News 02.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 02.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 02.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 02.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Every evening before we go to bed, my wife and I watch Vines. Our mutual need for a little mindless school-night entertainment led us to delay sleep by sitting in bed watching videos of fails and cute animals, but at some point in the last 18 months, YouTube’s algorithm transitioned from feeding us new footage of faceplants and binkying bunnies to compilations of old Vines. Though these collections entered our media diet long after the service went dark in 2016, the absence of any fresh Vines is hardly a hindrance given that YouTube has, in the interim, become an inexhaustible host of compilations with names like “rare vines that were there for me when my fish died,” “vines I quote daily but nobody knows what I’m talking about,” and “classic and rare vines to watch when you lose your will to live.” Whatever limited quantity of Vines either of us actually consumed on the app during its heyday (“duck army” is the only one I can remember obsessing over in the moment), our more recent nightly viewings have yielded a handful of new favorites that have been widely anthologized. There’s Renata Bliss: Freestyle Dance Teacher; Jared, the 19-year-old who “never fuckin’ learned how to read”; a legion of umbrellas chasing tourists off a beach as a disembodied voice murmurs, “Run.”

Read the rest of this article at: Real Life

News 02.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 02.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The actor speaks frankly about everything from his addictive behavior and his divorce to why he lied about that back tattoo.

Warning: This is not one of those celebrity profiles that uses a teaspoon of new information to flavor a barrel of ancient history. There is no paragraph where the star and the writer pretend to be pals — gag — while doing an everyday-person activity. What was everyone eating? Who cares. No, you will not get served the obligatory canned quote from Matt Damon.

This is Ben Affleck, raw and vulnerable, talking extensively for the first time about getting sober (again) and trying to recalibrate his career (again).

Affleck, Oscar-winning writer, director of the Oscar-winning “Argo,” better actor than you remember — and, yes, alcoholic, divorcé and proud possessor of a mythical back tattoo — has four movies coming out this year. Dad Bod Batman has been banished, and actual films are back on his docket, including his first all-on-him movie in four years: “The Way Back,” a poignant sports drama that arrives in theaters on March 6. Affleck plays a reluctant high school basketball coach with big problems — he’s a puffy, willful, fall-down drunk who blows up his marriage and lands in rehab.

You read that correctly.

“People with compulsive behavior, and I am one, have this kind of basic discomfort all the time that they’re trying to make go away,” he said a couple of Sundays ago during a two-hour interview at a beachside spot in Los Angeles. “You’re trying to make yourself feel better with eating or drinking or sex or gambling or shopping or whatever. But that ends up making your life worse. Then you do more of it to make that discomfort go away. Then the real pain starts. It becomes a vicious cycle you can’t break. That’s at least what happened to me.”

He cleared his throat. “I drank relatively normally for a long time. What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems.”

Affleck’s marriage to Jennifer Garner, with whom he has three children, ended in 2018 after a long separation. He said he still felt guilt but had moved past shame. “The biggest regret of my life is this divorce,” he continued, noticeably using the present tense. “Shame is really toxic. There is no positive byproduct of shame. It’s just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing.”

He took a sharp breath and exhaled slowly, as if to slow himself down. “It’s not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures — the relapses — and beat myself up,” he said. “I have certainly made mistakes. I have certainly done things that I regret. But you’ve got to pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more, try to move forward.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
at Belgrave Crescent &

At the end of my third full day of Frieze week, I walked out of a tent the size of a major international airport terminal – an airport terminal filled with beautiful and expensive objects and aggressively stylish people peering at them – and strolled down Marylebone High Street in central London, relishing the benign chill of an early October evening. I was glad, even giddy, to be liberated from the abundance of paintings and sculptures and video pieces and talks and performances. I passed the window of a high-end children’s clothing concern and my eye was drawn to a trio of small mannequins facing out onto the street from the window. Why were these children headless, I wondered? What message was being sold in the form of these uncanny figures, adorably attired and decapitated? Were they genuinely unsettling, these pieces, or merely glib in their juxtaposition of cuteness and surreal horror? What, as art-world people like to ask, was I seeing?

What I was seeing, it slowly dawned on me, was art where no such thing was intended. The intensity and duration of the Frieze experience had done something to my brain. Over the time I spent at the fair – a period in which I was repeatedly presented with new things to look at and think about – some mental reflex of appraisal had been honed to a hair-trigger sensitivity, to the point where I was experiencing absolutely everything as art. I had lost some essential capacity to distinguish between the categories of art and commerce. It was strangely telling, because of all the many experiences a person is liable to have over the course of Frieze week, the sense of this boundary dissolving is the most potent. What I was seeing was art, in prodigious quantities. What I was also seeing was money, in one of its more rarefied forms.

Read the rest of this article at: 1843

News 02.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 02.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Rosie grew up in a succession of decrepit houses in South London with one man and a rotating cast of women, who claimed that they had found her on the streets as an infant. The man, Aravindan Balakrishnan—Comrade Bala, as he wanted to be called—was the head of the household. He instructed the women to deny Rosie’s existence to outsiders, and forbade them from comforting her when she cried. “Balakrishnan told us that lesbianism was caused when females cuddle female babies,” one of the women, Aisha Wahab, told me recently. “No one dared show affection.” Rosie was not registered with local authorities, health-care providers, or schools. As a child, she often stood by a window, hoping that passersby would notice her. Once, after she exchanged greetings with the granddaughter of an elderly neighbor through a hole in the garden fence, Balakrishnan warned her that the girl intended to lure her away to be held hostage. He regularly lost his temper with Rosie, beating her and threatening to kill her. Sometimes, after an argument, she would retreat to the bathroom, to check whether the toilet still flushed. “When it worked, I kissed the handle,” Rosie, who is now thirty-three, recalled earlier this year. “I told it, ‘Thank you for being on my side.’ ”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 02.19.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

London Breed is making the case for tough love. It’s early January, and the first African-American woman to be elected mayor of San Francisco is giving an inaugural speech that neatly encapsulates the hope and despair that define San Francisco today. The city enjoys a thriving economy with low unemployment, a gleaming new arena for the multiple-championship-winning Golden State Warriors (poached from its less-wealthy neighbors across the Bay in Oakland), and its status as the “capital of the resistance” to Donald Trump (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi represents the city in Congress). But then, inevitably, there is the city’s battle with homelessness and housing affordability. “The suffering on our streets, it offends our civic soul,” says Breed, 45, evoking the plight of the unhoused but also their impact on everyone else. “We are no longer accepting that compassion means anything goes on the streets.”

Breed’s prescription is more housing—a goal that, she insists, can’t be thwarted by letting “disingenuous warnings of shadows and height get in the way.” This last bit is a nod to objections that all too often stymie construction projects in the city. She also directs her ire at the 11-member Board of Supervisors, seated in the fifth row in front of her, who recently voted their disapproval for a statewide bill that would have eased housing density restrictions. “Density,” says Breed, “is not a dirty word. We can’t say we need more housing and then reject policies that allow us to actually build housing.”

Hours later, Breed is onstage again, this time a block away at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, to swear in Chesa Boudin, a former public defender who’s been elected district attorney against a candidate favored by Breed. Boudin, 39, vowed during his campaign not to prosecute so-called quality-of-life crimes like public urination and sex solicitation. It has been much commented on that Boudin’s parents were members of the Weather Underground, the radical-left militant organization, who were sent to prison on murder charges when he was an infant. And the rapturous crowd that has come to cheer for him represents the city’s “progressive” wing, a left-of-the-left cohort that mistrusts Breed’s centrism. Housing isn’t on Boudin’s agenda, but social justice is. He promises to end the system of cash bail and blames a wave of car break-ins on wealth inequality. Breed, who grew up in San Francisco public housing, has called for a crackdown on lawlessness. But Boudin, who is white, a former Rhodes scholar, and a transplant to the city, tells the crowd that San Francisco “is ready to leave the racist, inhumane, ineffective ‘tough on crime’ policies in the past.”

It is tempting to call out the contrast between Breed and Boudin as a continuation of San Francisco’s unique left-vs.-left politics, a battle that has raged for years. Yet the city’s squabbles lay bare bigger problems. San Francisco’s crises are getting worse, with no end in sight and little indication its leaders plan to work together to solve them. Even as the local economy soars on the strength of the technology industry that dominates the Bay Area, homelessness levels have surged. Housing is so scarce and expensive that many lament the increasing inability of cops, teachers, and the like to afford a home.

If tech leaves, it could be like banking leaving in the 1980s.

Chris Larsen, San Francisco native and executive chairman of fintech company Ripple
The city has become a punch line—and a punching bag. Official San Francisco takes umbrage at the scrutiny of outsiders who have weighed in on its dystopian cityscape: Trump, Fox News, and attendees at a ­JPMorgan health care conference, to name a few. Yet in the next breath these same boosters typically acknowledge, if quietly, that the criticism is valid.

Already there are signs of a business backlash. Companies from $35 billion-in-valuation tech-payments startup Stripe to stalwart brokerage Charles Schwab have announced plans to move their headquarters out of the city. They’re following in the footsteps of drug distribution giant McKesson, which relocated its HQ last year to tax-friendly Texas. Another gut punch came in December when Oracle announced that this year it would hold its annual OpenWorld developer conference—a massive tech gathering and mainstay in the city for more than two decades—in Las Vegas. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has told investors his company will look to expand outside its home city, saying “Our concentration in San Francisco is not serving us any longer.” And serial entrepreneur Chris Larsen, the executive chairman of fintech startup Ripple, frets that a tech exodus could mimic the earlier departure of another once-dominant industry. “If tech leaves, it could be like banking leaving in the 1980s,” he says, referring to a dark era in the city’s economic past.

Read the rest of this article at: Fortune

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

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