Friday, July 4th, 2014

Some Notes on the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs' Video Calling For “Mutual Respect” in Upcoming Nuclear Talks

1. It begins beautifully when, looking dapper in a beautiful suit and sunglasses, he emerges from a beautiful building to walk past a beautiful fountain.


Cashew’s Diary

September 14

We start filming Monday. When I think about the mall pet store where I was born, my tiny jet black eyes fill with tears. I will never forget the day my mother—who was also born in a mall pet store, as was her mother before her—looked at me and said, “Cashew, I heard Netflix is going to start creating original, subscriber-only programming.” I said, “Mother, what an incredibly complex idea to get across with high-pitched squeaks,” and she said, “My beloved Cashew! All creatures intuitively understand the concept of high quality on-demand programming.” I promised one day I’d make her proud. Now that day has come.



Pete Seeger’s Death Inspires Brief Fantasies About Participating In Social Change

Moments after hearing about the death of 94-year-old singer and activist Pete Seeger, June Atley, 39, sat on her Chapel Hill, NC porch reminiscing about growing up with 70s-era union rep parents. Pete Seeger—whose five-string banjo twanged out the backdrops to the civil rights, social justice and labor movement—provided the family soundtrack. “I remember sitting in the back of our Volvo station wagon belting out 'Bring ‘Em Home' and 'Wimoweh,'" Atley says. “Pete Seeger was a hero to me, and I’m going to start living in a way that respects that.” Atley works in software marketing, but she’s going to cut back her hours so she can start volunteering at [...]


The Other Person Is You

All I had to do in Albuquerque was rent a car and drive away from the place. I had asked the people at the rental car place for the smallest, cheapest car possible, and the attendant described my choices to me, stressing that one of them was bigger but got better gas mileage, and so I said, sure, that one is fine, why not. When he handed me the bill to sign, I discovered that the car he had led me to choose was in fact $150 more than the other one. "That," I said, pushing the list of charges back to him over the counter, "was so fucking lame." [...]


Dear Grammy Nominees And Other Attendees

Thank you for reading our general rules for appropriate attire for this year’s Grammys. The following items are addressed to particular individuals, but should you feel a flicker of recognition as you're reading, by all means pay attention to it even if you don't see your name here.

Christina Aguilera

If you wear a hat it needs to actually be on your head. (If you want to know what a hat looks like on someone’s head, and not just in its general vicinity, Bruno Mars can probably help you.) It’s not that your whimsical askew-ness thing isn’t super adorable. It’s just that we know everyone's going to [...]


The Year In Cheating

2012 was the worst year ever for infidelity in America. I know that because I am American, and in 2012, my boyfriend cheated on me. Not only that, my boyfriend cheated on me and I had to recover from it in complete anonymity. Robert Pattinson, cheated on by Kristen Stewart, was invited to unpack this experience on "The Jon Stewart Show." I was not. Someone shot a video of Scott Broadwell in his darkest hour, after his wife Paula's affair with General David Petraeus was revealed, walking with somber solidity to his brother-in-law’s house, while Paula gripped his arm with an assuring sense of ownership. No such video exists of [...]


Not OK Cupid

A series on the stuff that delighted us on the Internet this year.

I grew up in Massachusetts but at the other end of the state from Boston, so I never really got into the Boston Globe. Not that I imagine my friends who grew up near Boston were all obsessed with the Boston Globe or anything. God, I am being so boring right now, aren't I? This boringness is not something I would indulge in on a blind date. But what I am trying to do—and this is a segue I would never use on a blind date—is talk about my absolute favorite thing on the internet, which [...]


A Short Email Chat With The Amazing Performer Christeene

Christeene is an Austin-based singer and performer. There is an impulse to say that she is a drag character, but Paul Soileau, the actual Social Security number-having man "behind" Christeene doesn't really like the word 'drag' that much in this case, and neither do I, except as a way of understanding on a basic level that yes, this is a man dressed up as a person in high heels and makeup with a woman's name. Anyway. Christeene is the best. She and her backup dancers T-Gravel and C-Baby perform tonight at Glasslands in Williamsburg. Below is an email chat with Christeene.

I saw you play at [...]


Brad And Angie Go To Meet The African Pee Generator Girls

Angelina Jolie was so amazed. It was only once in a while that she saw something that really made her feel real. It was so hard to feel real sometimes. Pancakes sometimes made her feel real. But pancakes were troublesome. A slippery slope. She wrote that down in her blue Moleskine book. "Pancakes are a slippery slope."

She put her pen down and thoughtfully chewed the silky inside of her left cheek. She stared hard at the photo on her iPod of those beautiful, strong young African women who had just invented this amazing generator that made electricity out of human urine. She shook her head. It was [...]


Door To Door For Obama In The Wild West

Nevada is a swing state; California is blue. During the presidential elections it's a regular thing for Californians to go to Nevada to campaign on behalf of their chosen candidate. I spent six hours on Saturday knocking on doors in a subdivision in South Reno assessing people's support for President Barack Obama, and, where appropriate, attempting to convince them to vote for him. Below is a log of my experience. I knocked on about forty doors but only talked to about 18 people. In the spaces of time between log entries, I was just covering ground and leaving literature for people who were not home.

6:25 Was picked up at [...]


Literally The Worst Word On The Planet

I have always thought of the word 'literally' as someone else's problem. Then, suddenly, it arrived: My summer of Literally. A recent family vacation revealed my brother as one of the worst offenders. He likes to couple ‘literally’ with the phrase… 'on the planet,' as in, “You are literally the best sister on the planet.” (Or rather, you were.) Other literally fans (is it the heat?): my lesbian best friend, my rich best friend, my yoga best friend—she’s the one it seems rudest to complain about since last weekend we went to Wanderlust together, and I spent half the time in a sobbing rage and the other half crawling around [...]


Understanding What Ladies May Not Wear to Prom


How To Bully Children

I do a lot of pretty random stupid shit thinking that I will write about it. Most of my activities turn out to be useless, though there’s always the idea that I could hit upon something so I live in this constant state of expectation that’s not as exciting as it sounds and is actually mildly depressing. This is because the pretense of adventure, day in and day out, when hardly anything actually ever happens eventually wears on you, especially when you are not rich. As much as one tries to tell oneself that things are being accomplished, such encouragement is no match for the more persistent mantra which goes [...]


Six Reasons To Ignore The 'New York Times' Yoga Article

That New York Times Magazine's article on the dangers of yoga has made a lot of people mad. It didn’t really make me mad—I do too much yoga to get mad, though I do still sniff disdainfully—but I did want to address why many of the arguments in it are totally lame.

1. The Times' health coverage often gives way to local news-flavored hysteria. You can’t expect the Sort of People Who Tend to Read The Times to freak out about Amber Alerts and Child Molesters. The readership simply isn’t concerned with anything that has no direct effect on them, unless that thing is cool (design), epic in [...]


"When You Think It's Wrong, I Know It's Right": A Couple Makes A Cake

The final in a short series about sharing, caring and not going it alone. In this installment: Sarah Miller and Rob Guerin improvise, shop for and bake an amazing cake.

Sarah: When we talk about cake in this article, should we admit that we call it 'cakie'?

Rob: Yes, but you should say that you're the one who started calling it that. And that I never call it that.

Sarah: I don’t think that’s true. And you’re the one who really took 'cakie' to a new level with words like 'ckakanie' and 'cakkeei' because the iPhone spell check is so annoying that we always just have to [...]


Winona Ryder's Forever Sweater

Ten years ago today Winona Ryder stole several thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from the Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue. I reacted to the news of the incident the way I react to most celebrity scandals—with unmitigated delight—and prepared myself to follow subsequent action with mild interest.

Then, on the day of her arraignment, a friend called me. He was very excited. (The last time I had heard him like this was during the 1994 Oscars when I called him to make fun of Susan Sarandon’s dress and he picked up the phone, having no idea who was calling or for what reason, and wailed, “I know, [...]


Don't Say That, Say This!

Coming across a guide of "18 Common Phrases to Avoid In Conversation," I was struck by the rightness of the article's aim: Some things should indeed never be said. But the alternate conversational choices offered by the magazine seemed a bit passive aggressive to me —for example, "Is everything OK?" as a substitute for "You look tired." Naturally, I felt it was my duty to come up with some satisfactory alternatives.

Don’t say: “I could never wear that.” Why: It can be misunderstood as a criticism. (“I could never wear that because it’s so ugly.”) Instead: Suppose you meet up with a girlfriend at a party and her outfit [...]


Ashton Kutcher And The Hot-Tub-Worthy Divorce Machine

"Kutcher's appearance came as reports emerged that he had been rating girls as 'hot tub worthy or not' during a night out in Las Vegas on the weekend of his sixth wedding anniversary."—Daily Mail

“You got that?” Diddy demanded. “You understand?” Ashton could imagine his friend standing at the edge of the pool in Alpine, watching an early-fall breeze raise waves across its surface. One hand would sit elegantly in his pocket, the other would be stroking the flat smooth edge of his white cashmere scarf.

“Yeah,” said Ashton. “I understand.” He felt uncertain but hoped he didn’t sound it.

Ashton put down his iPhone on top [...]


Dear FBI Hottie Ali Soufan

September 15, 2011

Dear Mr. Soufan,

My boyfriend made me watch "Frontline" the other night, and because of you I'm so glad I did. I know people are probably always thanking you for being such a great American, or are impressed with you for having the ultimately useless insight that could have stopped the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, or for being the only Arab-speaking FBI agent in the New York area at the time of the attacks. And that stuff’s all great. But that’s not why I’m writing. I’m writing because after seeing "Frontline" (I had never heard of you before; sorry!), I listened to you [...]


Dressing Up My Boyfriend As Marc Anthony In His Terrible Kohl's Clothes

When I read last fall that Marc and J.Lo were designing clothing line at Kohl’s, I thought, well, now they can’t break up. Who else besides each other could they really expect to weather the shame? I mean, J.Lo is an international superstar. Marc Anthony is a gross international superstar. Kohl’s is the place that everyone thinks is Mervyns and already closed.

To refer to this particular Sacramento-area Kohl’s store as “open” is an overstatement. The place is humid with recession and whatever it is that keeps fabric from rotting in storage containers. At 1 p.m. on a Sunday, the only people around seemed mostly up to no good, like [...]