Boston Globe

WEB ADVENTURES; THE SELF-MADE MAN BEHIND 'SURVIVOR'

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Many parts of Marc Andreessen's past are almost cliche by now, but when he was going through it, it was brand new. He was one of those superyoung Internet savants who helped create something (Netscape), got bought out (by AOL), made millions, and then fell off the radar screen.

But as evidenced by his prominence in two tech magazines now on newsstands, including as Wired's cover boy for August, Andreessen, 29, is back, and with a business plan that is wholly untypical of the times: He's in it for the long haul.


MARK TWAIN WRITES AGAIN

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Mark Twain has always seemed like a character to me, not as in an interesting guy, but as in a product of human embellishment. Just like Tom or Huck or Becky, he lived only in my imagination.

And yet there he is on the cover of the double summer issue of the Atlantic Monthly, on tour touting "A Murder, a Mystery, and a Marriage," his newly published story, featured inside.

For a critic, it's a development most daunting, if not downright disorienting: Just how does one comment on a legend?

Well, it's . . . good. Beyond that, who am I to say? He's freakin' Mark Twain!


PASSION AND POLITICS STILL FUEL MIDNIGHT OIL

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The jaded rock fans who decided to skip Midnight Oil's show at Avalon Saturday night because they expected sorry gasps from just another doddering '80s band got what they deserved.

So did the fans who decided to attend.

The Australian rockers surged through 90 minutes of charismatic, high-potency rock 'n' roll that proved they are as vital and relevant as they've ever been. The selections they plucked from their quarter- century of songs still burst with life, and the new tunes they played were among the highlights of the show.


PATERNITI MATCHES ODDITY WITH ARTISTRY

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Michael Paterniti is one of the best writers Esquire has to offer. He's been nominated for a National Magazine Award each of the past four years, and he won one, at Harper's, for the story of his encounter with the keeper of Einstein's brain, which he later turned into a highly successful book.

He has proven repeatedly that he can bend words to his will, that he can summon and present them in magical ways. So when an experience leaves him struggling for expression, well, that says something.


WIRED NOW LOOKS AS GOOD AS IT IS

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There are graphic designers who would tell you that what they do is every bit as important as the content they're presenting - a tough proposition to accept.

But the new Wired might help make their case.

The June issue unveils a redesign of the 10-year-old technology and culture periodical, and it is one of the most interesting magazines I've read in a while.


POLITICAL MAGAZINES SPLIT MCDONALD'S TAB

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Though both are wholly worthwhile, it would be hard to find two magazines of politics as far from each other as Foreign Policy and Adbusters.

The former is not stodgy, but with names such as Lawrence Summers (Harvard's president-designate), Helmut Sonnenfeldt, and former CIA chief John Deutch on its editorial board, it is rooted in the establishment.


MIRABELLA FOLDS; GEORGE REBOUNDS BUT MISSES

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Trumpeted from magazines and the other clarions of popular culture, comes the inescapable message: If you're not young and beautiful, you're practically dead.

Those of us who are neither young nor beautiful may rail against it, but too often, it is a notion not only objectionable but true. For current evidence, take a look, while you can, at Mirabella magazine, which is in fact dead: Its publisher put it to rest last week.


THE TRUE BELIEVERS AT LIFE@WORK; TABLOID TV ON THE PAGE

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Time begat Newsweek begat U.S. News. People begat Entertainment Weekly begat In Style. Esquire begat GQ begat Maxim begat Stuff.

Throughout magazinedom, there are so few new ideas, which is one of the reasons to thank God for Life@Work, a bimonthly that's been publishing since May 1998. Its subtitle tells it all: "Blending Biblical wisdom with business excellence."


ROMANCING THE STONE TO GET THE BIG ROCK

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Oh, the wonder of spring, when thoughts turn to romance: laughter in the rain, strolling in the park, and scheming to get that clueless commitment-phobe to pop the question.

This is, after all, not just spring, but spring in the '00s, and it's not like we have all day! Thankfully, "proposal pushing" women need not scheme alone: The editors of the May Mademoiselle and Cosmopolitan are looking out for them.


WRITERS' METHODS ARE AS DIFFERENT AS THOSE THEY PROFILE

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Writers hate rules, so when the rule was that we should keep ourselves out of stories because readers aren't interested in us, we started injecting ourselves into the story. Sometimes it worked, but mostly, it led to the Spago story, in which writers substituted their own personalities when they failed to get a subject to offer up his or hers, so that we're left with, "I'm sitting at Spago awaiting Winona Ryder, anxious that she's not going to like me as much as I adore her. . . . "


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