With Ecstasy, I had simply stepped outside the worn paths in my brain and, in the process, gained some perspective on my life. It was an amazing feeling.

— from “Experiencing Ecstasy,” New York Times Magazine cover story, Jan. 21, 2001

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You know how sometimes, you can look at a word that’s spelled correctly, and it’ll just look like it’s spelled wrong? Like, have you ever noticed what a strange word ‘strength’ is? What’s that ‘g’ doing right in the middle of it? It’s so weird. Strength. Strength, strength, strength. If you repeat something enough times, it stops meaning anything.

— William Safire’s “On Language” column, Jan. 28, 2001

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Dear Ethicist,

I have a worker in my office who has a number of annoying mannerisms — snapping gum, poor personal hygiene — that bother me and the rest of her coworkers. She recently asked me to writer her a letter of recommendation. Should I feel any obligation to alert her prospective new employer to her irksome idiosyncracies? —Ms. Susan Wilson, Berkeley, Ca.

Dear Reader,

You are mistaken about your coworker. All people are beautiful.

— Randy Cohen’s “The Ethicist,” Feb. 4, 2001

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Have you ever stopped and felt velvet? I mean, really stopped and felt velvet?

— question from a Q&A with Anthony Lake, former National Security Adviser, Feb. 11, 2001

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Barry Diller’s head is perfectly smooth. It is so smooth that you can rub your hands all over it, and it is like being in heaven. In heaven!

— opening line to “Barry Diller is One Smooth Man!” by Lynn Hirschberg, Feb. 18, 2001

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Moroccan Chicken with Candied Blood Oranges

1 3-to-5-pound roasting chicken
1/2 cup minus one teaspoon olive oil
2 cups couscous
1 pomegranate
1/2 tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg
3 ripe plum tomatoes, halved
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup celery, coarsely chopped
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup almonds, slivered
3 Gala apples, cubed
2 Meyer lemons
6 blood oranges
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
salt and pepper

1. Forget the chicken. The chicken isn’t important. You are a moonbeam. Dance!

— “Ooooh, Chicken” by Molly O’Neill, Feb. 25, 2001

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Shiny Things, Sparkly Things: A Special Issue

— cover of the New York Times Magazine, March 4, 2001

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1. Alfred ___ Neuman


1. ___ Pluribus Unum.

— entire instructions for the New York Times Sunday crossword, March 11, 2001