Under Pressure

New York's last seltzer man goes all in.
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New York City, January 27, 2015

★★★★ What the daylight revealed was a letdown, indisputably—a historic letdown, a ludicrous scene of ordinariness: walkways already shoveled clear; cars showing their flanks and hubcaps. Maybe there was still some fine snow blowing, but who cared? Looking out the window was like making eye contact with someone who had just been badly embarrassed. Yet was this snow the governor? Was this snow the things people had said about the storm or done around the storm? Or was it merely new and substantial and clean? The three-year-old went out to play with a friend and came back scarlet-cheeked, eating snow from the back of a mitten, resigned to the loss of a Batman figure somewhere in the playground drifts. Most things have a disappointment in them. The noodles in the cold-case ramen package, picked up the day before in the panic line at the store, had sprouted mold. Out in the late afternoon someone walked along the bare wet sidewalk carrying cross-country skis and poles, heading for someplace where snow would be. A plastic toboggan and saucer were coming home from the other direction. A fat-bellied two-ball snowman with cups for features stood beside the bus shelter. The statues by the fountain wore little white hats of snow. Out the window now, one had to admit the snow lay prettily enough on the far side of the Hudson. And then a brilliant little ray of orange shot under the edge of the clouds to decorate the buildings to the west, and then the three-year-old stood marveling at the colors surging out of the west, orange boiling into pink, a phenomenon beyond the scope of the record books.

A User's Guide to Raising Your New Puppy While Remaining Sort Of Sane

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1. First of all, your puppy is an idiot.

2. Give the puppy a name that reminds it every day what an idiot it is. We recommend: Grandpa Pajamas, Mrs. Boob, Waffles.

3. Your puppy is a coldhearted idiot. You will know this to be true the next time it looks you straight in the eye and pees on your carpet.

4. Don’t get lured in by expensive puppy swag. Deodorizers and “Thundershirts” are bullshit. Wrap the puppy in sheets like a mummy if you need it swaddled and use white vinegar when it shits on the floor.

5. It will shit all over the floor.

Inspiring New Film Explores What It Takes 'To Be a Dad'

Brought to you by The Bold New Camry | Toyota.

Before you watch this you might want to grab some tissues, because some of the stories from these incredible dads and the obstacles they’ve overcome will make you cry. In this short film, Toyota teamed up with director Lauren Greenfield to ask the question, “Is being a good dad something you learn from your parents or a choice you make on your own?” What we learned was as emotional as it was inspirational.

Even as we filmed this piece, we couldn’t help but reexamine what kind of fathers we are vs. the kind of dads we could be. What are we doing right? What could we do better? And what does the role of father mean in the modern world? When other dads out there watch this film, perhaps they’ll ask themselves the same questions. Because as one of the dads, Jasen Govine, so eloquently stated, “As dads, we’re all works in progress and all we can do is try to get better every day.”

Check out the video above honoring dads everywhere. Honor your dad. Tweet us photos of him using #OneBoldChoice to join our big game celebration.

A woman struggles to pick up a baby stroller at the top of a stairwell leading down to a subway station in New York City. She is wearing a large purse—almost more like a duffel bag—slung over her shoulder and her baby is crying.

She stands precariously, putting the weight of the stroller on her thighs while her bag swings behind her, pulling her backwards. People frown as they squeeze past her on their way up out onto the street. It’s lunchtime and the sidewalk is crowded. The stairwell is crowded.

The woman curses herself. Why didn’t she use the Baby Bjorn? Why did she bring such a heavy bag with her? Why did she have a kid?

Tears are brimming in her eyes when a tall man in a baseball cap stops two steps from the top of the stairs. “Here,” he says, taking the rubber strap between the front wheels of the stroller in his hands. “Ready?” he says.

The woman nods and they carry the child down the stairs together.

By the time they reach the bottom and set the stroller down, the woman is smiling a very wide smile, on the verge of the laughter.

“All right?” says the man.

“Yes thank you so much,” says the woman. And then, giggling, “Your hat…”

The man furrows his brow, he does not remember which one he chose to put on this morning. He takes the cap off and turns the brim so he can read it.

In bright red, yellow and green letters it say, “Don’t Ask Me 4 Shit.”

(Previously.)#

After the Snow

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“The contrast between these two children’s shows provides a literal illustration of certain eternal tensions, not only in children’s entertainment but in literature and in American culture in general: Innocence vs. Experience, Nerds vs. Normies, Individualism vs. Conformity, Gender-Neutral Egalitarianism vs. Explicitly Heteronormative Sexuality—and maybe most strikingly, Art vs. Commerce.” —Read Awl pal and eminent cartoon writer Maria Bustillos on the cult and myth of My Little Pony.#

How I Got My Pre-Baby Body Back

Like Beyonce, by the time I gave birth, I weighed nearly two hundred pounds because, like Kim Kardashian, I suffered from a condition called preeclampsia. This causes, often later in pregnancy, high blood pressure and fast gains in weight from fluid retention. It’s miserable, but by the end, I was a little too preoccupied—new baby, slash in the abdomen—to really marvel at the state of affairs on the scale. I noted it, in passing, without remarking on it to anyone. I didn’t panic or feel like a failure for having gained more than the recommended twenty-five to thirty-five pounds for one baby; it was the most minor fact in a week full of overwhelming and sometimes alarming data.

The day that I found out I was pregnant, when I stepped on the scale, it said that I weighed 134.5 pounds. That number had been my regular weight for about five years, slowly rising a bit or falling with my state of mind, my moods, the seasons of the year.

I’d never dieted or exercised very regularly as an adult, and I didn’t worry very much about what I ate or drank. But pregnancy changed all of that. As I moved through the months, I began to watch what I ingested, not for myself or the fear of a rising number on the scale—I knew that couldn’t be avoided—but for the health of the baby. I noticed what a poor diet I had, sometimes going almost a full day without eating anything at all. I now tried to eat a “balanced” one. I became more active and conscientious about my lifestyle. Though I’ve always loved walking, I started to make a real chore of it; I’d walk an extra few miles a day. It was invigorating, and I noticed, more than the physical change, that I felt better emotionally.

It appears that the disingenuous faux-aesthetes will succeed in knocking down Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center in Goshen, New York:
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Gene Kaufman, the owner and principal of Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman Architects in New York City, has offered to pay the county $5 million for the building and restore it as an artists’ live-work space, with public exhibitions. Mr. Kaufman has also offered to design a brand new government center next door for $65 million — millions less than the $74 million county officials allotted some time ago for the plan to tear down part of the building and add the glass box.

But Steven M. Neuhaus, Orange County executive, seems determined to pursue the teardown plan. MidHudsonNews.com quoted him the other day as saying that “construction and deconstruction work” will begin “by spring of this year.” He recently vetoed a proposal that would have allowed the county to sell the center to Mr. Kaufman.#

The Flexible Economy

fleeexAs far as euphemisms go for the venture-capital-backed means by which full-time employment and all of its benefits and protections are being hollowed out by piecemeal employment for certain classes of workers, there is already a small revolt against the “sharing economy”; it has become too obvious that the primary form of sharing it involves is a worker utilizing her own meager assets to generate revenue for a large, extremely well-capitalized tech company. Other proposed alternatives, such as the “gig economy” or “freelance nation” are just a shade too revealing for total comfort. May we suggest the “flexible economy”?

Alex G, "Sarah"

A small, warm song from Alex G, who gets consistently good results working within a stylistic framework that came to prominence on roughly the year he was born. (Via Noah.)