Today I’m wearing a pair of Spanx-brand high-waisted tights (“high-waisted” being industry parlance for “hiked up to your boobs unless you sit down in which case they will roll down to below your stomach when you least expect it,” but that’s a topic for another day) and I just realized that I had…
KatieBakes, with the Denticle aside of the day.
Also, Tumblr is truncating reblogs now? What the heck?
Ah, the excitement of living on the top floor! My windows leak. Or rather, because of a problem with the area where the roof meets the walls of the apartment building, when it rains hard, water seeps through the top of the wood above the windowsills. The solution, I found, especially when there are multiple leaks per window, is to tape a big ol’ garbage bag to the window and use it to collect the drips, then cut a small hole in the bottom and place a bowl or pot underneath that one spot. It’s home repair meets the Voyage of the Mimi.
After making this fix to two windows at 5am this morning, I awoke several hours later to realize that the two precariously taped black garbage bags must make the apartment look like it’s inhabited by drug fiends to our neighbors who can see those windows. Worse, it looks like it’s inhabited by lazy or at the very least remedial-level drug fiends, who can’t even make their own blackout shades properly.
Senator Al Franken, who had blown up at Axelrod after Obama held a televised session with Senate Democrats in February, arguing that the president wasn’t fighting hard enough or strategizing well enough, sent Axelrod a congratulatory note after the bill passed.
“You’re welcome,” Franken wrote. He added an asterisk: “Joke. I used to be in comedy.”
What could be more embarrassing for a party trying to change its elitist image than the existence of someone like Sir Nicholas Winterton? A Conservative member of Parliament for the last 39 years, Sir Nicholas wandered disastrously off message recently when he decided to share his thoughts on why legislators should be allowed to travel first class to avoid exposure to the common man.
“They are a totally different type of people,” Sir Nicholas declared in a radio interview, speaking about the relative ghastliness of people in standard-class train cars. “There’s lots of children, there’s noise, there’s activity. I like to have peace and quiet when I’m traveling.”
“Visitors to the restaurant are ushered into an air-conditioned, flood-lit hall filled with dozens of glass-topped tables. Unlike North Korea proper, which is wracked by economic sanctions and constant famines, the food here is fresh and abundant. The menu features specialties such as Pyongyang “cold noodle” (served encrusted with ice), barbecued cuttlefish, stringy dangogi (dog meat) soup, and countless variations on the kimchi theme, all served with glutinous white rice. Also available for sale are a series of North Korean products, including ginseng wine and some nameless bear “product” promised to increase sexual virility. All carry hefty price tags in U.S. dollars”—Slate on North Korean-themed restaurants (operated by the North Koreans) in Southeast Asia.
Oh wait, you want to be a writer? As a job? Are you insane?
You may be a good writer, I don’t know. You might be wonderful, a genius. It has never mattered less, not since the days before people began paying a half-farthing or whatever for the week’s murder ballad delivered by a traveling minstrel with plague lice in her mustache.
Here’s the update on all those fired staffers—who can now freelance!
After carefully assessing the economics of the staff reporter model, we’ve migrated from a staff reviewer model to a freelance model. The caveat is that the people eligible to be freelance reviewers for Oyster is limited to those who have reviewed for us in the past; we require that all reviewers review at least 20 hotels a year so that they have an expertise doing our reviews. I expect that with this change, we will also expand the pool of reviewers.
Though it wasn’t wholly unexpected, I was sad to see that Oyster bit the dust today. (Having no editorial team is as good as dead to me). Other freelancers might shrug and say that travel is a weird part of the media sphere, but they’re the ones that should take heed.
See, weird as travel writing may be, it’s the figurative canary in the coal mine as the most service-y and content driven branch of the freelancing tree. While Oyster mismanaged all that capital from Bain like nobody’s business (catered lunches, company retreats and so on), now they will probably contract (cheap, intern-level) writers to update the reviews that the now-departed staffers wrote. Very sneaky.
Not to turn this into another woe is media post, but it does signal this continuing shift away from writers having a career and towards… calling it the gig economy is too generous, I think. Sub-gig economy? It’s a devaluation of the written word, really. Brands—magazines or hotels or soap—must come from a point of view, but no one wants to pay writers to create a clear one because they don’t see the difference between writing an email and crafting copy. (Note: this Tumblr post is a lot closer to the former). Just read Clients From Hell to get a sense of how that will all play out when there are no functioning publications left to write for. They jerk writers around and then the magazine or website shutters because there was never any point to making it in the first place, or they fire the writers because it seems like it’s “too expensive” or whatever. Look, I’m fine with the piecing it together thing, I just don’t see an endgame that involves anyone having a job.
I need new scifi book recommendations please. (Ebook availability way preferable.) What’s new, what’s happening, what’s not post-cyberpunk or too futureshock, what’s actually good??
Girlfriend who works in the biz suggests Maze Runner instead of Hunger Games. Teen boys with memory loss placed in a human-sized maze!
In other book related/Kindle news, The Big Short was SOLD OUT at Barnes and Noble Union Square yesterday. No worries, I’ll just grab the Kindle—what? There’s no e-book from the same guy who literally wrote the book on Netscape?
“No restaurant PR has ever made a positive difference to any restaurant in the history of catering. Not a single table will be booked because you’ve employed three blousy blonde sloanes with champagne breath. They will just cost you 5% of turnover. There was one famous PR (now dead) who used to wait for good reviews, then phone up the restaurant to let the owner know that he’d put in a good word with the critic, just as a favour, and if they’d like to meet for a drink to discuss future projects, he happened to be free this afternoon.”—AA GIll can make a lot of sense when he’s not eating a baboon or calling David Chang an Oriental.
“Ben Leventhal, a prominent blogger in attendance, remembers loving Lee’s Logan County Hamburgers, named for an area of her home state. But he also remembers “the William Morris buzz machine around her,” meaning the agents who roamed the area near her booth “acting as hype men.”—Look, everything that’s wrong with food media in one paragraph!
“At first glance, San Francisco would seem to be precisely the wrong place to do this. According to Forbes magazine’s 2009 survey of America’s most expensive cities, San Francisco ranks fourth, and according to 2008 Census figures, San Franciscans have fewer children than the rest of the state. The hills are rough on strollers, and the homeless people, strip clubs and ubiquitous pot smoke can challenge a protective parent’s patience.”—I knew I liked San Francisco for a reason.
“The perfect omelet must not have wrinkles, and it must have the consistency of, how do you say, baveuse?" Boulud says, making an evocative gesture of free-flowing something from both corners of his mouth.
“Drool,” I guess lamely.
“No, it is more…it is baveuse,” he repeats theatrically, stymied.
“Slobber?” I offer, hoping for a save.
“That is it! Slahbare! But richer, like from a dog.”
“Yes. This is the consistency inside a perfect omelet. When you first cut the omelet, the dog slobber must leak out, but not before you cut it. It cannot leak on the plate.”—GQ
Jamaica may have claim to one unusual historical chapter: Jewish pirates. Among them: Moses Cohen Henriques, who attacked Spanish ships loaded with silver, according to Edward Kritzler’s “Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Mr. Kritzler, who attended the conference, is an American who has been in Jamaica on and off since the late 1960s. He’s fond of wearing a Star of David pendant over shirts studded with skull and crossbones.
Many Jewish pirates, he writes, were “secret Jews” who converted to Catholicism in name only to survive the Inquisition, then fled to the Caribbean.
"Jamaica was at one time the largest Jewish community in the Caribbean," said Jane Gerber, director of the Institute for Sephardic Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. "It was a hub of Jewish commerce that had a triangular trade with colonial America and England. Jamaica was where they came to get kosher stuff."
“Stepping out with the Exile crowd meant invitations to the newest restaurants and nightclubs—including, one surreal night, to the grand opening of the Chuck Norris Supper Club & Casino, where the star of Walker, Texas Ranger and Braddock: Missing in Action III was, apparently, asking why they didn’t show—but Ames and Taibbi usually rejected those to throw their own debauched Exile parties or to get back to their regular hangout, the Hungry Duck, a place Ames, not given to squeamishness, describes as a “vile flesh pit.” Ask Moscow veterans about the bar and the most common response is a long, regretful groan. “Everything you’ve heard about it is conservative,” Peter Lavelle says, a hint of fear in his voice. “That place changed people.”—Diggin’ on this profile of the Exile in Vanity Fair. Think, a zinein Prague during the 90s that wished it could be the Exile was one of the reasons I became a writer. Now the dream of being an ex-pat publisher is like, super-duper dead. Also I miss how important it was to read the Herald Tribune. Happy Wednesday!
In a constantly changing world, with global economies ever rising and falling, [Redacted] is an indispensable resource for anyone planning to travel—anywhere. He is the most current, and the most informed travel advisor of his generation.
To continue, and answer Juliana’s question on farewell posts and what Emily Post would have said about them, let’s start with:
1. You get one
2. Thank the people who hired you
3. Say something reflective about your time at the job that’s a bit funny and a bit maudlin, like an episode of Sports Night.
4. Keep it classy.
5. Keep it short.
That’s all it takes. Perhaps my “professional blogging experience” comes from a different era of the Internet, and the kids do it differently now. Maybe they leave farewell vlogs or vajazzles, I don’t know. What I do know is this: for a long time, it’s the farewell posts that come up first when people Google you, so, you know, think longer term than perhaps you want to.