“Bill may have told you that my beloved wife has recently died,” he said at one lunch. “I’m wondering if you would be kind enough to accept one or two new things she had just bought, that I think would probably fit you. I’m afraid she never got to wear them.” A black princess-style coat with a velvet collar from Best & Co. and an astounding blue wool suit by Pauline Trigère both fit perfectly. Until then, most of my clothes were sewn by my mother or by me, and although my mother sewed well and precisely and had taken a tailoring class, she did not line the skirts or put small covered weights in the hems of coats.
It took a few years before I actually dared to wear them.
Mike: So, that’s an excerpt from Diane Johnson’s lovely essay in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine about becoming an adult and acquiring some grown-up clothes that she eventually passed down to her own daughters.
Logan, do you have a similar memory? Acquiring some grown-up clothes that made you feel like an adult when you put them on?
Logan: Haha, um, no. I remember buying some clothes from J. Crew right after I graduated college, some wool pants and nice shirts, for uh, “interviews.” And then later when I worked at J. Crew I bought some silk shirts and some other wool pants and a wool blazer. All that stuff is trashed now. When I first wore it, I felt like a little kid wearing someone else’s clothes. Then I trashed it, and now I feel like a little kid who can’t take care of nice things. And you, Mike Dang?
If those interstitial background stories and interviews about where professional athletes came from are the only interesting thing about sports to you, too, then listen up. J. Ryan Stradal is back at the Rumpus with his annual Super Bowl Preview For People Who Don’t Know Football, and it is excellent:
In 2014, Richard Sherman has made himself known, and we should be thankful for this. His story is a quintessentially American one; it’s banal and heartbreaking to say it couldn’t have happened in any other place or time, but some of what sets Richard apart in his rags-to-riches trajectory is how deeply he wants to be representative of a much larger group of men and women like himself. He is not, as they say, simply along for the ride.
Richard grew up in Compton, California, a place known to most Americans through rap songs, violent films, and piqued news footage. Afflicted by such media, it may be difficult for many to imagine the vast majority of Compton citizens who are simply trying to get by, attend work or school, and feed their children. Kevin and Beverly Sherman are two such people. Kevin rises at 4 a.m. daily to drive a garbage truck, and Beverly is a senior clerk for California Children’s Services.
He highlights a handful of other football players I have never heard of, such as Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Russell Wilson, and Peyton Manning (okay, I have heard of him), and writes about them in a tone that sounds just urgent enough, with material that is just human enough, I can almost squint my eyes and forget we are talking about sports.
It was May 2007. I was living with a bohemian set on Chicago’s north side, a crowd ranging from Foucault-fixated college kids to middle-aged Bukowski-bred alcoholics. We drank and talked politics on the balcony in the evenings, pausing only to sneer at hipsters strumming back-porch Beatles sing-a-longs. By night, I took part in barbed criticism of U.S foreign policy; by day, I spent eight hours at O’Hare in a federal uniform, solemnly carrying out orders passed down from headquarters.
I hated it from the beginning. It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots—the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.
Oh man, Politico published a long confessional essay from a guy named Jason Harrington, a former TSA agent who’s now headed to grad school to study creative writing (get in line, buddy). It is, uh, definitely worth a read!
Last year, a videogame creator named Tim Schafer, who was best known for a handful of games back in the 90s, got about a bazillion dollars on Kickstarter to make another one of those games. And now the game is here! I’ve been playing it and it is GREAT. Oh man.
So the game is called Broken Age. It is a point-and-click adventure, a very old and now-basically-extinct genre which is more like an interactive comic book than anything else. You click on a spot to make your character go there, you click on another character to talk with them, you click on objects to interact with them. The interactive part is in puzzles and conversation; you need to get certain information from other characters to figure out what’s going on and what to do next, so you’re presented with a list of responses so you can participate in the conversation. You generally have to pick up objects, sometimes combine them, sometimes “use” them on stuff in your environment to solve puzzles, after which you can progress in the story. Timing is hardly ever important; you don’t have to make precise jumps or press a button at a certain time or anything like that.
Two years ago, Mac McClelland wrote a piece for Mother Jones about her time working as a “picker” in an Ohio warehouse. Many people don’t realize that when they order products from a website, the order is often filled by third-party logistics contractors. Radiolab revisited the story this week along with additional commentary from Brad Stone, a reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek and the author of The Everything Store, a book about Jeff Bezos and Amazon. (Warning: There is some profanity and many mentions of dildos, which I felt compelled to mention here since Radiolab has been getting some guff about it).
Photo: Mark Hunter
On a trip to Wisconsin this week to talk about his proposal to revitalize American manufacturing, President Obama took a little swipe at art history majors:
“[A] lot of young people no longer see the trades and skilled manufacturing as a viable career. But I promise you, folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree. Now, nothing wrong with an art history degree — I love art history. So I don’t want to get a bunch of emails from everybody. I’m just saying you can make a really good living and have a great career without getting a four-year college education as long as you get the skills and the training that you need.”
Honestly, I am not offended by this. The world would be a very sad place with no art historians (I mean, arguably), but I don’t think they are going anywhere, and we do need to make sure we still have skilled tradesmen around to you know, build stuff and fix things and keep us functioning as a society. READ MORE
This week marked the fifth anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, an update to the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which “made it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sex when determining pay for employees doing the same work” and expanded workers’ rights to sue when unfairly discriminated against in the workplace.
The National Archives resurfaced this video from 1973 in which Batgirl explains the concept of “equal pay for equal work.” Would the U.S. Department of Labor air a video like that today?
Up to 40 kids at Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City picked up their lunches Tuesday, then watched as the meals were taken and thrown away because of outstanding balances on their accounts — a move that shocked and angered parents.
“It was pretty traumatic and humiliating,” said Erica Lukes, whose 11-year-old daughter had her cafeteria lunch taken from her as she stood in line Tuesday at Uintah Elementary School, 1571 E. 1300 South.
Lukes said as far as she knew, she was all paid up. “I think it’s despicable,” she said. “These are young children that shouldn’t be punished or humiliated for something the parents obviously need to clear up.”
After the children had their perfectly good lunches thrown away, they were given milk and fruit, which a Salt Lake City District spokesman says is standard practice in the district when kids don’t have money to pay for lunch. Parents say they should have been notified much earlier about the outstanding balances, and the school district has since apologized.
Let’s remember this story from last year about the school district in Texas that figured out it would save a bunch of money by offering free lunches to all students.
Good morning! It’s warming up a little bit just in time for the weekend (meaning I can actually go outside and feel my face). Let’s do some estimates.
This weekend I have a birthday/housewarming to attend, and the Super Bowl is on Sunday, and that’s always a reason to gather and eat dips and wings (I’m making wings). My spending estimate for the weekend is $150.
What are your estimates?
Also, here is a great wings recipe:
Last week I posted about giving in and buying a $99 SAD lamp despite my hesitations and dubiousness with regard to their efficacy. It’s not that I had done any real research or talked to a doctor or therapist about the issue — which you know, recommended! And it’s not that I didn’t think it totally worked for some people or that mental health issues are anything to really joke about.
I guess I thought SAD lamps seemed both too good to be true and generally way more expensive than I assumed. I am always hesitant to throw money at my problems, and felt like this might be one of those situations. After all, shouldn’t I accept my wintertime despair like I do the cellulite in my butt and the bags under my eyes? Are SAD lamps the equivalent of expensive under eye creams or like, those shaking belts in infomercials that eliminate stubborn belly fat? Is this not my cross to bear? Do I even deserve this lamp? What if I end up totally broke one day soon and I look over at my SAD lamp and think about how much I could use those 99 dollars?
I guess I blame the SADness.
And my total ignorance about the subject.
And that I was raised Catholic.
Have I mentioned that I don’t floss?
Butternut squash is something I only eat during the winter season, which is why I was drawn to this particular recipe. Also you can’t go wrong with anything involving pasta and pancetta. I also liked that the butternut squash sauce was creamy without the need to have any actual cream in it, which made it feel less heavy.
• This is just a formality right?
• I mean who has time to actually grade this, really?
• Wow this is taking a long time?
• They probably really just want to know if I can follow directions. Put my name on the top right corner. Send it back to the right address.
• Wow this is really hard.
• Hahah I’ve been working on this for three hours is that actually possible hahaha
• I wonder how much of the job is doing this exact thing, and if it’s a lot, do I actually want this job?
• I could just … not do it.
• Four hours. Am I being punk’d?
• I wonder if the answers are posted online.
Nine years ago, I answered an ad on Craigslist and was hired by artist Jana Leo de Blas. Jana was a tiny woman of indeterminable age with a dandelion puff of hair. I arrived at her bright, high-ceilinged studio in the old I.S.C.P. building in midtown Manhattan; she had built a platform in the middle of the room. I climbed the few steps, settled at the desk with my laptop and coffee and tried to remember some poetry to quote in case I choked. That morning was the start of a weekend of open studios, but Jana wanted to be sure we didn’t limit ourselves to visiting art fans, so she left me there and took to the streets with invitations.
Her piece was called the Love Letter Project, and my first client, a middle-aged man, seemed game in the way that people get during open studio events. I saw Jana’s point. He sat down across the desk from me, and pursed his lips, humming around for an idea.
“Who do you love?” I asked. He laughed.
“Does it have to be a romantic love?”
“No,” I said.
“Well, I have an idea,” he said. “My son is leaving for college soon, and I’d like to write a letter to his mother, my ex-wife.” He was proud of how they had managed co-parenting, though they had both remarried. He was glad they remained close friends. I took notes as he spoke. This was an easy start, more of a friendly note really. “I worry that our connection takes away from what I have with my new wife.” He began to cry. “I still love her,” he said. He wished they had never divorced.