I'm glad you picked up on the sad, eerie lack of Danny Pearl news. (Forgive me if I veer completely around your interesting comments on this whole Michael Finkel business.) It's been said before, but there's something about Pearl that strikes a chord—he looks just like your college roommate. And you can't quite believe your college roommate got himself into this mess. There are three or four guys at the Times who look a lot like him. Every time I see one of them I half want to shout, "I've found him, he's home."
I did love that story about the Algerian officer who wrote under a female pseudonym, and you're dead-on with the V.S. Naipaul comparison. (The last novel I actually did read for pleasure was A House for Mr. Biswas, and there is something wildly Biswasian about the guy in today's story.) Do you think this Algerian is also one of those men, per our discussion yesterday, who dresses up like a woman in order to hang out with the girls in the chic restaurants smoking fruit leaves out of water pipes? (Sorry. I'm still a little obsessed with that image.)
I'm sorry you're not watching the Olympics. I didn't think I'd be hooked—generally, I barely watch sports—but I am. I even get a little teary, always at insanely inappropriate moments. What can I say? I've even picked up some respect for curling, which is basically shuffleboard on ice. (I've always had a fondness for sports that you could drink beer and smoke while playing—thus the horseshoe pit in my lawn—and curling is something I'll have to look into.) My favorite curling moment came a few nights ago, when a CNBC microphone picked up a curler telling his partner he'd made some kind of "sissy" shot. Are there macho shots in curling? I need to read up on this.
I can't resist mentioning today's story about the Pentagon letting Jerry Bruckheimer film a reality TV series about GIs in Afghanistan. (Will there be a lucky soldier who gets to be voted off the island?) I think they should find a way to combine this series with the other truly insane forthcoming reality show I keep reading about, MTV's The Osbournes, about the family life of heavy metal head case Ozzy Osbourne. If my high-school memories of him—oh, to hear "Blizzard of Ozz" one more time in the back seat of someone's black Camaro!—are correct, he may be the only man alive who can find Osama Bin Laden.