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New Yorker cartoonist’s book pokes fun at city-rural divide

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Longtime New Yorker magazine cartoonist and Vermont resident Edward Koren has released a new book of cartoons spanning about 40 years that poke fun at country and city dwellers and the interactions between the two.

“Koren: In the Wild” (Button Street Press, $21.95) features his humanoid and hairy creatures in what Koren describes as “a mash of interactions and small pieces of theater.”

In one cartoon in the 194-page book, a woman tells puzzled guests seated with cocktails outside on her porch, “I need everybody to come down the garden to cheer on the tomatoes.” Another has a farmer delivering food by shovel from a wheelbarrow to a couple seated at a restaurant saying, “Here’s some baby spinach — from my soil to your plate.”

The book caused Karen Mittelman, executive director of the Vermont Arts Council, to laugh out loud, something she doesn’t normally do while reading.

“I love how he skates right on the edge,” she said. “He shows us how ridiculous and how precious we can all be without at all offending anybody.”

Koren, who was born in New York City, knows what he calls the bifurcated life people lead between rural, suburban and urban life. He moved full time to Vermont about 30 years ago to the small village of Brookfield where he also serves as a volunteer firefighter.

“Ed, originally a city guy, now lives in a very rural village in Vermont. His cartoons beautifully capture the duality of rural and urban life,” wrote Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and a friend of Koren, at the beginning of the book. “For a guy like me, also between Vermont and New York, I love and can relate to Ed’s humor, and to his humanoid and warm and fuzzy and puzzled and brave creatures.”

Koren, who served as Vermont’s second cartoonist laureate for three years, has had more than 1,100 cartoons published in the New Yorker since the 1960s. He has also written and illustrated other books.

And he never runs out of subject matter, often writing down what he hears people say as fodder for his art.

“What captures my attention is all the human theater around me. I can never quite believe my luck in stumbling upon riveting mini-dramas taking place within earshot (and eyeshot), a comedy of manners that seems inexhaustible,” he wrote about his exhibition at Columbia University in 2010.

He is fond of a quotation by Lily Tomlin that basically says no matter how cynical you get, it’s impossible to keep up.

“And I can’t keep up,” he said. “There’s always something where your jaw drops.”

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Source: https://wtop.com/entertainment/2018/12/new-yorker-cartoonists-book-pokes-fun-at-city-rural-divide/

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9-year-old genius to graduate university

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Laurent Simons

(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.

Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.

Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.

He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.

“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.

Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.

While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.

But Lydia has her own theory.

“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.

“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.

“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”

Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.

“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”

Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”

His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.

“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.

“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”

While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.

“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”

Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.

However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.

In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.

Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.

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New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.

The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.

Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.

Father and son were both knocked through a gate.

The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.

One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.

McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.

McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.

Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

Source nydailynews.com/

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