Flashbacks: A pen with the “genetic essence” of Abe Lincoln, eloquent words for a Red Sox legend, and Daniel Pearl on earthquake etiquette

5 years ago
April 11, 2003 | Camille Dodero looked at how city surfaces were providing "a canvas for public expression" concerning the Iraq War

“In the cavernous front lobby of Simmons College’s Main College Building, there’s a bathroom-graffiti-style debate unfurling on a long scroll of white paper. But this isn’t your typical girls’-school catfight — it’s a communal deliberation about the war, thrashed out in colored-pencil curlicues, fluorescent hues, and affixed appendages: a casualty list; a pencil-squiggled AMERICAN DEATH DOESN’T COUNT IN THE PERSIAN GULF;...BUSH + DICK = FUCKED crayoned in crimson. One contributor spits at all local dissenters: OUR SOLDIERS ARE OVER THERE SO YOUR YUPPY ASS CAN HAVE THE FREEDOM TO SPEAK OUT. THE GOAL IS TO GIVE THE IRAQIS THAT SAME RIGHT. IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE US, GET THE FUCK OUT. To which another has politely responded, YOUR IGNORANCE SHOWS THAT YOU ONLY GET INFORMATION FROM THE MEDIA. On the portion of the paper that’s unrolled onto the floor, there’s the slogan DYKES FOR PEACE…OUR BUSHES ARE SMARTER! accompanied by a graphic sketch. An arrow points back, CAN YOU PLEASE NOT BRING YOUR SEXUALITY INTO EVERY ISSUE?” Read Full Article


10 years ago
April 10, 1998 | Tom Scocca talked to The Krone Company of Illinois, who had just unveiled a new product — a fountain pen containing the “genetic essence” of Abraham Lincoln.

“Mercifully, Krone president Robert Kronenberger explains that the essence in question comes not from, say, the gory upholstery at Ford’s Theater, but from a sample of the 16th president’s hair — obtained, Kronenberger says, from a Connecticut archive holding ‘the largest hair collection in the world.’ Lincoln’s DNA, he continues, has been extracted from the sample and copied through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification. ‘It is an exact copy of his DNA in every pen,’ Kronenberger says.
“Being submicroscopic, the DNA isn’t much to look at...Kronenberger says it’s been mixed in with tiny glass beads, so that the pen owner can at least see something glimmering in the depths of the amethyst. For that tenuous glimpse of history, Krone is charging $1650..., which gets you—along with one of the 1008 Lincoln pens being made—...and a leather-bound, 50-page book that explains how the pen was made and tells ‘unknown facts about Lincoln and his use of the pen,’ Kronenberger says. ‘Not this pen,’ he adds, ‘but the pen generically speaking.’ ”


20 years ago
April 8, 1988 Daniel Pearl gave out advice to readers should Boston ever be hit by an earthquake.

“Don’t talk about the earthquake while it is in progress. The topic will be discussed ad nauseum for the next two days, rest assured. Besides, it’s tough to say something quotable during a quake. The best lines (‘It’s the end — Krakatoa, Samoa, Vesuvias, Formosa, San Francisco — this is death’) have been taken, and the worst (‘Keverian must have slipped on the State House stairs’) will become stale quickly...All in all, it’s better to talk about something else. Point to your newspaper and say, ‘Look, there was another apartment fire last night.’ ”


25 years ago
April 12, 1983 | Michael Gee profiled Red Sox great Ted Williams and his enduring legend.

“To a remarkable extent, Ted Williams has spent his life doing things he wanted to do, when and how he wanted. In the weak, that kind of blessing produces self-indulgence long before it produces achievement. Even in the strongest personality, pure will has a dark side, a side Williams indulged time and again. But will produces light as well, sometimes in surprising quantities and places. The Jimmy Fund exists and prospers today largely because of the efforts of Ted Williams. He didn’t just raise money, either — he sat and talked with kids who were dying, time after time. He did it, and he didn’t want anyone to know, and damned few people knew. Those were his terms, and he got them. This unqualified good sprang from the same will that produced tantrums, curses, and occasional contempt for the public...Williams gave vent to his darkest impulses as forthrightly as he did his brighter ones. And that, in the end, is why people were attracted to the show Ted Williams put on day after day for two decades as a ballplayer. The spectacle of someone forcing his own terms on the world around him is rarer by far than the sight of a home run.”

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