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Friday, September 10, 1999

FALLING IN LOVE: WHY WE CHOOSE THE LOVERS WE CHOOSE. A scholarly and clinical -- and readable -- inquiry into how factors such as childhood, beauty, and, yes, character play into some of our most mysterious decisions and compulsions. Okay, then: Why!?!??!

PEOPLE'S "BEST AND WORST DRESSED" ISSUE. Hits stands today. If they don't mention the orgy, I'm writing a letter.

FURBY BABIES. It happened: they've reproduced. True to actual patterns of human language acquisition, these furblets -- unveiled last week by Tiger Electronics, makers of our fave rave pen -- "learn" English faster than their, um, parents. Which reminds me of the best thing ever written in the letters section of the Post: "If the Furbies can learn English so fast, why can't all those immigrants?" God bless America.

A LITTLE MORE ABOUT ME. Bestselling Colorado chronicler of badass women, foolish choices, Pam Houston (That's "HEW-ston," New Yorkers, not "HOW-ston") now offers, well, a lot more about her adventures with great dogs, good men, and also some bears.

THE OTHER PRO-WRESTLING LEAGUE. Divorce Court is back and revamped, this time with real people. Meanwhile, Judge Jerry Sheindlin has taken over The People's Court, thus competing with Judge Judy ... his wife. Just don't let me see the two of them wind up — oh, you know where this is going.

EVENING. A 65-year-old widow lies dying, memories rushing back as fast as life drains away. At the center of the swirl: a profoundly passionate -- and doomed -- love affair that began at the marriage of her best friend. Please do not view this as a cautionary tale about "meeting people at weddings."

I'D LIKE TO BE THE ACADEMY. Since I'm mentioning so many books this week,, I don't feel so evil about sending you to vote (may require quick free registration) for the most memorable TV moment of the past season. You know where my loyalties lie. But I also vote that next year they offer Mac-version video.

VOTE EARLY, VOTE GIANT. Well, while you're at it, give this Hogarth his props.

WORD! And speaking of reading, the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary want to speak your language; they're soliticing suggestions for newfangled, old-fashioned, and what-did-we-say-before-? (such as "postfeminist slapstick tragicomedy") words. Well, heck, you guys have been helping me do that since the beginning.

ALMOST A WOMAN. Esmeralda Santiago's latest chronicles this NewYoriquena's comings and goings: of age, on forbidden dates. (She's no dummy -- even before the question comes up, she goes on dating drills: staying out past curfew to do permitted things, honing her excuse-making, "slowly [raising] the threshhold of [her mother's] permissiveness....I tried to act as if I had nothing to hide, which I didn't. certain that someday I would."

THE DANGEROUS HUSBAND. She said "'til death do us part;" now she's working on the death part. Can't beat the mordant wit of this "postfeminist slapstick tragicomedy" (Kurt Andersen) that starts, "We were introduced at one of those theatrical, poignant Manhattan Thanksgivings, a splendid party (singular guests, including small precocious chess-playing children and a cousin of Jim Jarmusch's' cornucopia of gourds and wildflowers pouring down the center of the trestle table; old family silver bought at a yard sale in Maine) in the clever, threadbare Horatio Street home of our shared acquaintance Lydia, a magazine editor who bravely orchestrates holiday feasts for the friends who have become her family and always takes in strays: This guy and I were the strays." Please do not view this as a cautionary tale about "meeting people at Thanksgiving."

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