New York City, February 4, 2016

weather review sky 020416★★ One last snowbank still looked like a snowbank; the next one was just a little clump of ice chips on the wet mulch. The downpour of yesterday was an oily little puddle at the foot of the subway stairs. The daylight had not been strong enough to rouse a sleeper with the blinds up, and it wasn’t getting much stronger. The cloud cover faltered only a little around midday, then re-thickened. The thin, unlined hoodie was a mistake by the ride home, but not a serious one. A bedtime glance at the weather forecast found an unexpected exclamation point there, and not long after came the sound of something frozen hitting the windows.

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In January, following a year of stalled growth and financial disappointment, Twitter shed nearly half of its core leadership. Three days later, Adam Bain, the company’s (surviving!) Chief Operating Officer, posted this complaint:

The linked tweet:

That day, Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa had gotten into a fight on Twitter, roping in Amber Rose and setting off a massive and spontaneous celebrity media event. The choice of medium was a notable and conspicuous part of the story: West’s Twitter presence is uneven but legendary; one of his posts (erroneously) mocked Khalifa for losing followers; he mentioned looking at Khalifa’s timeline. It’s where responses were expected to show up, and did.

Vagabond Express


“I wondered what she did,” Alice Adams wrote of a fellow Greyhound passenger in the New Yorker in 1981, “what job took her from Oakland to Vallejo.” Adams had gotten on the wrong bus. She was on her way home to San Francisco from Sacramento, and instead of boarding the commuter coach, she got on the milk route instead; the woman sitting near her represented a parallel universe traveling the same line. Post-divorce, Adams was especially susceptible to this kind of imagining. Who was this woman? And what fine lines, drawn of coincidence and choice and culture, separated Adams from her?

The day after she accidentally took the slow bus home, Adams travelled to work next to a woman who boarded at the same station she did, disembarked at Adams’s destination, and went to work in a building right beside her office. She found this duality unsettling. On every bus we don’t board, a possible life drives away without us, and the romance is ruined if the possibility presented is as mundane as our own reality. Better instead, Adams decides, to wile away commuter hours contemplating individuals like the woman working in Vallejo, fellow travellers who were different: a handsome black man, a heavyset woman, someone in a sharp purple suit who says what other passengers are afraid to. At the end of the piece, Adams writes of her trips on the Greyhound, “I could meet anyone at all.”

The years following the financial crash were a good time to meet people on the Greyhound. Mother Jones reported that in 2008, intercity bus travel went up almost ten percent. In the years that bracketed the recession, I did a lot of disappearing on Greyhound buses. Lacking the wherewithal to determine what my life should look like, I worked a couple of jobs and saved up money and then spent it rumbling from coast to coast at semi-regular intervals, visiting friends, or helping them move. I was not riding for a purpose, particularly, but because motion gives shape to purposelessness.

Thomas Ragsdale, "Time To Go"

Even if you are, as am I, a staunch defender of the classic rotation of seasons—the promise of spring, the seduction of summer, the crispness of fall and the grim determination of winter—you can still probably find some amusement in what appears to be our new Mystery Mix order of weather wherein one day it’s May and the next it’s November. So we woke up to winter today. What will it be tomorrow? NO ONE KNOWS. There might be a heatwave next week, and everyone will just shake their heads and say, “Yeah, that’s what happens here in February.” It is indeed a remarkable age in which we live. Anyway, there’s some backstory to this track but you do not need to know it to enjoy, so figure out how much reading you’d like to do in advance and then enjoy. [Via]

New York City, February 3, 2016

weather review sky 020316★ The morning was so dark that the mirrored tower was failing at mirroring. It had rained already. The last snowbanks on the cross street were eroded and diminished. At midday, umbrellas were out and shiny with new rain. It seemed as if it must be cold in the gloom, but it wasn’t. It got wetter and wetter; deep flood puddles formed at crosswalks. Raindrops fringed the hood of the waterproof jacket, to be shaken away with a sharp head nod. The four-year-old let go of his umbrella and let the adult holding and guiding it by the ferrule keep walking ahead. The stairs up out of the subway into the soggy dimness felt as if they were leading downward. A vendor knocked water out of a greenmarket canopy and it hit the pavement with almost the sound of breaking glass.

All the News That's Affordable to Print

460762472_a6c4227b5f_zGood news, the New York Times had a higher profit in 2015 than it did in 2014. That extra profit did not come from an increase in revenue as digital finally offset the momentous decline in print—how great would that be???—but from the Timesnow-longstanding source of profit-making: cutting costs faster than revenue falls. Here’s a chart of the last ten years of Times annual revenues against total operating costs and operating profits:

A Poem by Martha Silano


Who knows best a pineapple’s heart? A knife.
Words are good, but fowls lay eggs.
A hungry stomach makes a short prayer.
The first may become the last.

Words are good, but fowls lay eggs
till the moon disappears completely.
The first may become the last.
Little by little grow the bananas.

Till the moon disappears completely,
a new moon cannot rise.
Little by little grow the bananas.
A woman is beautiful until she speaks.

A new moon cannot rise
while a hot needle burns the thread.
A woman is beautiful until she speaks.
If you know what hurts you, you know what hurts me.

Sofie Winterson, "KIDS"

2015 sucked, but Sofie Winterson’s “I Only Wanted You” was an undeniable bright spot. Based on early returns it looks like 2016 is going to suck even worse, so at least we’ve still got Sofie Winterson stopping by with tiny delights such as this to help us through, for whatever that’s worth. Given what we’re looking at for the rest of this year it is going to have to be worth a lot, I think. Enjoy.

New York City, February 2, 2016

weather review sky 020216★★★★ The reflected light showcased a clean, fresh mound of fill sitting by a trench being cut into Broadway. The sky was fully cloudless and the sun was sharp. All day, the sky stayed pristine. Even the grimy taxis and trucks were shiny. The air indoors was overheated, but a quick walk outside cleared the stuffy sourness away. It was just cold enough to still be wintry. People had gone to lighter coats, with interesting cuts. Only the shimmer and flicker of construction lamps in a building far, far downtown betrayed anything less than perfect clarity.

Molly Bloom's What Time Is The Super Bowl

no thats no way for him has he no manners nor no refinement nor no nothing in his nature slapping us behind like that on my bottom because I didnt call him Hugh the ignoramus that doesnt know poetry from a cabbage thats what you get for not keeping them in their proper place pulling off his shoes and trousers there on the chair before me so barefaced without even asking permission and standing out that vulgar way in the half of a shirt they wear to be admired like a priest or a butcher or those old hypocrites in the time of Julius Caesar of course hes right enough in his way to pass the time as a joke sure you might as well be in bed with what with a lion God Im sure hed have something better to say for himself an old Lion would O well I suppose its because they were so plump and tempting in my short petticoat he couldnt resist they excite myself sometimes its well for men all the amount of pleasure they get off a womans body were so round and white for them always I wished I was one myself for a change just to try with that thing they have swelling up on you so hard and at the same time so soft when you touch it