De-cluttering your house with love: "Marie Kondo has built a huge following in her native Japan with her “KonMari” method of organizing and de-cluttering. Clients perform a sort of tidying-up festival: time set aside specifically to go through belongings. Each object is picked up and held, and the client needs to decide if it inspires joy. If it doesn’t, it needs to go." [more inside]
"We know that people may be genetically pre-disposed to depression and anxiety disorders. We also know that specific life events may trigger depressive episodes in those who have previously been the picture of mental health. But so far we've been unable to identify one single, definitive catalyst. However, new research suggests that, for some people, depression may be caused by something as simple as an allergic reaction – a reaction to inflammation; a product of the body, not the mind." [more inside]
Céline Unveils Its Latest Poster Girl: Joan Didion [New York Times]
“I don’t have any clue,” said the 80-year-old author of well-thumbed classics such as “The White Album,” “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” and “The Year of Magical Thinking,” reached by telephone on Wednesday at her Upper East Side residence (where the photo, by Juergen Teller, was taken). “I have no idea.” Whose idea was this? “They got in touch with me,” Ms. Didion said, as crisp as one of Phoebe Philo’s cotton tunics."[The Céline ad featuring Joan Didion.] [more inside]
As the West African Ebola epidemic stretches into its 10th month: researchers have identified the likely cause of the initial outbreak: a young boy playing with bats in a village in Guinea. The NY Times considers how the opportunity to contain the epidemic was missed and the effects of Ebola on West African economies. Vanity Fair takes a look at the failure to contain the disease within Guinea, Frontline goes to "Ground Zero" in Guinea, and searches for a missing Ebola patient. Meanwhile, West Africans welcomed Christmas (previously) and the New Year. Africa Stop Ebola!
Poynter's List of the Best (and Worst) Corrections, Retractions and Apologies in Media in 2014 Previously. Previouslier.
December is a month of darkness across the Northern Hemisphere, where 90 percent of the global population lives. We battle it with candles and song, and above all with parties and food.
In the early 1990s, photographer and cinematographer Lisa Leone was a fixture on the New York hip hop scene. She recently uncovered a trove of old behind-the-scenes photos of iconic rappers and breakdancers, which have been collected into the book Here I Am, and are currently on exhibit at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. The New York Times' Lens blog has an excellent selection of the shots.
On The Cult of Connie Britton: "But loving the Britton of today is tantamount to ignoring much of what Hollywood has tried to impute as ideal. She’s still thin, white, beautiful, and straight, but she’s the thing that the vast majority of mainstream media pretends doesn’t exist: a woman over 40. More specifically, a woman over 40 whose image combines the sexual and the maternal, the ambitious and the empathetic. " Connie Britton is a late bloomer (NYTimes, 2013). Things I could have said to Connie Britton when she came into my coffee shop the other day.
You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy [more inside]
First editions, second thoughts: [New York Times] "On December 2, Christie's will auction 75 first-edition books, each of which is a unique object that has been annotated with words and/or illustrations by its author. Proceeds from the auction will benefit PEN American Center."
One day in the fall of 1981, eight men in their 70s stepped out of a van in front of a converted monastery in New Hampshire. They shuffled forward, a few of them arthritically stooped, a couple with canes. Then they passed through the door and entered a time warp. Perry Como crooned on a vintage radio. Ed Sullivan welcomed guests on a black-and-white TV. Everything inside — including the books on the shelves and the magazines lying around — were designed to conjure 1959. This was to be the men’s home for five days as they participated in a radical experiment, cooked up by a young psychologist named Ellen Langer.
After 80, some people don’t retire. They reign. A collection of portraits of and interviews with men and women of a certain age. Here there be wisdom.
Closing a Chapter of a Literary Life [New York Times] Ahead of the American publication of his latest work, “The Book of Strange New Things,” Michel Faber discusses it and why it will be his last novel.
For those of you who wanted to follow the exercise plan featured in the NY Times on the 7 minute workout (previously), they now offer an app to make it easier to follow their program. [more inside]
Exquisite Corpse [New York Times]
Taking their cue from the Surrealist parlor game, 15 renowned authors take turns contributing to an original short story.[more inside]
"The United States had gone to war declaring it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program. Instead, American troops gradually found and ultimately suffered from the remnants of long-abandoned programs, built in close collaboration with the West."
- The Secret Casualties of Iraq's Abandoned Chemical Weapons (SLNYT) [more inside]
The New York Times Magazine treated a group of second graders to a seven-course meal at a pricey NYC restaurant. Culinarity ensued. [video, via]
Eating healthy food and eating together is important. But if you hate to cook, what's the best way to do that? (SLNYT)
To Lure Young Readers, Nonfiction Writers Sanitize and Simplify: [New York Times]
"Inspired by the booming market for young adult novels, a growing number of biographers and historians are retrofitting their works to make them palatable for younger readers."
‘The Giving Tree’: Tender Story of Unconditional Love or Disturbing Tale of Selfishness?
Anna Holmes and Rivka Galchen reconsider Shel Silverstein’s classic, published 50 years ago.
Jean-Claude Duvalier, ‘Baby Doc’ of Haiti, Dies at 63: [New York Times]
"Jean-Claude Duvalier, a former president of Haiti known as Baby Doc who ruled the country with a bloody brutality and then shocked the country anew with a sudden return from a 25-year exile in 2011, died on Saturday."
All of Lanai's owners have sought, in one way or another, to refashion the island into a paradise on earth. Former Oracle CEO Larry Ellison hopes to transform it into the "first economically viable, 100% green community."
This morning, the New York Times published "Wrought in Their Creator’s Image", an article talking about the new network series “How to Get Away With Murder", produced by Shonda Rimes and starring Viola Davis. The articles claims about the beauty and character of Black women have created a discussion, from Rimes herself and others about the stereotype of the "angry Black woman" and whether Ms. Davis is, as the Times suggests #lessclassicallybeautiful than other women because of the age and color of her skin.
Portland’s paradox is that it attracts so many of “the young and the restless,” as demographers call them, that it has become a city of the overeducated and underemployed — a place where young people are, in many cases, forced into their semiretirement.
The Death of Adulthood in American Culture (SLNYTimes Magazine), by A.O. Scott: Comic-book movies, family-friendly animated adventures, tales of adolescent heroism and comedies of arrested development do not only make up the commercial center of 21st-century Hollywood. They are its artistic heart.
It’s as if every child under age 5 in the United States has seen it. Four times. The New York Times Magazine explores the world of unboxing videos and boggles at the appeal of DisneyCollector, an anonymous and seemingly independent female toy 'reviewer' who may be earning over seven figures. Are the videos' popularity connected to ASMR?
A New Yorker Faces His Phobia, One Stroke at a Time [New York Times] With Intensive Swim Lessons, a Man Attacks His Fear of Water
"Traumatized by childhood incidents, Attis Clopton was deathly afraid of water, so he attacked his phobia by enrolling in a program of swimming lessons."
Don’t Want Me to Recline My Airline Seat? You Can Pay Me [New York Times]
"...airline seats are an excellent case study for the Coase Theorem. This is an economic theory holding that it doesn’t matter very much who is initially given a property right; so long as you clearly define it and transaction costs are low, people will trade the right so that it ends up in the hands of whoever values it most. That is, I own the right to recline, and if my reclining bothers you, you can pay me to stop."
PAPER BOYS: The Dark World of Debt Collection [New York Times] In the murky world of unpaid bills, a banker and an ex-con can make a fortune — if they don’t run into too many crooks.
A New York Times interactive graphic feature charting how Americans have moved between states since 1900.
The Brazilian Bus Magnate Who's Buying Up All the World's Vinyl Records. By age 30, he had about 30,000 records. About 10 years later, his bus company expanded, making him rich. Not long after that, he split up with his wife, and the pace of his buying exploded. "Maybe it’s because I was alone," Freitas said. "I don't know." He soon had a collection in the six figures; his best guess at a current total is several million albums.
Weddings in the era of legalization Before Jennifer Beck, 27, and Chase Beck, 24, were married on May 3, also at the Devil’s Thumb Ranch, they briefly discussed serving THC-infused cupcakes in addition to traditional ones...[they] ultimately decided not to include the special cupcakes, in part because it was springtime, the season when the rivers are raging with snowmelt and the bears are coming out of hibernation — not the ideal moment for anyone to be stoned in the mountains.
This Weekend, The New York Times went all in for poetry. In addition to six — count ‘em — articles about poetry in the Review, the Times also included an entire panel in its “Room for Debate” section in which the mostly white and mostly male panelists responded to the essentially rhetorical question “Does Poetry Matter?” with some version of the expected answer: yes. [more inside]
In May, David Barron was confirmed as a judge in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, after a half-hour filibsuter by Rand Paul, and opposition stemming from a confidential memo (previously) he wrote, justifying the use of targeted drone strikes against terrorists, e.g. Anwar al-Awlaki (previously). After a court ruling in the FOIA lawsuit filed by the ACLU and New York Times, Court Releases Large Parts of Memo Approving Killing of American in Yemen. [more inside]
"I was a nervous wreck because I was about to betray my beloved grandmother and visit her darkest secret. Her secret had a name, and I was going to see him." (SLNYTimes: Modern Love)
The New York Times examines the case of a student raped by football players at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The colleges are under investigation by the Department of Education [Not Alone, previously] [more inside]
NYT Minus Context (SLTwitter) -- Does exactly what it says on the tin.
A 36 year old FDNY "probie" fights his first fire (SLNYTimes interactive)
Christopher Ketcham of the New Republic accuses Chris Hedges of widespread plagiarism.
The trouble began when Ross passed the piece along to the fact-checker assigned to the story. As Ross and the fact-checker began working through the material, they discovered that sections of Hedges’s draft appeared to have been lifted directly from the work of a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter named Matt Katz, who in 2009 had published a four-part series on social and political dysfunction in Camden.[more inside]
In advance of the HBO release of "The Normal Heart", Frank Bruni writes about Larry Kramer in today's New York Times.
The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest. The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction. Comparing income by country. About the data.
Mark Danner has been writing a series in the New York Review Of Books: Rumsfeld's War And Its Consequences Now
A bare two weeks after the attacks of September 11, at the end of a long and emotional day at the White House, a sixty-nine-year-old politician and businessman—a midwesterner, born of modest means but grown wealthy and prominent and powerful—returned to his enormous suite of offices on the seventh floor of the flood-lit and wounded Pentagon and, as was his habit, scrawled out a memorandum on his calendar:[more inside]Interesting day— NSC mtg. with President— As [it] ended he asked to see me alone… After the meeting ended I went to Oval Office—He was alone He was at his desk— He talked about the meet Then he said I want you to develop a plan to invade Ir[aq]. Do it outside the normal channels. Do it creatively so we don’t have to take so much cover [?]
Can you live on the minimum wage? NYTimes.com has provided you with a handy calculator to find out.
Two guys try to drive from Moscow to Sochi in a Lada Niva, the "automotive version of the Russian soul". Hilarity ensues. [SLNYT]