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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Nicki Won't Take Your Shit

Nicki, 31, grew up in Queens and attended LaGuardia, the high school from Fame. She says her father once tried to burn down her house while her mother was inside. She did odd jobs after school: She was a customer-service rep for a while, but that didn't go great. "I like dealing with people, but I don't really like a lot of bullshit, so maybe customer service wasn't the best job for me." She was fired from a waitressing job at a Red Lobster after she followed a couple who had taken her pen into the parking lot and then flipped them the bird. I asked her if it was a special pen. "No," she said. "It was the principle."

The principle, the pickle juice — Nicki is a model for us all when it comes to Not Accepting Bullshit, especially with the author of your magazine profile tries to insert subtext in your art where there is none. On the video for "Anaconda":

"I don't know what there is to really talk about," she says. "I'm being serious. I just see the video as being a normal video."

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

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The Five Boro Cemetery Tour

Uptown Trinity Church Cemetery
Valentine Sillcocks is a ghost. He lives in the uptown Trinity Church Cemetery, on Broadway between 153rd and 155th Streets, high on a hill overlooking the Hudson River. Through a cluster of creaking maples he can just make out the eastern tower of the George Washington Bridge, which opened in 1931, the same year he was buried at the age of 43.

Valentine Sillcocks was a real person before he became a ghost. His name is etched in a piece of granite that marks the spot where he was laid to rest. His family included a silk hat maker, which may or may not have been Valentine himself.

Valentine Sillcocks, in truth, may or may not be a ghost, depending on whether you believe in ghosts in the first place, and, if you do, on your particular theory of how a ghost is born. This detailed explanation from the Spiritual Science Research Foundation, which refers to things like “subtle-sorcerers” and simultaneously uses the word “science” in its name, explains that a person might become a ghost if she has “many unfulfilled desires” or “personality defects, such as anger, fear, greed.” Meaning I’ll definitely be meeting Val in the afterlife. I kid here, because I don’t believe in ghosts. But then again, I really can’t know for sure. READ MORE

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Halloween Advent Calendar 2014: Estate Jewelry

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This ring, created by the great Art Nouveau designer René Lalique, was obviously commissioned by a sorcerer who would wear it while poring over alchemical manuscripts from the library of Dr. Dee. It's exquisite, of course, but also stupendously creepy. (Note: the Wartski site does not link to pieces directly, so click on “Jewellery” and scroll down.)

Featuring a central carved ivory face set in yellow gold and crowned with a cabochon emerald, the ring showcases the quality of workmanship so typical of Lalique jewels. Long, flowing hair of deeply engraved gold forms the shoulders of the ring, contrasting with the more formal engraved leaf patterns that run along the tops of the shoulders. Small accents of black enamel provide further contrast. READ MORE

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A Cool Hip Writer Who Has Definitely Had Sex Profiles Cameron Diaz

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It is always hard to know what to wear to meet an icon.

I imagine this is what Cameron Diaz is thinking as she heads to our meeting in a dirt hole behind a Chinese restaurant somewhere near the Lower East Side. I love this hole; it is dark and and wet and fecund, like…well. Wet holes, I write in my notebook, oooh. The actress enters the gaping chasm—like a mouth, like the void, like… well—and seems perturbed, a propitious beginning. READ MORE

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Dear White People: What Would You Do?

dearwhitepeopleI arrived late to Dear White People. Just a few minutes, but it was enough to make a million concerns run rampant through my head as I, the lone, young, half-black girl, entered a room sparsely populated with mostly older and white critics.

Why did I do this?

If anyone asks, I’ll blame the train.

Will they notice?

Am I a stereotype?

The last thought may be the most terrifying: becoming a stock version of yourself based off a single aspect of your identity that doesn’t even begin to define you. Yet the thought lingered and the “colored-people-time” jokes—about how black people show up late to everything—remained at the back of my anxiety-ridden head, taunting me. A few scenes into the movie, Samantha White, the protagonist of the film and antagonist of her Ivy League school, joked that “colored people time” didn’t exist when another African-American character, Coco, arrives late to a school assembly. The laugh I released felt cathartic. READ MORE

Your Ebola Halloween Costume: A User's Guide

So you're doing "Ebola" for your halloween costume this year. You've found a topical novelty outfit online, or maybe you've just purchased some cheap and readily available medical clothing, knowing that your peers will have no problem guessing what it's supposed to represent.

But "Ebola" is going to be a very popular costume this year. You're not the only person who heard about this epidemic on the news! If you want to stand out—if you want to be the star of the party, by evoking Ebola hemorrhagic fever—you need to study up. Here are some helpful facts that you can recite to your friends in order to give your Ebola costume that extra dimension of authenticity.

• Ebola kills quickly and painfully. There is no known cure, or vaccine, and the best available treatment in most cases, according to the CDC, is "providing intravenous fluids (IV) and balancing electrolytes (body salts)."

• Ebola is characterized, early on, by fever, weakness, headache and diarrhea. This is followed by hemorrhaging and near-total loss of responsiveness.

• Direct contact with infected patients is the primary mode of transmission for Ebola. Therefore, this disease is most dangerous to the people who choose to provide treatment to the afflicted. Many, many medical professionals have died trying to give care and slow the spread of this terrifying disease.

• Ebola has spread most profoundly in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, where a paucity of medical and emergency infrastructure has allowed the disease to spiral out of control. (Don't worry: These places are all at least 4,000 miles away from the nearest American Halloween parties.) Facilities that do exist have been largely overwhelmed, creating hellish scenes of suffering.

• Many of the people fighting this disease do not have access to the equipment and clothing required to protected themselves, such as the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that you will be wearing to a sports bar or fraternity party on October 31st. (Careful: The CDC says that proper PPE "significantly reduces the body’s normal way of getting rid of heat by sweating," increasing the risk of dehydration and heat-related illnesses.)

READ MORE

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Reasons To Get A Dog

Bodhi, of the Tumblr Menswear Dog fame, is a perfect dog. Fast Company has an interview with his owners, and it's an article as ripe for a 'Reasons To Get A Dog' list as I've ever seen.

Reason 1: Dogs are always dogs, even when they're models, which is great, because dogs are perfect.

“We went to Stetson’s New York headquarters, and they had John B. Stetson’s vintage rug on the floor...” says Kim. “It was this really beautiful old oriental rug,” Fung adds, “and as soon as we go in, he starts drizzling. I was like, ‘This is the most unprofessional thing ever.’” To Bodhi, though, it was no big deal. "He’s always been kind of a dick," laughs Fung.

Reason 2: Sometimes dogs can make you a fortune just by being cute.

Between the photo contracts, guest appearances, and sponsored posts on Tumblr and Instagram, a good month for Menswear Dog earns the couple somewhere in the ballpark of $15,000. When I asked what a bad month looks like, Fung and Kim say they haven’t seen less than $10,000 in "quite some time."

Reason 3: Dogs have probably gotten to the end of Zoolander without falling asleep, something you cannot say for yourself, and they get all the jokes.

“When we first dressed him up for fun [in spring 2013], he started posing for us, and doing like Blue Steel and Magnum,” says Fung, 29, a graphic designer naming modeling poses from Zoolander. “We originally posted his photo to Facebook as a gag.”

Selling Sexless Sex at Abercombie

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One day in college, on what would have otherwise been a forgettable afternoon, two attractive people approached me outside of my department. The man, with his bionic back, parabolic pectorals and arms fixed at right angles, cut an intimidatingly precise figure. The woman was an implausible series of distends, curves and stares—all unnervingly suggestive. There were no introductions or pleasantries; instead, they presented me with a pristine white card. Looking down at it in hope of an explanation, I read, "Abercrombie and Fitch recruitment." They stood back proudly and expectantly, letting what I suppose they thought was an honor sink-in. When I showed no response, they resorted to their pitch. They told me that they needed someone like me and that I would really enjoy working at the company. Everyone was exceedingly "cool" and, in fact, it "wouldn’t even seem like a job."

Their company-supplied rhetoric was far from compelling, and had I received this pitch alone, such an afternoon would have inevitably meandered into the anonymity it had once been headed for. However, I slid too easily into the Hollywood high school cliché where the popular, beautiful kids invite an unsuspecting and shy outcast to sit with them at their lunch table. This was in London, and Abercrombie was still relatively new in Europe and carried little of the baggage of its domestic travails; it wasn’t cool, but it was still attractive.

I joined, out of a pitiful vanity and because I thought I would get laid. READ MORE

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Letters to Wednesday Addams

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Wednesday, fearest,

I hope you’ve had a haunting first week of studies. I can’t tell you how much we miss you at home—the mansion feels far less creaky without you looming in the corridors.

How are things in your dormitory? Have you found a way to poison that loathsome residence advisor? Seeing the enthusiasm glint behind her eyes made my stomach drop. How can parents be expected to feel comfortable leaving their children so far from home under the care of someone so maniacal? Honestly, these institutions grow less and less reliable every year. It’s nothing like it was when I was a young girl away at embalming school. READ MORE

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Perverts & Prisons: Madeleine Holden on John Grisham

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The internet throngs daily with bad opinions, but every few weeks an argument will emerge that’s so thoroughly wrongheaded and deeply reprehensible that we're all forced to engage with it. Last week it came in the form of statements made during an interview with once-popular crime novelist John Grisham. Grisham, in case you missed it, issued a suspiciously impassioned defence of middle-aged white men who are imprisoned for accessing child sex abuse images, arguing that these men are harmless because they don’t physically touch children and should therefore be receiving more lenient punishment; and and if that sounds like an alarming position for a best-selling author and lawyer to hold, that's because it is. Grisham’s stomach-dropping defence of white sex offenders his age has rightly enraged advocates for child abuse victims (as well as most other basically decent people), and while he has since apologized for his statements in the wake of widespread criticism, the damage is more or less done. Here's a rundown of the most galling elements of Grisham’s wholly indefensible thesis: READ MORE

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Yogurt Ghosts Laughing Alone With Salad on Their Heads

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"This over-the-top Toronto mansion has hosted the likes of Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Jane Fonda, but its biggest claim to fame is a leading role in the Olsen twins' hit film It Takes Two."

The mansion plays a minor role in the classically brutal Olsen twins' film, but we've pulled out a few cameos throughout the home tour.

Contrary to popular belief, I do not have an Olsen Twins Google Alert; I believe Olsen Twins-related links have to come to me naturally, that searching for them dispels their magic. Luckily the universe always provides a way.

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Weekend Roundup / Open Thread


"Happy" end of the week, I guess, even though it started with Haley LEAVING ME AND GOING BACK TO TORONTO. :( :( :( The above photo is meant to be an sarcastic posturing of what not to do, but take it as you will. Let's wipe our tears and review the week: we studied the history of eyebrows, interviewed Mary Timothy, changed our last name, sat through a Tarantino explainer, created the overdue Mrs. Markowitz slug, ate potatoes pesky whipper-snapper style, definitely had sex, explored the complexities of female friendship, got advice from Baba Yaga, and waxed poetic about Michael Jackson. We ALSO brought back the Halloween Advent Calendar, with the help of the ever-so spoOooOky Jolie Kerr: we started with our Halloween rituals, a solid listicle, a themed-Ask a Queer Chick, visited some witchcraft and magic museums, and a spell book of beauty.

Behind the scenes: both Haley and Anna sent me this article about pooping at the office, so my personal brand is on point.

There are a deluge of women to be proud of this week: Julianne Escobedo Shepherd at Rookie on FKA Twigs, Sarah Hagi at The Toast on talking over Muslim women, this Flavorwire review on Hairpin pal's Kathleen Hale's essays, and Stacey May Fowles in The Globe and Mail on Emma Healey's "Stories Like Passwords." Dang, your Instapaper is gonna be good this weekend. Enjoy it!

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13 SpoOOoky Witchcraft And Magic Museums To Visit

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Thematic tourism can be great (it also can be exploitative, which is not so great). Since it's October, the witchiest, most magical month, we've rounded up 13 of the hocus-y pocus-y museums around the world.

1. Museum of Witchcraft, Cornwall, UK
Cornwall is the mother of all witchcraft museums, which we mention by way of asking: who wants to go on a field trip? The museum's website notes that important events in its history have fallen on Samhain and Hallowe'en. Their Twitter feed is bananas and delightful and the reason that I follow Cornish Folklore. Also the museum was founded by a man named Cecil. READ MORE

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Spell Book of Beauty

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I’ve talked about makeup as magic before—it bleeds through my work. Sometimes I take the message literally and make beauty a ritual to do in the dark. And you know, it’s always worked, even if not entirely in the ways you would expect it to. Here are a few of my favorite spells. READ MORE