Thursday, August 21, 2014


Be the Hair You Wish to See in the World


Wait, you guys have never heard the term hairography before? So you're telling me you don't incorporate whipping your hair back and forth into your SoulCycle routine? Weird. Luckily Well+Good has a piece on the latest trend in SoulCycle culture. Let's get into it:

Hairography—AKA tossing your hair purposefully with your moves on the bike—is a growing fitness world phenomenon and a skill that gives a steamy workout room music video transcendence. 

But wait, is there any chance taking one's hair out of a ponytail can instigate a form of change in the lives around you?

“Hair can change the vibe and energy in me and the room. There are times during rides when I wonder what it is that the class needs….and I will realize my hair is still up,” Heekin says. “When the hair comes down the room lightens up…people makes noise and it’s known the party has arrived.”

That's it. If people don't make noise the next time I take my hair out, I will be pissed. Well+Good]


Beyond the Ice Bucket

so many bucketsFeeling especially altruistic because you just participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge? Hungry for more performative philanthropy? Consider some of these other viral ways to film yourself raising awareness:

Rice Bucket Challenge

Dump a bucket of cooked brown rice on yourself for the gluten intolerant.

Slice Bucket Challenge

Fill a bucket with pizza slices and eat the entire thing to show your support for struggling delivery guys everywhere.

Edelweiss Bucket Challenge

For people who literally cannot stop watching The Sound of Music.

VICE Bucket Challenge

Do a few lines off the bucket, then tell the camera how edgy and provocative you are. READ MORE


Some of the Psychics I Have Been To


Herewith, an incomplete list of psychics I have been to; partially because these are the important ones, partially because I can't remember all of the psychics I have been to.

August 2000, Weirs Beach, NH

When I was 14 and summer vacations were everything, my cousin Laurie agreed to take me to the palm reader who'd set up shop on the boardwalk. I wanted to go to a psychic more than anything (my parents had always rightfully insisted they were a crazy waste of money), but I still struck a hard teen skeptic's posture. I was extremely excited to pretend I didn't take the whole thing seriously. Fourteen years later, I still remember without trying that she told me I would marry a police officer or a lawyer. "A police officer or a lawyer" is my Damon Bradley. READ MORE

The Ways in Which White People Talk Over Music

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 12.16.57 PM

If you want to scream whiteness, almost nothing beats rap-talk-singing—that half-monotone half-melodic vocal technique you may recognize from the likes of Beck’s "Loser" or many recent commercials. These days, rap-talk-singing is typically parody in the vein of Sir Mix-A-Lot's famous "Baby Got Back" intro. (You know: "Becky, look at her butt. It is sooooo big. She looks like one of those rap guys' girlfriends.") It is not always clear when white people rap-talk-sing self-deprecatingly. Perhaps this is what happened to Taylor Swift, whose most recent single, "Shake It Off," is somewhere between a great Gap ad and a bad pop song.

Although "Shake It Off" is aesthetically bad, even T-Swift knows that in most cases, if you are white, you must address your bad rap through irony, calling yourself out for your failure to achieve authentic blackness. Around 2:30, Taylor does just that by dressing up, first in a snapback with an oversized boombox (her black persona intro), then as a bouncy-haired cheerleader, icon of whiteness. She is going to rap-talk-sing her way to the Billboard Top 40: "My ex-man brought his new girlfriend, she's like oh my god..." You can hear the echoes of Sir Mix-A-Lot. This is different from her attempts at rap, which are also parodic, but have never jumped directly from thug-persona irony to the exaggerated strutting and lilt of a white cheerleader.



The One True Guide To Having Curly Hair


This is the only way to tame your wild mane.

1. Sleep on a pillow of cirrus clouds, though cumulus clouds will do if you don’t wish to travel so high up in the atmosphere. Regular pillows will cause an eruption of frizz from your volcano of hair.

2. You may only wash your curly hair once every 6.37 days. If you stray from this timeline, the many oils of your scalp will grossly overproduce and you will perpetually look like a wet dog.

3. Condition your hair with an entire bottle of newborn baby tears. The older the baby is, the less conditioning its tears become. Find one just out of the womb for best results.

4.  As soon as you condition your hair, you must brush it 16 times with a fork made of pure gold. Brushes and combs are for peasants with straight hair.

5. Never touch your wet hair. If there is hair in your eyes you CAN NOT use your own hands to adjust it. The wind will blow it out of your way if it is meant to be.

6. After the drying process, you can use a stick of organic unsalted butter to smooth any frizzies or baby hairs on top of your head.

7. Throughout the day it is important to whisper into your curls that you love them and appreciate how decorative and festive they make your head look.

8. You never want your hair to feel neglected or lacking in purpose. Let her hold a pen or pencil for you, maybe even a packaged snack.

9. Never, and I mean never, style your hair in a fancy manner. No ponytails, no buns, no banana clips, no pigtails, no chignons, no chopsticks. Your hair will react by eating the ponytail holder and bobby pins and giving you a massive headache.

10. If you ever try to straighten your bouncing and bountiful curls that were a gift from the witchy haired goddesses before you, there is a 93.2% chance all of your hair will fall out.


#TBT To That Time We Almost Had It All

rolling in the deep

That hit the spot. As Choire himself said, "There's nothing constant in this world. Everything changes." Just gonna go pull a Harry Crane after watching a slide show now.


2,500 Year Old Bad Bitch Wreaks Havoc and Vengeance

The Altai Mountains – a range where Russia meets China meets Mongolia meets Kazakhstan – have recently been besieged by floods and earthquakes, and they have only themselves (and when I say "themselves" I mean archeologists that had very little to do with them) to blame. Why? They dug up the wrong HBIC.

The tattooed corpse of the 25-year-old woman was preserved in permafrost until she was dug up more than two decades ago. It was this act, it is claimed, that has caused her anger.  

Twenty-one years ago, archeologist Natalia Polosmak dug up the mummified remains of the woman who would come to be known as "Princess Ukok," after the remote area where she was discovered. Now the flooding in the region is "the worst in 50 years" and a series of earthquakes have shaken the Council of Elders in Altai into putting the Princess back where they found her. But why was moving this particular mummy such a big deal? READ MORE


Q&A with Amy Shearn: A Grandmother's Trashed Novella Comes Back To Life

Amy Shearn’s grandmother, Frances “Peggy” Schutze, was always writing: She worked for awhile as a gossip columnist in Kansas, she wrote radio plays, and she hand-made dozens of picture books for her children and grandchildren. “Everyone who knew her understood that she had missed her true calling,” Amy writes of her grandmother. “She was meant to be a writer.” Although Peggy submitted many short stories to women’s magazines, her fiction was never published in her lifetime. She died in 2002.

At some point in her life — no one is sure when — Peggy wrote a funny, energetic novella set in a St. Louis New Deal public housing project in the 1940s; the plot features a phantom pregnancy and some wild political intrigue, and she titled it “The Little Bastard." Amy recently assembled the scattered pages, added an introduction, and her own mother designed the cover and contributed an illustration. “The Little Bastard” will be published as a chapbook this fall by the Louisiana small press Anchor & Plume. (You can pre-order it now.)

Amy is the author of two novels, “How Far Is the Ocean From Here,” about a surrogate mother on the lam, and “The Mermaid of Brooklyn,” in which a mythological figure disrupts a young mother’s life in Park Slope. She and I worked together at Domino magazine in the late ‘00s, and we chatted recently about the novella, writing about motherhood without being nauseating, and her grandmother’s genius tricks for faking the appearance of housekeeping.

Amy! Can you start by telling me how the manuscript was discovered? It’s an amazing story.

It really is! After my grandmother died, 12 years ago, my aunt was cleaning out her room at the nursing home and realized that my grandfather had dumped tons of papers, photos, letters, even just emptied drawers into these 30-gallon Hefty bags. My grandfather himself was ill (and not known for being sentimental) and my aunt guessed it was all too much to cope with at the time. She peeked into the bags and realized that the pages of typed onionskin paper were Peggy’s writing, thought, “How sad,” and pulled them out. But so much was happening that no one sorted through or read them right away. ... It wasn’t until pretty recently that I found myself with the patience to retype the whole thing into a single Word doc, which I think was when I realized how really, really great it is.

So, your grandmother sounds fascinating: She went to journalism school, she eloped, she rode her bike barefoot. She was also a lifelong correspondent of fabulous international journalist and Hemingway wife Martha Gellhorn, which you have written about. In your introduction, you quote your uncle saying she was “crazy but also shrewd and ruthless in a Kansas kind of way.” What do think he meant?

Just the title "The Little Bastard" reveals how she liked to shock people. She really was an artist at heart, and had her own, slightly detached-from-reality way of experiencing the world. But she was also very practical, and I think that’s what my uncle means by calling her “shrewd and ruthless.” ... I think the family consensus is that while she was always on the surface almost bizarrely self-deprecating and deferential to her husband, she knew how to get what she wanted. She wanted time to write during the day but also wanted it to look like she’d been doing housework, so she’d sauté onions to make it smell like cooking, and then before my grandfather got home she’d quickly run the vacuum over the rug so it left stripes.



This Is Our Youth?

Tavi Gevinson, Kieran Culkin, and new musician Michael Cera are starring in Kenneth Lonergan's play This Is Our Youth opening on Broadway on um, September 11th. This is Tavi Gevinson's theatrical debut, as well as Kenneth Lonergan's first play on Broadway as well. Dave Itzkoff interviewed them during rehearsals in Chicago:

And each is closely attuned to how “This Is Our Youth” — in its unflinching depictions of casual drug use and awkward love — exemplifies what Ms. Gevinson called “the lack of self-awareness but total self-consciousness of being a young adult.”

“It’s a condition of being,” she said. “This is just the stuff you have to deal with — being horrible at being a person, for a little bit.”

This is one of my favorite plays, and it originally starred a young, hurt, sensitive Mark Ruffalo. Copyright laws prevent me from posting anything, but just google Mark Ruffalo and This Is Our Youth to feel EVERYTHING. [New York Times]


The Mountain Goats, "Sign of the Crow 2"

For your listening pleasure, (one of my favorite) Mountain Goats' songs that (to my knowledge) was never properly recorded. It's not uplifting per say, but I find it buoying somehow. That does not make sense, but I stand by it.

Watch the full video to see John Darnielle on giving dignity to hotel rooms, heretical Catholic teaching, and what's up with that sign you asked for.


Flo Rida & Sage the Gemini, "GDFR"

Flo Rida and Sage the Gemini just released their new song, "GDFR," which is an acronym that stands for "going down for real" which I plan on using as my new "looks like we're on the local!" elevator joke. This song is really catchy and a pretty phat beat. [Radio.com]


Playing the Lexical Field

Over at the Guardian this morning, a list of "untranslatable" words and their translations, along with a few thoughts on what it means for a word's true meaning to be limited to its speakers.

Think of it like this: the real world is a plain patch of ground, and language is a net we throw over it. Each time the net falls, every one of the diamond-shaped holes lands on a slightly different patch. The net’s a bit worn out, and some of the holes are torn, meaning they cover more ground. Some bunch up and cover less. Think of words as being like these holes: so saudade might mean something slightly more than homesickness, whereas dépaysement means something less, referring only to that kind of homesickness you get from being in a foreign country.

For me, this came up in my Google Alert for saudade, a Portuguese word Manuel Melo defines as "a pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy." Like say, the internet. Just kidding – saudade also has something to do with missing things, and you can't miss the internet. It hasn't gone anywhere.

Anyways, I hope you hyggelig people have time to utepils today, and maybe even come up with a solid schnapsidee.

[The Guardian]


Not to "If You Read One Thing Today" You

It’s inescapable fact that, if you happen to have dark skin in America, you are immediately and irrevocably trapped in the narratives of race that swirl about this place. Death, destruction, despair. We are here and we are here to stay, was Baldwin’s sentiment. Yet I, along with every other black person in America, live with fear every day. We are human — why does that never come to light until we’re forced to show our animal pain grieving another dead child? I’m tired; I am so, so unendurably tired.

But if you read one thing today, here is the thing by Bijan Stephen that should be that one thing.



The Great Hope of TV's Female Crime-Stoppers

no one ever suspects a book club

I don’t remember how or why I first started descending into Law & Order afternoons, letting bright days slip by in the darkness of my parents’ den with the curtains drawn. I was seventeen or eighteen – a few years before Netflix made marathoning a known verb and acceptable pastime; all I knew was that the show was hypnotic, and USA never aired fewer than three in a row.

It didn’t occur to me that my particular taste for SVU, the sex crimes spinoff in the franchise, was messed up until I moved east and spent a summer living in New York. There I watched episodes on my friends’ parents’ cable, and then took the subway home, alone, making my way through the neighborhoods I had just watched flash by on screen. I had taken just enough literary theory courses my freshman year of college to explain it to myself: that I was actually soothing my anxiety by watching stories about rape in which things came out right, and justice was mostly served in the end. For many years that explanation was enough. READ MORE


Jenny Lewis, Then And Now

Carl Wilson writes about Jenny Lewis' new album, The Voyager, in Slate and perfectly sums up why we love her, beginning with the Rilo Kiley days:

It showed off many of Lewis’ strengths as a songwriter: an almost gossipy relish in people making bad decisions, especially sexually; a killer instinct for the consequential moment; and a fearlessness about calling herself out, but without slighting her own significance, no matter how screwed up she may feel. 

The above song, "I Never" is one of my favorite songs from 2004's More Adventurous. The lyrics are beautiful and it is perfect for almost 4 o'clock on a Wednesday. [YouTube]