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February 2012 (120 posts)
Every Monday, we're rounding up the things, small and big, that make us stop and think. Today, we're inspired by..."When you're 50, the best thing to do is dance the Argentinean tango."
-Performance artist Marina Abramović, discussing parties, silence, and her unconditional love for strangers, in Interview Magazine.
"Be fully awake to everything about you & the more you learn the more you can appreciate & get a full measure of joy & happiness out of life.”
-Jackson Pollock's father, LeRoy, in a 1928 letter to his son.
"Let me break it down for you: she’s writing herself into existence. She’s giving herself a part to play because, God knows, no one else will and she wants to matter in this life."
-Liz Phair on the self-creation of Lana Del Ray.
“She'd wake up like we do, look out the window just like us, rummage through her days, but somehow what caught her attention — a grasshopper's hop, an infant's fingernails, plankton, a snowflake — when Wislawa Szymborska noticed something, she noticed it so well, her gaze reshaped the thing she saw, gave it a dignity, a vividness.”
-NPR’s Robert Krulwich’s tribute to the Nobel-Prize-winning Polish poet who died last week.
Libraries from Copenhagen to Kyoto (Orlando, Florida is next) have sponsored Human Library projects. Usually taking place on one weekend day, the program features people -- yes, people -- that patrons can check out for a half-hour of conversation. According to this great essay by Paul Gallant, a recent event at the Toronto Public Library offered a Tibetan Buddhist Monk, a teenager with Cerebral Palsy, a former sex-worker, a police officer, a cancer survivor, and more. Toronto Public Library's manager of corporate communications, Anne Marie Aikins, said, "With the Human Library, it's a one-on-one experience and that kind of storytelling, from person to person, does harken back to centuries and centuries ago when a story was the only way to learn. It's an old technology." (This essay includes a report of one writer's experience "checking out" a human from the library to chat with.)
I wish every library in the world had this, every weekend. In daily life, there's often so little opportunity to encounter people very different from ourselves, and when we do, we're often too shy or polite or whatever it is to ask the questions we really want to ask. While I love the idea of this program, both in what it does for people and for the institution of libraries, it occurs to me that each of us can recreate a Human Library of our own. Go ahead...talk to a human today.
Visit the Human Library's website for information on upcoming programs.
10 Ways to Improve Your Life
5 Steps to Being a Better Listener
While the ubiquity of coffee may have seemed like a symptom of my caffeine-free fever dream, statistics prove that Americans really do drink a lot of it. More than half of all adults--107 million people--drink coffee daily. The average worker spends more than $20 a week on the stuff, according to a recent survey by the web site Consumerist. Our national dependence on the bitter brown fuel may explain the rash of studies within the past year on the health benefits of coffee. The good news for those like me who have a hard time kicking the habit: we don't have to. Here's the very latest on how coffee affects us:
The compendium has a spine cleverly designed as the nutritional information panel on a box and starts with the food's paleolithic era (aka 1903), when Tryabita Cereal Mills marketed a celery-flavored hot cereal--which certainly sounds healthy--and goes up to the 1990s and 2000s (of note is 1993's very meta Rice Krispies Treats cereal, a cereal that tastes like treats made out of...cereal). Other bits we're crunching on: the freeze-dried marshmallows in Lucky Charms, Count Chocula and Baron von Redberry are called "marbits"; and, as we long suspected, Grape Nuts probably don't have anything to do with grapes: According to Post, the cereal got its name because its inventor, C. W. Post, claimed grape sugar was formed during the backing process and that the cereal had a nutty flavor. And then there are the characters, from the Trix rabbit to Tony the Tiger to Snap!, Crackle!, Pop!, and Pow! (yes, there once were four, but Pow! got the boot sometime in the late 1950s).
Forget cereal's bad rap (the sugar, the unpronounceable ingredients, the funny colors it turns your milk): this book reminds us to look at cereal as culture. Toucan Sam (who was quite a linguist, you know, speaking pig latin, talking of his "ove-lay" for "oot-fray oops-lay") would probably be very proud.
Are you over oatmeal?
High-energy (and no-guilt) cereal bowls
A fun way to keep breakfast fresh and accessible
Here to make sense of the endless abyss of shirts, dresses, skirts, shoes, jeans, and jewelry: Stylitics—a new site that logs what you own (allowing you to manually upload photos of all your items or add things via the web), keeps track of your outfit history and recent purchases, gives you new ideas for what to wear, and even tells you the weather so that you that you know to slip on your rainboots or pack an umbrella. According to Stylitics, the average consumer has over 250 items in their closet, but their calendar function ensures you don't repeat ensembles and helps you plan what to put on day-to-day or for upcoming events—making getting dressed in the morning more foolproof. Plus, you can access your virtual closet anywhere you're able to log on—meaning you can double-check what's hanging up at home before buying yet another black dress.
Sign up and start making sense of your wardrobe with code: oprah
Score deals on winter gear
Your biggest dressing dilemmas—solved
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* The Man of the Century: Prince Charming. See Disney princes on the covers of men's magazines. (i09)
* On the Rosie Show, Dermot Mulroney plays the cello. Good luck not swooning. (Rosie.com)
* In honor of Groundhog Day, revisit this excellent interview with Harold Ramis, who wrote and directed the Bill Murray movie: "I try to work from both ends. I look for the meaning in what’s funny, and I look for what’s funny about things that are meaningful to me." (The Believer)
Wonderfully, there is an entire wall devoted to polar bears. Here you can play explorer with actual live web cams, view cute polar bear pic after cute polar bear pic, and enjoy the zen stroll of a polar bear loping across a snowy terrain. Just watch this bear's peaceful walk: And best of all, explore.org is more than just another repository of blood-pressure-lowering videos. The organization describes themselves as "philanthropic based media to champion the selfless acts of others, create a portal into the soul of humanity and inspire lifelong learning." The site serves as a kind of gathering place for the documentation of all manner of community-minded and good-doing organizations and projects. Which is all well and good, of course it is. But also, how nice, to find another happy place online, devoted to media that actually makes you feel better, that focuses on the beauty of the world—and the peaceful ambling of polar bears.
More Blood-Pressure-Lowering Videos:
A Surfer Ponders His Place in the World
The Gorgeousness of the Aurora Borealis
A: Ladies, when it comes to dressing for a romantic evening, there is a fine line between seductive and seedy. But you'll never go wrong if you follow my guiding principle: Play up one feature, be it the lips, the décolletage, or the legs; keep everything else demure.
For a seductive look, try: tousled hair; matte red lips; an animal-print scarf; an off-the-shoulder top; short well-manicured nails; a bustier underneath a blazer; a peek of lace; a dress with a slit; a pencil skirt; tights with a small fishnet pattern; and a classic pump, two to four inches tall.
To avoid looking seedy, steer clear of: teased, sprayed untouchable hair; glossy red lips; animal-print pants; a tube top; long red talons; a bustier worn alone; a neon lace dress; a dress with a slit and plunging neckline; an ultra-miniskirt; actual fishnets; and clear platforms heels.
The relationship: does it have to be work?
6 gorgeously scented moisturizing body oils
7 decadent (retro) desserts