On a day when it appears that the horsemen of the Apocalypse are assembling for real, maybe it’s wrong to let one’s jaw drop over news that the L — the L! — is NYC’s cleanest subway line. On the other hand, one must accept revelations as they unfold.

Holy socks. Running water. On Mars. It’s most definitely one hell of a time to be alive… just not on this planet. (Update: Oh yes it is — I just had my first Slashdot piece accepted. I let out a shriek and ran up and down the house, which is one whoop and two laps more than I did when my first Time Out NY article turned up. Geek, geek, geek!)

Ineffable wisdom from Yann Martel, in The Life of Pi: Water without a hippopotamus was so much more manageable than water with one. Surely.

A wonderful passage from a good and vexing book, Bill Kauffman’s Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette, in which the well-traveled author goes home again (Batavia, NY), enjoys what’s left, and rails against the forces of globalization that took the rest away. He’s genuinely angry (hint: when Carolyn Chute is cover-blurbing, righteous wrath is afoot), but there are benedictory moments as well, very lovely:

“I suppose it bespeaks my constricted, costive imagination, my utter failure in the dreamworld of exotica, but I fear death because the afterworld may remove me from Batavia. I cannot conceive of a heaven that is preferable to my town; no angels more companionable than my family or friends; no celestial vistas more pleasing to my eye than the wrought-iron gates of the old Batavia Cemetery, the twilight-shadowed outfield fence at Dwyer, the scarlet and orange maples that overhang Hart Street in October. Oh Lord, if it’s all the same with you, I’d just as soon stay here. Batavia needs its ghosts.”

Okay, I’m probably a little slappy from all this cold medicine (yes, again), but this quote strikes me as geek-fabulous: Describing the possible death-by-rending of the universe (stars, planets, right down to the subatomic particles), cosmologist Robert Caldwell recites the cataclysmic events at the very end of time: The planets pull away from the sun, Earth explodes, and finally the very atoms and their nuclei are torn asunder. At that point in the life of the universe, says Caldwell, “There’s about 30 minutes left, but it’s not quality time.”

Michael S. Malone’s being maudlin — thinks he’s a Kiss of Death to tech books, having killed two. Harrumph, say I. I’ve got five under my belt so far (including the Weekly’s tech section, though I believe I was technically just the party keeping the poor dear on life support) and I am but a mere infink compared to many of my industry betters. (And those are the ones I remember offhand; imagine how frightened we’d be if I checked my resume.) Two kills with two cover stories, though — that’s kind of impressive. He may yet work his way up to the Typhoid Mary ranks.