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Nation And World

Prime Cuts 2014

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While Many Media Outlets Have A Handle On The Broad Strokes Of Local And National News, Modern Times Magazine’s Eye For Detail Keeps Our Stories A Cut Above Many Of Them

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By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine

Jan. 12, 2015 — While the major media corporations are busy blowing up the gossip of the day, the Modern Times Magazine Nation and World section does its best to find those stories that otherwise would have fallen between the cracks. With a small corps of freelancers all over the country we do our best to keep up with the most relevant and worthwhile stories that are not getting the coverage they deserve elsewhere.

Our coverage of classic Hollywood is second to none, while our attention to detail in cities across the country have led to stories like our feature on Urban Nature in Youngstown, Ohio. Put together with our ear to the ground on pop culture with stories like our piece on Vanilla Ice’s forray into being Amish.

Some people will do anything for a few thousand dollars, eh?

No. 7 “A Distant Roar: MGM 90”

One of the best regular contributions we get is a deal we have with David Fantle and Tom Johnson of Reel to Real. These guys have interviewed Hollywood players for more than three decades.

A piece they did on MGM Studios — in 1924, theater magnate Marcus Loew merged Metro Pictures Corp. with Goldwyn Pictures Corp. and Louis B. Mayer Productions to create Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer — garnered serious interest. The studio that boasted a roster of “more stars than there are in the heavens” seems to still have a strong glow.

No. 6 “A Rapper Among The Amish”

Stacey Graber, a former ASU professor who is now at Youngstown State University in Ohio, is also a wonderful contributor to our pages and this article shows why.

“The biggest surprise about Ice Goes Amish, a special group of episodes which forms part of DIY Network’s The Vanilla Ice Project, is not that Rob “Vanilla Ice” Van Winkle lives among this pious people of northeastern Ohio, nor is it that he serves as a hilarious, contemporary counterpoint for the serene, plain-spoken group (--he does not). The great reveal is that the viewer actually likes him,” she wrote.

The surprises did not end there.

No. 5 “Angie Dickinson Loves Being A Homebody”

The Reel to Real guys again triumphed with this piece on Angie Dickinson.

A big reason is how comfortable she was with them. The description of the three of them sharing a bottle of wine described the scene perfectly.

“I can see in your eyes that you think this’ll be rot-gut,” she told Reel to Real, “but trust me.”

No. 4 “Jerry Lewis On Forward Moving And Sight Gags”

Long before their legendary and acrimonious split, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were paired together as one of the greatest comedy duos ever to tear up nightclubs – and then Hollywood.

In the years just after World War II and before television became a staple in homes all over America, Martin and Lewis’s unique brand of anarchic slapstick (what they could do with a seltzer bottle would make your head swim … usually in seltzer!), heckling and verbal jousting reduced audiences to uncontrollable fits of laughter.

Reel to Real recollected a meeting with Mr. Lewis and even took on the discussion of his possibly emigrating to France. Not to give away exactly what his response was, but there are two words that are real important: egg cream.

No. 3 “Lauren Bacall: Just Aces”

The last appearance of the Reel to Real guys featured, “one of the most enduring screen sirens of all time, Lauren Bacall.”

She passed away Aug. 12, at the age of 89 and a few days later, they recollected an interview they did with Hoagy Carmichael years ago who gushed about Bacall. A screen siren in her own right, Bacall was also known as wife to Humphrey Bogart and “den mother” to the original rat pack of friends that gathered around the famous couple.

Although Fantle and Johnson never had the pleasure of meeting Bacall, but in 1980, they interviewed Carmichael who starred as the piano-playing "Cricket" in To Have and Have Not with Bogart and Bacall and told us his memory of when Bogart and Bacall fell in love while making the film.

No. 2 “Nature And Culture: Urban Nature In Youngstown, Ohio”

As we mentioned earlier, Prof. Graber has a finely honed perspective on society and knows how to express it. In this article, she tackled the interrelation of nature and culture — specifically about that relationship in her home of Youngstown.

She wrote, “An older city is actually a uniquely animate place in which nature lives alongside man-made objects that have perhaps outlived their usefulness or which are morphing to suggest new uses and meanings. For example, many houses in the urban landscape are in the process of being repurposed by nature.”

No. 1 “Libertarians Foolishly Ignore Workplace Data Collection”

An Arizona blogger came to us early last year with the idea of him writing some content for us. It only ended up being one article, but it sure hit a nerve with the Libertarian crowd.

So much so, that it was the most read in the nation and world section in 2014.

“The ongoing crisis for the surveillance state that is the age of the great information leakers and hackers has sparked a raging debate in editorial boards and online forums about the potential for a left-right alliance against surveillance. Slipping out like guilty teenagers after mom and dad go to bed — and bypassing the pro-surveillance establishment consensus via a magic trap door in the left-right spectrum — pundits and politicos weigh the pros and cons of attacking the center from the edges,” Brian wrote.

Hmm. good work, Brian. Maybe you’ll grace us with an article this year, too.
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