Ice Bucket Craziness Changes Charity Forever

The ALS ice bucket challenge is bigger than Kickstarter. It’s bigger than Jesus plus Kanye plus baby North West multiplied by the sum of Brangelina and Warren Buffet. I mean, did you watch former Leader of the Free World and amateur painter George W. Bush’s video? This shit has gotten real:

The ALS Association received $8.6 million in donations Tuesday as proceeds from the ice bucket challenge continued to pour in at record rates. The association has begun posting daily tallies from the fundraiser on its website, stating on Wednesday that since July 29 it had raised $31.5 million. That’s an $8.6 million jump over the previous day’s tally, and more than 16 times the amount it had received over the same period last year.

“Increased awareness and unprecedented financial support will enable us to think outside the box,” the ALS Association said in a statement. Celebrities, athletes and politicians ranging from the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl to former President George W. Bush have taken the challenge, pouring buckets of ice water over their heads to raise ALS awareness.

So yeah, some people have raised objections about priorities and stuff, including the thoughtful Jia Tolentino, but they’re missing one key point. When you’re burnt out from a summer of Gaza, Ferguson, ISIS, ebola epidemics, and Taylor Swift, it can feel restorative to dump a bucket of ice on your head and/or watch someone else do it. For a good cause, of course.

The Extra Paycheck Club

Summertime! And the living is easy -- especially if you are in the Extra Paycheck Club, and you might be whether you want to be or not. While two paychecks each month is still standard for many people, some employers pay bi-weekly. Instead of getting paid twice a month (24 paychecks/year), you get paid every other week (26 paychecks/year). It’s not exactly free money; you end up getting paid the same rate annually, just split over more paychecks.

I Don’t Feel Bad About My Air Conditioner Anymore

When it first started getting hot earlier this summer, I felt bad about using my air conditioner because I was worried what my electric bill was going to look like. Well folks, I don't feel bad anymore.

The Beach: A Bargain or A Bummer?

In this weekend’s New York Times, Roxane Gay gives a litany of reasons to hate the beach.

In Haiti, beach bodies are simply bodies, and beach reads are simply books, because the beach is all around you. … But for the rest of us, the beach exerts a different kind of gravitational pull. Sixty-one percent of Americans don’t live anywhere near a beach. We spend a surprising amount of time hearing about this place we will hardly ever see. We watch commercials, TV shows and movies in which nubile young women and their strapping male counterparts frolic on sand, their hair golden and sun-streaked. Long walks on the beach are the supposed holy grail of a romantic evening. The beach becomes a kind of utopia — the place where all our dreams come true.

OMG Bathing Suit Shopping is the WORST

Either you are the kind of person who gets super excited to grab your sunglasses and tote and go bathing suit shopping, or you’re like the rest of us, groaning and rolling your eyes and wondering whether the suit you bought online half a decade ago and wore throughout your pregnancy will still somehow magically fit.

To make that silent, shuddering majority of us feel better about the upcoming necessities of beach-time, a plus-size retailer called Swimsuits for All — perhaps you remember them from last year’s “Oh dear, turns out we don’t have nearly enough inventory to meet demand” Fatkini scandal? — has put together a video history that celebrates the variety of bodies, each of which, it assures us, is “bikini-ready.” Yes, basically it’s one big fat advertorial, coming to us via Jezebel. It’s also kind of sweet, and heartening, and, when combined with a stiff drink, useful for preparing oneself to face the mirrors.

Do you have bathing suit shopping hacks that make this process more bearable? Is the answer to spend more, since you are destined to wear the stuffing out of whatever you buy regardless? What is the most you’d be willing to shell out to feel like you look good at the pool, remembering of course that true beauty comes from within?

Am I Too Cheap for AC?

I don’t have an air conditioner. Am I smug about it? A little. But that’s because it’s all I’ve got to hold on to when I’m lethargic, smelly and faintly dehydrated all summer.

Budgeting for Vacations, Other People’s Weddings, and Other Summer Stuff (Yay Summer!)

Mike: So Ester, it officially feels like summer! Maybe because it was 90 degrees the other day (but I still haven’t put in my air conditioner, perhaps to Josh Michtom’s delight). But I will! I did it in July last year.

Ester: We haven’t either! I always hold out ’til the last possible moment, til I feel like a wax person whose own skin is melting off my body. For environmental reasons.

Mike: I guess for me it’s part environmental reasons, but also because I don’t think it’s so terribly hot yet? I’m also not home very much, so that may be one reason. I’m at the office right now, and it’s usually on, but it’s quiet here today so I have turned off the a/c and opened the windows. It’s below 80! Who needs it? Okay, so, the thing I wanted to ask you is whether you have summer travel plans and if you planned for it financially in advance.

Ester: Last summer, as you may recall, my husband Ben, babygirl and I decamped for seven weeks — we stayed in Vilnius, Lithuania, in an AirB&B that thankfully did not burn down (the Lithuanian rain would have taken care of that right away anyway I guess), in a couple different places in England, and then in a family friend’s house in Spain. That was pretty amazing — and kind of ate up our travel budget for two years. So we don’t have anything planned for this summer, really, except to figure out how to have, entertain, and enjoy time with a kid in the heat without leaving NYC. How about you?

Mike: I have a savings account through Ally that is specifically for vacations. I just checked and there is $400 in it.

Thoughts on Class and Finance from the OC Series Pilot Script

We've been on the run / Driving in the sun / Looking out for number one

The Fan You’ll Want to Have When It’s Hot

When the heat and humidity set in this summer, I'm going to thank my lucky stars that I'm able to work in an air-conditioned office.