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December 2011 (104 posts)
"She walks in beauty/Like the night. Maybe that's why/Drivers can't see her." The most poetic safety warnings ever.
The newspaper for the digital age is edited (and printed) by you. And it's adorable.
Mincemeat cookies and dried roses: A meditation on the importance of the little things.
The perfect pizza. A dessert potato. How a menu can be a memoir.
The Life-Lifter: Usually hearing a one-sided cellphone conversation is just annoying, but here is the cutest one ever.
Artists can find beauty in the most unexpected places. A piece of steel. A length of rope. An online mapping service. Yes, Mashable has highlighted five artists who use imagery found on Google Maps to create unique and in some cases uniquely moving works of art. Want a mini-vacation? Click through Aaron Hobson's Beautiful Images of Remote Locations. Then there's "Address is Approximate," the sweet stop-animation film about an adventurous desk toy who drives off into the sunset, courtesy of, what else, Google Maps. There's a darker side to the Google Map world, too -- compilations of sneaky views into impoverished areas of America or screengrabs of prostitutes in rural Italy. The images possess a strange, blurry beauty. Technology can be such a drag, the computer screen such a drain, but here's a reminder that even the most mundane tools can create art.
More art in unexpected places:
Lunch bag art
An artist with multiple personalities
It's Friday again, which mean's it's time to write in our gratitude journal! This week, we're thankful for:
Has it been just that kind of a week? The site that brings you endless hugs from all over the world.
The one small thing that makes a difference for 870,000+ Indian girls
As if Oreos could get better: This brownie recipe makes us a little weak in the knees
The secret way to find every Google doodle that's ever been (and who makes them)
A tweet may help save this cancer patient's life. Find out how you can help, too.
I love a good mixtape. The mix cd my husband made for me when we first started dating is firmly lodged in my car's cd player (yeah, cds!), and I probably even have somewhere the actual tapes my best friend and I exchanged in high school, complete with collaged covers. I'm always happy to come across a great playlist, that newfangled cousin of the late, great mixtape. But what, I know we've all asked ourselves, would our favorite fictional characters listen to?
Flavorwire knows. Here, from the wish-I'd-thought-of-that files, are literary character mixtapes. Characters like Elizabeth Bennet, Captain Ahab, Nancy Drew, and The Little Prince are given their own playlists of songs that so perfectly capture their essences you just have to laugh, stream the songs, and pick up your well-worn paperbacks to read along. The song choices are spot-on, and you have to love commentary like, "We think a donkey who counts the days since anyone spoke to him would nod glumly along with the intro to this song." (That's Eeyore, loving "Comfortably Numb," by Pink Floyd)
And not to be completely nerdy (too late, I know), but it occurs to me that imagining playlists like this would be a great project for reading-averse students or even writers trying to flesh out a fictional character. Or someone who just really wants to commune with her inner Lady Macbeth. Or, you know, Tigger.
Read more about books:
Great short stories
The best winter reading
Also called a honeybell, this citrus fruit is a hybrid of a tangerine and either a pomelo (a citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia) or a grapefruit. They're juicy, easier to peel than oranges because of their loose skin, and have a distinguishing little knob at the top.
Even better than the traditional cookies, a slice of gingerbread is a moist, delicious taste of heaven. Follow this recipe, which calls for cinnamon, cloves, ginger, molasses and buttermilk, and includes instructions for making a spiced honey butter with freshly grated ginger.
Soothe sore throats with a big bowl of this classic winter elixir. This recipe includes tortellini, while this one is built on Thai flavors, and you'll never believe that Luther Vandross created this Mediterranean take.
Have you ever met a woman who has literally never turned on a stove? Or a man well into his adult years who still goes to Mom's for dinner every night because cooking is just too much for him? Well, Kristina Kuzmic has, and she's absolutely not okay with it.
Starting this Saturday, the woman sometimes known as The Ambush
Cook will be storming the kitchens of strangers who need culinary instruction. Her very
raw recruits in this battle will be put through their onion-chopping paces by their drill sergeant (whose
basic training methods involve enforced dancing at the cutting board—and lots
of it). By the end of boot camp, they will have gotten past their nerves and on
to making braised short ribs.
After witnessing the Ambush Cook in action, viewers (both the skillet shy and the accomplished-but-lazy chefs among them) will surely feel compelled to take up the spoon and begin to cook. And therein lies Kirstina's real victory.
This is why I love David Brooks' brilliant series in the New York Times, "The Life Reports" A few weeks ago, Brooks asked readers over 70 to send him essays evaluating their lives, what worked, and what didn't. The resulting Life Reports make for fascinating, addictive reading. One man writes, "Often, people say ‘you have a perfect life’. And I reply, ‘Thanks, but it’s taken me 70 years to figure it out!’ Another, who gave himself an "F", wrote, a bit heartbreakingly, "Wishing nothing more to do with his father, who was not a positive role model and prophesied, 'Neil will never amount to anything,' Neil unconfidently spent the rest of his life running away and fulfilling that prophecy."
Brooks has also summarized the lessons learned from reading through hundreds of these essays, including the similarities between the people who were content with their lives. Want to be happy? Divide your life into chapters. Avoid rumination. Lean toward risks. Brooks writes that, among other things, the happiest people seem to be "strategic self-deceivers. When something bad was done to them, they forgot it, forgave it or were grateful for it. When it comes to self-narratives, honesty may not be the best policy." And, "People get better at the art of living...vague but uplifting spiritual experiences pepper their reflections."
Personally, I'm glad to hear that the art of living gets easier. And in a culture where aging is dreaded with an energetic fervor, it's nice to remember the reflection and, potentially, peace, that may come.
What no one tells you about aging
Aging in Hollywood (and elsewhere)
Is loneliness an infectious disease? One woman's plan to cure herself of loneliness, once and for all.
Hey girl. It's feminist Ryan Gosling. Prepare to giggle and forward.
"To dream of the impossible maybe..." A mysterious artist is gracing libraries with paper sculptures that have to be seen to be believed.
Sleep more, spend time with your friends, and other ways to invest your time wisely.
The Life-Lifter: Good news about... dental work. No, really: this charity provides free dental work in exchange for small acts of kindness.