I got the most adorable postcard in my mailbox yesterday. It featured four model-thin white people in expensive sweaters, bending over to pet what appears to be a Bernese mountain dog.
“Earn up to $1000/month watching puppies this holiday season!” The words “up to” were in tiny print, but they were there.
This postcard came from DogVacay, tagline “Dog boarding just got awesome!”
How does it work? Why not watch this 90-second video to find out?
Transparent, Amazon’s foray into the Netflix-infested waters of quality internet binge watching, is deservedly the most critically-lauded show of this Fall television season (and was just renewed for a second season). Created by writer/director Jill Soloway (writer/producer Six Feet Under and The United States of Tara, writer/director Afternoon Delight, which won a directing award at Sundance in 2013), the show centers around the Pfefferman family, an affluent Jewish LA clan whose patriarch Mort (Jeffrey Tambor) comes out as transgender and begins to live as Maura in her late 60s.
Directed mostly by Soloway herself, (with the exception of three, credited to Nisha Ganatra), the direction in the show is strong and incredibly consistent, marked by what Emily Nussbaum refers to in her piece on the show in The New Yorker as “mildly funky pacing” of the current era of indie film/TV direction stylistic crossovers we are seeing particularly in comedy, with shows like Girls and Louie. However, a key difference between Transparent and those other shows is that Soloway is not a character, neither in physical or representational form. Rather, Soloway knows all of her characters extremely well, she knows them like family, and in the way one knows family, she allows them to speak for themselves and expose their own flaws. She is not at all precious about her characters and at times early in the series she can be downright misanthropic, allowing the whole ensemble (minus the consistently heartbreaking, inspiring, astonishing Maura) to tread deeper and deeper toward the brink of unlikability. READ MORE
Today’s Link of the Day, a gripping tale of tragedy, redemption, and kale, comes from the vibrant, increasingly yuppie Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC.
About two weeks ago, my Tuscan kale plant disappeared. … we wrote it off as lost, a casualty of the urban environment in which we knew fenceless gardening to be a risk. And then, over the weekend, we found this wet note sticking out from under a flowerpot. [Note reads: "To: Wonderful Gardener. From: A Remorseful Kale Thief (I was drunk & I'm very sorry."] Attached to the back was a $25 gift card to Ace Hardware, where we plan to restock our gardening supplies in the spring. Never has my faith in humanity been more emphatically restored. Kale thief, if you’re reading this, all is forgiven and then some.
Back in the early days of our relationship, Ben borrowed my laptop and left it attended for a moment in the law school library. Some other enterprising law student, no doubt bound to be one of those shysters who advertises on billboards using dollar signs, made off with it. Ben was devastated — so upset, in fact, that I ended up calming down so that I could calm him down. (Good trick, btw, if you can pull it off.)
What’s the most valuable thing anyone has ever stolen from you? Did the thief make recompense somehow? Or have you ever had to express your remorse for taking something that wasn’t yours?
Photo via Washington City Paper
Kevin Roose interviewed Marc Andreessen, a partner at Andreesseen Horowitz who is famous for being bald, saying crazy shit on Twitter, and other tech things. The interview is full of gems (Andreessen kind of says he supports a universal basic income?! He concedes that, “yeah, the meritocracy works if you know the right people.”)
Anyway, what do people who are the gatekeepers of SO MUCH MONEY really do all day? I have often wondered this, too, so I’m glad Kevin Roose asked him, especially because the answer is take naps:
This is the first time in my life I’ve had an office with a door, and the reason for that was that this was the first time in my life I’ve had a couch in my office. So, I did have a very nice afternoon nap yesterday, as a matter of fact.
What does a venture capitalist do all day? I’m sure you sit in dozens of pitch meetings a week, but what would I learn if I followed you around for 24 hours?
In a sense, we only really make about 15 decisions a year at the firm. READ MORE
Let’s say you’d found that special someone, and it had been a few years, and that special someone had yet to propose. Maybe you were starting to worry, in your heart, that your special someone liked it but not enough to put a ring on it.
Would you issue an engagement ultimatum?
I mean, maybe you’d start by making engagement chicken (either the regular or toasted versions). Maybe you’d offer to make your special someone 300 sandwiches. But at some point, you’ve got to get to the point and say “I would like us to be married. Would you like to be married please check yes or no.”
Sometimes the Gray Lady does a good deed. I mean, she spends a lot of time preening, and baiting us with the travails of the city’s most obnoxious, narcissistic 22-year-old as he searches for a $3700-a-month apartment big enough to decorate like an Orientalist bordello, complete with a huge oil painting of himself. But sometimes she also manages to help an unfairly fired pregnant woman get her job back:
Ms. Valencia, who earned $8.70 an hour as a potato packer for Fierman in the Bronx, was told by her supervisors in August that she could not continue working unless her doctor gave her a full-duty medical clearance. (Ms. Valencia, who had a miscarriage last year, was told by her doctor that she should work only eight hours a day, no overtime.) Lawyers for Ms. Valencia said the company had violated New York City’s Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. Her story was the subject of a Working Life column on Monday.
My god, what employers will try to get away with when they think nobody’s looking. Sadder still is that most of the time, nobody is looking. If you’re working while pregnant, know your rights.
Last year, a Gallup poll found that a lowly 30 percent of Americans are actually happy at work, and many complained of “bosses from hell” as a major reason. The truth is that it’s difficult to be a good manager. A good manager should, ideally, both direct your work and help you grow in your skills and career. She should be supportive, provide timely feedback, and help when you are stuck. She should be able to do all of this on top of the work that she needs to do herself. It’s said that people are promoted to the point of their incompetence, and this is especially true when it comes to management, since dealing with people is a skill that few people actively cultivate. And there are so, so many ways to be a bad manager.
Managing requires a delicate balance of giving people responsibility and autonomy, but also support so they don’t feel abandoned. This is a hard balance to achieve, and many managers end up veering towards too much “support” or micromanaging. They get involved in details that are not essential and/or really should be left up to the person actually doing the work. A micromanager might tell you exactly how to set up a room, how to phrase an email, or what to wear to a meeting. In a previous job, I helped host focus groups and was responsible for setting out food and checking people in. My boss had very clear notions of what the display of food said about the organization and often gave me incredibly specific instructions for how I should arrange pomegranate chicken on a platter. READ MORE
It is hard to imagine the superhuman Geena Davis doing something as mundane as working in retail. After all, she is six feet tall, with skin like living marble and eyes of fire. And yet this goddess, like so many of us earthworms, began her career behind a cash register at middle-of-the-road women’s clothing store Ann Taylor. It is what happened next that shows her supremacy:
“One time there was a window display where the mannequins were sitting at a table eating plastic food,” Davis tells NPR. “There was one empty chair, and I kept looking at the window.” She asked her co-workers if she should go sit in the empty chair. They advised against it. But Davis sat in the chair anyway.
“Somebody saw me do that, and then he stopped to see what was now going to happen. But I just froze,” Davis says. “I didn’t know, but I had an uncanny ability to be still.” Eventually, a crowd gathered on the sidewalk outside the window display. She could hear the comments from the onlookers, who couldn’t tell if she was real or fake. “When I felt like their attention was drifting, I would move kind of like a robot,” she says. “But then somebody said, ‘Well, that’s not an electric mannequin because it’s not plugged in.’ “
So the next time she sat in a window display, she put a tiny wire down her leg. “Because it was really subtle, it really worked,” she says.
Last night, I went through my credit card transactions (as I like to do on weekly basis), and noticed that on Oct. 17, I was charged $8 by Delta in Atlanta, Georgia. That was this last Friday, and I was here, in New York, eating a fried chicken sandwich in Brooklyn at the time; the charge for the sandwich appeared next to it.
It was past eight, and Meaghan had just urged me to leave the office to go home, but instead I waited 20 minutes on the phone to talk to a customer service representative.
“How may I help you?” she asked. READ MORE
C is for COLLATERAL
Definition: money or property that a borrower provides to a lender as part of the terms of a loan. The specific money or property can be physically delivered, like in a pawn shop, or pledged through an agreement, like a mortgage.
Collateral protects the lender by offering ownership of something of value should the borrower fail to live up to their loan promise. Loans with collateral are referred to as “secured debt,” and loans without as “unsecured debt.”
Real life example: your friend will lend you her favorite DVF dress for a wedding — but she has possession of your Wii until the dress is returned to her in dry cleaning plastic.
The Billfold ABCs is a new feature that translates financial language into understandable concepts. Using real life examples alongside definitions and illustrations, the Billfold ABCs explains the words that we associate with money.