Counselor, World Traveler, Wrangler of Young Jews: A Hiring History

I was in my bed in that slim space between being awake and asleep when I realized I was in my 30’s and hadn’t been to grad school yet.
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Chatting With Artist Darren Bader About His Donation Boxes at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Cats and Money

I interviewed artist Darren Bader over email as he prepared for his next exhibit at the Andrew Kreps Gallery, where he'll have a show opening in the middle of May. We talked about his work, his current piece at the Whitney, and how a person makes money as a conceptual artist. We also talked about cats.

How Much Star Cats Have Made Their Owners

Keyboard Cat: $300,000
Grumpy Cat: "a low-six-figure sum" (plus movie option fees)
Mr Biscuit: $0 (as of yet)

Places I’ve Lived: Me and My Squirrel Tail, Together Forever

Where have you lived, William Foster?

Russian Bank Loans Both Money and Cats

Here’s a heartwarming piece of financial news, which I also saw first on Jezebel:

In Russia, when you move into a new home, it is considered good luck if a cat is the first creature to cross the home’s threshold.

Russian bank Sberbank wants to make sure its customers are the luckiest people ever, so it is now loaning out cats to customers who take out new mortgages. You get the cat for two hours, during which time it crosses your threshold and gives you the good luck that all new homeowners deserve.

Even if you don’t speak or read Russian, take the time to check out the bank’s special “cat promotion” website. There’s an adorable video that explains the process:

There’s also a gallery of the 10 available cats and the number of thresholds each of them has crossed. (Yes, there is even a hairless cat for people who have allergies.)

Who here wishes their bank would also loan out cats? There was that time last year where Uber loaned people kittens, but we could all benefit from greater access to the cat loan economy.

Not to mention all that good luck.

Photo: Bob Mical

Inside ‘The Scratching Pad,’ a Cat Shelter Run Out of One Man’s Apartment

If you’re a New Yorker with a beating heart, you probably remember the subway kittens that shut down the MTA last summer in the most adorable way possible. If you’re a cat lady like me (which oh praise is now a badge of honor, thanks New York Times), then you might already know Steven Liu, the guy behind the Scratching Pad, who took in the tiny bandits and fostered them through their eventual adoption. In July of last year, Steve found a duplex apartment in Bushwick, moved in with two roommates, and started taking in cats—current total eight.

My New Kitten Ate My Bank Account

My kitten ate my bank account.

The Cost of Things: Supporting Podcasts, Radio, & Friends

Mike: “I don’t want your money! Keep your money!” Ester. I can’t get that song out of my head—it’s stuck. It’s from 21 Chump Street, from the This American Life musical that just went up earlier this week.

Ester: That’s hilarious, MD. I haven’t listened to it yet but I’m highly susceptible to earworms so I’m sure that once I do I too will suffer from your malady.

Mike: So, it’s from their live show, and they have a video you can download if you want, and yes, I wanted it. The cost of it was $5, but they said that since the show was so expensive to make it’d be great if you could pay more. So I paid $20.

Ester: That’s great of you! Did you consider waiting to see how much you enjoyed the content before deciding how much to give them in exchange for it? I just signed up for Slate Plus, where you pay the site $50 a year or $5 a month to get upgraded content — podcasts without ads, for example — but that was after years and years of reading and listening to Slate content gratis. Their value had already been demonstrated.

Mike: I decided that $20 was a fair price to pay for something I listen to on a weekly basis and want to continue to support, so I paid it without waiting to see if I liked the video itself.

Ester: Right, that makes sense. You’re not paying for the video, after all; you’re rewarding them for their track record. I have done that too for TAL specifically. (I’m a radio dork.) But do you have other podcasts that you listen to and like and haven’t contributed to, even though they’ve asked? What’s your criteria for deciding which listening experiences to support?

Why My Cat Has a Savings Account

My cat didn’t always have a savings account. But now he does, and it’s not because I’m a crazy cat person, or because I’m saving to send him off to a competitive cat college. I’m convinced it’ll save his life.

Famous Cats and the Fat Cats Who Love Them

Gideon Lewis-Kraus’s examination of the “online cat industrial complex” is a must read.  SPOILER ALERT: ” I will never get to pet Maru, and neither will you.” :(