Why Grandma's Sad

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New York City, July 6, 2015

weather review sky 060615★★ A sparrow was shrieking up against the corrugated metal ceiling of the scaffold for extra volume. The clouds were indistinct but they kept the head off. The smell of feces carrying up Broadway was so persistent it prompted a check of one’s own shoe soles. A motor coach raised a grinding squeal and a fog of asphalt dust. The effort of breathing in the thick air raised a tense pain at the base of the skull. The leaves on the pear trees looked grimy and blasted. By evening the daylight had faded out to gray, and there were chilly gusts of breeze. The sunset clouds were first silver and then a drifting sooty mass, just loose enough to show a few filaments of pink behind it.

Don't Eat the Fake Meat

mahsgjhBeyond Meat is the most hyped fake meat product to arrive in years, and only partially due to its list of investors, which include Biz Stone of Twitter, Bill Gates, and the Humane Society. Its list of ingredients—pea protein, oils, soy fiber, and natural flavorings like yeast and dehydrated vegetables, mostly—is comparatively simple compared to well-established competitors like Morningstar’s Chik offerings, which include about eight different kinds of sugar and hydrolyzed starch along with compounds like disodium guanylate (an additive you shouldn’t feed your baby). Beyond Meat’s products, which include fake chicken and fake beef that Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has described as tasting “freakishly similar” to real meat, has about half the fat of the chicken breast or ground beef it’s trying to replace. It’s also cheap compared to real meat: Each of my two bags of Beyond Meat (one “Beefy Crumble” and one “Lightly Seasoned Strips”) cost only six dollars for about three servings’ worth of highly engineered plant protein.

Yet I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to eat this stuff.

Teeth Cut: An Interview with Julia Fierro

ctLast year, Julia Fierro’s debut novel, Cutting Teeth, about a set of parents besodden with their children at a beach house in Long Island over Labor Day weekend, was a staple of summer reading lists. Like many writers, it seems like Fierro found success swiftly and quickly, but in truth she’s been at it for years. In 2002, after graduating from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Fierro moved to Brooklyn and, with a Craigslist ad, started what would become the Sackett Street Writer’s Workshop in her kitchen; thirteen years later, the workshop has hosted over twenty-five hundred writers.

While Fierro’s next novel, The Gypsy Moth Summer, won’t be released until 2017, Cutting Teeth is out now in paperback, so the other day, Fierro and I talked about the America dream, outsider identity, and how she thinks even writing can be taught.

In Cutting Teeth, you write about motherhood, which means your work could be classified as what Cheryl Strayed described in the New York Times as “domestic”—domestic being the easy, dismissive euphemism for women’s writing. Did you ever fear the book might be dismissed on account of its subject matter?  Did you come up against misogynist criticisms of Cutting Teeth?

This is such an important topic and I admire the directness of your question. Too often, I see literary writers, women included, zigzagging around this question, avoiding it. To be fair, it is a controversial and complex issue. There are women writers who say they write without gender in mind, as if there is no difference between their perspective as a writer and a man’s. A younger version of myself might have agreed, but now I can’t possibly accept this as truth. Most writers—possibly all—write to make sense of the world around them, and their unique perspective interpreting that world is informed by their experience. No two writers (and no two characters) observe and interpret meaning in identical ways. How can we believe that our gender experience isn’t part of the filter through which we write?

The Last Crab

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A Gmail update:

Tired of staring at your bland Gmail theme 24/7? So are we. Thankfully, Gmail has finally come through with a major design overhaul to jazz up our email experience.

On Tuesday, Gmail announced a newly expanded theme catalog and a brand new set of emoji for email messages.

Gmail users can now access more than 100 high-resolution images to use as their inbox backgrounds or — as before — upload a personal image.

This means… not much. Except:

Gmail has also added more high-quality emojis to email messages. Previously, users could pick from a range of smaller, more basic characters to spice up their messages; with this new update, they will be able to access larger, higher quality emojis — though they are no longer animated.

Google is standardizing its emoticons across sites and services. Gmail had its own set, which don’t closely conform to broader emoticon standards. This new set is larger, but it’s also a replacement. Among the many casualties is an emoticon great: the Gmail crab. emoti-crab5
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The transition isn’t complete yet, so you still have a chance to send the Last Crab. Relive endless hours of time-wasting at work! Reconstruct long-failed relationships predicated on flirty crustaceans. Time is running out!

“A comedy dream job is like any other dream job: it often requires a combination of talent, hard work, and industry connections. And, although the comedy boom has created many opportunities for new comedic voices, today’s aspiring comedians should also be prepared for this comedy boom to eventually slow down.”#

Kitty Likes To Scratch


The best part of this clip comes at 1:18, when CBS2’s Lou Young virtually becomes the rabid cat terrorizing the upstate (or wherever the fuck it is) community of Pearl River, but I don’t want to quibble: It’s all pretty good. Be careful out there.

“The writing is strenuously bro-y… He and his buddies are drunk seemingly every night and most afternoons. They blow a year’s bonus on a week in Saint Tropez. They make PowerPoint presentations to rank the hotness of their female colleagues. They have hotel staff kick prostitutes—sorry, ‘love monkeys’—out of bed for them. They scream at maids for throwing out cocaine. Genitals touch things genitals shouldn’t touch. LeFevre pays a hooker in hotel minibar bottles, crashes a Maserati, and poops on a small plane. It gets a little tedious.”
The Goldman Sachs elevator guy’s memoir underwhelms, apparently.#

“We rarely do sponsored posts, but when we do, we make sure they are as organic to FuckJerry as possible.”#

36, 'Void Dance'


The assessment of Sine Dust, 36’s previous effort, was “ideally listened to with headphones on, while wandering about on a dark day,” and I see no need to revise that estimation for Void Dance. 36 her- or himself calls it “a vibrant sound-stage, that envelops your ears and launches your brain into orbit,” but do not let that discourage you from taking the opportunity to enjoy.

New Yorkers are unbelievably good-hearted.
—Maybe the secret to tenacity is having faith in the essential decency of your fellow citizens? It seems like a lot of work, so I’m glad someone like transit advocate Gene Russianoff is doing it for the rest of us.#