This Simpsons producer is dying, so he’s using the rest of his life (and money) to save animals. What are you doing?

Did you know that Taxi and The Simpsons owe much of their success to a hardcore animal welfare advocate and philanthropist? Until I read this article from yesterday’s Washington Post, I didn’t. But now I think this man’s story is pretty remarkable, and his generosity got me thinking about the way we value and ration our time and money. Six months to live and millions to give Sam Simon, co-creator of the longest-running TV comedy of all time, is currently making headlines for the way he responded to a terminal cancer diagnosis. He has colon cancer, but he also has. . . keep going

On finally appreciating Florida (and shattering those Chicago delusions) after 25 years


25 years ago today, my mom and I left Chicago and arrived in central Florida to begin a new life. I was two, she was 28 (a year older than I am now… yikes), and almost everyone we loved was suddenly a thousand miles away in breezy Chicago or its soft-grassed suburbs. I was distraught and ungrateful; she was newly divorced and brave enough to make this daunting leap alone. Almost every day since then, I’ve missed Illinois and hated this state. I never adjusted to the weather, I flew back “home” to spend every school break with my cousins,. . . keep going

Has society progressed AT ALL since literature’s “Ten Best Sentences” were written?

You’ve probably already read The American Scholar‘s list of the “Ten Best Sentences“.  It went instantly viral in a way that only lists can these days, following me in the form of NPR spots, e-mails, workplace small talk, and newsfeeds.  (And sadly, you know “viral” isn’t an exaggeration when a literary magazine gets more traffic than its servers can handle.) Of course, there’s almost no real merit in such a subjective ranking.  Even the biggest awards don’t actually determine which book or film is “better”than the rest.  That’s what makes art so enduring: how intimate it feels, how much its power relies. . . keep going