Sixty-five mangos, 12 coconuts, and three rubber-banded baggies of coffee slide across the deck in two large plastic bins. There’s a broad-built man in a little boat called COUNTRY staring at me. I have no money and it’s 600 miles to the nearest ATM.
For four years, I've been traveling the high seas, alone aboard my sailboat BOBBIE long enough to know that being cashless doesn’t have to be a problem. For centuries, explorers have ploughed all corners of our watery world, armed with little more than improvised currencies. From the Portuguese pursuits of exotic spices in the Moluccas, to the movement of molasses across the West Indies, the sea has always remained the most flexible of marketplaces.
And so, in much the same way, today on this tiny island in the middle of the Java Sea, we shall improvise. I duck inside, grab a half-full bottle of rum and toss it to Romy, my new bounty-bearing friend. It’s a solid deal: I don’t drink at sea, and he hasn’t seen commercial grade liquor in the better part of a decade.
“Using Sidenotes, publishers and readers can generate thoughtful reactions to any type of online content from articles to lyrics to live updates and more. Whether inspired or curious for more information, a reader can Sidenote any part of an article—a paragraph, a sentence, a quote, or an image.” Comments on these individual "social objects" will be placed right alongside stories instead of way down below them (congratulations), but will be hidden by default (oh, hahaha). Of course nobody asked for this, or else it wouldn't be an innovation. READ MORE
Because of the Internet—because of cats, which is more and more frequently the exact same thing—the clip will work even if you don't know what The Replacements' "Bastards of Young" video looked like. (But you probably should.) I am still "eh, either way" on Parquet Courts but my foot did find itself tapping a bit to this one.
I want to know how I can make my boyfriend a better listener.
It has happened several times that when I want to talk about something serious (the future, exes, fears, hopes, etc.) my boyfriend often gets distracted. It's not like he means to hurt me—I think it's just his nature, and possibly mild ADD—but it does hurt me.
I'm 24 and he will be 30 next year. We both see each other as potential life partners. But how can I be with someone who gets distracted by a squirrel when I'm telling him about my father's funeral?
That's the other thing: I have some serious things to tell him. My father was murdered when I was 14. It's a story I haven't shared with many people, but if this is the right guy (and by all other accounts, he is) then I want him to know.
My fear is that he will hurt me by not listening correctly. Basically, that he won't listen well, or that he will be scared off, or will avoid the subject or get distracted or whatever. It has happened many times before and even though I've told him this hurts me, not much has changed.
Sometimes I feel like the mom when a serious subject gets brought up: If he gets distracted, I admonish him. Usually I say: Look, right now I just don't care about buttering my bread roll/wiping crumbs out of my shirt/that castle that we're about to pass because I'm in the middle of telling you something very important. Or I just say, never mind, you're not listening. I'll tell you some other time. He instantly apologizes and promises to change but then the same thing happens again and again. Recently I've felt like he's trying so hard to listen that he's almost playing a role.
Sometimes I even feel like I'm dragging him down when I keep trying to tell him these dark stories from my past. He's a very positive, happy-go-lucky guy who comes from a balanced family. I'm a pretty strong, driven and balanced person as well (despise all the fucked up stories) but I need to talk and be heard, damn it. I think that a lot of the time he gets scared of these topics and makes distractions. But I can feel that he cares and wants to support me—just doesn't know how.
So Polly: am I crazy for trying to change my boyfriend? Are you going to tell me to get a therapist? I realize I will want to get one some day, but I also want to figure out a way to share myself fully with the person I love without getting mad at him every time.
Van Gogh's Girlfriend
I should warn you, this is one of those subjects that lights up every dark corner of my brain, causing me to spin out in a million directions. The hope of getting some small slice of concrete advice from whatever follows here is admittedly very dim, but I will try my best to bring it home. I WILL BRING THIS HOME.
Here we go. Most humans need a good listener in their lives. People want to be heard. Not distractedly half-heard and then interrupted, but heard. The desire to be heard is easily observed in small children, who magically turn into house-destructing demons the second you get on the phone, play Candy Crush, flip through a fucking magazine, etc. Kids who aren't heard are like dogs who don't get enough exercise. They will fucking shred the carpet to bits, if you let them. READ MORE
You know what else is covered in doody? Yes, everything. But especially whatever device you happen to be reading this on right now. Here are some tips for cleaning it, but be honest, ten seconds from now you are going to eat your lunch over it and then the cycle will start anew. Why bother? My theory is if you leave the dirt there eventually you will develop some kind of symbiotic affinity with it. Yes, that is how I justify grime and indolence. What, you think you're better than me? I've seen you blow your nose in your hands and then continue to type after a cursory wipe on your jeans. Let's not kid ourselves here.
You said dirty comics are sort of a rare breed these days. Do you feel like that’s made comedy worse? Do you ever find yourself hesitating on stage, like ‘if I say something, there might be someone recording it and they might put it on a blog?’ Or do you not even give a shit?
Every comic gives a shit. Everything they say in the clubs could offend someone or somebody could take it the wrong way. The days of the late night show of just winging it and having a good time, they’re coming to an end. The crowds are pretty PC. A lot of them are coming in after seeing comedy on TV, or on the internet, or maybe there’s one name they follow and then there’s a whole bunch of other comics. I would say that audience now is the one that has to really step up a little bit. The comics are always going to be doing what they’re doing. Some of them are better than others, some of them, you know, are dirtier than others. It’s up to the audience to kind of roll with it, and let it happen. People want to have a good time. They’re really not into the experimental comedy that we all think is so important. They want a finished product. To me that’s sad. My most favorite shows were the ones where I come up with stuff, you try and push your material, something happens in the crowd, and you turn it a gem – that’s what makes it fun. I’m towards the end of the road, so I’m fine with it. It’s sad though because the audience is such an important part of it. My crowds are great. I love my people. Audiences just have to realize they are as important in the development as anybody else. Just showing up isn’t enough. READ MORE
Everyone will tell you Soul Asylum was much better before they got big, but that is what everyone says about everything they love that they knew prior to its becoming popular, so a lot of times it is just wrong. I mean, no one is defending "Runaway Train"—no one could—but the back half of their career had as much underappreciated stuff as the beginning. Anyway, happy birthday, Dave Pirner. Those of us who dream of disappearing completely will always love you for this song.
"All I could do was make phone calls and play Snake."
The love for your mobile device may not have been the first, but it is definitely one of the greatest. Your phone evolves along with everything else in your life, an unconditional love in its own right, but without all of the baggage. Check out the video above to watch millennials wax nostalgic about their very first phones.
This interview series is the latest in The Mobile Movement campaign, in which AT&T travels the country documenting the life and times of millennials. In each case, they aim to capture a different angle on the "networked existence."
Follow the movement at www.youtube.com/themobilemovement.
Sundown Monday marked the beginning of Passover, the festival that celebrates the liberation of the Jewish people from the Egyptian Pharaohs 3300 years ago, give or take. The story of Exodus tells of the 10th and final plague—the death of the first-born, cast down upon the Egyptians for failing to heed God’s command to free the Children of Israel. To avoid the scourge, the Israelites were instructed by Moses to mark their doors with the blood of a slaughtered lamb as code: "Pass over" this home.
A 73-year-old white supremacist killed three people over the weekend in a targeted attack on Jewish community centers in Kansas City. The New York City Police Department has amped up security at Jewish facilities across the city. The response of the NYPD, like the biblical smearing of blood on entryways, represents a stand against hatred, and the right of all individuals and groups to freedom and security.
Despite yesterday's dreariness, the Hasidic Jewish community of Williamsburg was abuzz on this second day of Passover. Prayers echoed from tenement windows, Second Seder preparations were in the air, and families hurried through the rain, their hats protected by plastic bags.
Natalie McMullen is a street photographer, culture critic and food writer. She is an archivist of the resonant, a nerdy polisher of words, and a lifelong scholar on love and relationships. She is currently resident photographer at The Awl.
"Whatever happened to good?" asks the white man with graying hair, dad khakis and an alarmingly large face as he fills his mug with coffee brewed from beans which were picked by poor farmers who make less than a few dollars a day for working the vast plantations that produce the beans, which are shipped to large industrial facilities to be toasted, pulverized into a dry, soil-like mass and eventually dumped into large blue tubs bearing the logo of Maxwell House, a billion-dollar brand of Kraft Foods, mega-purveyor of chemically ingenious foodstuffs, which is keen to regain its status as the biggest coffee seller in the United States, not by producing the best commodity coffee product, but by promoting the virtues of the merely good with a twenty to twenty-five million dollar advertising campaign. Indeed, what did happen to good?
Adventure Time is a smash hit cartoon aimed primarily at kids age six to eleven. It’s also a deeply serious work of moral philosophy, a rip-roaring comic masterpiece, and a meditation on gender politics and love in the modern world. It is rich with moments of tenderness and confusion, and real terror and grief even; moments sometimes more resonant and elementally powerful than you experience in a good novel, though much of Adventure Time’s emotional force is visually evoked—conveyed through a language of seeing and feeling rather than words.
The heroes of Adventure Time—a boy in a white helmet named Finn, and his shape-shifting mutant dog/adopted brother, Jake—spend their days fighting evil, playing games, saving (and, sometimes, dating) princesses, learning secrets, and exploring their half-ruined home world of Ooo, as well as other worlds and dimensions. They possess a blind optimism that is as clueless as it is comforting: Whether they are fighting a swamp giant, trapped in a garbage-strewn cave or testing the super-spicy instant bath serum in the palace of Princess Bubblegum, they are (almost always) brave and kind; they want to have fun and they mean no harm. Finn and Jake are also full of a magical quality that real children have—of resilience, and of seeing the world as if for the first time.
These heroes are as fallible as can be—they’re quite capable of displaying selfishness, impatience and thick-headedness—but their essential good nature always wins out, if not their wisdom or their power to set things right. They mess up a lot, in fact, and their errors and imperfections aren’t magically erased at the end of each episode. At one point they accidentally create the conditions whereby a monster is able to extinguish all life in the universe with a wish; this idea scared me halfway out of my wits and into a curled-up ball under the covers. But it all blindly, clumsily gets set halfway-right again, leaving a host of potentially terrible consequences in the uncertain future: The show often produces a relieved, tender and half-frightened sensation, along with shock, pleasure and laughter.
Adventure Time’s dozens of characters are complex in a way that is rarely seen on television for adults, let alone children; each seems to inhabit his own world. In E.M. Forster’s memorable phrase, they are round characters, “capable of surprising in a convincing way.” Lumpy Space Princess is a lovable but ghastly teenager, tediously obsessed with her old boyfriend, the unprepossessing Brad; she treats her well-meaning parents very shabbily. Marceline the Vampire Queen’s father is present just enough to make it impossible for her to ignore or forget his cruelty and selfishness—qualities she has inherited, to some degree. Princess Bubblegum is afflicted with intellectual arrogance and an inability to anticipate the dangerous consequences of her scientific experiments.
The Ice King is a tragic figure—to my mind, the hero—of Adventure Time. He is a danger to himself and everyone else, subject to unpredictable rages and fits of violence, but he will break your heart. He is forever trying to marry a princess or make a friend, but it never, ever works out, he can only push the thing he desires out of reach by the very force of his longing. Despite being a furious half-crazy blue cartoon villain, he is entirely human; he is ridiculous, needy and sad; he is oneself.
“I identify with him more than any other character,” said Adventure Time's creator Pendleton Ward, chatting offhandedly in the writers’ room at the studio in Burbank, where we had gathered with the show’s key writers and producers.
“But not in terms of, like, trying to capture women….” said Adam Muto, the show's co-executive producer.
“Oh, yes!” Ward said stoutly. Then, after the laughter subsided: “No, no, no, I mean… not capture, literally kidnapping women…. Just like, living alone and having to talk to your pet.”
Read the rest at this story's permanent home: The Hole Near The Center Of The World.