The NYT reporter CJ Miller was interviewed on Fresh Air about the possibility of ISIS weaponizing something called Red Mercury.  Red mercury is a chemical substance that one could use as a shortcut to making a nuclear bomb.  Trouble is, red mercury doesn’t actually exist.  So, the ideologically-driven terrorist organization is basing their theoretical global destruction on an also theoretical chemical compound.  Or substance.  (Miller is quick to point out that the old-fashioned weapons–guns and knives–are more powerful and often more effective.  Look at Paris, he says.)  The mythology of red mercury is so deep and fascinating–read the article Miller wrote here.  Toward the end of the Fresh Air interview Miller discusses the “drug” one gets from being a war reporter in a profound, open and articulate way.  I highly recommend that you dial it up.

I loved the new Franzen novel, Purity.  He gets a bad wrap, possibly deserved, for being a curmudgeon in interviews and such.  But his novels are so funny, full of lightness and heart.  He creates world so complete and closed.  There are lots of things to say about some of his essays and decisions, especially surrounding that whole Oprah thing–but I got him on that, I totally understood, as a writer, where he was coming from and why he reacted the way he did.  Besides, he and she worked it out, didn’t you see the final week of her show?  But the novels are totally lovely.

We started watching the new season of The X-Files.  I never watched it before now, so there are some things that I keep asking Kip–was it always so campy?  Why do they never tell you anything?  Why is Scully always the doctor who gets to do the autopsy when the medical event happened wherever?  I am enjoying it very much, but it certainly feels very 90s.  I guess I expected something different.  The writing, though–I don’t watch many of these kinds of shows.  Is it always like this?  SO OBVIOUSLY made for television?  It’s a whole genre I don’t understand.


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