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April 2012 (116 posts)
8 new fragrances that will add a little swing to your spring
6 great long-lasting makeup products
The 2012 spring makeup O-wards: The best new beauty products
And yet...I remain the most gullible, trickable, April's Fools-able person in the world, and why it was with great horror that I read the National Poetry Foundation's announcement that they were cancelling National Poetry Month, which happens every April. (Spoiler alert: it was published on April 1st. You know. April Fool's Day.) "Poetry has a presence in every part of American life?!" I read aloud, disgusted. "Instead, they are going to have 'an annual month of attention to film, topped off with an awards show in Los Angeles, to take place in February each year?!' Are they kidding??"
Well, yes. Yes they were. And once my brain started working gooder again, I couldn't stop laughing at the post. It's really worth the read. And like all great satire, not only does it make us laugh, it makes us think. Why should it seem so absurd, as the post suggests, that there would be reality shows about writers? That major news shows should debate who really wrote Shakespeare's plays? Will it ever be the case that poetry really is as ubiquitiously-loved as film?
I dunno. While the idea of reading poetry can intimidate me, I also know that there's nothing like that feeling of finding the right poem at the right moment, reading a line that makes you feel all sparkly, discovering that some poet you've never met has expressed a feeling you've often had with gorgeous precision. As I once said, "It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserable every day / for lack / of what is found there." Or wait, maybe that was William Carlos Williams.
It was one those weirdly windy days when trees whip around like headbangers and buildings rattle in a way that reminds you that they are just buildings. We were walking down the street, hair striping our views, when my daughter said grumpily, "Mama, make that wind stop!" And as I heard myself explaining why I didn't actually control the weather, I had the thought, "And thank goodness for that."
There's nothing like the wind to remind us of how little about the world we actually do control. It can be heart-stoppingly lovely, as when a spring breeze releases a rain shower of petals from a blooming cherry blossom tree. And, as we've seen all too much lately, it can be catastrophic, wreaking havoc on human lives -- from last year's tsunami in Japan to this week's tornadoes in Texas.
Is that what makes this moving Wind Map so hypnotic? I can't get enough of this thing. Just watch the patterns of the winds as they swirl around the country. After a few moments, the winds are constellations, they are whorls on a tree stump, they are lines on a palm. (Zoom in!) Zoning out to the Wind Map makes you think about how the wind doesn't seem to pay any attention to our clever partitions (red state, blue state, any state at all), makes you consider how little -- yes, it's scary sometimes, and yes, it's wonderful sometimes -- we really control.
It's Blue O'Clock. Do You Know Where You Are?
A lovely short film about the oldest piano shop in Paris -- and the dying art of craftsmanship.
Change the world with $20: How women are funding other women to start small businesses.
Yes, all your dreams are coming true...these pajamas are totally acceptable to wear in public.
Squirrel-kisses and shark-high-fives: 25 amazing (and incredibly timed) animal photographs.
Ryan Gosling, just stop being so perfect already! The "Hey Girl" hero saves a woman from being hit by a taxi.
The Life-Lifter: "I was in the food lines ... Now I have an opportunity to go back and give back." Post-detox, a Vancouver student creates art-therapy for people in need, like he once was.
Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread from Joy the Baker
Pile sheets of this yeasty, soft, cinnamon sugar bread into a loaf pan. Thirty minutes later, you're in comfort-food heaven.
Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread from The Pastry Affair
Instead of sheets, this bread consists of little dough balls rolled in a garlic herb butter and sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It's perfect served with a side of marinara or tomato sauce.
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.
* On Twitter, Open City novelist Teju Cole is sharing 140-character "small fates," true stories of ordinary New Yorkers drawn from a 1912 newspaper. A sample: "Only Rudolph Hanneseck died when a fire broke out at 178 West Houston Street. (He was run over by the fire truck.)" (Twitter.com/TejuCole)
* In a show that opened at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia yesterday, the graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister is exploring what it means to be happy. You can visit the exhibit through August 12. (ICA)
* John Grisham's newest book, Calico Joe, comes out next week—his $6 million mistake is good inspiration for first-time authors. (The Daily Beast)
* "If I could go back and revise my adolescent experience, I wouldn't. I'm glad it happened. As bad as it was, it was also good, and not just in It-Gets-Better retrospect. It was good then. It directly enriched my life."—Rich Juzwiak reflects on how being bullied helped shaped him. (Gawker)
Inventing a dance club, actually, is more accurate. Once a month or so, office workers show up for Lunch Beat and cut loose. For an hour. Lunch Beat Stockholm's organizer, Daniel Odelstad, told USA Today, "People are sober, it's in the middle of the day and it is very short, effective and intensive. You just have to get in there and dance, because the hour ends pretty quickly." He added that the first rule of Lunch Beat is...you don't talk about Lunch Beat. Just kidding! It's "that you have to dance." Participants report that after dancing their hearts out they return to work sweaty but much more relaxed.
Pretty great, right? In case you happen to not be in Stockholm, you can gain the same relaxing benefits by checking out a Zoomba class at a nearby gym over your next lunch break, or recruiting some coworkers to bust a move in an empty conference room. It will be really fun when your boss walks in. Promise.
How to Take a Minute at Work
16 Ways to Destress the Workday
Realize nothing is good to the last bite. “The most compelling part of a dish is the first three or four bites,” explains Thomas Keller of the three-Michelin-starred restaurants French Laundry and Per Se. “That’s when you get the maximum pleasure.” The takeaway: Move on to another course after a few forkfuls—or step away from the table altogether.
Delight in dessert. Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert and Oprah’s former personal chef Art Smith (who lost 85 pounds three years ago) are two big-time chefs who allow themselves to indulge in a little bit of chocolate every day. As for other treats, Smith advises, “You have to say to them: ‘Yeah, you’re a friend of mine, but you can’t visit very often.’”
Stop being scared of salt. For those of us not watching our sodium intake, the spice can make a typical dieter’s meal—baked chicken, anyone?—taste better. “It’s got to be in the cooking [not added later],” says celeb chef Marc Murphy. “Salt brings the flavor out...Don’t. Be. Afraid.”