★ The air through the windows was cooler in temperature than the suffocating, humid air indoors, but it was too damp to ease the discomfort. A few outriders from the climate-change march were lined up on one side of Broadway, opposite the people still lined up to consume the new obsolescence-making, resource-intensive high-end mobile phones. The light gray thickness in the atmosphere was not really misty; there was nothing mysterious or enchanting about its effects, just a faded Empire State Building looking down toward the markets of Grand Street. Sweltering though it was, the TV personality crossing Broadway back uptown wore a trim glen plaid suit buttoned, with a necktie, as he would be expected to. Only at day's end did the gray end, the overcast breaking up into luminous pink clouds before the dark descended—no longer delayed, but seasonably punctual.
Prince is releasing two full albums before 2015, both of which will be granted, by default, rigorous consideration by people who have at any point prior cared about Prince. But what on Earth does a teenager make of this? Will the youngest listeners hear this song and think, oh, Prince, dad, whatever? Or will they wonder, who is Prince, I've heard of him somewhere, and then maybe Google him? Does he just get to reappear, no questions asked, his legacy venerated unquestionably, his singles made hits in whatever order planned? Or does Prince have to plead a new case? Anyway: a pretty fun song.
Lonesome George, likely the most famous tortoise in the world, was the last of his kind. He was the sole remaining member of his subspecies, Chelonoidis nigra abingdonii, from the northern Galápagos island of Pinta. He died two years ago. Last Thursday, his taxidermied corpse was unveiled at the American Museum of Natural History, where he will be on display until early January, at which point he will be moved to Ecuador. “I met George in Paris, walking down the Champs Elysees, in the rain,” Jan, a gray-haired travel and adventure writer, told me. “You can tell I make things up. The coffee is excellent!”
As much as Phil Hartman's work and influence lives on, the Ontario native has so far escaped the kind of mainstream legacy re-appraisal that so many other late standups and sketch players have enjoyed.
You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman, which takes its name from the catchphrase of The Simpsons mainstay Troy McClure (voiced by Hartman), aims to right that. The long-overdue appreciation of Hartman's genius, which will be published tomorrow by St. Martin's Press, looks at the arc of his career — from his little-known stints as a rock 'n' roll roadie and album-cover designer to his comedy work with the Groundlings and beyond — as well as the off-stage, off-camera details: Hartman smoking pot, surfing, writing poetry, laughing.
Given his tragic fate, it's tempting to reduce Hartman's personal legacy to a tortured artist with a smiling persona, a man who endured private agony and professional highs but never quite found his star vehicle — despite creating roles that no one else could fill on Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, and NewsRadio.
But author and Chicago Sun-Times journalist Mike Thomas paints a more symmetrical, often brightly-colored picture of Hartman's life. His detailed, reporting-driven approach yields a less sexy but far richer portrait of this consummately professional comedian who improved the prospects of every sketch, sitcom, and series he touched.
Hartman, who was tragically shot to death by his coke-addled wife Brynn on May 27, 1998, would have been 66 years old this year, so I also picked Thomas' brain about where he thought Hartman's career was going, what he would have been like in 2014, and more. READ MORE
What happens if you strip away most of the connective tissue in this New York Times article about sexual assault in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn?
1. By day, the handsome block of Irving Place that runs between Gates and Putnam Avenues in Brooklyn projects a vibrant wholesomeness. Women push strollers past the red-brick Mount Zion Tabernacle Church; young couples tote Trader Joe’s bags past a photo gallery; and watchful neighbors walk dogs in front of Public School 56.
2. It might seem incongruous, then, that this area would be the setting of two violent crimes: A 31-year-old woman told the police that she had been sexually assaulted twice on Aug. 31, the attacks coming one hour and a block apart in the near-dawn of Sunday morning.
3. Many residents of this section of Clinton Hill said the assaults had occurred amid a broader pattern of crime that taints these blocks on the weekends.
“You come out late at night, early in the morning, you see three, four prostitutes,” said Benny Allen, 30, a youth sports coach who grew up and still lives in the area. “Two years ago, I saw a man and a woman going at it right there on that sidewalk. I had to run them off.”
4. Standing in the doorways of multifamily buildings valued at $1 million to $3 million, residents told of their encounters with prostitutes and their clients.
We can keep going:
1. wholesomeness, strollers, Trader Joe’s
2. incongruous, sexually assaulted
3. broader pattern of crime, prostitutes, "run them off."
4. $3 million, residents
The GENTRIFICATION STORY lens is so narrow and distorting that a report about sexual assault in a changing neighborhood becomes a story about a "broader pattern" of crime; just broad enough to include and implicate both the people perpetrating sexual assault and their victims. But no broader!
“You don’t have to speak Italian, it’s completely fine. Non ti preoccupare.”
The fact that my boss couldn’t get through the entire reassurance in English should have been a tip off. But it wasn’t. I accepted the job, an offer almost too good to be true: myself and my first-ever Serious Boyfriend would be working in Italy for a now-defunct government program that sent Italian government officials’ children away from them for a few weeks every summer.
A regular summer camp in most of its programming, we would teach English for three hours total each day. In return, we would be housed, fed, paid, and free to roam the Italian national park where the camp was located. “If you’re working, try to keep it professional, you know. No more than three glasses of wine with lunch,” my future boss—a British man named Peter who sounded like he was kind and handsome—had said on the phone. It was really and truly too much. READ MORE
★★★★ Denim and sunglasses everywhere. Cartons and backpacks and other baggage were lined up in the morning sun against the side wall of the Apple Store. It was abundantly bright, bright enough for some eyestrain, and fully qualified as warm. In the middle of the afternoon, a gray-infused mass of cloud wandered into the scene, cooling things for a while. Then it wandered off somewhere, and left Washington Square Park in strong sun again, for the drummers and the shirtless. A pigeon fluffed its feathers and contemplated a flock of fabric pigeon-sculptures feeding on invisible food. By evening, the Apple Store line was populated and stretched around the block. The sun went down in a cloudless west, without theatrics. READ MORE
The Static Nature of It All
I wake up in a house full of trash
And eat some cheese before I go out in the heat
Everything just doesn’t move
When you can’t make it to
Another day, another let me think about this
But you don't call you don’t write you don’t care
You don’t want to see me
I want to see you so bad
But what is the trees that give shade
Even in my own voice I am calming
But what are the glowing yellow bunnies I kick around
You know what is going on
Still you stand there stand there
Even though I am the one from the other world
Who is in love with you
It’s hard for me even to defend you
To the legions of seers, crazy birds and bugs
That I call my “friends”
Even as they try to mix the potions for me
They can’t help but ask me why why
Why this one
And it’s hard for me to say anything
When you just sit there every day, so still and boring
Just the static nature of it
And I go looking looking for you in the streets
And I never find you
I never find you at all
“Pesto is the quiche of the eighties.” Haha, that’s a line from a movie I just saw for the first time. The pesto of this decade is…other kinds of pesto.
Pesto originally comes from Genoa, in northern Italy, where the specific ingredients and preparation were codified sometime in the sixteenth century. That kind of pesto—made with basil leaves, garlic cloves, pine nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino sardo, along with a fair amount of olive oil—is still by far the most popular, though its proper name now, in a world of many types of pesto, would be pesto alla genovese.
Most Italian dishes have, like, four ingredients max, but if one of them is even the tiniest bit different from the way Caesar liked his, it is no longer correct. For example, the Pecorino sardo in pesto alla genovese is not the same as Pecorino Romano, and only a fool would use Romano in place of sardo *shakes fingers as if trying to fling drops of water onto whoever is in front of me*. Anyway, pesto is made in a mortar and pestle, traditionally. (“Pesto” comes from the same root as pestle, as does the word “paste.”) The Italian mortar and pestle, like the French, is typically marble, and the ingredients are crushed in a circular grinding pattern, unlike, say, the “pok pok” smashing method of Thailand.
Now that you’re up to date on the true history of authentic pesto, let’s cheerfully cast that all aside. Pesto, to my modern, non-Italian mind, means nothing more than a paste of herbs and oil, sometimes with other things added, and I always have at least three or four kinds in my freezer; I rarely cook anything without some form of it. Right now, as the summer turns to fall, we are in the dying throes of herb season. Herbs are summer to me, and their aromatic compounds are most potent when they are fresh—not grown in a greenhouse in Argentina, not after a few days of wilting in your fridge. Raw leaves do not normally freeze well (they become soggy and gross when defrosted). But, when mashed into a pesto, they freeze SPECTACULARLY. So now is the time to get out the food processor (or mortar and pestle if you want, but I certainly don’t) and make enormous batches of several kinds of pesto, which you can use to add a hit of summer freshness to food all through the shitty awful nigh-endless winter we’re sure to have, again. READ MORE
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5:26 PM Thursday, September 18th — iPhone 6 launch
Location: Greene and Prince
Length: An entire block
Weather: 75 and sunny
Crowd: Two hundred or so professional line-sitters, with a few fanboys scattered throughout
Wait time: One. More. Day.
Lingering question: Does the apple fall far from th… oh, fuck it. READ MORE
A man walks into a bar. He takes a seat at the bar, nods to the bartender, orders a Corona. The man is alone. He is the joke.
A man walks into a bar. His girlfriend is at home, alone, watching a Parks and Recreation rerun. She would love to have a drink, relax with a beer at the bar, but the man seems to have forgotten to invite her. Just like he forgot that they made plans to go to IKEA last week. READ MORE
On Wednesday night, the haar descended over Edinburgh, moving east from the sea until it covered the whole city in a filmy fog, blurring the street lights and rendering anything more than a metre ahead nearly invisible. I left my glasses in the pub after my boyfriend's birthday drinks, and had to run across The Meadows to retrieve them at one in the morning. It was Referendum Eve, the chilliest day yet this September.
The benches where, earlier in the day, YES campaigners had given me a bumper sticker— "But I don't have a car!" "Take one anyway!"—were now filled with men shouting about communism, trying to drown one another out. Even the trees and bins wore blue YES stickers, the brightness of which cut through the mist.
Earlier that day, I had interviewed Lindsay Jarrett, a woman who scaled the eighty-metre cliffs below Edinburgh Castle to put a foil YES poster in place, despite needing a double lung transplant. Having cloistered myself away for a whole day to work on the interview, she had become huge to me, a symbol of the passion of the YES campaign. I'm English, but apart from brief spells in France and London, I have lived in Scotland for the past ten years.
To cross either box seemed cruel to my friends and people I had interviewed on both sides; I was so torn about what to vote that I almost didn't. READ MORE
At the Smorgasburg food fair in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Mikheil Saakashvili motored in fluorescent green sneakers among bearded men with tattoos and women in revealing overalls. They lined up for Cheese Pops, Dun-Well Doughnuts and other local delicacies. He ordered a coconut. … Mr. Saakashvili is in self-imposed exile on North Seventh Street — plotting a triumphant return, even as his steep fall from grace serves as a cautionary tale to the many American government officials who had hoped he would be a model exporter of democracy to former Soviet republics.
Since leaving office last November, this George W. Bush favorite — whose confrontation with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia led to a disastrous war in 2008 — has commandeered his uncle’s apartment in a tower on the Williamsburg waterfront, where he luxuriates in the neighborhood’s time-honored tradition of mysteriously sourced wealth. When not lingering in cafes, riding his bike across the bridge or spending stag evenings with friends on the Wythe Hotel rooftop, Mr. Saakashvili seizes on the Ukrainian conflict and his experience with Mr. Putin’s wrath as a lifeline back to political relevance.
Maybe I should start carrying a wallet again. Maybe a nice, grown-up wallet would act as a talisman, attracting wealth and prosperity. The pink vinyl change purse I got at Target seems to only attract change. It’s not big enough to hold more than several bills and cards. Maybe a nice, leather upwardly mobile billfold would change my luck.
Since I was old enough to carry my own lunch money to school, I have had a wallet. Usually, I carried them until they fell apart, transferring them daily into whatever handbag matched that day’s outfit. Having a wallet felt like being a grown-up.
My father carried a wallet. Having lived through the Great Depression, he didn’t have full faith in banks, so at times his billfold was thick with over $1,000 in cash. My mother didn’t have a wallet. She placed her meager money in a delicate hankie, folded up into a tiny square and pinned inside her bra. Loose change went into one of those plastic oval holders that opened like a mouth when both ends were pinched. Momma didn’t work, but Daddy would always give her a few dollars for incidentals, nothing more. Early on, I learned that he who had the thick wallet had the power.
And when I got old enough to wear a bra, I never felt secure with a hankie and a safety pin.
When I became an adult, with a real job and responsibilities, I got a nice, fancy wallet to match. I remember the pride I felt when I placed by very first credit card in my wallet. As the years passed, I filled all of the slots in my wallet with every credit card known to man, while the amount of paper money dwindled. Even though all of those accounts are closed now, either by choice or by default, I still keep some of those cards, like photos of old friends that I used to know but have lost contact with over the years.
I stopped carrying a wallet in December 2011, when I became homeless. READ MORE