Wednesday, September 10, 2014


The Playground Gourmet

You're never gonna read Pete Wells again: The Bold Italic has discovered the new class of the world's greatest food reviewers, and they're all four years old. A photographer and an editor bring the kid to a top-tier restaurant– think the French Laundry, Mission Chinese– and the reviews, totally unfiltered, are golden: "These flavors are funny! There are TOO MANY FLAVORS," "Is that soap? It doesn't smell too soapy but I think that's soap," and "Um, is this a flower? To eat? Eww. I'm keeping this. I'm gonna give it some water."

For the food nerds out there who've made wishlists of fancy restaurants to go to and for whom this would be a dream, here's a primer for your next fancy California-based restaurant that is almost certainly not a shill; for the rest of you, it's a look into what we'd probably be saying anyway if we got the chance to go to one of these places ourselves ("Well I don't think I like new food but I DO like cheese.").


Listen. I love Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. I love them for purely nostalgic reasons—It Takes Two is a fucking classic—and I love them because The Row is consistently one of the most beautiful collections at NYFW and I love them because they know that if I had $4,000 to spend on a backpack I would absolutely buy their dumb $4,000 backpack. But right now I love them because it's very clear they don't know the difference between a video and a photo, and because Vanessa Friedman was there to capture their zen pre-show confusion, and because the whole thing is very endearing and also, really, quite soothing; let's just let this play on a loop all morning.

An Updated 'Live From New York' Goes Inside the Last 12 Years of 'SNL' History

stefon update charactersIf the update of Live from New York from journalist James Andrew Miller and TV critic Tom Shales succeeds in one thing, it’s disproving the perennial, cliched criticism that Saturday Night Live is no longer funny or relevant. The additional 200 pages added to this already-hefty volume are a revealing reminder that the most recent years of SNL have been just as memorable as the eras long past.

Covering the period from 2002 to the present, the update takes on the show’s engagement with recent politics, the rise of Lonely Island, and the internet’s effect on both the players and the general reception of the show. It features interviews from long-time SNL favorites such as Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Fred Armisen, Kristen Wiig, and Biller Hader, and briefly dives into chats with more recent cast additions Taran Killam, Cecily Strong, and Kate McKinnon, among others. And of course, it adds to the lore surrounding Lorne Michaels without coming closer to unwrapping his enduring enigma. Regardless of the storyteller, though, the majority of the interview excerpts remain press- and show- friendly, and outside of recounting the show’s more memorable recent moments (like Betty White’s popularly-requested hosting gig in 2012), there’s relatively few fireworks. READ MORE


A Conversation Amongst Me, Taylor Swift, and Langston Hughes, About Being 22

Editor's note: You might want to read Theme for English B and listen to 22 before continuing but you still might not get it.

Me: Hi guys, thanks for coming. I have gathered you here today because you both have produced notable works about what your life was like when you were 22 years old. I’m 22 now and I have yet to produce anything notable or work-related. Do you have any advice?

Langston Hughes, eloquently: Go home and write a page tonight. And let that page come out of you—Then, it will be true.

Me: I am not sure I could write a whole page. A tweet, maybe? I have a pretty short attention span. Is a page all it takes for me to make something out of my 22nd year? Can a page go viral?? Time is running out, L-Boogie. I’m pretty worried.

Taylor Swift, while spinning around in a poufy dress: Everything will be alright if you keep me next to you.

Me: Taylor, I have loans. I can’t buy a mansion on the Cape. READ MORE

A Complete Guide to Today's Apple Event



Bloodfeast: The "Ragwood" Sandwich

sandwich done 1

Let’s raise our Diva Cups for a toast. This is a momentous occasion: we are now all on same menstrual cycle. At least that’s what I’m happily assuming. Look at us, braiding each other’s hair, holding hands, surfborting together on ye olde crimson wave. Someone please pass the Midol. I’m wearing white culottes because I like to live dangerously. My dearest Sync Sisters, let’s celebrate this period party with a Bloodfeast snack we can all share!

A couple of years ago I hosted a party based on a legit fantasy: a “Midnight Cartoon Sandwich Party.” I wanted to surround myself with supportive friends cheering me on as I built the kind of sandwich seen in cartoons and comic strips. You know, when the character goes to make a “midnight snack,” and the result is a towering, mega-wich of cold cuts, cheeses, a fishbone, and maybe an old shoe, all topped off with olives on sticks. A character from the cartoon Blondie famously made this kind of sandwich, so it’s usually referred to by his name, The Dagwood. But for us fine ladies, we shall dub this: The Ragwood. READ MORE


"A Random Man Has Life Advice"

You know that thing where random men in public spaces totally try to subjugate your face and your actions and your facial actions and try to impart unwanted and unwarranted advice about how you should "smile, because it's such a nice day," or "flash those pearly whites, beautiful!" or "show that pretty smile of yours" and you can't stab them or sometimes even say anything back for fear of reciprocation so you just fantasize about responding with honey-drenched sarcasm and smiling so goddamned hard that you scare them away (or, on bad days, murdering them)? Then, boy, does Jessie Weinberg have the video for you.


The White Beauty Myth

Growing up in suburban Connecticut, I was the minority by default. Anything and everything that was the physical manifestation of my non-white background was fuel for mockery. My hair was too curly, too kinky, and too frizzy. My lips were too big. My nose was too wide. People made a game out of guessing my ethnicity, believing such an activity was as harmless as pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. My peers and adults alike made it abundantly clear that I did not belong; my blackness was a constant reminder of my status as an outsider. I can distinctly recall riding the bus in elementary school with a white classmate; He turned to me and said, “You know why black people don’t have to wipe their own asses? Because their skin is already the color of shit.”

The Problem With Relying on a Machine to Eat All Your Garbage

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, New York Times technology writer Farhad Manjoo tells us more about what happens when you have a hi-tech electronic garbage can that keeps breaking.

Farhad! So what happened here?

I use machines for everything. I’m that kind of guy. I cook sous vide, I’ve got a Japanese bidet toilet with heated seats, my soap dispenser is automatic, and my plants are watered on a very precise timer. So when I have some garbage to throw away, you can bet I’m not going to bother with jamming on a pedal to open up some dirty, germ-laden trash vessel, like the way they used to do in medieval times. Nope, no manual labor for me, no sir. When I get home after a long day of typing words, my hands laden with trash, I want a machine to react to my very proximate presence, to open up like Ali Baba’s cave, a gaping, infrared-enabled maw just begging for my trash.



Just 4 Kydz Fun Zone

At home, on television, singing lions from a different children's franchise tell the Kydz that life's a circle,
Like a quarter closed against a joystick in a small palm, waiting to be meted into a video game inside
This seedy laser-tag arcade, this windowless birthday-party last resort, this dubious pleasure emporium. Or maybe like 
The grimy plastic bubbles, bright and contaminant, in its central play-bog. The balls are sometimes 
Pelted against their netted membrane in the direction of a bipedal rat—
The embodiment of the deity blazing, teeth askew, from the Zone's posters and soft drink cups. Alive,   READ MORE


Not Like Most Girls

I’m not like most girls. I don’t care about being beautiful. I mean, I am super beautiful. Like, magazine beautiful. But I don’t care about that.

I’m not like most girls. I drink regular soda, not that diet shit. This is my most important defining characteristic.

I’m not like most girls. I’m more like one of the guys, in that I have guy friends, and we get along, except when we don’t. You wouldn’t understand.

I’m not like most girls. I never played with Barbie dolls. I had Spiderman and Luke Skywalker action figures, and they lived in a Pink Dream House together, but that’s it.

I’m not like most girls. I don’t like drama. Unless we are talking about gritty crime dramas directed by Martin Scorsese.

I’m not like most girls. I don’t go in for that prissy Mariah Carey crap. I’m into real music. Like Slipknot.

I’m not like most girls who expect their boyfriend to buy them expensive gifts or cater to their every move or make eye contact ever. READ MORE

The Costs of Living in Kazakhstan


The costs of moving to Kazakhstan were considerably more than the general costs of living in Kazakhstan. It's easy to live comfortably here in Astana. Though, I'm happy to have savings from my last job so that I can travel/easily escape.

Housing is covered by the library where I work, which is a relief because when I researched rental prices, they averaged about $700-800 for a modest one-bedroom apartment. I wouldn't have been able to afford that on my salary, which is about half of what I made at my last job in Vancouver, Canada.

I share an apartment with another international librarian. The apartment is much nicer than I had anticipated and I have en-suite laundry for the first time in my life. The panel is entirely in Russian and I'm not used to having so many options like selecting a spin cycle, which would make the machines difficult to use even if they were in English. I rely on a Youtube video of a British child giving a tour of his aunt's washer/dryer.

My workplace provides medical benefits for a yearly fee but I'm not sure what that actually entails. I used up all of the benefits from my last job before leaving because even if I get dental benefits here, I would be terrified to go to a dentist who doesn't speak English.

The organization also pays for a one-way ticket to Astana if the librarian has over three years' work experience (student jobs don't count). Even with my 3.5 years' experience, I still had to push to have the flight costs covered. READ MORE


A Weekend At The Last Abortion Clinic In McAllen, Texas

The walk from the rear parking lot at Whole Woman’s Health to the entrance on Main Street is 100 feet down a sidewalk. The clinic is located in southwest McAllen, Texas at the corner of Main and Houston Streets—both of which are busy thoroughfares that run through the old medical area where Whole Woman’s is. People driving by on those streets have been honking their horns at patients and volunteers outside the newly re-reopened clinic all day.

Next to the clinic is an empty lot filled with wooden signs that say things like, “Abortion, The Ultimate Child Abuse.” This is the same lot where protesters recently built a miniature cemetery for unborn babies. A group of picketers follows each patient from the protection of the parking lot to the door. The sidewalk is public property and it’s the anti-choice picketer’s last chance to, maybe, change a mind. Stepping behind the concrete wall that hides the heavily tinted glass door entrance to the clinic’s waiting room feels like sanctuary. No one on Main Street can see in there—it’s safe. For the woman walking to the front door of a clinic that’s been empty for six months, the wait is almost over. She stands at the door until someone in the waiting room lets her inside.

The patients who came to Whole Woman’s Health McAllen this past weekend had been waiting a long time for assistance. On March 6, two Whole Woman’s Health locations—the one in McAllen and another in Beaumont, Texas—closed because they could no longer afford to stay open without being able to provide abortions.

House Bill 2, a Texas bill that went into effect on October 29, 2013, places highly restrictive provisions on abortion procedures, much like existing legislation in Mississippi. When HB2 went into effect last October, Whole Woman’s McAllen was among over 20 Texas clinics that had to either stop providing abortions or close. The bill has been opposed most prominently by Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for Texas’ upcoming gubernatorial election. Davis recently released a memoir describing her own abortions.

Texas is suffering. With every added provision, more clinics are forced to close. Before HB2, Texas had 42 abortion clinics. Currently, counting the recently re-opened McAllen clinic, there are 20. Another Fifth Circuit hearing on September 12th could make Texas a state with over 26 million people and only seven abortion providers. This makes receiving an abortion in Texas devastatingly difficult for anyone living outside of Houston, Dallas or Austin. For women living in the Rio Grande Valley, it’s almost impossible. READ MORE


Kanye: Unplugged

Heard 'Em Say by Vitamin String Quartet on Grooveshark

You're up on the Vitamin String Quartet, right? In case you aren't: they're an L.A. based musical group that does instrumental covers of every artist you already know and love. Their oeuvre is massive, with everyone from the Tupac to The White Stripes, KISS and the Beach Boys, and their Spotify is always good for spending too much time choosing a song blindly and trying to guess it. Among their best, though, is their tribute to noted rapper, producer and former MTV News Man of the Year Kanye West. His tribute album, released in 2008, is outdated, but that's a blessing in disguise: we're back to teddy-bear-motif Kanye, where his sampling was wide and varied and his production was still meaty and intense.

We all know Kanye is complex– stripped bare, though, we see how nuanced his tracks really are, and we're reminded who Kanye truly is: a genius/vessel/Shakespeare in the flesh/god/number 1 living and breathing rock star/blowfish/next Nelson Mandela/the Braveheart of creativity/robot/a cyclops when he puts his glasses on/just the espresso/the guy who believes in God but still really likes pussy/the rap version of Dave Chappelle/a pop enigma/a dude from Chicago with a hyper-creative mind, a brash, unconventional approach, and a really, really good ear.