Monday, July 14th, 2014
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Summer of Pie

yeah... who's hungryAt the age of 29, my mother taught me how to bake a pie. That she was in her kitchen, proving how easy it was—how pleasurable it was to master this most domestic of tricks—was a shocker. “There’s more to life than getting married, you know!” she’d said when she caught me walking a Barbie down the aisle in a make believe game of wedding when I was young. “There’s art and work and travel,” she said slowly, clearly trying to make an impression.

But it all sounded boring, coming from her. I already knew I could become an astronaut, a lawyer, or president of the United States if I wanted to. Everyone said so. Born in the ‘80s, I took for granted the choices available to me as an American girl, who benefitted from the Women’s Lib movement, for which my own mother had fought hard. I grew up in an environment and time when it was more questionable if your mother didn’t work; a post-Home Ec, pre-foodie era.

Through my twenties, a number of the guys I dated suggested we bake pie. I didn’t like pie, especially the crust, which I often skipped in favor of the fruit filling, and which had split apart like Pangaea on the few occasions I’d tried to make one on my own. Why did these guys want to bake? What about me screamed, “This is the type of girl who will make you a piping hot pie”? More so, I was baffled that men of my generation—who were present in the classroom when we were all told we could become anything we wanted to, if we put our minds to it—were so attracted to an activity that suggested the traditional feminine ideal.

Despite my trouble with pie crust, I’m a pretty good cook. For years I worked as the publicist for New York City’s network of farmers’ markets. I’ve written for food magazines. I throw memorable dinner parties. And yet, pie started to take on a very particular meaning. It became routine for my mother to ask, as I wailed to her over the phone about the most recent dating disappointment, “But did you cook for him? You need to cook for them!” When had she changed her independent woman tune? I’d take my anger at the dude who had loused up our courtship, and redirect it at my mother, whose words seemed like an about-face on the feminist morals she’d raised me to uphold. READ MORE

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The Essential Guide to Summer Fruit






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Things That Happened at JT

JTIM_lightshow

This post is sponsored by Citi.  Learn more about the Citi®/AAdvantage® MasterCard at Citi.com/citiaadvantage.

The line to get into the Justin Timberlake show at Hammerstein Ballroom on Thursday was around the block when I arrived at 7:30. Some folks had slept out overnight to be able to stand in the front row. One woman told Justin this during a period of banter with the crowd. “You slept out overnight? To see me?” he asked charmingly, incredulously. “That’s crazy.”

The crowd was overwhelmingly—I estimated at least seventy percent—women, who seemed mostly to be in their twenties and thirties, with a smattering of teens. There were a lot of black cocktail dresses, which fit in nicely with the Big Band Plus Laser Lights aesthetic of the show. The DJ, warming up the crowd before Justin came on, expressed admiration for all of the men in the audience, gamely tagging along with their wives and girlfriends, as if a straight man can’t appreciate an all-around entertainer like Justin Timberlake of his own accord. Hmm.

JTIM_Brendan_1

It really was a show, and not just a concert—more than anything the evening felt like a really big party. A few songs in, a woman threw her panties onstage. “She threw her panties on the stage!” Justin laughed, as if this sort of thing never happens, ha ha, what the heck. He handed the panties delicately to one of his male backup singers, who threw them at the percussionist. Everyone was laughing. (Was the woman who threw her panties onstage laughing? We may never know.) The man knows how to work a crowd

Because my companion and I were designated “VIP MEDIA”—lol okay!—we were permitted access to the VIP area. The VIP area at Hammerstein ballroom, for this show, consisted of the lowest balcony, looking out over the dancefloor. In the VIP area, if you stand in place for a few seconds, people start bringing you food. Over the course of the night, I ate three sliders, two spring rolls, two empanadas, one edamame dumpling, one piece of toast carrying something slightly mushy but still delicious, one half of a chicken popsicle (would not recommend the chicken popsicle), one mini reuben, one small chocolate chip cookie, one lemon pastry thing, one raspberry pastry thing and one cheesecake popsicle that I was worried might have been a chicken popsicle in disguise, but was not, thank goodness. READ MORE

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When a Hot Cop Pulls You Over

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, writer Ruth Graham tells us more about what it’s like to be pulled over by a highway patrolman sent from heaven.

Ruth! So what happened here?

It was the 4th of July, and I was driving alone from my house in rural New Hampshire to join my very best friends at our summer rental in the Catskills. We have been renting this house together (in various combinations) since 2007, and it is my favorite place in the world. There’s a private swimming pond, and we cook big meals and have cocktails and play board games and make jokes and it’s just the best. We got Wi-Fi this summer, which has been a mixed blessing. That weekend there was going to be a much larger group than usual because my friends Alicia and Hugh were having a big co-ed bachelor/bachelorette party. They’re getting married this fall in Cleveland, and I can’t wait for their wedding.

Anyway, I work from home now, and it somehow hadn’t occurred to me that everyone else would have the day off and would have arrived at the house early. It was maybe 6 p.m., and I still had a few hours to go, so I was feeling a little rushed. I moved from New York to New Hampshire a couple of years ago, so now the drive is more than five hours each way.

I had just crossed the border on I-84 into New York from the East Coast’s equivalent of a flyover state, Connecticut (“Here I am at my destination in Connecticut,” said no one). Traffic wasn’t bad, and I was zipping along. I saw the “Speed Limit 55” sign—I’d been assuming it was 65—at the exact same time I saw the state trooper parked in the median. I immediately knew he was going to pull me over, and then he did. READ MORE

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Monopolies of the Future Past

The thought of the future is often terrifying because we are biologically programmed to be frightened by dim uncertainty. But, as we've made steady progress toward the construction of a time machine, some pieces of the future have inadvertently slipped into our own time, providing a comforting sense of probability, if not certainty, about the fate of certain key elements of civilization:

Mr. Zandri, an author of mystery and suspense tales, is published by Thomas & Mercer, one of Amazon Publishing’s many book imprints. He is edited by Amazon editors and promoted by Amazon publicists to Amazon customers, nearly all of whom read his books in electronic form on Amazon’s e-readers, Amazon’s tablets and, soon, Amazon’s phones.

His novels are not sold in bookstores, and rarely found in public libraries. His reviews are written by Amazon readers on the Amazon website. “Has a little bit of something for everyone,” one enthusiast exclaimed. “Heavy machinery, love, humor and mystery.” And his latest prize was an award from Amazon.

The future of reading: secured, by Amazon. There is, as of yet, little word about what happens to Beyonce.

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Summer in Siberia

One thing they never get right in the movies is that right before the Bad Thing happens, when it's clear that something is starting to go wrong, real people usually just laugh. Nervous chuckles and low speech, then screams, as the sky begins to fall. Unless you're in Siberia! In which case the laughing never quite stops. [Via]

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Tom Junod, noted potential fucker of hot forty-two-year-old women, on the American pit bull crisis:

Every year, American shelters have to kill about 1.2 million dogs. But both pro- and anti-pit-bull organizations estimate that of these, anywhere from 800,000 to nearly 1 million are pit bulls. We kill anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 pit bulls a day. They are rising simultaneously in popularity and disposability, becoming something truly American, a popular dog forever poised on the brink of extermination.

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Which Meat Will You Miss the Most?

A butterfly flaps its wings in New Mexico, a lime crisis ends, a meat crisis begins:

The cost to produce a BLT, America’s favorite summer sandwich, hit a record high of $1.65 in May and will continue to take a bigger bite out of wallets in the coming months, given a pig virus that has ramped up bacon prices and drought-stricken salad crops in California.

Kind of a strange way into a story about record-high pork belly prices, but sure. It's a BLT crisis! Chicken prices are skyrocketing, too, for entirely different reasons:

"We fed him too much. He got fat. When he got big, he did not breed as much as he was intended to," Cockrell said about the breed of rooster. "The fertilization went way down, and our hatch has been way down."

And then beef, what's the problem with beef?

The scramble shows how a prolonged drought in the southern U.S. Great Plains that has shrunk the nation's cattle supply to six-decade lows is rippling from slaughterhouses to drive-ins and high-end steakhouses.

But beef derivatives are out of control, which is a good sign:

After making an all-time high early Monday morning, cattle prices reversed sharply lower as cattlemen began bringing cattle to the market to capture record high prices. Meanwhile, traders cashed in on huge profits, after riding the market higher for months. As prices dropped, ranchers and traders seemed to succumb to herd behavior, with aggressive selling leading to even more selling.

During the week, prices fell so fast that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s limits were triggered multiple times, which prevent prices from dropping more than three cents per day. By Friday, the bloodbath seemed to be slowing down, but left the markets severely wounded, with fat cattle having shed over nine cents per pound and feeders losing nearly twelve cents, finishing near $1.47 and $2.08, respectively.

"The bright side of this price drop is for consumers, grocery stores, and restaurants, who may benefit from cheaper beef," the story says. Cheaper food, in a story about our food supply: that is what is known now as "the bright side."

None of this really amounts to much for now; these meat price stories are amplified by the fact that there are complex financial arrangements around them. But it's a fun rehearsal, at least, and one that we will repeat many many times, before the real future gets here.

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The Uniform Outfit

uniThe short black sleeves on Alex Pappas’s jersey were offset by a triptych of white and orange lines near the shoulder. "Yaquis de Obregon" was splashed across the front in a slanted, stylized font, the dark letters bordered in orange. Pappas told the small crowd around the table about how he had hopped the border to get the jersey, which represents a team from a Mexican winter baseball league. The kid next to him, Mike Engle, wore the blue and red of the Montreal Canadiens and offered a tamer story: He’d merely custom-ordered his clothes to look like those of the team’s mascot, and replaced the usual numbers with an exclamation point. But Paul Lukas, whose jeans were rolled up to the knee to reveal striped baseball socks, sipped from a pint glass and quietly listened all the same.

Though millions of college bros and white collar desk jockeys analyze their fantasy football teams each year with the statistical rigor of a top-flight dungeon master, the social centrality of sports mostly insulates its obsessives from any outsider status. But then there are people like Lukas, the fifty-year-old writer behind Uni Watch, ESPN.com's regular column on sports aesthetics, and his audience—who call themselves the “uni-verse”—close-readers of the visual language with which teams brand themselves through color, pattern and uniform variations. Their debates rage over the relative merits of long and short baseball pants; they catalog minor and major changes to sports clothing; they note trends in typographical size and angle; and they count chevrons and check-patterns. READ MORE

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New York City, July 10, 2014

weather review sky 071014★★★★ An unexpected sampling of ways not to be unpleasant. The orbital muscles got ready to tighten and then relaxed, in the gentle light of a damp-aired morning. Mellow gray overtook the sky for a long spell, keeping the streets cool. Then abruptly there was almost-full warm sun. The light was clear; the sidewalks were full. Toward sundown, uptown, the neutral gray had come back again. Was air conditioning dripping, or was rain starting to fall? By the end of a trip through the grocery, in and then out on a wide-open express lane, the gray appeared to be resolving back to blue, in the ambiguous tones of dusk. Either way, the far-away west was streaked with glowing pink.

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Embracing the Tour de France, the World Cup’s Endearingly Weird Little Brother

ANALOG BIKERSAre you growing tired of watching impossibly attractive men tear off their shirts in the name of God, country, and football? Well, do I have excellent news for you: the Tour de France is upon us. I love the Tour de France (go ahead, pronounce “France” like it rhymes with “taunts,” I know you want to), the world’s most famous bike race, and firmly believe that it’s completely underrated—especially in years when it’s pitted against the World Cup, as it is now. If the World Cup is the disaffected, hard-bodied teen who’s too cool for the moon landing, the Tour de France is the nerdy, telescope-toting little brother who Sally Draper kisses at the end of the night.

Last Saturday, the 101st Tour kicked off in Yorkshire, England. Over the next three weeks, 198 cyclists will travel more than 2,000 miles through the UK, Belgium, Spain, and (duh) France. Unlike the World Cup, the Tour de France doesn’t lend itself to rowdy viewing parties in sports bars, considering that live TV coverage airs from about eight in the morning to noon on the East Coast. Though taped highlights will resurface later for primetime viewers, this is fundamentally a sport for morning people (hi, hello, reporting for duty), best watched over coffee and in pajamas. For those of us who generally prefer lonely pajama coffee to rowdy sports bars anyway (again, hi, hello), it’s an appealing proposition.

On Monday, the riders started their day in Cambridge and, a few hours of idyllic countryside later, ended it in London, casually speeding past Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Parliament. The views were stunning, but the best are yet to come. The Tour coverage, with its endless supply of aerial shots of farmland and castles and winding mountain roads, is hardcore Europe porn. Just search Google Images for “beautiful tour de france,” then do your best to keep your drool from shorting out your keyboard.

The Tour consist of 21 stages, which can last up to five and a half hours and span nearly 150 miles, with only two rest days among them. It’s difficult to believe that people willingly subject their bodies to this, and perhaps less difficult to believe that many have resorted to performance-enhancing drugs to do it better. Here is a phrase you don’t see too often in the course of normal sports spectatorship: “71-mile sprint,” which, lololol forever. But that’s the Tour de France for you.  READ MORE

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"Shares in the Times rose/fell tk to tk as of tk time on Friday."

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Just Lie to Yourself: Science

[Scientists] found similar differences among another group of campers, who were instructed to to listen to music as they walked. The guide told them to focus on the music, asking them, for instance, where they heard the music more clearly.Wansink documented that the music-focused walkers consumed far fewer M&M's offered up as a snack after the stroll, compared to participants who had just focused on the exercise of walking.

Some other possible life tips based on this research: While at work, drink—your shift will feel like a party, and you won't need to go out afterward. Instead of "doing chores" around the house, tell your friends, and yourself, that you're preparing to move out every two weeks. Then just don't! The possibilities are endless, as long as you remain unaware of as many of them as possible.

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This Week in Lines

HalalCart12:03 PM Wednesday, July 9th — Halal Cart, 69th and Madison

Length: 11 people
Weather: 81 degrees and partly cloudy
Crowd: Construction workers
Mood: Distracted
Wait Time: Approximately seven minutes
Lingering Question: How many Halal carts can one neighborhood sustain? READ MORE

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Join the #UnitedWeShave Movement This Summer

This Independence Day, Schick® Quattro® is inspiring guys to reclaim their chins, buck beards and make this the summer of the jawline.

Guys, stop hiding your face and take back summer for the clean shaven because it’s hip to be square jawed with Schick® Quattro®. None of those jet powered, radio alarm clock, blades up the wahzoo razors for your face. All you need is a Schick® Quattro®, which does the job and does it well with its four blades of awesome righteousness.

Are your ready to join the Schick® Quattro® #UnitedWeShave movement and take back summer for the clean-shaven?

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Rome Fortune and Four Tet, "Lights Low"

(〜 ̄_ ̄)〜     \(^_^)/     〜( ̄_ ̄〜)

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The Hair Classifieds: How I Put My Hair Up for Sale

HairWhen you’re trolling the Internet after midnight, brainstorming quick ways to make extra cash, it’s little consolation that you are not alone.

My fingers clicked through the classifieds:

ASIAN EGG DONORS WANTED: Chinese, Korean and Japanese earn $8k-$10k.

Figure Model Wanted in New York City.

It was late May, nearly three weeks after I received a layoff notice from my newspaper reporting job that I held for five years. I had already hawked everything worth anything on eBay and Craigslist. Financial anxiety seized its grip on me after I moved to New York from Los Angeles to pursue greener journalism pastures. That’s how I ended up at 1 a.m. on a hair classified website, where hairwork artists bid on strands to be incorporated into their art—or so they claim. READ MORE

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Steak Expensive

If you enjoy going to restaurants to order enormous slabs of meat cut from the flank of large animals that is then to left to rot (in a good way lol) for many days before being slapped under a flaming broiler, you have probably noticed something in recent months, as international demand for beef has intersected with drought that has ravaged cattle herds: It now seems "a bit like buying a diamond, doesn't it? Well that's the direction things are going in. During my years of reviewing steakhouses at Bloomberg News, I rarely spent less than $150 per person on any given visit. Enjoy your beef while you can afford it." Or just cook it yourself.

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#MIAMI #LEBRON #DECISION #FAIRWEATHERBOYS

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To Karl Ove Knausgård, Re: Your Tortured Feelings for the Gays

karloveDear Karl Ove,

I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to you, but as curious as I've been about your work, I had to overcome my suspicion and jealousy resulting from the onslaught of critical praise and (though I wish I could ignore such things) rock-star photographs of your L'Oreal hair and heavy smoking habit. In any case, with the understanding that the third volume of My Struggle (Boyhood Island) was recently published in the U.S., I just finally finished the first one (A Death in the Family). I have to admit, I was impressed by the opening section. Your meditation on the decay of a human body and the ensuing memory of the narrator (also "Karl Ove") as a young, sensitive boy, who in the course of watching a news report sees a mysterious face emerge above a choppy sea, were mesmerizing. When, in the next scene, your father mockingly asks if you had seen Jesus, before telling you to forget about it, his aloof disregard of your excitement seems monstrous; in just a few pages, you had established the conflict of a lifetime, and I looked forward to being immersed in its slow resolution.

Granted, the next few hundred pages were not quite as exciting as you meandered between episodes of teen partying, heterosexual groping, and playing in bad cover bands, but the strategy is understandable: A 450-page book cannot always be on fire. Thankfully, you returned to form when, as an adult character, you took us to your grandmother's house, where your father, having divorced and fallen on hard times, had been living in squalor before dying of a heart attack. Your unresolved anger toward him, along with your growing ambivalence for your older brother—whom you once revered—and your grandmother, an alcoholic who wavers in and out of sanity, was rendered with insight and, at moments, harrowing detail.

Karl Ove, in the spirit of honesty, I must tell you that, despite my genuine admiration for the above, I also had some real problems with this book that I would like to address with you now, with the hope that you (or perhaps one of the many reviewers who failed to bring this same concern to light) can respond to me. To put my objections in plain terms, your book made you seem like a bigoted, macho asshole—someone who on one hand purports to revere an entire roster of great homosexual artists and writers of the past century (but without ever mentioning their homosexuality), while on the other castigates homosexuality in a winking, assumed manner that has long been the bane of the worst kind of Hollywood movies. No surprise (since homophobia and misogyny are so often conjoined): Your understanding of gender seems equally rigid, and made me wonder if you are aware that not everyone falls into the same Tarzan/Jane dichotomy with which you view the world, and are all that much happier as a result.

Let's take a look at a few of the offending passages I marked in the course of reading your book.

• "I could control myself. She had a nice body, but there was something boyish about her humor and manner that seemed to cancel out her breasts and hips."

• "Nor could I ask [my friend] to open the bottle for me, that was too homo."

• "I could open bottles with my teeth, perhaps it wouldn't seem so homo."

• "We never hugged. We weren't the sort of guys who would hug."

• "What was more important was that the embroidered blouse and the Sami shoes were not [my father]. And that he had slipped into this, entered this formless, uncertain, almost feminine world."

• "He twisted his neck and patted some hair into place. He had always had that mannerism, but there was something about his shirt and those trousers, which were so profoundly alien to him, that suddenly made it seem effeminate."

• "[Going to an adult video store] was incompatible with everything a normal life entailed, and most of those who went there were normal men…[but] I had no idea, this was foreign territory for me…"

•Even though the suitcase was heavy I carried it by the handle as I walked into the departure hall. I detested the tiny wheels, first of all because they were feminine, thus not worthy of a man, a man should carry, not roll. [Something I can't find about the fear of sleeping in the same bed as your brother—as if you might wake up and find yourself fucking him—but at least having a separate duvet; this fear is similar to what we call "gay panic" in the United States, which still crops up now and again as a murder defense. "Your honor, that faggot winked at me and I had to kill him!"]

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