a laborious traversal of an imaginary landscape. Emerging from the process is an art work in code, which other musicians must be persuaded to unravel. Nameless terrors creep into the limbo between …

A Bolt from the Blue

Where do sudden intense passions come from?<p>Tony Cicoria was forty-two, very fit and robust, a former college football player who had become a well-regarded orthopedic surgeon in a small city in upstate New York. One afternoon in 1994, he was at a lakeside pavilion for a family gathering. It was …

The Tycoon

The making of Mort Zuckerman.<p>Shortly before turning seventy, last month, Mortimer B. Zuckerman decided that it was time for him finally to take up the task of writing a memoir. He already had in mind a title (“Backstory”) and a first line, “I have never worked a day in my life,” by which he meant …

Shauntrelle

It isn’t just a husband you divorce but a life. A credit rating. Certain friends—sadly, some of them small children. A mother-in-law, that innocent bystander. And sometimes it seemed to Constance that she had divorced her own pronoun, <i>I</i>, and run away with another, <i>she</i>. <i>She</i>, she sometimes thought, of …

Ace of Spades

by David Matthews (Henry Holt; $24)<p>The son of a Zionist white mother and a Malcolm X-admiring black father, Matthews, in this memoir, is a boy without a race in a city, Baltimore, that requires him to choose one. The story of racial pinball is not entirely unfamiliar: the black kids reject him as …

Old and New

“Romeo + Juliet” and “The Sleeping Beauty.”<p>In the nineteen-nineties, Peter Martins produced cool, clipped versions of “The Sleeping Beauty” and “Swan Lake.” With his “Romeo + Juliet,” unveiled last month at New York City Ballet, he has put another famous old piece in his refrigerator. The ballet we …

The House Across the Way

On a quiet island, all hell broke loose.<p>The residents of Cedar Street, a thinly settled road on the island of Grand Manan, would not have considered Ronnie Ross an ideal neighbor even if they hadn’t believed that he was running a crack house. Ross was a slim, sporadically belligerent man in his …

Nature’s Engraver

by Jenny Uglow (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $30)<p>In 1767, when fourteen-year-old Thomas Bewick became an engraver’s apprentice in Newcastle, woodcutting was commonly deemed a crude art that could never rival pricey copperplate in detail. But Bewick perfected the craft with realistic yet whimsical …

Homework

“I can’t do it,” George groaned, and brought his forehead to rest on the block of lined paper in front of him.<p>“Can’t do what?” I asked, looking up from peeling the carrots for the evening meal. I work from home, so I’m around when George gets in from school. He sits at the kitchen table, and I …