"My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends," wrote Christopher Hitchens in June before his death Friday from complications of esophageal cancer at the age of 62.
Yale University announced this month that it would close an institute dedicated to the study of anti-Semitism, the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism. In the wake of controversy over that decision, Yale has now announced that it will open a new center dedicated to the same subject.
Many moons ago, in one of the more memorable sports movies of all time, Rocky Balboa was warned by his crusty trainer to lay off the ladies if he wanted to win his big bout with Apollo Creed. "Women weaken legs!" hissed the venerable Mickey, who was played by the marvelously wizened Burgess Meredith.
Mir Hossein Moussavi, whose apparent defeat in Iran's presidential election has sparked unprecedented demonstrations against the regime, is an unlikely challenger to the country's populist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In Salman Rushdie's new novel, "The Enchantress of Florence," the exasperated Mughal emperor Akbar the Great agrees to let a mysterious Florentine adventurer, Mogor dell'Amore, finish a tale. But as the troublesome Mogor prepares to continue, Akbar says with a touch of venom: "A curse on all storytellers. And a pox on your children, too."
Rick Cranford of Seattle is my E-mailer of the Week for sending me back to my tape for something I'd originally overlooked. Rick points out that on the play that Ricky Williams was injured Monday night, OLB Lawrence Timmons, subbing for Clark Haggans, came down on Williams' back with his cleated shoe. He said it looked deliberate. He was surprised that neither the announcing crew nor Sports Illustrated's game notes made any mention of the play.
It was reported this week that the Dutch government are to withdraw their round-the-clock protection for Ayaan Hirsi Ali -- the former Dutch MP and outspoken critic of Islam -- if she remains in the United States. It is the latest in a long line of controversies that have punctuated the life of the Somali-born activist.
British author Salman Rushdie on Thursday called for a reform movement that would move Islam into the "modern age" to combat jihadists and closed Muslim communities in the West that produce disaffected youths wielding "lethal rucksacks."